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A dead mutating virus had been introduced to the ecosystem of Riverdale and it was spreading like an epidemic. For every manual confiscated, two popped up in its place. And the ever-resourceful students of Riverdale High were playing it everywhere. Why? Because for us, the game is an escape from our nightmarish reality. A fantasy land at our fingertips. But for our parents, it was a death-dealing nightmare.
Jughead

"Chapter Thirty-Nine: The Midnight Club" is the fourth episode of the third season of Riverdale, and the thirty-ninth episode of the series overall.[2] It premiered on November 7, 2018.

Synopsis

ANTHONY MICHAEL HALL AND MICHAEL CONSUELOS GUEST STAR IN A FLASHBACK TO RIVERDALE HIGH CIRCA 1992 —  When Betty confronts Alice about Gryphons and Gargoyles, Alice has no choice but to come clean about how she, along with a young Fred, FP, Hermoine, Hiram, Sierra, Penelope and Tom, played the game in the early 90’s – and how a shocking mystery has been plaguing them all ever since.[3]

Plot

SPOILERS AHEAD


RD-Caps-3x04-The-Midnight-Club-02-Mr.-Weatherbee

Mr. Weatherbee confiscates G&G manual

With the Gryphons and Gargoyles epidemic spreading throughout Riverdale like a deadly virus, the town was forced to take action, starting at Riverdale High, where Principal Weatherbee has initiated a series of locker searches, confiscating Gryphons and Gargoyles player manuals were found. Pop Tate, also concerned for the town’s youth, confiscates player manuals from customers that enter the diner. Nevertheless, the ever-resourceful students of Riverdale High continue to play at their own risk because for them, the game is an escape from reality.

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Hermione bans Gryphons and Gargoyles

Given the growing dangers that the teens of Riverdale are facing, the town Mayor, Hermione Lodge, decides to personally visit Riverdale High to provide clarity on the dangers they face. Jughead, Betty, Veronica, Cheryl, Reggie, Josie and Kevin are all in attendance. Hermione explains that two students, Dilton Doiley and Ben Button, have already taken their lives, and one other, Ethel Muggs, attempted to. All three victims are linked through playing Gryphons and Gargoyles. Jughead questions if Hermione is admitting that Ben and Dilton were killed by the game, which she is. Betty then asks where the game came from and where Ben and Dilton first gained access to it, but Hermione doesn’t know. From what little they do know about it, the game seems to be targeted at impressionable developing minds, to which Reggie replies "challenge accepted". Cheryl informs Hermione that some of them, such as herself, aren’t as impressionable as others. Hermione elaborates that the game’s quests and role-playing scenarios are specifically designed to foster delusions, paranoia, and violence. As mayor, Hermione officially bans Gryphons and Gargoyles. On top of that, Mrs. Burble is going to be holding extended office hours and Hermione has set up a 24-hour crisis hotline overseen by Kevin.

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Betty isn't playing G&G

In the Blue and Gold offices, Betty and Veronica discuss Gryphons and Gargoyles and just how dangerous it’s becoming. Veronica isn’t playing and neither is Betty and Jughead. However, they’re still trying to figure out why their parents were so triggered by them having the manual. Betty then gets a call from Dr. Curdle Jr, informing her of a discovery he made in the morgue archives.

After meeting with Dr. Curdle Jr., Betty confronts her mother once she returns home with a case file from many years ago. Per Alice’s Farm testimony, she’s undoubtedly played G & G before. And now, Betty has concrete evidence that when her mother was her age, there was another suspicious death that took place at Riverdale High where the corpse had blue lips. With that, Alice decides to tell Betty everything she knows about the game for her own protection.

*FLASHBACK*
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Alice is pregnant

It was their junior year. Back then, before marrying Hal, she was Alice Smith. A teenage bad girl from the wrong side of the tracks with enviable hair, no friends and one huge problem, that she was pregnant. A discovery made while in the ladies restroom at school. Alice bangs on the restroom door in frustration. Hermione Lodge overhears her frustration and opens the stall door to check on Alice, however, she is in no need of assistance, telling Hermione to mind her business. Alice hopes the pregnancy test is merely a false positive but as Sierra explains, false positives only happen approximately 3% of the time. Alice is panicking. She tried to talk to FP, the child’s father, but he blew her off for a River Vixens that he’s hooking up with. Hall monitor Penelope Blossom enters the restroom to ask for their hall passes, but only Hermione has hers. When Penelope looks to Alice for her pass, Alice replies that it’s "up her ass". Penelope retorts by asking if Alice was born with that mouth or if it’s something that southside mothers taught their bastard babies. This leads to a brawl between Alice and Penelope.

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FP and Fred go streaking

Elsewhere, Marty Mantle and the Riverdale Bulldogs pressure FP into following through with the Bulldog tradition of streaking. FP is initially resistant, but agrees to do so when Fred offers to streak alongside him. While Fred is not a Bulldog himself, last year, the baseball team made him streak and it gained him credibility with the female students. He advises FP to run fast enough to the point where all they’ll see is a blur. With that in mind, FP and Fred take off their clothes and run throughout the halls of the school, which lands them both in detention.

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First Saturday detention

Along with FP and Fred, who are given Saturday detention for their streaking, Alice, Penelope, Sierra, and Hermione are also given detention for their scuffle in the restroom. Gathered in that classroom, they were strangers more than friends. Eight hours. Six people with seemingly nothing in common. Alice Smith — The Bad Girl. Hermione Lodge — The Rebelling Catholic. Penelope Blossom — The Teacher's Pet. Fred Andrews — The Artist/Athlete. Sierra McCoy — The Political Animal. And FP Jones — The Lady’s Man. He was different back then. Trying to be something other than what he was. But he was still trouble. As detention commences, Principal Featherhead lays down the rules and tells them that at the end of the day, they will all turn in a one thousand word essay as to why they’re in detention. He then leaves the class.

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Alice carves her name into the window seal

Two hours have passed and not much is said. Alice sits near the window, carving her initials into the window seal with her knife. Fred asks her to stop, but this doesn’t go over well. And the bickering seems to bother Penelope the most. Tom Keller then sneaks into the detention room. He greets Sierra with food and a kiss. He then tells her that he loves her before leaving. Fred questions just how long this relationship has been going on given that he had no idea of it. He notes that they’ve all been going to the same school since kindergarten and still know nothing about each other. Penelope answers that the reason for this is that none of them are friends. Sierra mentions that they have six more hours to kill and no one to impress so she suggests a round of Secret and Sins.

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Secrets and Sins

During a game of Secret and Sins, Sierra reveals that she and Tommy have been secretly dating for a few months. When Hermione asks why secretly, Sierra explains that their parents don’t want them dating someone so different. Hermione can relate as her mother is very involved in her dating life as well. Hermione's been seeing Hiram Lodge, who Penelope accuses of being a petty criminal. However, to Hermione, he’s a self-starter, providing for his family. But to her mother, Hiram is nothing more than a scrub and not the way to the American dream. Hermione questions what dream her mother is referring to given that she works as a maid at the Five Seasons for sixteen hours a day. A life that Hermione doesn’t want for herself. She believes that Hiram has the right idea of getting out of Riverdale at all costs. Fred counters that Riverdale isn’t the problem. He wants to stay there his entire life. Alice asks if that’s how long it’s going to take him to decide between music and baseball. Fred explains that their minor league is solid and they’re close enough to the city to play music gigs. He can even see himself running for mayor one day, which Sierra scoffs at the notion of. She calls it a nightmare job and questions why Fred doesn’t aim higher as he can do all the same things in a real metropolis. Fred can do all those things except look after his father, who’s very ill. Hermione places her hand on Fred’s knee for comfort.

RD-Caps-3x04-The-Midnight-Club-47-FP-Southside-Serpents

FP is abused by his father

It is now Alice’s turn to reveal her deepest secret. FP tells her to share the story of how she lit a dumpster on fire on the south side. Alice counters by telling FP to share with everyone how he actually lives at Sunnyside Trailer Park. He parades around the school in his varsity jacket, pretending to be a Northsider, but Alice knows the truth, that he’s a Southsider who will end up like his father, a raging alcoholic. This may be true, but one thing FP won’t do is hit his kid as his father hits him. FP told his father that he didn’t want to join the Southside Serpents and that he wanted to be the first Jones to go to college, which resulted in FP’s injured arm and the cast he must now wear. Penelope then proceeds to reveal a secret of her own. The Blossoms are terrible people, she says. And, she’s not an actual Blossom. Penelope grew up at the Sisters of Quiet Mercy orphanage. When she has eight, the Blossoms came and asked to see all the red-headed children. After leaving with them, the next thing Penelope knows, she is being groomed to first be Clifford’s sister and then later his life companion. Every second away from them is a relief. Hermione questions why Penelope is still living there, to which she replies the Blossoms are her family. Hermione explains that that’s not the meaning of family and it’s basically incest. This angers Penelope, who insults Hermione’s mother, which leads to a physical altercation between the girls.

RD-Caps-3x04-The-Midnight-Club-60-Teen-Alice-Teen-Fred-Teen-FP-Teen-Sierra-Teen-Penelope-Teen-Hermione

The detentionees find Gryphons and Gargoyles

Once the girls have been separated, Principal Featherhead reprimands everyone. Their sentence has been upped from one Saturday detention to four. However, little by little, the six of them grow to become unlikely friends. Then comes the first cold rain of the season, when Alice gets it into her head to add the rest of the group’s initials to the window seal, carved next to hers. As she does that, Hermione decides to break into the teacher’s desk to recover her belongings that were taken by the teacher. Inside the desk, they find everything Mrs. Krabappel has confiscated over the years, including Gryphons and Gargoyles.

RD-Caps-3x04-The-Midnight-Club-66-Teen-Sierra-Teen-Alice-Teen-Hermione-Teen-FP-Teen-Penelope-Teen-Fred

The detentionees playing G&G

The six of them decide to play together. The person with the manual, in this case, Penelope, is the game master and is therefore responsible for guiding them through quests until they ascend to the next level. But first, they pick their characters. Alice — The Sorceress. Hermione — The Thief. Sierra — The Siren. FP — Deadeye. And lastly, Fred — The Radiant Knight. Alice is first to pick a quest card and roll the dice, which is how it all begins.

RD-Caps-3x04-The-Midnight-Club-69-Teen-Alice-Teen-Penelope-Teen-Hermione

Penelope sends everyone out on a quest

Long after that Saturday detention, the six of them continue to play the game, in what seems to be a maddening obsession. Penelope suggests taking the game off the board and into the real world. She reveals a quest known as "The Wedding Stone", that requires pairs. Penelope pairs FP with Hermione and Alice with Fred. She hid a gemstone from Thornhill in the school. The first pair to find it and show it to Sierra get to keep it. Once the others are gone, Sierra wonders why Penelope chose those specific pairings. Penelope reasons that she’s in the mood for chaos.

RD-Caps-3x04-The-Midnight-Club-75-Teen-FP

FP tries to kiss Hermione

FP and Hermione search the student lounge for the gemstone. After spotting a miniature gargoyle statue, they find the gemstone inside a vending machine. After shaking it loose and retrieving it, FP tries to kiss Hermione, but she pushes him away. She explains that it’s just role-playing and that she doesn’t actually like him.

Elsewhere, Alice and Fred search the Blue and Gold for the gemstone, unaware that FP and Hermione have already retrieved it. Fred notices that Alice isn’t feeling well and offers her a seat. He asks what’s wrong as Alice begins to cry. Just as it seems that she’s about to open up to Fred and reveal that she’s pregnant, she decides to keep it to herself, stating that she’s simply lost. She wakes up every morning wanting to escape her life and mistakes, and when she’s with them, she does and she’s happy. But when the game’s over, she’s her again.

RD-Caps-3x04-The-Midnight-Club-79-Teen-Hermione

Hermione advises Jughead to ask out Alice

Back in the student lounge, Hermione inquires about FP and Alice’s relationship. He tells her that he and Alice weren’t serious and they were only messing around. However, the more they play G&G, the more he thinks there could be more between him and Alice. Hermione advises him to take a shot with her then.

Back in the Blue and Gold offices, Fred expresses just how much he relates to Alice. Fred hates to see his dad in pain and sometimes he can’t handle it, but Sir Fredrick doesn’t have a sick father, so Fred often pretends he’s with them, playing G&G, and he’s free. Alice and Fred then share a kiss.

*FLASHBACK ENDS*

Betty is shocked by the revelation that her mother and Fred Andrews kissed. Alice explains they were lonely, young and attractive. It was just a brief fling, however.

*FLASHBACK RESUMES*
RD-Caps-3x04-The-Midnight-Club-90-Teen-Marty-Teen-Tom-Teen-Daryl-Teen-Hiram-Teen-Sierra-Teen-Alice-Teen-Penelope-Teen-Hermione-Teen-FP-Teen-Fred

The Midnight Club gains more members

Alice, FP, Fred, Sierra, Hermione, and Penelope play for weeks, sneaking into school, late at night. After class, Sierra leaves the classroom window cracked so that she and the others can sneak back in after hours. They dub themselves "The Midnight Club". Eventually, they abandon the board, acting out their quests and adventures in the real world. The six of them dress up in medieval costumes they found in the theater department. It is during this time that FP and Alice begin a relationship, as does Fred and Hermione. As Alice, FP, Fred, Sierra, Hermione, and Penelope proceed throughout the halls of Riverdale High on their latest quest, they run into Hiram Lodge, Tom Keller, Marty Mantle, and Daryl Doiley, also playing Gryphons and Gargoyles. They have been for about a week. Daryl found it in the restricted section of the library. They decide to join forces and play a bigger game.

RD-Caps-3x04-The-Midnight-Club-97-Teen-Fred-Teen-Daryl-Teen-Hermione-Teen-FP-Teen-Marty-Teen-Hiram-Teen-Sierra-Teen-Alice-Teen-Tom

Ascension party

One day, all ten of them, Alice, FP, Fred, Sierra, Hermione, Penelope, Marty, Daryl, Hiram, and Tom find strange invitations in their lockers to the detention room that night to rise to the challenge and ascend to the next level. That night, the Midnight Club attends the ascension party. They must find the chalices, flip the gryphon coin for their fate and drink from the chalice to meet their destiny. Before starting, to make things more enjoyable, Hiram takes a new drug known as fizzle rocks. He shares them with everyone though Alice does not take any as she is pregnant. As the game begins, Daryl commends Penelope for coming up with the ascension party, but Penelope claims that it was not her doing.

RD-Caps-3x04-The-Midnight-Club-125-Gargoyle-King

The Gargoyle King in the halls of Riverdale High

The festivities begin with an impromptu performance by the Fred Heads, normally just Fred and FP, but Alice, Sierra, and Hermione perform with them as Penelope, Marty, Daryl, Hiram and Tom watch. Eventually, Alice begins to feel out of place as she’s the only one not high off fizzle rocks. While the others are partying non-stop, she finds herself taken back. To make matters worse, she falls ill. Alice rushes to the restroom and throws up in the toilet. She exits the stall to find the chalices and the gryphon coin sitting on the restroom sink, and "flip for your fate" scribbled all along the walls. Alice exits the restroom, bypassing her friends only to be met by the Gargoyle King as she turns the corner. Struck with fear, Alice runs away, or so she tries. She doesn’t get far as Principal Featherhead enters the school, forcing her to hide. As he heads further down the hall, Alice takes the opportunity to make her escape. She spends the night calling the Midnight Club but no one picks up.

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The Midnight Club at Pop's

The next day at school, Alice goes searching for her friends, but the student lounge is empty. She heads to the front office, and as it turns out, Principal Featherhead is missing as well. Alice bumps into Hermione as she exits the office. Unfortunately, Hermione has some bad news. Fred’s dad died while they were at the ascension party. Fred found him when he got home. By the time Mr. Andrews’ funeral came around a few days later, Principal Featherhead had been declared officially missing. Alice, Fred, Hermione, Penelope, FP, and Sierra sit in a booth at Pop’s following the service. Fred blames himself for not being there but as FP and Hermione explain, there’s nothing he could’ve done and beating himself up will change nothing. Penelope states that between this and Featherhead going missing, they’re all on edge. It’s that statement that leads Alice to reveals that she saw Featherhead the night of the ascension party. No one else saw him, however. Penelope grabs Alice’s hand aggressively and tells her that she didn’t see anything. She doesn’t want to be blamed considering they were doped up and trespassing the same night Featherhead disappeared. So, they are all to keep this a secret.

The rumors regarding principal Featherhead’s disappearance spread like wildfire. A week has passed since Featherhead went missing. As it turns out, he was in the school the entire time. Dead and locked in a supply closet. His lips blue.

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The Midnight Club make a pact

The Midnight Club gather to discuss Featherhead’s death. Alice informs them that there was blue liquid in the chalices when she found them. Featherhead has blue lips and the police said he had poison in his system. Alice questions what they did to him though they deny any wrongdoing. In fact, as Penelope and Hiram point out, Alice was there too and she’s the only one who saw Featherhead. Alice then asks who was wearing the Gargoyle King costume, but none of them have the slightest clue as to what she’s referring to, and the chalices were empty, Marty claims. Hermione accuses Alice of having killed Featherhead given that she left early. Alice dismisses any notions of wrongdoing and then looks to Fred to join her in going to the cops though he still seems distracted by his father’s death. When Penelope exclaims that they’re not going to the cops, Alice questions why she suddenly wants to break the rules, perhaps because she’s the killer. She accuses Penelope of poisoning the chalices when she set up the game, however, it wasn’t Penelope or Daryl. Alice recalls the chalices just sitting there, meaning whoever invited them to the party was trying to kill one or more of them. Sierra wants to destroy the game so that it can’t be traced back to them. FP suggests destroying the manuals and scattering everything else. Sierra agrees to dispose of the dice, she does so in a monopoly box. Hermione, the chalices, which are stored among other cups in the trophy case. Penelope will take care of the library manual, which she throws in Sweetwater River. And Alice will burn their copy. The Midnight Club spits on their hands and make a pact to never speak of Gryphons and Gargoyles ever again.

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Alice changes her lifestyle, transitioning to the Northside and asks out Hal Cooper

After playing G&G, they returned to their normal lives and go their separate ways. Burdened by their guilt, they all become different people. Fred sells his guitar and begins breaking rocks at his family business. Hermione goes against her mother’s wishes and begins seeing Hiram, who gifts her with a pearl necklace. Sierra and Tom are forced to break up. She hopes that things will be different for them once they’re older. Tom agrees to wait for Sierra and he hopes she’ll do the same. Penelope relinquishes any reluctance she may have had and agrees to be Clifford’s life partner, telling him that she wants to live in Thornhill forever because the world outside is too dangerous. FP, follows in his father’s footsteps, becoming a greaser gang member, a Southside Serpent. Alice, on the other hand, forsakes her Serpent ways and begins dating Hal Cooper. From that point on, when the Midnight Club passed each other in the halls, they didn’t so much as smile. Once again becoming strangers.

*FLASHBACK ENDS*
RD-Caps-3x04-The-Midnight-Club-150-Alice-Betty

Alice begs Betty not to play G&G

If principal Featherhead died from drinking from a poison chalice, Betty questions who poisoned the cups, but not even Alice has the answer to that. Featherhead’s death was ruled a suicide under suspicious circumstances and they never spoke about it because they knew it must’ve been a member of the Midnight Club. One of them was a killer and Featherhead was an unintentional casualty as a member of the Midnight Club was meant to drink from the poison chalice. Betty has a lot more questions to ask, which concerns Alice because the more you talk about the game, the more you think of it and the more at risk you are. The game gives you permission to hurt or kill. Ben, Dilton and Ethel all willingly drank the fresh-aid during their quest, but Betty can’t figure out if it is murder or suicide. In the end, it’s just death, Alice explains. She wants Betty to promise her that she won’t investigate any further but that’s a promise Betty can’t make. Someone from the Midnight Club used the game to murder Featherhead and now Betty’s classmates are dying. The entire school is playing. Betty recalls seeing the Gargoyle King in the woods. She suspects that it may be the same person from the Midnight Club way back when. Knowing that Betty has no intentions on stopping her investigation, Alice at least asks her to swear that she won’t play the game, which Betty agrees to.

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Betty finds chalices

The next day at school, Betty goes looking for verification of her mother’s story. She starts in the classroom, where she finds the Midnight Club’s initials in the window seal, just as her mother said. Betty also finds the chalices hidden in plain sight, in the trophy case.

With this, she goes looking for Jughead. She finds him in Dilton's bunker, playing Gryphons and Gargoyles along with Toni, Cheryl, Sweet Pea and Fangs. Betty questions what Jughead is doing but he is clearly too far gone, rambling on about having it all figured out and beating the Gargoyle King.

Cast

Starring

Guest Starring

Co-Starring

Soundtrack

Trivia

Gallery

Promotional Images

Screencaps

Videos

References

  1. Final Adjusted TV Ratings for Wednesday 7th November 2018 - SpoilerTV
  2. Season 3 Episode Title - Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa‏ (@WriterRAS) - Twitter
  3. Riverdale - Episode 3.04 - The Midnight Club - Promotional Photos + Press Release - SpoilerTV
  4. 4.0 4.1 - ‘Riverdale’ EP On Season 3 Reveals, “A Very Different” Spinoff In The Works & ‘Sabrina’ – TCA - Deadine
  5. TCA Confirmation Tweet - Chris E. Hayner (@ChrisHayner) - Twitter

Episode Guide