The following recap contains spoilers from Season 1, episode 3 of Riverdale, titled “Body Double.” Refresh your memory with our recap of episode 2.
Riverdale really is all about girl power. In the comics, Betty (Lili Reinhart) and Veronica (Camila Mendes) are always competing for Archie’s (KJ Apa) heart, but on The CW’s newest drama, they’ve put aside their mutual feelings for the redheaded heartthrob and built a genuine friendship outside of any potential romantic triangle.
Even mean girl Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) has dropped her icy exterior with her former rival Veronica after last week’s episode, and opens up her heart to Betty after years of torment. But it’s this week’s episode, “Body Double,” that dials the female empowerment up to 11.
When Veronica goes on a date with Riverdale High’s most eligible bachelor Chuck Clayton (Jordan Calloway), she ends up being the target of slut-shaming, apparently a common occurrence that runs rampant in Riverdale.
Veronica’s refusal to be belittled and trolled opens the floodgates as other girls come forward about the misogynistic, immature football team’s despicable habit of slut-shaming girls they go on dates with, or even girls they just want to humiliate. Veronica shuts down any more “slut” name-calling, and with Betty’s help, conspires to find and expose the football team’s “playbook” about all the girls in school.
Meanwhile, Cheryl gets more than she bargains for when she crashes the gang’s playbook recovery mission, as everyone sees her brother’s name in it, clearly complicit in the team’s heinous activities. The realization that she doesn’t know her brother as well as she thinks is like a gut punch. The silver lining: she softens her attitude toward Betty moving forward, finally believing everything Betty told her about Jason (Trevor Stines) and Polly.
After snapping a pic of the book, the girls craft their revenge plan to prove it’s legit: Betty lures Chuck over to Ethel’s (Shannon Purser — aka Barb from Stranger Things) house for a “double date” with Veronica in the hot tub, where they plan to get Chuck to admit all about the playbook on camera. What throws both Veronica and Chuck for a loop, however, is Betty.
Wearing a black bob wig and sexy lingerie, Betty acts like a completely different person. She drugs Chuck to speed up their plans, handcuffs him in the hot tub and turns up the heat until he squeals like a pig.
Veronica gets it all on video, but Betty continues to push, almost drowning Chuck until he apologizes for some cruel things he said about her sister. It’s almost like Betty completely dissociates from herself in the heat of the moment, calling herself Polly and yelling at Chuck like he’s Jason. Veronica tries to talk about the strange moment with Betty the next morning, but she denies she ever called herself Polly. Something is not right with Betty, and Veronica knows it.
In regards to the murder investigation, surprising absolutely no one, the third episode opens with Cheryl clarifying her “I’m guilty” cliffhanger confession to Sheriff Keller (Martin Cummins) and Principal Weatherbee (Peter Bryant): she didn’t kill Jason but she is guilty of lying about what happened on July 4th.
So what actually happened in the week between Jason’s disappearance on July 4th and his time of death a week later? Well, Cheryl doesn’t know, but she does reveal that Jason wanted to leave Riverdale forever, so she helped her beloved twin stage a tragic accident. After their boat ride faking his death, Jason left her with a promise that he’d call when he was somewhere safe and far away from Riverdale, where he couldn’t be reached or pulled back by their overbearing parents … but that call never came.
So Jason faked his own death, but then a week later was killed for real. And that gunshot Archie and Ms. Grundy (Sarah Habel) heard on the morning of July 4th? Cheryl and Jason heard it too before saying their goodbyes, meaning that wasn’t the gunshot that killed Jason. Twist!
Archie finally comes forward about hearing the gunshot to corroborate Cheryl’s story, but he lies to keep Ms. Grundy safe, saying he was alone with his dog at the river. Cheryl grants him one wish (everything is on the table … except her body) as a thank you for backing her up, and he uses it to finally get an in with Josie (Ashleigh Murray) and her Pussycats when Grundy cancels his “music lessons.”
Meanwhile, scandalized by her mother’s sensationalistic coverage of Jason’s murder investigation in the town paper, Betty revitalizes the school paper with Jughead (Cole Sprouse). His first assignment is investigating Dilton Doiley (Major Curda) and his scouts, the only other people at the river on July 4th, to see if they heard a gunshot too. And lo and behold, they all did … because it was Dilton who made the shot!
Dilton was apparently teaching his scouts target practice, but didn’t tell anyone because he was afraid of getting in trouble for having a gun. Jughead uses that information to blackmail Dilton into coming forward and confessing, but he tries to trade another, juicier piece of information instead: he saw Grundy’s car at the edge of Sweetwater River on July 4th. By revealing that to Jughead in front of Betty, he opens up Pandora’s Box, from which Archie and Grundy can’t be saved. Some dirty Riverdale secrets are finally about to come out.
Other noteworthy moments:
– How amazing were Betty, Veronica, Kevin (Casey Cott) and Ethel’s all-black, midnight caper clothes as they broke into Riverdale High to recover the playbook? These kids really know how to accessorize.
– Alice Cooper (Madchen Amick) just can’t help herself when it comes to controlling Betty. Even Betty’s attempts to wear Polly’s “seduce scarlet” lipstick are shut down immediately, as Alice pushes “pink perfection” on her daughter instead. The names of the colors are a little on-the-nose, but it works.
– Archie’s dad Fred (Luke Perry) developing a crush on and flirting with Grundy is just all kinds of weird and messed up (the Andrews guys have a type, apparently). But at least he’s finally on board with Archie’s music career, outfitting their garage with soundproof walls so Archie now has a place to practice.
– The football coach is forced to cut Chuck and the other five players involved with the playbook after Betty publishes her exposé in the school paper. Justice is served! But according to Jughead’s narration, that action “would have terrible consequences for the weeks to come.”
Riverdale airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on The CW.
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