This post contains spoilers for Riverdale.
Check out our last review here.
Sometimes, the strange little breaks the CW Network has in the latter half of their seasons works to a show’s advantage. It can be a great way to build suspense before a mad dash to finales. Riverdale, unfortunately, didn’t do so great on that front. “Jawbreaker” is fine, but doesn’t offer much intrigue. Not every episode can be awe inspiring in such a long arc, but it’s rare that the show delivers something so meh.
The episode follows Archie as he tries to build prestige for his gym, Betty on her quest to save her mother, and the Jones boys as they get to the bottom of a particularly nasty strain of fizzle rocks. While giving Archie a small band of boys to look over does help make him more interesting, it did little to make his arc this week worthwhile. He fights an opponent that we’ve already seen him face before, this time hyped up on fizzle rocks. He miraculously wins once again with the help of Veronica and Keller, in the name of a kid he hardly knew. Letting one of Baby Teeth’s brothers fight instead would have helped make this arc a little bit more interesting, but then how would they get Archie to take his shirt off?
Betty’s portion of the episode is a touch more interesting, but somehow misses the mark emotionally. She’s at the end of her rope with her mother, and she’ll do anything to save her from The Farm. This includes both lying about proof of her brother’s death, and chloroforming her and then locking her in Dilton’s bunker. She only changes course after realizing that her mother’s afraid of her. Betty returns Alice to The Farm, and decides to shift her focus to infiltrating the compound with Toni’s help this time. Perhaps the journey to save Alice would be more emotional if she wasn’t one of the worst mom’s in Riverdale, but this mission feels almost as unearned as Cheryl trying to save Penelope from herself.
Finally, we have FP and Jughead. It’s a shame that FP Jones is represented as such a dullard, despite the show taking time to show just how smart he was once upon a time. He’s “street smarts” get played up often, but this week he’s pushed to the side to show off Jug’s detective skills. All that sleuthing isn’t enough to realize Kertz’s real plan. On the surface, it appeared that he was simply selling off a bad batch of fizzle rocks before leaving town. But, in reality, it was all a mission to get to Jellybean.
Jellybean in danger raises some questions about Gladys, and how involved she is with the Gargoyles and their master. Fizzle rocks have been directly tied in with GnG even back in the time of the Midnight Club, so it seems strange that her involvement with the trade would solely be coincidental at this point. We could have more information, but Jughead’s still keeping his mother’s drug trade a secret from his dad. No, I don’t know why either.
While not the best Riverdale has to offer, “Jawbreaker” does set up some questions for the remainder of the season. Will Betty give into her dark side and help her serial killer father (ultimately proving her mother right)? Will the Jones boys get to Jellybean on time, and will FP find out about the drugs before Jughead finds his spine? Most importantly, how are Toni and Betty going to save Cheryl? Alice can chill with The Farmies all she wants, but Cheryl Blossom was not made for this zombie life!
Next week it’s all about #SaveJellybean. We’ll learn more about what Hal asked of Betty, and probably continue the Varchie will they or won't they. Should be big fun! You know what to do if you had thoughts on this week’s episode in the meantime.