Riverdale – Last Picture Show
By: Jay Smith
Jughead (Cole Sprouse) is in Pop’s diner updating his personal piece on what happened this summer and explains it’s been a week since they discovered Jason’s body (Trevor Stines). However, he wasn’t the first or the last thing the town loses. He tells us the local drive in, Twilight, is closing when they all need it most. He compares Riverdale to Salem during the witch trials while Sheriff Keller (Martin Cummins) is asking each family questions trying to figure out Jason’s death. Jughead writes that Betty (Lili Reinhart), while in her room, is wrestling with the new information she has on Ms. Grundy (Sarah Habel) and wondering if her and Archie (K.J. Apa) were at the river together. Archie and Fred (Luke Perry) are at Ms. Grundy’s small concert listening to her play. After the show Fred gives Grundy praises and then offers her out to dinner.
Kevin (Casey Cott), Veronica (Camila Mendes), Betty and Jughead are in a booth at Pop’s and Jughead is very upset about the loss of the drive-in. He’s out of a job and the town is losing a landmark. Veronica explains that in the era of Netflix do people really want to watch a movie in a car and who even goes to drive-ins still. Jughead tells them an anonymous buyer bought the theater and the mayor didn’t refuse. Veronica wants to know why someone would be anonymous while purchasing the place when no one cares about it. He invites them to a final showing and they all throw out movie ideas. They ask Betty, who has been distracted the whole time, what her suggestion would be and it’s Rebel Without A Cause Hermione (Marisol Nichols) delivers them food and Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) with her lackeys (Caitlin Mitchell-Markovitch and Olivia Ryan Stern) remarks on how she wouldn’t have given Veronica a spot on the squad if she had known Hermione had worked here. Before Hermione can take Cheryl’s tab she tries to embarrass her by saying all of the money should go into the register since the family is known for stealing it. Veronica tries to defend her mother, but Hermione holds her own and tells Cheryl she went school with her mother and she didn’t know the difference between having money or class either. Veronica sits back down in the booth and Kevin makes a statement on how Grundy, Fred and Archie all look weird coming in together. Jughead tries to stop Betty, but she gets up and heads to their booth asking Archie to follow her outside. Betty gives Archie the chance to come clean, but he doesn’t. She gives him the information that Dalton told her and Jughead and asks was he with her. He asks if Jughead told her as they both look to the booth and Betty is taken aback that Jughead knows. Inside Jughead is peeking and Veronica wants to know what they are discussing. He tells her to forget about it, but she doesn’t listen and heads outside. Betty asks Archie if his relationship with Grundy (Sarah Habel) is platonic and not what she’s thinking, but he admits it’s more than platonic. Veronica hears the tail end of the discussion and comments that the situation is scandalous. Betty says it sounds like jail time. Archie wants help from Veronica, while using the nickname Ronnie, but she agrees with Betty and asks what does he call her, his girlfriend or booty tutor. Betty is upset he lied to the sheriff and all of them about him being alone and asks was it to protect Grundy. He said he did it because she’s the only one that believed in him and we can see the hurt on Betty’s face after his statement. Before she can answer Archie again Alice (Mädchen Amick) pulls up and takes Betty home. Veronica calls him “Archiekins” while telling him he’s in deep trouble. Betty is back home writing in her diary when she breaks her pencil and then decides to Google “Geraldine Grundy.” In Pop’s parking lot Cheryl and the lackeys are in her car when they see Hermione having a serious conversation with someone from the Southside Serpents (Skeet Ulrich).
The next morning Archie is a tad bit peeved that Jughead, who is passing out flyers for the final movie showing, didn’t give him a heads up. Jughead defends his choice by saying he’s always neutral. He asks him if he thinks Betty would write about it, but Jughead assures him Betty would never hurt him in anyway. He asks Archie where he sees the relationship heading and he can’t really answer the question. Just that he wants to hang on to Grundy and the relationship for as long as possible. Archie pleads with Jughead to give him a heads up next time Betty is going to do something so he can stop her. Betty is in the music room interviewing Grundy. She asks questions about her past and tells Betty that Archie isn’t the first student she had an independent study with. Jason Blossom was her last student. Betty mentions Jason was cute trying to bait Grundy, but it doesn’t work and she leaves the room to prepare for her next class. Veronica and Kevin are in the student lounge and they make a date to go with each other. Cheryl comes in with her best mean girl impression and boasts to Veronica that she saw her mother with a Southside Serpent and that she should know her place in the town’s rankings now. Confused, Veronica wants to know who they are and Kevin tells her they’re dangerous gang bangers.
Hermione is resting after work with a glass of wine when Veronica comes in and asks about her meeting with the Southside Serpent. She tells her that she has nothing to worry about and that she knew some of the members and was being polite. Jughead is in the Mayor McCoy’s (Robin Givens) office and she’s explaining to him that the drive-in became an eyesore and Fred’s construction company is destroying it on the following Monday. Jughead tells the story of him and his sister sneaking into the establishment when they were younger and calling it home. She thinks the story is sweet but tells him the future of Riverdale is at stake. At Pop’s, Veronica and Betty are trying to get Archie to understand the sketchiness of Grundy, who with a retro reference of the original, had stolen the identify from an old dead woman. She tells him that she taught Jason, which he didn’t know, but still doesn’t care and wants Betty to back off. That night Archie is with Grundy and for a change wants to know more about her. She gives him a story about wanting to be a part of a famous symphony, but it’s just a dream. He asks if they’re just a dream and does she see more for them. She doesn’t know, but says she’s happy with how they are right now. Outside Betty and Veronica are breaking into Grundy’s car. Betty’s reasoning for breaking in is because she’s not okay with Grundy’s sketchiness and not because she loves Archie. They discover a lock box and Betty jimmies her way into it with a hair pin. They find a license with the name “Jennifer Gibson” and a gun.
The girls meet Archie at his house and they tell him about their findings. He’s shocked and Betty tries her hardest to get him to understand and question everything about Grundy. She genuinely wants to know why he hasn’t asked Grundy questions. Jughead is at Fred’s pleading his case and Fred feels bad for him, but can’t change his mind because the job is too big to pass up on. Jughead makes the remark that he put one Jones out of work and now he’s doing it to another. Fred explains he had to because his dad was stealing from a job site. Hermione shows up to McCoy’s office with the bag of money from her apartment and says it’s hers for her campaign and corporation with the acquirement of the land where Twilight is. McCoy says no one can know about their deal, especially The Blossoms, and Hermione promises as long as she holds up her end of it. Archie is with Grundy and he finally asks her about her real name, why the new identity and why is she in Riverdale. She tells him she was in an abusive marriage, finally left and came to Riverdale for a fresh start and she met him.
Kevin brings his dad a cup of coffee and comments on his “murder wall” that connects everyone to Jason with tidbit information on each person’s picture. He asks can he borrow the truck for his movie date with Veronica. Sheriff doesn’t want him cruising for guys because there is still a killer on the loose. Hal (Lochlyn Munro) and Alice knock on Fred’s door and they’ve come to tell him they want Archie and Betty to stop hanging out. Fred asks a joking question about Alice spying on them because she admitted to seeing Archie sneaking out at all hours of the night. The couple leave and we see a glimmer of questioning in Fred’s eyes. Archie is walking with Betty and he tells her the story that Grundy told him. Betty still isn’t okay with Grundy preying on him, but of course he still defends her and says she’s all he has. Again, Betty wants him to question everything and to make sure their inappropriate relationship is best for both parties. The doorman comes into the apartment to deliver Hermione’s clothes and she tells him she’ll be attending the final showing with Fred because it’ll look less conspicuous than going alone. Alice is in Betty’s room putting her clothes at when she discovers the gun Betty took from Grundy’s car. Shocked, she also goes through Betty’s diary to gather more information. Betty is about to open the door when Alice opens it first. She tells Betty what she found in her room and to get in the car.
The town is at the final showing and Jughead is running the movie “Rebel Without A Cause” like Betty suggested. Veronica and Kevin are cozied up on the back of the truck bed when Cheryl pulls up and decides to sit with them. Fred and Hermione are in his truck and they’re reminiscing on the time they had a date at the drive-in when they were younger. Hermione’s phone goes off and she excuses herself to get more food and to the restroom. Alice startles Fred and tells him he needs to follow her because it’s about the kids. In the truck Cheryl, Kevin and Veronica are trying to watch the movie but the Southside Serpents behind them are being too loud. Kevin tries to quiet them and fails, but he does catch the eye of one of the younger members. Veronica finally stands up and threatens them. The group quiets down and the other attendees applaud her. Veronica tries to get Cheryl to go get them a refill of popcorn, but she gives the bucket to Kevin and also adds a cherry soda to the order. Veronica moves over to Kevin’s spot and Cheryl cozies up to her some more. While looking out Veronica spots her mom following a gang member to the other side of the concession building. Kevin orders tons of food because he knows he isn’t getting any action tonight. He turns to leave when he bumps into the young member he made eye contact with a few moments ago. The member makes a slightly threatening joke that Kevin isn’t so tough without his beard. Behind the concession building the gang member, which Hermione was seen with before at Pop’s, is counting the money and wants to know where the rest of it is. Hermione, in a slightly confused tone, tells him she thought that was the agreed upon amount. Veronica is watching while he says maybe he should contact the husband, but Hermione tells him as long as he’s in jail he will answer her. He tells her to enjoy the movie and leaves. Veronica hurries up before she’s seen and leaves as well.
Archie finds Grundy in the music room and has a gift for her for everything’s she’s done for him. She opens it and it’s an expensive bow for her cello. Archie thinks it’s best they stop the lessons and breaks up with her. They hug and before they kiss Alice storms in with Fred and Betty right behind her. Alice calls Grundy “Ms. Robinson” while asking what they do during their lessons and not to leave any of the details out as she knows because of Betty’s diary. Betty silently apologizes to Archie. Kevin is with the young gang member and they’re making out. He tells him he has to go and the member finally introduces himself as Joaquin (Rob Raco). Kevin takes his phone, puts his number in it and Joaquin looks at the last name and asks if he’s related to the Sheriff. Kevin asks if that’s a problem and Joaquin raises his jacket sleeve to show his Serpent tattoo and asks if that would be a problem. They both agree not to tell anyone.
Alice kind of corners Grundy while saying she thought the kids would be safe from child predators in their town. Archie defends her and both Grundy and Fred chime in agreeing with one another that he doesn’t need to do that. Alice wants to go to the Sheriff while Archie pleads with his dad and tells him everything was consensual and that he chased Grundy. Betty wants to know why Alice is being this extreme towards both Archie and Grundy and, of course, she says it’s because she wants Betty to see how horrible Archie really is. Betty tells her she’s never going to stop being friends with Archie and Archie apologizes to Alice. He knows he’s not good for Betty, but again he pleads not to have anything bad happen to Grundy. Alice says she’s only doing what’s right and will inform the neighbors. Betty threatens her with telling everyone she lied about the inappropriate affair and that she robbed Grundy. It’ll look like she finally snapped like Polly and that it would be true of what the town thinks of the family, that crazy runs in it if Alice doesn’t back off and keep this secret. Grundy finally speaks up and offers to quit her job. Alice says she has to leave town as well, making Archie upset, but Fred tells him it has to happen. Alice will keep her word and not spread the information around. Grundy agrees to leave and be gone by the morning. Archie and Grundy have a silent goodbye before she leaves for good.
Kevin and his father arrive home and the Sheriff notices the door open. They cautiously go in and see the “murder wall” has been destroyed. Hermione arrives home and Veronica has been waiting for her. She asks for the truth mainly specifics on what’s really going on. Hermione finally admits Veronica’s father hired the gang to lower the retail value of the land so he can purchase it at a cheap price and that she was paying the member for their services. Veronica connects the dots that her father is the anonymous buyer and he’s doing all of this from jail. Before she can call him a criminal Hermione calls him a businessman. She praises his efforts because the town is dying and a new one will be taking its place soon. Veronica tells her it’s wrong and Hermione tries to shame her by mentioning all of the expensive things they’re use to is because of her father.
Archie is in the car upset and Fred assures him he’s not any of the things Alice called him. Archie nods in agreement and cries on his dad’s shoulder while they hug. Alice is in Betty’s room explaining to her that Polly kept so many secrets from her and Hal and she won’t have any more secrets between them if she’s going to keep Betty safe. Betty asks her to say her name and she says Elizabeth Cooper. Betty repeats it and says she’s not Polly and Archie is not Jason so Alice needs to stop using them as an excuse to control her life. Alice leaves and Betty opens a fresh new diary. She texts Archie apologizing while looking out the window. He responds to the text and gives her a half smile at the window. Betty is narrating her diary entry and says love makes you do crazy things, but thinks she did everything for the right reason. The next morning we see Grundy and she’s checking out more young guys like she did Archie over the summer before she leaves the town for good. Jughead is in the projection room when he watches the final roll of the film stop and looks around the room. He packs his bag and we see a photo of him and his sister when they were younger at the drive-in. He leaves the room and we see that he’s been living there and has a bed set up against the wall. He tags the side of the building with “Jughead Jones Wuz Here” with a crown above it and tosses the can. The Southside Serpent Hermione has been doing business with comes up to Jughead and they talk about the town tossing the establishment aside and hopefully one day they save some of the pieces and place it in a museum for people to see years from now. “I’ll figure it out, dad. I always do,” are the final words Jughead gives to the member when he asks him where is he going to stay now.