Look at us. Hey, look at us. Who would have thought? We’ve made it to yet another Riverdale season finale, although this one comes, objectively, too soon. What aired this week was originally intended to be the 19th episode, to be followed by a dramatic conclusion at prom, but production was stopped due to the pandemic before shooting could be completed. I’d like to imagine some intrepid media studies Ph.D. student stumbling across this recap in ten years as she researches the effect that COVID-19 had on contemporary pop culture for her thesis. Hello to you, ma’am! Yes, the coronavirus is happening right now, and the rumors are true, it’s pretty shitty.
Mr. Honey rushed Betty into single-handedly assembling the entire school yearbook in a matter of days, but now refuses to approve her work before the printer’s deadline. This, after Riverdale High’s resident villain wouldn’t let Archie walk at graduation. And after the principal banned pretty much all their friends from prom — for starting a porn-adjacent tickling-based media company, for cheating on a quiz show, for locking the cheerleading coach in a closet, blah, blah, blah, normal high-school stuff — except for Archie and Jughead. (Buy low and tattoo “Jarchie” on your body now, just in case.)
Jug, meanwhile, has been conditionally accepted to the University of Iowa (as he learns from an admissions coordinator named “Deena Lunham” — Jug really is a voice of his generation), but he needs to submit another writing sample first. Betty suggests her boyfriend write a “monster story” about their principal. From here on out, we follow two timelines: the first being real life, and another that constitutes the plot of the aforementioned story, hereafter referred to as Jughead’s Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
So his story begins:In an attempt to scare Mr. Honey out of town, Our Gang (disguised in bunny masks and Stonewall Prep jackets) abduct him as he’s leaving school late one night, stuff him in the back of Reggie’s car, and hold him captive at the Lodges’ cabin in Fox Forest. There, blindfolded and taped to a chair, Honey — whose glasses got lost somewhere between here and the trunk — is maple-boarded like it’s Sunday brunch at the Cheney house. If he doesn’t leave Riverdale, Betty warns, they’ll kill him. But Reggie pretty much immediately removes his mask, confirming his and all of their identitieslike the hot, dumb dummy that he is, and repeatedly punches Mr. Honey in the face, like the hot, dumb, violent dummy that he is.
The kids agree to take turns watching Honey, and Cheryl is up first. (I don’t remember what the rest of them are so busy doing — like, homework?) He tries to persuade her to call the police and confess that their prank has gone horribly awry; she tries to persuade him to record a video promising that the kids can go to prom, and that they’ll never be punished for this, or anything, forever, demonstrating a keen understanding of the law. Neither budges.