|“||What makes a place feel like home? Is it warmth and familiarity? Some idealized, make-believe TV version of the American Dream? Is it love and acceptance? Or is it simple safety?||”|
|— Jughead Jones|
THE SEARCH IS ON — When a major piece of evidence is mysteriously destroyed, new rumors begin to swirl as to who was really behind Jason’s murder. Tensions build when Jughead’s father returns to the fray and it’s revealed that he and Fred have some unresolved issues between them. Meanwhile, Veronica takes matters into her own hands after her fight with Hermione. Cheryl approaches Betty with an unexpected proposal that leaves Betty torn.
The episode unfolds with a strange 50s style dream sequence of Jughead's, which he describes as some kind of idealized, make-believe version of the American dream, where he is engaged to Betty, Jason Blossom is alive and the Coopers are loving parents who approve of both their daughters' relationships. In the dream, the Cooper family, Jason, and Jughead, as well as Veronica and Archie, were sitting down to a big turkey dinner and as Jughead started to carve the bird, the knife disappears from his hand. Archie then walked up and calmly asked, "Dude, why'd you stab me in the back?" before turning around, the carving knife embedded between his shoulder blades. Jughead is then woken by his phone alarm and is shown living out of Riverdale High School.
Ever since the closing of the Twilight Drive-In, Jughead has been living out of a forgotten closet under a staircase at the High School. It isn't long before Archie makes this discovery after bumping into him in the boys' locker room early that morning, to which Jughead explains that things aren't good at home. His dad, has fallen off the wagon since Fred Andrews fired him from Andrews Construction, and his mother left with Jellybean to live with their grandparents a while back. Archie invites him to stay at his place, but he declines, saying that his situation is only temporary. He’s more concerned that Betty might find out that he’s effectively homeless, to which Archie becomes confused as to why Jughead would care about Betty finding out.
Later on, they meet up with the rest of the group and debate whether they should tell the police about Polly’s escape from the Sisters of Quiet Mercy. Unbeknownst to them, Ginger, who's standing several feet behind them, is texting all of this information to Cheryl Blossom. Cheryl then trades her intel with her mother and Sheriff Keller in exchange for permission to reclaim her rightful place as queen of the River Vixens. She even takes the liberty of tweeting her theory of Polly being Jason's killer using numerous hashtags.
Jughead returns to the family trailer to ask if his dad would consider going back to work for Fred Andrews. However, Archie’s dad had already called, and FP turned him down out of pride. He reasons that Fred fired him, and what kind of a man would he be if he went back, "hat in hand?". Jughead insists on FP getting rehired at Andrews Construction and start rebuilding their family, to which FP reluctantly agrees to visit Fred at Andrews Construction.
Determined to get to Polly before the Blossoms can, Betty and Jughead organize a search of Eversgreen Forest and instruct a group of volunteers to scour the woods near Sisters of Quiet Mercy. Veronica splits off with Kevin, and the two of them discuss the "Cold War" between Veronica and her mother. She hates having to fight with her mother, but that's exactly what she'll do until Hermione admits that she forged Veronica's signature in order to further her relationship with Fred Andrews. It's Hermione's turn to make the next move, however, if she doesn't, Veronica will have to force her hand, which she would usually do by going out on a party bender; dancing with her favorite celebrity gal pal (Josie), her best gay friend (Kevin), and dimwitted arm candy (Reggie).
The search is interrupted by the Blossoms, as After the search, Alice decides to go all "damage control mode" and addresses the press outside a church that all the rumors about Polly are not true, she even announces one thing that she was willing to keep a secret — Polly is pregnant. If Polly is pregnant with Jason's baby, why would she try and harm the father of the child?
As Jughead walks Betty home the same night, something he says leads Betty to realize where Polly is hiding — the attic at the Cooper house. She had hidden there once before when she was little. Polly and Jason initially had a plan to move to a farm upstate and raise the baby and Polly still wishes to fulfill that wish, as their parents were pressuring her to give the baby up for adoption, but she has no resources and money. More pressingly, the Coopers are insisting that she give the baby up for adoption.
The next day, a humbled FP goes to see Fred about that job. He feels like this might be his last chance to have his son look at him like he’s something other than a “piece of garbage.” They decide to work things out. Hermione appears as Fred introduces her to FP, unbeknownst to him, FP and Hermione had some shady dealings in his capacity as a Southside Serpent. After Fred excuses himself to take a call, Hermione asks him what he's doing there, to which he replies that he's only there because Jughead asked him to step up, he also reassures her that he's good with Hiram and they won't have a problem, if there's no reason for one.
In the student lounge, Betty and Veronica talk about Polly. After the talk Betty had with her parents at the breakfast table that morning, Betty is conflicted. She doesn't want Polly to run away, but if she can't live at home, then she could possibly rent her an apartment. Veronica offers to help Betty and Polly, as the pregnant mother was hiding out in the attic of the Cooper house, with no place to stay. Betty refuses the gesture reasoning that Veronica has her own problems she's dealing with, but Veronica insists. She reasons that Polly needs doctors and important things like prenatal vitamins. Cheryl interrupts their conversation, as she says that what Polly needs is her family. Betty and Cheryl enter an empty classroom as Betty tiredly asks Cheryl what she wants, to which Cheryl says, what they both want — for the baby to be safe. It doesn't take long for Cheryl to find out that Betty knows where Polly is. She tells Betty she wants to help however she can. She even offers to ask her parents for money to find Polly a place to live and provide her with medical stuff. Betty refuses to involve them, however, Cheryl reassures her that the baby is a game changer, they're on the same team now.
To celebrate FP returning to work at the Andrews Construction, Jughead, Archie, Fred, and FP go to Pop's for dinner where the two fathers tell stories about their younger years. When it's time to pay, Fred and FP get into a dispute over the check. Later in the night, Jughead sits back and watches as FP and Archie practice music in the garage, which leads Archie to ask FP about something he mentioned earlier about Fred owing him. FP reveals the truth about why he was forced to resign from Andrews Construction, he got into trouble after working some odd jobs to support his family, Fred bailed him out, but he then wanted to part ways with FP afterward.
This leaves FP very upset and he begins drinking. Before taking his father home, Jughead hides his flask in Archie's couch. Once home, Jughead puts his father on the couch, where he mentions that he spoke with his mom over the phone, who now works at a call center and is taking online classes in the hopes of finally getting her GED, which Jellybean is helping her study for. Speaking of Jellybean, Jughead also mentions that she wanted to be addressed as 'JB' from now on because she thinks it sounds cooler. He remarks that she's a "ten-year-old who listens to Pink Floyd on vinyl, how much cooler could she get?". However, Jughead notices that his father has passed out while taking off his boots and that he hasn't heard a word he's said.
Meanwhile, Betty finally meets up with the Blossoms. Mr. and Mrs. Blossom make overtures to Betty, too. Penelope doesn’t just want to support Polly financially, but emotionally — emotional support that a young mother-to-be needs. Penelope then asks Betty where Polly is, to which Betty replies that she doesn't feel comfortable telling them. She reassures Betty that Betty and Polly are part of the Blossom family now, and that she's willing to protect them ferociously. This will only happen if Betty's willing to trust them.As planned, Veronica goes out partying that night, after a brief argument with her mother over the forging of her signature, and the fact that her father would think that she betrayed him. Veronica, Kevin, Josie, and Reggie dance the night away at a club called the Roving Eye. Afterward, they find a booth and discuss Veronica's current troubles at home. When her father was arrested, the police, lawyers, and courts took everything from them, including the clothes off their backs, but her mother set her down and told her not to cry because there as one thing that no one could ever take from her, which was her name. However, after being told that no one could ever take her name, that's exactly what Hermione did, like it meant nothing, like it was nothing, like Veronica was nothing. To no surprise, Hermione finally strikes back, she cancels Veronica's credit card and reports it stolen, which is surprisingly a good thing because it means that she is ready to negotiate. Veronica returns home to a negotiation, as expected. After Hermione lays out her terms, Veronica states hers.
Hermione explains that she has feelings for Fred Andrews, but she can't say what it means yet, as she doesn't know what this means yet herself. As for Hiram, he made his own decisions, which distanced him from Hermione and she now has to make own decisions about moving forward with her life. She asks Veronica to accept her affair until they get more information. In addition, she believes partnering with Andrews Construction is the right thing to do as Lodge Industries needs to work with legitimate business going forward. In return, Veronica demands that whatever is happening between her and Fred can't happen at The Pembrooke, and that she has to tell Hiram about forging her signature. Hermione agrees to both as long as the clubbing and online shopping comes to an end.
The next morning, Jughead is taken into custody and brought down to the Sheriff Station by Sheriff Keller, as a suspect of Jason's murder. His and Betty’s fingerprints were found on Jason’s torched car as expected, but Jughead has a surprising juvie record from six years prior when he almost burned down Riverdale Elementary School, which, according to Jughead, was an accident; he was just playing with matches. Sheriff Keller unfairly suspects him as the killer due to his background and being from the ‘wrong side of the tracks’. Betty is allowed to speak to Jughead alone after his interrogation. She holds his hand while she reassures him that she believes him, that she knows who he is. Betty promises him that she will not let anything happen to him. She also tells him that his father had been called but no one knows where he is.
Jughead is released after Fred unexpectedly comes to Jughead's aid and tells Sheriff Keller that Jughead was tearing down drywall for his construction company on July 11th, which Fred and Archie later falsified a time card to prove. Jughead’s father shows up to the station just as everyone is leaving and makes a scene in front of Fred, Archie, and Betty. FP is furious and angrily demands to see Sheriff Keller for making accusations against his son and even lashes out at Fred, who tries in vain to calm him down. Jughead convinces him to let it go. Before he leaves, FP tearfully promises he will get his act together and that they will have their family back, it will just take some time. Jughead looks angry and resigned as he tells his father he believes him. In the end, Jughead goes to live at the Andrews house, but he has yet to give up on his father.
Back at The Pembrooke, Hermione and Veronica sit at the table, as Veronica comforts her mother while they wait for Hiram's call from prison. She holds her hand as they tell Hiram over the phone that Lodge Industries is partnering with Andrews Construction.
Later on, Betty, Polly, Jughead, Veronica, and Archie wait for the Blossoms to arrive at Pop's. Polly tells Betty that she's thankful and that Betty is her guardian angel. Soon, Cheryl arrives at Pop's — alone. She looks sad as she walks up to the group. Polly walks up to Cheryl. Cheryl tries to touch her pregnant belly, but pulls her hand back, unable to. Polly tries to comfort Cheryl, reassuring her that Jason really did love her and he never failed to express his love for Cheryl. Betty, then, breaks the moment as she curiously asks where the Blossom parents are. Cheryl warns Polly of her parent's ill intentions — they don't care about Polly, they just want the baby. Polly begins panicking not knowing where to go, the attic isn't an option. Veronica offers to help, knowing her mother would want to help too. When they arrive at Veronica's place, Hermione welcomes them with open arms.
Back at Archie's place, Archie makes Jughead's bed as he apologizes for their fathers. Jughead then says that he still hasn't lost hope for his father, there's still hope left for him. When Archie then asks if he thinks his father will show up for work tomorrow, Jughead replies "You never know. I hope". They then continue on in a comfortable silence...
- Kevin: "You guys, oh my God!"
- Veronica: "What?"
- Kevin: "Cheryl just tweeted, "#PollyCooperkilledmybrother, #nowheretohide, #sharpenyourpitchforks""
- Betty: "Oh, no! We need to find Polly before the Blossoms do."
- ―Cheryl starts the hunt for Polly
- Veronica: "When my dad got arrested, the police...the lawyers...the judge...the courts... They took everything from us. Our houses, our cars, our club memberships, our yacht. Even, I'm not kidding, the clothes off our backs. Anyway, my mom sat me down at the edge of my canopy bed and she told me not to cry, because there was one thing in this world that nobody could take away from me. Not ever."
- Reggie: "Your trust fund?"
- Veronica: "My name, Reggie. Which, after telling me nobody would ever take it, that is exactly what she did! Like it meant nothing. Like it was nothing... Like I was nothing."
- ―Veronica opens up to Josie, Kevin, and Reggie at the club
- Hermione: "Why are you even here?"
- FP Jones: "My son asked me to try and go straight, okay. Now you gonna make that hard on me? Dudley Do-Right doesn't know I'm a Serpent, so I'd appreciate it if you'd keep that to yourself... Because here's the thing about snakes, you don't step on'em, they got no reason to bite."
- ―Hermione encounters FP after he's rehired at Andrews Construction
- Sheriff Keller: "You have a long and rough history, Mr. Jones. Bullied a lot."
- Jughead: "Yeah. My name is 'Jughead'."
- ―Sheriff Keller interrogating Jughead
|“||Hope. A word so close to home, and as tricky. As much as we wanted Jason’s killer caught, and the town, our home, to feel safe again, every day that passed, our hopes dimmed more and more. There’s that old, cliched saying, “It’s darkest before the dawn.” But sometimes… There’s just darkness.||”|
|— Jughead in narration|
- The episode title comes from Edmund H. North and Andrew Solt's 1950 noir film of the same name, which is an adaptation of Dorothy B. Hughes' mystery novel.
- The style of Jughead's dream is a throwback to the classic Archie comics. Particularly his crown, the style of clothing, and Veronica's bangs.
- This episode marks the last official appearance of Ross Butler as Reggie Mantle.