|“||Guilt. Innocence. Good. Evil. Life. Death. As the shadows around Riverdale deepened, the lines that separated these polar opposites blurred and distorted. "I'm guilty," Cheryl said in biology class, but of what?||”|
|— Jughead Jones|
THE GIRL WHO CRIED SHOTGUN — After new information surrounding Jason's death comes to light, Cheryl finds herself under a cloud of suspicion and forced to come clean about the last time she saw her brother. Meanwhile, Archie makes a tough decision that puts a major strain on his relationship with Miss Grundy. Elsewhere, Betty decides to revive the school newspaper and asks for Jughead's help in investigating Jason’s death. Veronica and Ethel work on exposing some of Riverdale High School's football players after rumors of a “shame book” begin to circulate. Finally, after getting grounded by his dad Fred, Archie must figure out a way to make it to the Taste of Riverdale event where Josie and the Pussycats will be performing a song he helped write.
The episode unfolds with the aftermath of last episode's events. The "guilty" Cheryl Blossom is questioned about her part in Jason's death. With the autopsy placing Jason's death around July 11th, Cheryl says that she did not kill Jason and then clarifies what she meant about her being "guilty"; she lied to the authorities about the details of the events of July 4th. Despite the initial story, she told about going out for an early morning boat ride with Jason, the actual story is that Cheryl had ridden out to the Sweetwater River with him because they were planning his escape. Cheryl agreed to help him stage a tragic accident to cover up his disappearance. They successfully made it to the other side of Sweetwater River (Greendale), where they said farewell. He was supposed to contact her after he had gotten somewhere safe, one month at the most, but time had passed, and she still hadn't heard from him. Sheriff Keller questions why he would want to fake his own death when it seemed like such a cruel act to commit. She also heard a mysterious gunshot on the morning of his disappearance. Before Sheriff Keller could gather any further details of the event, Cheryl's parents interrupt the interrogation, angrily asking Cheryl why she didn't call them and telling her not to say anything else.
Hot off the presses. Alice hands Betty the latest article from the Register, entitled "CHERYL BLOSSOM GUILTY AS SIN!". Betty suggests that her mother stop sensationalizing Jason's murder despite the positive feedback they were receiving for their in-depth coverage. However, as the owner of the Register, it was her obligation to keep the residents of Riverdale informed by going to great lengths and beyond to uncover the truth, such as leaking Jason's autopsy report. Jason deserved better than the treatment he is receiving, regardless of what may have taken place between him and Polly. Instead of targeting Jason and sensationalizing his death, they should be writing about the real story, like who was holding him captive? Why was he frozen? And who shot that gun on July 4th? With Betty so keen on reporting the truth, Alice suggests that she join her and Hal at the Register. They were in need of a Lois Lane type reporter.
Archie's guilty conscience leads him to confess his presence on July 4th to the sheriff and Mr. Weatherbee. He tells them that like Cheryl, he too had heard the gunshot. He initially kept quiet because like everyone else, he thought Jason drowned. Sheriff Keller asks what he was doing down at the river so early on July 4th. Archie covers up for Ms Grundy, telling them that he was there with his dog, working on his music.
In the student lounge, Veronica asks Archie if his recent confession to being at Sweetwater makes him a suspect. According to Kevin, they all were, with the exception of Veronica, who was in New York at the time and didn't know Jason. All this talk about death and Jason's killer has Kevin wondering if anyone wanted to re-binge "Making a Murderer" on "Netflix". Unfortunately, Betty has to work on the paper, and Veronica has a date with Chuck Clayton. While Kevin displays a great fascination with Veronica's latest interest, Betty shows concern due to Chuck's reputation of being a player. Regardless, he's one of the hottest students in school, and the varsity football coach's son. In Riverdale, that's the equivalent of dating a Kennedy.
If print journalism is dead, Jughead wonders why Betty requested his presence at the old offices of the Blue and Gold. Betty wants to revive the Riverdale high school newspaper. She's aware of Jughead's novel, and is hopeful that he'll come to write for the Blue and Gold. Unfortunately, the school paper isn't quite the right fit for his voice. Betty explains that Jason's death changed Riverdale. People don't want to admit that, but it's true. They all feel it. Nothing this bad was ever supposed to happen in their quaint little town, but it did, and Betty wants to know why, as did Jughead, who only agrees to write for the school paper if he gets complete freedom. Betty gives him his first assignment as the newest member of the Blue and Gold; to use his journalism skills to investigate the one person who hasn’t been noticed in the investigation: Dilton Doiley and his scout troops, who discovered Cheryl on July 4th by the river's edge.
Fred confronts Archie as he returns home that night after learning from Sheriff Keller that he was at Sweetwater River on July 4th despite Archie previously telling his father that he would be on a road trip with Jughead. Fred is disappointed that Archie didn't come to him. They could've gone to the sheriff together, but Archie claims that he didn't want to drag his father into it, which was an error in judgment, thus the reason to as to why he's being grounded for two weeks. He has to be in the house, every night, by 7:00 PM.
Parked outside Pop's Chock'lit Shoppe, Veronica and Chuck are in the car taking selfies and getting to know each other. Veronica opens up to Chuck, and Chuck admits that Veronica is different than he thought she'd be, he assumed she'd be high-maintenance since she lived a pretty luxurious life in New York. She tells Chuck that she misses everything about her home. She forgot how exhausting it is to be the new kid. Try being the new kid, whose father is also the new teacher and coach, Chuck says. Veronica compliments him, saying that from an outsider's point of view, he's raised the bar for everyone around him. Veronica had done her research, and addressing the fact that Chuck aspires to join an Ivy league school. After realizing that he's going to have his hands full with her, they begin to kiss.
Archie and Ms. Grundy arrange another one of their meetings the next day at school, where they discuss why he would tell the authorities about the gunshot. They were going to crucify Cheryl if Archie didn't step in, and corroborate her story the single shot fired that day. However, by helping Cheryl, he put himself and Geraldine at risk. The situation is far more serious than he's able to comprehend. Geraldine explained that Sheriff Keller could go digging even further, which would lead to the exposure of their relationship. Hoping to avoid this at all cost, Geraldine decides it best to suspend their lessons for the time being.
Kevin and Betty join Veronica by her locker, eager to hear the details of her date. While Chuck is physically attractive, he is not the best conversationalist. In passing, Ginger Lopez and Tina Patel ask Veronica about the "Sticky Maple" she received from Chuck on their date, but Veronica is clueless as to what they mean by this. It seems that a very different account of Veronica and Chuck's evening is spreading around the school, an account that involved an explicit sexual act. Kevin then receives a notification on his phone. Chuck has posted all over social media the selfie that he and Veronica took, and edited with maple syrup covering her face. Kevin informs her that it was an act of slut-shaming in Riverdale. Veronica is neither a slut nor is she going to be shamed by Chuck. Betty suggests that they go to Weatherbee or write an article about him in the Blue and Gold, though with Chuck being Riverdale High's very own golden boy, that was unlikely to accomplish much, meaning that with Betty's assistance, she must take matters into her own hands.
Veronica storms into the boy’s locker room, Betty trailing at her side. They accidentally bump into Archie, who nearly loses his towel. She shoves him to the side, telling him to stay out of her way. Veronica approaches Chuck, demanding that he take down the picture, but he refuses. Instead, he tells them that it's a "badge of honor" and that she isn't virgin territory after her closet date at Cheryl's after-party with Archie, which is beside the point, Betty explains as she jumps to Veronica's defense. Humiliating girls under any and all circumstances is wrong. Chuck seems rather amused by the entire situation, commenting that if Betty if Betty wanted a turn, all she had to do was asked. Veronica grows increasingly angry, demanding once again that he remove the post, but he fails to comply. Chuck tells Veronica that her high-toned, bitchy attitude may have worked on the betas she dated in New York, but she is now in "Bulldog territory", though he does encourage her to fight back, which will only make it harder for her.
Jughead visits Dilton during scouts training to asks him if he heard the gunshot the morning of July 4th. Dilton insists that neither he nor his boy scouts heard anything unusual on that day. Jughead goes on to ask if he saw anything unusual. Dilton denies seeing anything other than a couple species of birds, and Cheryl, sitting by the river's edge, soaking wet. However, Jughead notices one of the scouts eyeing him from afar, though says nothing of it at the time.
Cheryl wishes to repay Archie for corroborating her gunshot story. He believed her when not even her parents did, which is why she is granting him one wish. Nothing is off the table, except her body, she remarks. Archie didn't come forward to be rewarded, but he accepts Cheryl's offer as he needed help with his music. As a favor to Archie, Cheryl asks Josie to allow him to observe the Pussycats’ rehearsal for the upcoming Taste of Riverdale event at which they're going to perform. They will be rehearsing every night that week in preparation, so Josie tells Archie to quietly observe and learn from them. However, with Archie still grounded for two weeks, Josie's scheduling of rehearsal presented a problem that he will have to solve on his own.
At the Pembrooke, Veronica is brought to tears by the mean-spirited comments left from several students on Chuck's post. Hermione enters the room to ask about her date with Chuck. She liked the looks of him. However, Veronica was less than forthcoming about Chuck and the aftermath of their date, simply stating that Chuck was rotten and not her type. Just then, she received a call from Betty, telling her to come back to the school.
Upon her arrival at the Blue and Gold offices, Veronica discovers that she isn't Chuck's only victim, and that there were four other guys on the team who engaged in the same activity. Betty asked around the school to see if what happened to Veronica, happened to anyone else, and it had. Ethel Muggs is one of Chuck's victims, and she's willing to go on record for the Blue and Gold to expose him. One day last year, he and Ethel talked for about ten minutes, during which time she helped him with a Pre-Calc problem. Nothing happened. But the next day, he started telling people that they engaged in sexual acts. Then he or one of his goons, wrote, "Sloppy seconds" on Ethel's locker. Cheryl interrupts Ethel's story to inform Veronica, Betty, Tina, and Ginger that it's almost time for River Vixens practice. Ethel then mentions the playbook, and how each conquest earns them points, which they then tally up in the playbook. Cheryl is not convinced that there is a playbook, reasoning that Jason was the co-captain of the Bulldogs, alongside Chuck, and he never mentioned it. As his sister, she knows that he never would've allowed it. Veronica stands up for herself and the girls, saying that what happened to them is true, and one way or another, she will expose them, with or without the book.
At Pop's shoppe, Jughead confronts the same boy scout that he noticed was watching him while conversing with Dilton Doiley earlier in the day. While Jughead eats his ice cream, the young boy scout reveals that Dilton is lying about not hearing the gun shot, when in fact he was the one who fired it. He was showing them how to shoot targets. Jughead is both in shock and disbelief. Apparently, Dilton is a hardcore survivalist, who had been teaching the scouts how to protect themselves, because if they didn't, no one else would. Suffice to say, Jughead is pleased and angered with this recent revelation. He now has an answer to who fired the single shot, but he's not close to solving the case.
As Archie is still grounded, he sneaks out of the house to attend the Pussycats' rehearsal. While there, he learns that Melody is their technique queen while Valerie is the writer. Josie enters the room, asking what it is that Archie expects to gain from this sit-in. He wants the Pussycats to record and play his songs, make them better. Josie finds it to be quite amusing that Archie believes that he is qualified the write for the Pussycats, who are “divas of color”, pointing out that his privilege will make it easier for him to enter the music industry. Riverdale is a small town, and while peoples' minds are opening up, there is still a lot of hate out there. Need she remind Archie of all the hate mail her mother received following her victory as Mayor. They are called the Pussycats because they have to claw their way into the same rooms that someone like Archie could just walk into, so he is far off from being capable of writing her experience, to which Archie agree. But he manages to win her over with his suggestions on tweaking their song for the Taste of Riverdale.
Upon learning from Trev Brown the potential location of the playbook, Ethel, Betty, Veronica, and Kevin break into the school after hours to recover it. Cheryl appears with a flashlight tagging along, impressed with the lengths they're willing to go in order to uncover the truth. It doesn't take them long to find the book. Inside the book, they find not only Ethel and Veronica’s names but Betty’s sister’s name too. Polly's name is directly across from Jason's. Cheryl refuses to accept that Jason had a hand in the playbook, but the proof is right in their faces, leaving Cheryl to wonder just how well she knew her brother. Betty’s grows angry, deciding in that moment that they are going to do more than exposing the team, they're going to get revenge, "Full Dark, No Stars", Betty says.
That evening, Alice finds Betty trying on red lipstick, stating it makes her feel powerful. The lipstick actually belonged to Polly, Betty was merely borrowing it, though Alice is not a fan. Polly grew up too fast, and she didn't want Betty to make the same mistakes. Before forcefully wiping the lipstick from Betty's mouth, Alice asks if she's joining her and Hal at the Taste of Riverdale, which Betty says she will not be attending because she is going over to Veronica's to study. Having said it before, Alice says it again that she doesn't want Betty to associate herself with a girl like Veronica. However, Veronica is Betty's friend, and that's not to change, so Alice better get used to it. Alice then hands Betty her pink lipstick, saying it's "more her".
After this exchange, Betty goes to Pop's to start her revenge plan against Chuck. She is wearing the red lipstick and much more revealing clothing than her usual attire. She asks Chuck if she can sit. Not if she wants to talk about Veronica, he says. Betty claims to be more interested in the two of them. She seductively tells Chuck she wants to be a bad girl, like her sister Polly was, Chuck comments. Prissy prude by day, freak in the sheets by night. Once Betty knows that she has him convinced and interested, she asks him to meet her at Ethel’s house. Betty tells him that Ethel and her parents will be out, but she'll leave them the key because she has a pool and hot tub.
Fred catches Archie sneaking back into the house after a night at rehearsal with the Pussycats. Archie is racking up a lot of misdeed in such a short amount of time, sneaking out, breaking curfew, getting into fights, to name a few. Archie explains his reasoning for sneaking out, but this does little to calm Fred, which leads to a heated argument as he won't allow Archie to attend the Taste of Riverdale event. Archie is upset that his father didn't understand his interest in music, as Fred would have pardoned him if he had a football game that night, but he won't do the same for his music. Fred doesn't respect it nor does he take it seriously.
Chuck is surprised when he arrives at Ethel's house to find Veronica instead, in a black one piece and heels. She explains that they talked it over, and decided that its time to stop fighting over Archie, and to share Chuck instead. Veronica invites him to get in the hot tub, and get wet. Betty then comes out in lingerie and black bob wig. “Betty couldn’t make it, so she sent me instead,” she says. Veronica looks surprised at the person in front of her, as does Chuck. If he thought she was daring before, now she is more of a bad girl reborn.
Meanwhile, at the Taste of Riverdale event, Mayor McCoy takes the stage. As a lead-up to the town's 75th Anniversary Jubilee, this event proves that Riverdale truly is a town that, when tragedy knocks them down, they get right back up. Fred runs into Hermione, who is catering the event alongside Pop Tate. They are soon joined by Ms. Grundy, who Fred instantly recognizes as the music teacher. He introduces himself as Archie's dad before asking if they could talk for a moment. Elsewhere, Mayor McCoy greets Penelope and Clifford Blossom, asking them how they are holding up. How do you think, Penelope asks. Her son is dead, and neither the Mayor nor the sheriff has done anything to catch his killer other than interrogating Cheryl. Alice antagonistically joins the discussion, and asks Penelope if she would like to give a quote regarding Jason's investigation. Without hesitation, Penelope slaps Alice for her hand in printing Jason's autopsy. Penelope cries out, saying that Jason was tortured, shot, and thrown into the river like a piece of garbage.
Hoping to prevent any further altercations, Josie and the Pussycats perform their song for the town while Archie sneaks into the event, and up the stairs despite being reprimanded for sneaking out to the Pussycats’ rehearsal earlier in the week. He watches from the balcony with Jughead as the Pussycats perform the song he helped them write. Admittedly, the song is good, and as much as Jughead would like to stay, he needs to find Dilton. Meanwhile, Fred chats with Ms. Grundy, telling her that Archie speaks highly of her. While he knows that Archie has passion, Fred wonders if he has any talent. He wants to be supportive, but as a parent, its difficult to watch your child chase a dream that they may never achieve. Ms. Grundy reassures him of his son’s talents and how he’s a “special kid”, though it won't be easy since he's coming into that talent late, and the fact that there's an entire world of competition out there, but it would be a shame if he didn't at least try.
As Archie sneaks back out the event, and the Pussycats' performance comes to an end, Alice continues her trouble making-ways by antagonizing Hermione. Park Avenue princess to cater-waiter, Alice says. She then mentions Veronica, who is being slut-shamed at school, which Hermione is unaware of. Hermione runs to her phone to call Veronica, but she doesn't answer. Alice comments that an eye should always be kept on girls like Veronica as they can so easily get out of control.
Back at Ethel's, Betty slips a muscle relaxer in Chuck's drink, which when mixed with alcohol can lower one's inhibition, the equivalent of a truth serum. Veronica suggests that they slow it down, but Betty disagrees, as she continues her plan to seek revenge on Chuck.
Jughead confronts Dilton Doiley over the gun shot at Sweetwater. Jughead reveals that after talking to one of the scouts, he knows that Dilton fired the gun on July 4th, which makes him both a liar and a public menace. Finally, Diltion fesses up to the shooting. With the way the town was going, someone needs to teach them to defend themselves. Jughead tells him to save it for his statement, which he can either give to Jughead or Sheriff Keller. Dilton chooses the latter. Jughead instructs him to be at the Blue & Gold offices tomorrow.
Chuck finds himself handcuffed to the sides of the hot tub. Veronica records while Betty starts interrogating him about what actually happened between him and Veronica. Although she may be all bad-ass, she takes a step too far by pushing his head into the boiling water with her high heel and pouring a bottle of maple syrup all over his face. As she’s doing this, she starts telling him to say sorry for “ruining Polly”, addressing him as Jason. She then tells him to “Say you’re sorry for destroying me”. Veronica is disturbed by this weird attitude of Betty, the way she regarded herself as Polly and him as Jason. She then tells her that that’s enough.
The next morning, before heading out for school, Archie finds Fred out back soundproofing the garage so that he could practice his music while he was grounded. This is brought on after the better understanding of Archie's talent, given to Fred by Ms. Grundy after talking to her at last night's event.
Veronica finds Betty by the lockers at school. She expresses her appreciation for Betty’s help but is also freaked out by her odd behavior with Chuck the previous night. How far was she going to take it, Veronica wonders. Betty even called him Jason and herself Polly. She became another person, much like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Betty recalls saying that Chuck should apologize for Polly, but not because she thought he was Jason. She did it because she was sick of guys like Chuck and Jason doing horrible things to innocent girls, and getting away with it. Betty’s nonchalance doesn’t seem so convincing, especially considering that the wig is now in her locker. In the aftermath of yesterday’s events, given that Betty and Veronica now have proof, Coach Clayton is forced to remove his son, Chuck and his football cronies off the Riverdale Bulldogs team. The female student body watches and takes photos as Chuck and his goons are escorted out. Ethel thanks both Veronica and Betty for their hand in bringing down Chuck. #JusticeForEthel, Cheryl says.
Afterward, Betty and Cheryl watch as the playbook burns in the trash bin. Cheryl acknowledges Jason may have hurt others. She apologizes to Betty for any hurt Jason may have caused Polly.
Meanwhile, Archie goes to thank Ms. Grundy for talking his dad into respecting his choice for pursuing music. He then asks if they can restart their music lessons. After exchanging longing looks, they begin to kiss. Elsewhere, Dilton Doiley pleads his case with Betty and Jughead. Hoping to salvage his reputation, he offers Jughead and Betty another story, one he claims to be better than his own. They give their word as journalists that they won't publish the story about him firing the gun if he can present something better, which he does. He reveals that he saw something up on the river that no one else did on July 4th: Ms. Grundy's car by the river's edge. With this, Dilton Doiley had just opened Pandora's box, and now not even Jughead can save Archie.
- Veronica: "So, are you a suspect now?"
- Kevin: "My dad says we all are, including me."
- Veronica: "Not me, girl. I don't know these people."
- Kevin: "Guys, should we maybe re-binge Making a Murderer on Netflix tonight?"
- ―After Archie speaks with Sheriff Keller
- Betty: "Nothing this bad was ever supposed to happen here, but it did. I want to know why."
- Jughead: "Would I get complete freedom?"
- Betty: "I'll help, and edit... And suggest. But it's your story, it's your voice."
- Jughead: "Doesn't sound like complete freedom, but... I'm in."
- ―Betty and Jughead reestablishing The Blue and Gold
|“||I don't follow rules, I make them, and when necessary, I break them. You wanna help me get revenge on Chuck, Betty, awesome. But you better be willing to go full dark, no stars.||”|
|— Veronica to Betty after being slut-shamed.|
|“||I saw the way you looked at me... During Grizzly training. You're hiding something.||”|
|— Jughead interrogating one of Dilton Doily's scouts|
|“||... But one thing was certain, Betty and Veronica, now B&V, and maybe forever, had been forged.||”|
|— Jughead narrates after Betty writes her Blue and Gold exposé|
- As an easter egg, several characters that have made minor appearances in the Archie Comics are seen commenting on Chuck's Instagram post. These names include Tony* (Toni) Topaz, Frankie Valdez, Angel Angelino, Debbie Dalton, Marie Rodriguez and Cricket O'Dell.
- This episode marks the first mention of Greendale.
- In the comics, this is the home of Sabrina Spellman.
- The title of the third chapter comes from the Brian DePalma film of the same name.
- This episode marks the first appearance of Ethel Muggs.
- In the comics, Valerie's Brother, Trev, is also introduced as a love interest for Betty. In the comics, his last name is Smith, not Brown.