'Riverdale' season 3 episode 2 review: Bughead comes face-to-face with the Gargoyle King while parents' unite
Chapter 37: 'Fortune and Men's Eyes' establishes supernatural drama in the series as the Gargoyle King is seen alive for the first time and the seizures have a major connection
If a walking blood-thirsty tree trunk is seen chasing teenagers in the woods at midnight, then there is no way you can tell me 'Riverdale' has not taken a turn to become a new supernatural show. From murder mysteries to serial killers and drug dealers, episode 2 of Season 3 established the series is now much more paranormal than ever.
Episode 1 of the third installment ended with Betty Cooper having a weird seizure especially after discovering her sister and mother are a part of a cult - The Farm - that requires shocking rituals such as throwing babies into a burning fire only to levitate above it. In the latest episode, Cooper believes that all she saw was a mere hallucination, caused mainly by stress. When Jughead Jones tells her about his encounter with the Gargoyle King in the woods, where he found Dilton and Ben almost dead with ancient symbols inscribed on their back as they lied naked, Cooper keeps mum about her own experience in the backyard.
Doing what Bughead does best, they investigate the mysteries together using Dilton’s map, especially after Dilton dies and his lips are found to be blue and his body is etched with undecipherable symbols. Dr. Curdle II, who examined his body, tells Bughead in particular and viewers in general that it wasn't the murder of Jason Blossom or the crimes of the Black Hood that were "the true face of evil" but this actually is.
Then comes the introduction of the game Gryphons and Gargoyles, similar to Dungeons and Dragons, but, of course, real and exaggerated. This roleplay game causes players to fully immerse themselves in it with deadly consequences. Ethel, the girl with a bow on her hair, who claims to be dating Ben and uses a voodoo twig doll to protect him at the hospital, promises Cooper and Jones to reveal the secret bunker where Dilton and Ben played the game.
She does not show up at the Fox Forest but instead, a tree-trunk skulled creature with twigs for a hand, shows up in the darkness and that is no way Ethel in a costume on stilts. However, Cooper and Jones, who excel at investigating, ultimately find the underground bunker that features evidence of an unfinished game of Griffins and Gargoyles on a table, a used bottle of cyanide that Dilton and Ben used to drink from a cup as a part of the game, and drawings of the same creature that the duo encountered in the woods, plastered all over the walls.
As Cooper looks under the bed, the missing Scout boy creepily emerges and says he is Dilton’s “apprentice,” learning how to play the game like his scoutmaster, Ben, and “Princess Etheline.” As eerie as the show is getting, a new spooky character is introduced who goes by the name of Evelyn Evernever, daughter of Edgar from the Farm. As Ethel tries to explain the deal with the Gargoyle King while Jones and Cooper confronts her, she gets the same seizure that Cooper got in the previous episode.
One thing common between the two seizures is the presence of Evernever in both scenarios. We also notice she stares and perhaps mind-controls the seizures, especially that of Ethel. Another new character introduced is Mad Dog, a hot prison roommate of Archie, with insane muscles and attitude. Well, the internet has already started googling who is 'Mad Dog.' For the review, it will suffice to say that he seems to be a special prisoner enjoying privileges such as a contraband record player, vintage pinup posters, and books. He quickly wins the viewers' hearts, because he chooses to ignore Archie, who only seems to be getting more and more dumb.
After surrendering to a murder he did not commit, just to spare his loved ones the entire process of his retrial, he tries to be a goody-two shoes in prison too, but it only works against him. First of all his Serpent tattoo could have managed him protection, but since he refused Serpent's test to fight a Ghoulie, he gets attacked instead and his shoes are stolen.
In order to unite the prisoners, Archie comes up with a "fab" idea; a football game in the prison grounds. I don't want to say it, but truth be told, he delivers a cringe-cringe-worthy speech to his inmates about “the triumphs and defeats, the epic highs and lows of high-school football.” With the MVP to win his brand-new shoes that Veronica got for him, the prisoners all play a game of "ever-so-uniting" football.
Veronica, as a sweet girlfriend to Archiekins, gets her 'Riverdale High' cheerleader troupe, River Vixens, to the prison premise filled with men, mostly criminals, to do a pep rally just outside the fence. The men lose their minds and cling on to the fence to see the cheerleaders perform 'Jailhouse Rock' in the most seductive way possible. The fest is interrupted by Veronica's father, Hiram Lodge, the villain who framed Archie for murder. Suddenly, a riot breaks out and Archie and other football prisonmates are beaten to the grounds.
Lodge's attempt to ban his daughter from seeing Archie in prison turns futile as she dons a blonde wig and calls herself Monica Posh. She is also driven to running an Innocence Project in Riverdale to free her sweet-but-dumb boy from prison. After the beating rounds are over, and Mad Dog goes missing, Archie is told he got killed in the riot. Of course, we don't believe it. But we do see the warden enter his cell and tell Archie he is the new 'Mad Dog.' Whatever that means, we will know it soon.
What we will also learn in the coming episodes is how the parents of the Riverdale's teens played a part in yesteryears to the mysteries that are unfurling today. The much-loathed Hiram Lodge and Hermoine Lodge unite with all the Riverdale adults to bury a secret about the game Gargoyle King.
We just hope Archie gets out of prison because he has to be a part of this supernatural plot or else, we are going to lose interest in his rather generous, but stupid life decisions.