|“||Every town has one. The spooky house that all the kids avoid. Ours was Thornhill, the Blossom family's mansion, with its very own graveyard. And, trapped within its walls like some gothic heroine, was Cheryl Blossom. Still grieving for her beloved brother, Jason. Linked in death even as they were in life.||”|
|— Jughead Jones|
THE HOUSE OF SECRETS AND LIES — With Jason’s funeral around the corner, the Blossom family moves forward with last minute preparations – and a secret agenda. Meanwhile, Archie’s attempt to refocus his energy on football comes to a halt when an opportunity to work with a new music mentor presents itself. Betty dives deeper into her investigation of Jason’s death and unearths some dark revelations about her family. Elsewhere, after uncovering secrets about her own family, Veronica forms an unlikely friendship with Cheryl, who is having a tougher time with Jason’s impending funeral than she lets on. Finally, Hermione turns to Fred for help after receiving a cryptic message from the Southside Serpents.
From the opening scene, we are introduced to the spooky, creepy mansion, Thornhill, the residence of the Blossom family which resides on a large estate with its very own graveyard. Inside the mansion, Cheryl, wearing a floor-length scarlet nightgown and clutching a candelabra, descends the stairs to find Jason’s casket empty with bloody scratches in the lid. Her twin brother’s reanimated corpse then looms behind her and reaches for Cheryl’s neck as she turns around. She screams and then wakes, having fallen asleep on Jason's bed while working on his eulogy. Penelope finds her on the bed and scolds her for sleeping on Jason's bed, but Cheryl explains that she was only working on Jason's eulogy. But Penelope is concerned her daughter will “humiliate” their family, so she crumples Cheryl’s notes into a ball, forbidding her to speak at Jason’s upcoming memorial.
Meanwhile, Archie obsessively focuses on football in order to ignore his feelings in the wake of Ms. Grundy leaving town. He stays up late at night working out using the punching bag in his bedroom. He explains to Fred that he’s redoubling his focus on football because if he can become captain, he can get a scholarship and continue pursuing music as his career. However, the only way for this to happen is if he's in top shape. Fred seems to suspects that there's more to Archie's training than football, which is the reason behind why he hesitantly exits Archie's room.
Jughead, Betty, and Kevin carefully reconstruct the Sheriff Keller's murder board in the Blue and Gold offices. Unfortunately, without any fingerprints being left behind at the scene of the crime, the police have no leads. However, they were able to establish a motive after learning of the theft of the files, background checks, and video and audio tapes of police interviews. Trev enters the office to ensure that he and Betty are still on for their date. Leading Kevin to question if Alice knew of Betty's outing. Betty explains that her mother is out of town on a woman and journalism spa retreat. Regardless, Betty dismisses the notion that she and Trev are going on a date because it is actually an intelligence-gathering mission. Betty believes that focusing on the kids of Riverdale High School gives them an advantage over the Sheriff.
After a disappointing football practice, Coach Clayton pits Archie and Reggie against each other for the coveted spot of team captain. Coach gives them a week and wishes them luck. Reggie believes if anyone deserved to be team captain, and wear Jason's jersey, it's him.
While picking up his order from Pop's Chock'lit Shoppe, he asks Hermione out on another date. Unfortunately, she turns him down. They're both married, but Fred was under the impression that their outing at the Twilight Drive-In was a date, when in fact it wasn't. Embarrassed by the misunderstanding, Fred exits the shop.
Veronica, Betty, Kevin, and Jughead join Archie in the bleachers as he studies football plays. Veronica inquires about Betty's upcoming date with Trev, though there's not much to tell. Veronica then asks how life has been for Archie in the PG (post-Grundy) world, but with him eyeing the spot for Varsity captain, nothing else is of much concern. Betty wonders if he's throwing himself into football in order to avoid his feelings to which Archie replies that he's merely trying to get his life back on track, which Valerie offers to help with since she knew of amazing songwriter from New York, Oscar Castillo, who was assisting at a nearby university, Carson College. She had already spoken to Oscar about Archie seeing as he does some coaching on the side, and he is willing to mentor Archie if possible. But with football season approaching, Archie isn't sure that now is the best time. Betty interjects, saying that she'll see to it that Archie meets with the music coach.
Cheryl interrupts their "sad Breakfast Club" to invite them to Thornhill for Jason's memorial that upcoming weekend. Much to her surprise, the Lodges were invited, though Cheryl warns Veronica that they'll be searching bags in case they're tempted to steal something, which is yet another reference to her father's arrest on fraud and embezzlement. With Jason's recent passing in mind, Veronica disregards Cheryl's attitude and takes it upon herself to extend an olive branch in hopes of avoiding mutual annihilation. Cheryl accepts Veronica's hand in friendship by inviting her to a sleepover at her house the night before the memorial as she didn't wish to spend the evening before burying her brother alone.
After weighing his options, Archie decides to take Valerie up on her offer and contact Oscar Castillo. At Carson College, Archie tells him that he began writing songs that summer, after a kid at his school died. In fact, the first song Archie wrote was about Jason. Admittedly, Archie only spends only a couple hours a day writing, but he plans to do more once football season ends, leaving Oscar to question where Archie passion lies. Before he sold his first song, he was in the studio all day. Waitering and bartending all night. There are no short-cuts unless you're a prodigy, which Archie points out that he isn't. Archie then hands Oscar a USB drive with his music, however, Oscar was expecting sheet music. He doesn't teach performance, he teaches song writing. For them to even proceed in a constructive manner, they need to be on the same page.
At Thornhill, Penelope and Clifford escort Sheriff Keller into the main room where Jason's memorial will be held. Afterward, they will bury him in the cemetery on Thornhill ground. Penelope informs the Sheriff of a list that she and Cliff composed of all of their suspects in the murder of Jason, which consisted of Riverdale's founding families. They believe there is a very strong possibility that Jason's killer will be in the room for his memorial. Sheriff Keller agrees considering that whoever broke into his house knew that he would be at the Drive-In. Cheryl interrupts after overhearing this. She now understands why her parents would invite the very same people they claim to hate; to investigate them.
As planned, Betty goes out on her "date" with Trev to pry information out of him. They were on the water polo team together, so she wonders if he and Jason were close. Trev explains that Jason had become much more secretive in the weeks before his death. Trev thought it was about Polly as Jason had been dating her a few weeks before he changed. By changed, Trev means that Jason had stopped hanging out with him, and he began selling all his belongings for money. Jason was also rumored to be selling drugs but Trev isn't sure how credible the rumors are because he and Jason were no longer friends by then.
Valerie stops by Archie's house that night to help him through the writing process. She advises him that musical notation is key. While Oscar may be obnoxious, he's right about Archie's craft. Archie's father then enters the room, causing Val hop off the bed, and introduce herself. Fred recognizes Valerie from her incredible performance with Josie and the Pussycats at the Taste of Riverdale.
After her date, Betty approaches her father, hoping to talk to him about Polly since her mother never would. According to Hal, Jason and Polly had a fight. He doesn't know what it was about, but Polly was devastated afterward. He came home from work one day to hear the water running in the bathroom upstairs. He went upstairs, knocked on the door to ask Polly if she was alright. When she didn't answer, Hal kicked the door in and there she was, trying to kill herself, and this is why she was sent away.
Betty reports back to Jughead, who expresses his deepest apology for her family's pain. Betty asked her father if she could call Polly. He said she was doing better until hearing about Jason's death, which caused a big setback. He doesn't want to risk another one. Moving on to the next topic of discussion; Jason Blossom, and why a rich kid like himself would need to sell drugs. Was it to run away from his parents or maybe even drug dealers, though Jughead admits that Betty's theory of Jason running away from his monstrous parents is far more likely. Since they couldn't ask Jason why he was running away, Jughead decides they would raid his room during his memorial, which they had earlier been invited to by Cheryl.
Archie struggles to remember the plays at practice, having to write them on his arm, which doesn't do much good considering he performs horrifically. With little to no time to prepare ahead, Archie didn't stand a chance against Reggie, who unintentionally injures Archie's hand while tackling him during one of the routes. Fortunately, Archie manages to pull off one successful play, but as Reggie helps him up, he realizes that Archie's hand is busted, and instructs him to sit out, though Archie refuses, implying that Reggie wants him to sit out because he's afraid of him. With Coach Clayton yelling from the sideline, Archie and Reggie reconvene on the field.
Veronica spots Archie in the hallway wrapping his playing hand while on her way to River Vixens practice. She joins him on the bench, telling him that his hand is his instrument and that punishing himself was no way to solve his problems. Archie insists that this was not his goal, and he injured his hand because he didn't know the play, and he didn't know the play because he was working on songs all night with Valerie. Veronica appears slightly jealous hearing that he has been spending time with Valerie, but she swears that she isn't, having already been given her Seven Minutes in Heaven with Archie. Alluding to their time spent in the closest at Cheryl's after-party. She kisses his hand after wrapping it, then telling him to take better care of it since it would be worth millions one day.
At Carson College, Oscar looks over Archie's musical notes, which were fine but sloppy and rushed as well. He believes Archie's songs to be juvenile and repetitive. They're break up songs. What Oscar said next is hard to hear and even harder to say, but Archie must have connected with Ms. Grundy in a way that he doesn't see himself doing with Archie. Despite all his efforts, Oscar doesn't believe he can help Archie.
Veronica's stay at Thornhill is, as expected, a living nightmare, with a painfully awkward dinner attended by Cheryl, Penelope and Cliff, as well as Cheryl's spooky old grandmother, Rose Blossom, who sports a glass eye. She thanks the Blossoms for having her yet she wasn't sure why she was the only girl there since it was supposed to be a sleepover. Clifford asks Veronica if she would like some more ham. While she respectfully declines, she notes that the taste of maple is very present, leading Clifford to explain that Riverdale was founded on maple syrup. It is also where Sweetwater River's named is derived from. The topic of discussion quickly switches over to Veronica's father, and what Clifford imagines was a difficult time for Veronica; having to see her father get arrested. Veronica admits that the worst part about the ordeal is how fast it took place. She never even got the chance to tell her father goodbye, which is why it's a beautiful thing that everyone is getting to say goodbye to Jason at his memorial, with the exception of Cheryl, who Penelope prohibited from speaking at the event.
Alone at the diner, Hermione, while cleaning, finds a box sitting on the ground at the front of the shoppe. She slowly approaches to find a rattlesnake inside. Meanwhile, at the Cooper house, Betty creeps down the stairs, following the sounds of a child's voice, calling out to Polly while doing so. In the basement, Betty discovers her father drinking and watching old home movies of himself and Polly. As she twirls, Hal instructs her to say hi to the camera, but she refuses due to her shyness.
Later that night, Veronica and Cheryl spend the night looking through an old photo album of Jason. Veronica describes him as "crazy handsome". Cheryl agrees, then saying that Jason would've liked Veronica. Though she appears to be enjoying herself, Veronica can't help but wonder why Cheryl invited her instead of Ginger and Tina since they were her best friends. Cheryl explains that Veronica was the only person who came to her aid during the freak out at the Pep Rally. All this talk of Jason has Veronica wondering why Cheryl is so persistent on her goodbye to him being public, to which Cheryl replies that everything about his death had been extremely public, some saying he got what he deserved, others saying he didn't. Cheryl just wants to let everyone know that she's sorry and that Jason deserved a better family than what he got. After learning at dinner that Cheryl's parents were forbidding her from speaking at Jason's memorial, Veronica urges her to do so against their wishes. She even offers to help write it.
Frightened by the snake in the middle of the shoppe, Hermione calls Fred over to dispose of it. After he dumps the snake somewhere outside, Fred questions why she didn't call the police or animal control. Hermione explains why she called him rather than the cops. It's mainly because this was a message from the Southside Serpents. She doesn't trust the police nor does she trust anyone in Riverdale with the exception of Fred. Upon learning that the Serpents were truly after Hiram and that he owes them money, Fred asks how much he actually knows, but Hermione refuses to go into detail. Their business is their business. She thanks him for coming by to help though, and apologizing for ever getting him involved.
As Betty prepares for the memorial, Jughead, in a suit that's slightly too big, asks her if she's ready to enter the belly of the beast. She smiles at first sight of Jughead, with him commenting that its the best he could do. Elsewhere, at the front door of Thornhill, Penelope welcomes all that enter, greeting Hermione at the door. While under the impression that Hermione is there to take the opportunity to gloat, Penelope informs her that she that she doesn't need her pity. Just upstairs Cheryl prepares for her eulogy, with Veronica right behind her making sure she has everything she needs.
In the main room, where Jason's memorial is being held, Archie approaches Penelope, gifting her with Jason's jersey as he believes that it would be more appropriate if she had it. She caresses Archie's face, commenting that he's so much like Jason. Penelope snaps back to her rightful mind, apologizing for touching him in such an odd manner and accepting his kind gesture. Archie returns to his seat, with Betty showing appreciation of his good deed while Kevin wonders why Penelope touched him. Veronica joins her friends at the memorial, commenting that days like this one truly put things into perspective. At least they were alive. Betty then witnesses her father getting into an argument with Clifford at the bar, though the discussion doesn't last long.
It's not long before Cheryl joins the memorial, wearing the iconic white dress that she wore at Sweetwater the same day that Jason supposedly drowned. Cheryl passes her parents, reaching the podium, and asking everyone to sit so that the eulogy may begin. Penelope is especially angry, though Veronica calms her down by explaining that going up there to confront Cheryl will only worsen the situation. With all eyes on her, Cheryl speaks; the last time she saw Jason, she was wearing that dress. When she puts it on, it feels like he's in the room with her. Even though they were twins, Cheryl uses to demand that she have her own birthday party, until one year he randomly suggested that they combine their parties into one. It wasn't until years later that Cheryl found out why; no one wanted to come to her party. Jason protected her every single day of her life. Cheryl wishes that she had protected him that day at the river. She holds onto his coffin, apologizing for failing to protect him. Veronica then comes up to the podium to console Cheryl.
With all being said and done, Penelope approaches the podium to adjourn the eulogy. While browsing throughout Thornhill, Fred runs into Hermione, who didn't think he was going to make it. Fred simply wants to pay his respects. Also, he realized that the book-keeping position at his company is still open if she is interested. No snakes either, he comments. Hermione accepts the position and, as a show of gratitude, hugs Fred.
Meanwhile, Jughead and Betty sneak into Jason's room to uncover a motive as to why he would want to run away. Jughead suggests that they check under the mattress, in the drawers, behind the headboard, and in the closet, all locations where a teenage would hide things. Unbeknownst to either of them, Rose Blossom, Jason's grandmother, is also in the room. Hello, she says, startling them both. However, she mistakenly takes Betty for Polly. Jughead remains quiet, and listens as the two of them conversed. Rose Blossom unknowingly reveals to them that Polly and Jason were engaged. The ring that Polly was supposedly in possession of was in the Blossom family for generations. Rose instructs her to keep the ring close to her heart, and not to tell Penelope, otherwise, she will take it off her finger. Such a shame. The wedding was the last thing that Rose was living for. She lost a grandson but Polly lost the love of her life. As the situation grew too real for Betty, she abruptly exits with Jughead not far behind.
Penelope drags Cheryl into her room, scolding her for her performance at Jason's eulogy, with Veronica watching from the doorway as this unfolds. She hopes that Cheryl enjoyed herself because after that blatant display of disobedience, Cheryl was being pulled off the River Vixens. And if not for the fact that no one would have her, Penelope would ship her away to a boarding school in Europe that night.
Following the memorial, Archie and Valerie head over to Pop's shoppe, where Archie wonders if Ms. Grundy had possibly lied to him about his talent. maybe she didn't want to hurt his feelings. Valerie assesses the situation, wondering why Archie is now questioning himself simply because Oscar wasn't a fan of his music. She doesn't have time to wallow, explaining that doing what they're doing is hard, almost impossible, but Valerie questions who is actually holding Archie back from his music; his coach, his father, Oscar holding him back or maybe it was himself.
After the memorial, Betty dragged her father home to inform him of Polly and Jason's engagement, which he was surprisingly already aware of. Betty wonders if that's the reason why Hal and Clifford were arguing about at the memorial. Hal explains that the Blossom clan came fairly close to destroying their family. Cheryl's great-grandfather murdered Betty's great-grandfather due to greed and hate. They were business partners in selling and trading maple syrup, but one day, Cheryl's great-grandfather decided that he no longer wanted to share the profits, so he murdered Betty's great-grandfather. The Blossoms stole their livelihood, and Hal would rather die than allow them to steal his Polly too. Jason made her sick, so she's not returning home until she's no longer sick. Finally, Hal warns Betty to stay out of it.
There was no love lost between Clifford and Hiram, Hermione tells Veronica. The same goes for Hermione and Penelope. However, despite all the bad blood, she genuinely sympathized with them after losing Jason, who was still so young. Veronica explains that she just spent 24-hours in the Gothic horror story that is Cheryl's life. It reminded her of how lucky she was to have such a loving and protective mother. Hearing this, Hermione decides to confess to Veronica about the incident at Pop's the previous, in which the Serpents sent her a message.
One week had passed, and as promised, Coach is ready to pick a new captain. He saw a lot of fire and hustle from both competitors, thus making it nearly impossible to choose. However, he decided on Archie after he took it upon himself to retire Jason's number by returning the jersey to the Blossom family which Coach believes to be the showing of a good leader. However, Archie turns down the role as team captain. While he loved playing football, starting line-up deserved a captain whose only love is football. Archie then recommends Reggie in his place because he needed to focus on pursuing his music career, but he still wishes to be on the team.
At the Thornhill cemetery, Cheryl, Penelope, and Nana Rose lay Jason to rest. It was during this time that Cheryl briefly saw Jason from the fog, smiling at him as he smiles at her, though it was merely a hallucination.
At the Blue and Gold offices, Betty and Jughead discuss Betty's parents, and their never-ending lies. If they lied about Jason and Polly, there's probably more they lived about, Jughead surmises. Betty's father said that he would do anything to protect Polly. With that, the next logical question is how far is he willing to go to protect her. Betty begins to suspect that her father is responsible for breaking into Sheriff Keller's house and stealing the evidence as whoever was responsible, wasn't at the Drive-In, which Hal wasn't. With that being said, Betty places her own family's name on the murder board's list of suspects. Meanwhile, at the Cooper house, Hal disposes of the case files, proving Jughead and Betty's suspicions correct.
- Kevin: "Going on a date with Trev? Does Mama Cooper know about that?"
- Betty: "Kev, I'm not on house arrest... Okay, she's out of town at a Women in Journalism spa retreat. Anyway, it's not a “date” date."
- Jughead: "You just called it a date. You literally said, "It's a date.""
- ―Betty, Kevin, and Jughead in The Blue and Gold offices
|“||What about you, Archie? How's life in a PG world? ...PG. Post-Grundy. What, too soon?||”|
|— Veronica to Archie|
- Betty: "Is it me or did the temperature just drop like it does in horror movies?"
- Jughead: "That's just the icy chill of the dead."
- ―Betty and Jughead investigating
- Jughead: "Betty... if your parents lied about Jason and Polly, there's probably more that they lied about."
- Betty: "What do you mean?"
- Jughead: "Your dad said he would do anything to protect Polly. So, the next logical question is... How far would he go to protect her?"
- ―Jughead suspects Hal Cooper
- Veronica: "Cheryl, wait. You're in pain. This is a horrible week for you. I'm sure it's why you're being particularly obnoxious."
- Cheryl: "Maybe. What's your point?"
- Veronica: "Look, I don't want to be locked in a catfight to the death with you. That only ends in one way, mutual annihilation."
- Cheryl: "Agreed."
- Veronica: " So, can't we just... Be friends? Or, at least, frenemies?"
- ―Veronica and Cheryl try to get along
- This episode marks the first appearance of Valerie Brown without the Pussycats.
- This episode marks the first absence of Alice Cooper.
- This episode marks the first appearance of Polly Cooper, albeit in flashbacks and home movies as a child.
- The dream sequence in which Jason Blossom comes back to life and attacks Cheryl is a subtle nod to "Afterlife with Archie". This is a comic series in the Archie franchise dealing with life in Riverdale after a zombie apocalypse.
- The title for the fifth chapter comes from the Joseph Conrad novel, "Heart of Darkness" that was adapted into the film Apocalypse Now.
- It could also come from the 1993 television film of the same name.
- Cheryl addresses Archie and the Gang as "sad Breakfast Club", referencing the 1985 film about a group of high school students. Molly Ringwald, who would later play Mary Andrews, played one of the teens in that film.