|“||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. Mrs. Blossom 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 Mrs. Blossom 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. At football practice, Coach Clayton pits Archie and Reggie against each other for the coveted spot of team captain.
Betty is still on the Jason Blossom case. When the Kellers’ house was trashed in last week’s episode, the culprit lifted all the police files and interview recordings related to Jason’s death, so Kevin, Jughead, and Betty are now doing their best to re-create the sheriff’s “Jason Blossom murder board". She goes out on a date with his teammate Trev Brown to pry information out of him. Trev informs Betty that Jason had become much more secretive in the weeks before his death, and was rumoured to be selling drugs. Betty reports back to Jughead, who wondered, “Why does a rich kid sell drugs?” So they decide to use the memorial as an excuse to dig around Thornhill for clues.
Pussycat Valerie Brown wants to help Archie in pursuing his music career and informs him of an "amazing songwriter from New York" called Oscar Castillo. She insists that Oscar could be a great mentor for his music, and in fact, takes the liberty of passing his name along. However, Castillo, after interviewing him about his interest in music, demands Archie bring in sheet music. Valerie helps Archie compose sheet music in his house. The next day, Archie hands in the piece of work, but Castillo was not pleased, he dismisses it as "sloppy" and after listening to his music, deems his songs "repetitive". Unfortunately for Archie, Oscar feels he can't help Archie like Miss Grundy.
Cheryl unexpectedly invites Veronica to sleepover the night before Jason's memorial. Veronica's visit to Thorn Hill is, as expected, a living nightmare, with a painfully awkward dinner attended by Cheryl’s parents and her spooky old grandmother, Rose Blossom, who sports a glass eye. Cheryl retreats to her bedroom with Veronica after the awkward dinner. Cheryl just wants to tell the truth about what happened to her brother at the memorial, and Veronica encourages her to. But Cheryl is afraid of how her parents will react.
Alone at the diner, Hermione, while cleaning, finds a box with a snake inside. Frightened, she calls Fred Andrews. After he dumps the snake somewhere outside, Hermione explains why she called him rather than the cops. It's namely because this was a message from the Southside Serpents. Although this should only leave Archie’s father more convinced that Hermione is not an ideal employee, Fred tells Hermione that the bookkeeping job at his company that she’d asked about is hers. She embraces him in a hug.
At the memorial, Cheryl stuns everyone, especially her parents, by coming out dressed in all-white, the same attire she wore on the Fourth of July with Jason, and taking the podium. She breaks down during her speech and bursts into tears and apologizes to him, and Veronica hugs her, before Cheryl’s mom steps in to abruptly end the service. Meanwhile, Betty and Jughead sneak out to search the Blossom family mansion for clues when they encounter Jason's grandmother, who mistakes Betty for her sister Polly and tells her not to let Penelope know that she and Jason were engaged.
After a pep talk from Valerie, Archie is feeling newly motivated in spite of Castillo, so at the memorial, Archie presents his folded football uniform to Mrs. Blossom, effectively retiring Jason’s number. This gesture inspires Coach Clayton to name him the new team captain, but Archie declines. He loves football, but Reggie will be able to give the team his everything. Archie can’t, because of his pursuit of music.
Betty tells her father of what she'd learned of Polly's engagement, but he already knew of this. She also learns that her family has hated the Blossoms ever since their ancestor cheated the Coopers out of a fortune decades before. Jughead and Betty deduce that her father is responsible for stealing the murder evidence.
- 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.
- 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.