'Riverdale' review Season 3 episode 3: Archie is bloodier and the town more evil thanks to Ethel

The evil game has taken over the town of Riverdale and it looks like Bughead alone cannot Nancy Drew or Scooby-Doo this mystery. The game has no connection to the Farm, yet.


                            'Riverdale' review Season 3 episode 3: Archie is bloodier and the town more evil thanks to Ethel

If you thought Archie Andrews' decision to enter the juvenile prison, just so he could spare his loved ones the tedious court trial, was stupid, then welcome to episode three, 'As Above, So Below,' where he decides to take on the role of a 'Mad Dog,' ensuring to get beaten up for longer by the opponent, just to entertain the jail's warden.

Riverdale High's red-head golden boy has already made us sigh and cringe so hard this season, but thank god, he is holding on, let's just hope bravery triumphs over stupidity. Episode 2 'Fortune and Men's Eyes,' ended with the warden tapping Andrews as the new 'Mad Dog,' after the original 'Mad Dog,' who was Andrews' cellmate was announced to have died at the riot allegedly caused by Andrews.

We now know that 'Mad Dog' is a prisoner appointed by the warden, who is also Hiram Lodge's henchman, to run petty tasks and favors for the warden in exchange for books, TV and a few basic luxuries. As Andrews refuses to be the 'Mad Dog,' mainly because the former 'Mad Dog' warned him about this business with the warden, he is thrown into 'The Pit.' Now, it turns out 'The Pit' is the place prisoners are forced to fight each other to entertain the guards and the warden.

Andrews' Serpent ally, Joaquin DeSantos, is brutally beaten so our ginger-head steps in to accept the role of 'Mad Dog,' unsurprising! Knocking the opponent with one punch, he upsets the warden because the easy knock-out fight for our hero wasn't too entertaining for the warden, so he decides he is going to give the warden what he wants without shredding his opponent. How will he do that? Thanks to the imaginary advice from his father Fred Andrews, Archie attempts an extended fight as he lets his opponent beat him gory before delivering the punch that ends the match with him emerging victorious. Smart! I guess not.



 

Nevertheless, the strategy works in his favor and the happy warden gives him the OG Mad Dog's belongings and there he finds a copy of The Count of Monte Cristo with a rock hammer hidden inside. Taking this as an ideological message left behind by the previous 'Mad Dog,' he gives another round of speeches to his prison mates inspiring them to break out from Leopold and Loeb prison. 

As this goes on inside the confines of a prison, Veronica Lodge is all set to open her own speakeasy club that serves only mocktails. There are quite a few unexpected visitors prior to the opening night, starting right from vicious Penny Peabody, who on behalf of the Ghoulies offer protection to the club. Veronica outrightly rejects this and gets boxes full of Jingle Jangle delivered to her new bar at the exact time Sheriff Minetta shows up for inspection.

Knowing she's been set up, Veronica fares safe with help from Reggie Mantle, so the Sheriff asks for a payout to leave her alone. The stern businesswoman that she is, she refuses and turns to Cheryl Blossom and Toni Topaz to help "shakedown" her father. That seems to work out, as the trio sneak into the Ghoulies' Jingle Jangle lab and take pictures. She warns her father, but Hiram shows up at the opening night of her bar 'Le Bon Oui,' gifting her a portrait. The best part about this episode is Josie McCoy's cover of Cole Porter's 'Anything Goes.' 

Hiram's intention to visit his daughter's bar and congratulate her on her success can only be viewed with skepticism as there is no way Hiram's evilness can be diluted. Talking about evilness, the really evil thing going on in Riverdale is the mysterious game called Griffins and Gargoyles, that Betty Cooper and Jughead Jones are intensely investigating especially after the game claimed the lives of two fellow students Dilton Doiley and Ben Button.



 

There's the Gargoyle King, the branch-like creature we saw chase Bughead in the last episode, and then there's the Farm cult picking up in Riverdale and finding its way to Riverdale High. Alice Cooper and Polly Cooper are already integral members of the Farm so Betty pretends to be interested in order to find the connection between the Farm and the RPG game while Jughead plays the game with Ethel Muggs.



 

It does not work out for Betty as she learns meeting Edgar Evernever, the leader of the cult, isn't an easy process and his daughter Evelyn freaks the gut out of Betty. Betty also learns that her mother's affiliation to the cult has led her to spill out all the family's dark secrets, including the story about Chic in Season 2 and how they got rid of a dead body.

Astounded as she may be, one thing is certain, Alice knows about the Griffins and Gargoyles and so does all the Riverdale parents, as we saw in the previous episode. When Betty insists her mother tell her the details, she coldly responds that she trusts the Farm more than she trusts her own daughter. That hurts! There is likely no direct connection between the two on-going mysteries in Riverdale, but there definitely is an intertwining story.

As Jughead plays the game with Muggs at the bunker in the woods, Jughead selects the role of a 'Hellcaster' as he launches the game that requires you to choose between two options. Immediately he is forced to choose between two chalices, one that's poisoned and the other that's not. This is the point where Button and Doiley apparently went wrong. Thank goodness, Jughead's cup isn't the poisoned one so he gets the guidebook from Muggs, but not before "Princess Etheline," as she is called in the game, asks him for a kiss. As he looks through the book, Muggs downs the poisoned chalice.



 

Jughead manages to get her to the hospital on time, but Muggs insists she did not try committing suicide. She talks about her interaction with the Gargoyle King and says she told him Jughead is "worth it." Meanwhile, FP Jones and Alice find the game's guidebook and burns it to ashes. Jughead and Betty think it's for the better, but next day Riverdale High's locker is filled with the same guidebook. Muggs, in the hospital, is seen telling the Gargoyle King she served his purpose and his gospel is out.



 

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