RIVERDALE 3.12 Review “Bizarrodale”

I ship it. I ship all of it.

This post contains spoilers for Riverdale.
Check out last week's review here.

So long, sexy film noir Riverdale. Hello, magical shipper-dream Riverdale! It’s amazing how different this show can be from week to week while still progressing it story and still maintaining its overall aesthetic. This week’s offering was written by the incomparable Britta Lundin, author of Ship It, and it shows in all of the best possible ways.

“Bizarrodale” finally takes some time to focus on couples outside of the big four. Archie, Jug, Betty and Veronica are in it, but it’s brief. Ronnie’s only there to tie in the Gladys and Jellybean arc, Bughead is a part of the sex montage, and Archie’s gotta play white knight. Cheryl and Toni and Moose and Kevin take the lead instead, each of them facing their own set of trials. But before the episode can dive head-first into the ever present teen angst, it’s got to focus on the ship decades in the making, Tom and Sierra.

With their divorces finalized, the high school sweethearts are finally free to be married. This marriage not only sparks drama between the aforementioned couples, it also manages to put all of the children in grave danger. The Gargoyle King caught wind that two members of The Midnight Club dared to find happiness, and he’ll do everything he can to mess it up. Or so The Midnight Club thinks.

The parents of Riverdale gathered at Riverdale High to complete ascension night as instructed by the threatening invitations, but they quickly discover that it was all a ruse. The Gargoyle King wanted The Midnight Club separated from their children. Or, at least, a version of The Gargoyle King did.

Moose Mason has been closeted since the day we met him. Though he clearly has love for Kevin, it wasn’t enough to push him to tell his, let’s just say traditional father. The kid’s not in a great spot, but Kevin’s still right to finally give his boyfriend an ultimatum. Moose has to tell his father, or Kevin has to move on.

Surprisingly, Moose pulls the trigger (no thanks to an awful PSA by a thoughtless Cheryl). Though he was terrified, it seems that his dad didn’t take it so bad at first. Then said dad dresses up as The Gargoyle King and kidnaps his kid and his boyfriend to try and literally scare them straight. Mr. Mason seems remorseful once he’s caught, hiding behind the fact that it “worked” when the Sisters of Quiet Mercy did it to him. Understandably, Moose decides to leave Riverdale after the incident. Poor Kevin can’t catch a break.

Neither can Toni Topaz, it seems. Cheryl Blossom may be my girl, but that girl has a way of getting wrapped up in her own privilege just because she’s seen some shit. Cheryl spends the first ten minutes of the episode weeping about her inability to get into her fancy college because of her hag of a mother, and practically outing Moose to the entire school. The Moose incident was the final straw for Toni, who finally lets Cheryl have it. The HBIC might be a straight up monster sometimes, but she’s new to this whole being a decent person thing, and she does genuinely love Toni. Cheryl promises that she’ll make it all better, and manages to deliver before the episode’s close.

Phase one is to blackmail Penelope, which goes off without a hitch. This allows the girls to go back to the college without any road blocks from Cheryl’s homophobic, hypocrite mumsy. Phase two, apologize to Moose. Easy! Phase three? Cheryl gives up her interview at the college to Toni. She knows that she’ll get in without any issue, but Toni’s portfolio never would have been looked at by the snobbish institution.

The fourth and final phase came as a bit of a surprise, and I’m not sure I’m on board with it just yet. Toni lost her family when she and Cheryl decided to steal from Hiram. There’s a whole conversation about blame and consequence there, but at the end of the day the two are without a gang. Instead of going back to the Serpents to discuss their misdeeds, Cheryl decides that they’ll start a new family with a new group of lady misfits. On the one hand: yay new girl gang! On the other: this seems like peak Cheryl. No effort to solve the problem, just scrap the previous relationship and create a new one.

Despite all that, Toni seems on board. It’s currently my hope that the Southside Serpents and the Pretty Poison gang will merge before the season’s through. Riverdale’s got issues, but four gangs seems like a lot. Plus, it’s kind of a sausage fest over at the trailer park now that Betty’s the only female Serpent left standing. All the same, Cheryl made a promise and she kept it, no matter how flippant she was with the idea of family.

Appropriately, “Bizarrodale” closes out by introducing a whole new ship into the universe: Jarchie! Usually I wouldn’t care about an Archie plotline, but it includes Josie McCoy and it started off with an exceptional kiss. While it was pretty tame for Riverdale, Archie asked permission first, and there’s not a thing hotter than consent. That’s right, mid-episode sex montage - you were upstaged by a simple “Can I kiss you?”

And with that, the mess of a town is on a brief hiatus until February 27th. You know what to do if you had thoughts on this week's episode!