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TV Review: Riverdale (Season 3, Episode 18)


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This week's episode of Riverdale, "Jawbreaker", saw the show return after a three-week break and I have to say, I'm not entirely sure it was worth the wait. We're getting into the back-end of the season now and whilst some storylines are amping up, in a strange move, the show dedicates most of this episode to... Archie boxing?

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Image Credit: 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

We pick up this episode where the last episode left off, with the discovery of the dead and maimed Baby Teeth. FP and Jughead go to the coroner, to confirm what killed Baby Teeth, apparently a massive blood loss from the pulling of his teeth. This storyline relies on the audience caring for Baby Teeth and honestly, I can't even remember the last time he had a line on the show, but Jughead seems to be angry enough for everyone. Honestly, the best part of this whole sequence was the incredibly creepy coroner. Anyway, Jug is convinced that the real Gargoyle King is back (how many Gargoyle Kings have there been now? I honestly cannot keep track.)

The father and son team up to try and track down this new Gargoyle King, but end up being sidetracked by a bad case of Fizzle Rocks, which is making people foam at the mouth and bang their heads against hard surfaces. 

Betty, meanwhile, is taking her crusade against the Farm to the next level. She's finally got her meeting with Edgar, but he doesn't reveal anything of us, merely telling her a sob story about how bad his life was before the Farm, that he was on the edge of death and saved by a group of farmers. He then vowed to save the lives of others by opening his own farm one day (though I'm not really sure how the creepy cult comes into this since it sounds like the farm Edgar initially went to was an actual farm, not a cult.)

Betty ends up frustrated though, as she doesn't get an answer to her real question: how the Farm is convincing its members that they are seeing their dead relatives. So she opts for Plan B, showing Alice a fake gravestone to remind her that Charles is dead and when that doesn't work, she handcuffs her to the bed in the sex bunker (you know, the one that every teen in Riverdale, including Betty, has had sex on). 

This plan doesn't work either however as Betty returns from school to find her mother setting fire to all of her childhood memories (how she managed to set a fire in the bunker, we will never know). Neither Betty nor Alice come off very well in this episode - I mean torching your family's memories in front of your daughter isn't great, but then neither is chloroforming your mother and handcuffing her to a bed.

Betty eventually returns her mother to The Farm, after hearing Alice's tapes where she admits to being scared of Betty and talking with Edgar, who points out that if seeing Charles comforts Alice and helps her heal, why is that a bad thing? I feel like being indoctrinated by a cult can only be a bad thing, but then what do I know?

There is one major breakthrough for Betty on the Farm front this week though, she has her inside man! Toni agrees to go undercover with the Farm since Cheryl is now fully immersed in Farm life and the Farm tries to get her to choose between Jason and Toni. This seems like a win-win for Toni, getting to keep her girlfriend whilst she attempts to break her out of the cult, but I can't help but be a little wary after what happened the last time Betty got someone to go undercover.

The other main storyline of the episode involves Archie doing more boxing and I have to say, I really could not care less. He enters the boxing tournament to honour Baby Teeth, but it really doesn't seem to add much to the story, other than giving Riverdale yet another opportunity to showcase its shirtless men. Riverdale really does not know what to do with Archie at all, his storylines always seem to be the outliers in every episode.

We end the episode with Jellybean, who has been spending her time playing G&G with Kurtz and the boy who stabbed Archie, since you know, parental supervision at the Jones household is low to say the least. The last we see of her, she has come face to face with the Gargoyle King.

There's definitely potential for some really great episodes as we wind up the season, but Riverdale really needs to focus on the stories that have legs (the Farm and the Gargoyle King) rather than Archie's lacklustre boxing career.

Riverdale Season 3 is available on Netflix, with new episodes streaming every Thursday.

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