Riverdale – Chapter Fourteen: A Kiss Before Dying
By: Tara Donahue
We open with Jughead’s (Cole Sprouse) voice over while we see what everyone else is doing and going through. “Our story continues,” he starts. “The mayor’s jubilee was supposed to change everything. Be a new start. But when we woke up the next morning, Riverdale was still, at its heart, a haunted town.”
Archie (KJ Apa) is racing through the streets, driving his dad’s truck without a license, trying to get to the hospital. If you recall, the finale left us hanging after Fred Andrews (Luke Perry) was shot by an unknown masked assailant at Pop’s. Archie manages to get his dad to the hospital and the doctors take over. We get a glimpse into what’s going on in Fred’s mind. It’s him and Mary (Molly Ringwald) taking pictures of the Core Four in their caps and gowns. It’s graduation time and Fred never thought he’d live to see this day. Jughead, Betty (Lili Reinhart) and Veronica (Camila Mendes) remind him he didn’t. Then, Fred sees the hooded man from Pop’s and yells for everyone to get down.
At the Cooper residence, Alice (Madchen Amick) is asking Betty about the jubilee, more specifically if her daughter took her relationship with Jughead to the next level. Betty assures her she didn’t, but only because the Serpents stopped by, which only prompts Alice to point out that she knew Jughead would follow in FP’s (Skeet Ulrich) “criminal footsteps.” Thankfully, Archie calls and interrupts the tense moment.
Veronica is having breakfast and Hermione (Marisol Nichols) isn’t happy she is having a mimosa because the bottle of Cristal was for her father. But before things can escalate, Betty calls. Jughead gets a call too and leaves, on his new motorcycle.
The group meet up at the hospital where Archie is waiting for news on his father. He tells them what happened at Pop’s. Jughead thinks that, after his rescues of late, that he should have his own superhero name like “Pureheart the Powerful.”
As Archie leaves to call his mom, Alice starts pointing fingers at Jughead’s Southside associates since she can no longer accuse FP, since he’s in jail. Thankfully, Sheriff Keller (Martin Cummins) shows up to break the tension by needing to talk to Archie with Jughead accompanying him. He describes the assailant telling Keller it’s not a ski mask, but a homemade hood and he has green eyes. He says he talked to Pop (Alvin Sanders), but he has gaps in his story and needs Archie to fill in the blanks. However, this is Riverdale. It might not be a robbery at all, but someone with a grudge, making it look like it is. It could just be a junkie. Once the questioning is over, Jughead tells Archie he knows he was holding something back. Archie tells him about the Serpents that were fired. Jughead will talk to them and find out.
The doctor comes to give an update. They got the bullet and stopped the internal bleeding, but Fred isn’t breathing on his own. Archie wants to see his dad, but he has to wait so Veronica and Betty talk him into going home to change out of his bloody clothes. We get another glimpse inside Fred’s mind, this time he’s leaving the company, which is now named Andrews & Son Construction to Archie. He’s having doubts, but Archie tells him some relatives are waiting for him. Fred’s confused, because the mentioned relatives are all dead. At the Andrews house, Archie and Veronica walk Vegas, the dog and then take a shower together.
Kevin (Casey Cott) joins Betty at the hospital and they talk about her relationship with Jughead. He’s concerned because of what he went through with Joaquin (Rob Raco). Before they can continue the conversation, they spot Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch) following behind a gurney. She tells them there was a fire at Thornhill and she might have died if not for her mother’s heroics. She tells them Penelope (Nathalie Boltt) rushed into the blaze to save her. But we all know the truth there.
Archie, unable to find his father’s wallet amongst his belongings, snaps at Veronica and tells her to leave. But, being the good girlfriend she is, Veronica refuses to leave because she knows he needs her. Sheriff Keller calls Archie in for a lineup of men he’s picked up, all of whom have a history of robbery or violent crimes. But none of them men, even in the hoods they’re made to wear, are the assailant.
Back the hospital, Veronica tells the gang about the lineup and asks them to check Pop’s for the wallet. Betty and Jughead leave together, despite her hesitance, on his motorcycle.
Hermione is in the chapel and Veronica joins her, asking if she’s praying for Fred’s recovery or death. Veronica reminds her mother she remembers how she wanted Fred to sell his shares because he and Hiram (Mark Consuelos) wouldn’t get along. Hermione doesn’t appreciate the disrespect, Veronica needs to get back in line with the family, she’s a Lodge before anything else. She’d slap her for what she’s insinuating, but she’s not a violent person.
More friends show up to offer support and the doctor comes out to tell Archie he can see his father, but he hasn’t woken up yet. He encourages him to talk to him and coax him back. Fred is in the bed, tubes and wires everywhere and Archie tries to talk to him. As he talks, we see into Fred’s mind again. This time, they’re at Pop’s and Archie is planning to propose to Veronica. They share the good news with Pop and he says something about how time dies. The bell on the door rings and it segues into Jughead and Betty coming in to look for the wallet. Pop tells them no money was taken. He says he’s been robbed before, he’s looked plenty of thugs in the eye, but this man’s goal was something else. “It was like the Angel of Death had come to Riverdale.”
Pop fixes them food because Jughead is stress eating. Betty’s concerned about the motorcycle and the Serpents hanging around, giving him a jacket. He assures her everything’s fine and she’s worrying too much.
Penelope Blossom is waking up at the hospital and Cheryl tells her how she is at her mercy now. She told everyone that her mother saved her and if she tells anyone the truth, then she’ll tell everyone what she knows. She’s fed up with the abuse and cruelty and now she’s the one in charge.
Veronica gives Archie the new wallet she bought for Fred and earns herself the “Best Girlfriend Ever” title. He wants to tell her the truth about what happened at Pop’s, but Betty and Jughead show up with food so he shares it with all of them. He’s ashamed because he panicked and did nothing and he’s worried the guy has Fred’s wallet and will come back.
In Fred’s room, Archie comes in to find Cheryl kissing his forehead. She tells him she’s paying him back for saving her. He gave her the kiss of life and now she’s given it to Fred. She leaves and Archie starts talking to his dad again. This time, the peek inside Fred’s mind shows us Archie and Veronica’s wedding. The masked man is coming down the aisle, gun aimed at Archie, but Fred jumps in front of it. This makes him wake up. Archie apologizes for not doing more and vows to protect his dad. But that’s why Fred came back, to protect Archie.
Jughead goes home to find the Serpents are there with a beaten guy tied to the chair. The man was at the White Wyrm talking about how he was glad Fred got shot. But, after a long “cross-examination,” they figured out he was just a loudmouth. They want him to make sure and tell FP they took care of it, it’s important to them he knows. And they let him know that with or without the jacket, Jughead is a Serpent.
At the Lodge residence, Veronica returns home to find her father is there. He tells her she’s been disrespectful but Veronica’s changed. She wants to know if he has. She tells them Fred has woken up and Hermione and Hiram share a look.
Mary Andrews has come to help and is taking food upstairs while Archie, armed with a baseball bat, prepares for a long night of watching and protecting his father from harm.
Over in Greendale, Ms. Grundy (Sarah Habel) hasn’t lost her attraction for younger men. This time she is teaching piano and kisses the boy goodbye, with promises of plans the next day. As she locks the door and starts to clean up, the masked assailant is behind her and presses a blade to her throat, killing her.
Looks like we have a new mystery in “Riverdale!” I can’t wait to see where this goes!