'Riverdale' S3 Ep5 review: Archie's escape and the birth of Red Paladin blur the line between game and reality
Jughead has figured the pattern but we still can't tell if the game has messed with his head or if he is messing with the game
The more sense 'Riverdale's making, the more confused we get. Is it supposed to be that way?
While we were hyped about last week's flashback episode, nobody warned us how exciting this week's installment of 'Riverdale' would be. Titled 'The Great Escape,' there was a massive hunch that Riverdale's golden red-head, Archie Andrews would escape from the hellhole of a juvenile prison, Leopold and Loeb, and of course his boss-girlfriend Veronica Lodge would hatch the escapade in the most Lodge way possible.
But 'The Great Escape', as the title suggests, was more than just dramatic; it was confusing. Let's start off by Joaquin DeSantos kissing Archie Andrews before his apparent "last fight" in the Warden Norton's Hunger Games-like-wrestling-match, and then stabbing him, before referring to the "ascension" to meet the Gargoyle King.
Simultaneously happening was the narration by Jughead Jones who has delved hard into the "evil game" of Gryphons and Gargoyles. Last week, the episode titled 'The Midnight Club' had ended on a worrisome note of Jughead's obsession with the game as Betty Cooper warned him that the game "messes with your head."
We are still not sure if Jughead Jones has been possessed by the lethal game that has killed four characters so far (that we know), or if he is figuring the game out by trying to ascend and meet the Gargoyle King, who looks like a walking tree trunk ready to rip you apart and suck on your soul. And perhaps, that is what he exactly does. As Betty continues to warn her Serpent boyfriend, Jughead seems to have figured that the fictional game of Gryphons and Gargoyle is actually peculiar only to their mysterious little town as the realm the game is based on- Eldervair, is an anagram for Riverdale.
"The whole game is an analog for Riverdale. The game only exists in Riverdale, that's why we couldn't find it on the web. It's all connected. It's all one big narrative that's still being written and played," Jughead tells Betty, who refuses to draw parallels with their reality and the RPG game.
However, Jughead is more than convinced that there is hardly even a thin line of difference between the game and their reality.
Hell-bent on taking over the game and becoming the game master just so that he can defeat the Gargoyle King, Jughead takes days to come up with a narration of the game played among his fellow Serpents. The day of the game coincides with Archie's escape from the prison and guess what, Jughead's story on 'Red Paladin' is in direct connection with Archie's "great escape."
As Archie escapes from the fighting center with the help of his Riverdale High gang, minus the Serpents because they are all playing the game in Dilton Doiley's bunker, Archie's escape is possible thanks to Mad Dog, who was supposed to battle him out but chooses to help him instead, like a good Mad Dog that he is.
Incoming is Betty Cooper on her boyfriend's bike and in a Serpent jacket, who cleverly navigates Archie's prison break while furious Warden Norton refers to Archie as the 'Red Paladin.'
It is later revealed that Jughead's words were true. The events going on in Riverdale and the game are the same. Warden Norton was playing the game all along and his task was to kill the Red Paladin, aka Archie Andrews. As he fails to accomplish this task, he has no option but to poison himself with Cyanide and die the "blue-lip" death.
As for Jughead, who has pretty much figured the pattern, ends up meeting the Gargoyle King in the woods. Not sure if he's ascended yet and even more worried if he will be given the task to kill the Red Paladin, but whatever the doom Riverdale has in store, we hope it makes more sense than season 2's Blackhood.