'Riverdale' Season 4 Episode 19 Review: Jughead spins a finale with 'monster' teens who would kill for prom
This was an episode that wasn't meant to serve as the finale. But it did end up as one and the slick episode as expected ends with a cliffhanger
Spoilers for 'Riverdale' Season 4 Episode 19 'Killing Mr. Honey'
This was an episode that wasn't meant to serve as the finale. But it did end up as one and the slick episode as expected ends with a cliffhanger. The Mädchen Amick- directed chapter has a moment where Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse) says, "We're all monsters" and at this stage, the audience agrees. Riverdale has always a more sinister, darker version of the town seen in the comics and the characters with their complex psyches contribute heavily to it. If Amick's idea was to establish that things never ever become normal in Riverdale, then this episode nails it.
'Killing Mr Honey' alternates between two mystery stories— One written and one unfolding while a story is being written. It all starts when Jug receives a letter from the University of Iowa asking him to submit a story. His topic is based on an idea that Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart)— Killing their principal for all the torture he's put the teens through. Each teen has his own version of how they intend to get one-up over Honey and a plotline from Jug's mystery involves an old school, tried-and-tested pain synthesis.
It's a classic. Tied to a chair and pummeled. Except, these are teens and for all the bravado and adrenaline coursing through, they can't get themselves to kill someone. A twist in the tale comes in when Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch) refuses to let Honey go and soon after Archie Andrews (KJ Apa) and Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes) take their turns to keep a watch on Honey, they are bewildered to see a dead principal. The story's mid-act sees Reggie Mantle (Charles Melton) die of a "car accident". Convenient no?
We're glad Mantle's arc didn't end this way. If anything he was one of the characters who you'd love to see in a show like Riverdale. He brings in some raw emotions and is a typical school bully. That said, Jug did kill him in the story. But in reality, The faithful Riverdale Bulldogger is alive and kicking and that's what matters. It isn't surprising that all this conniving was because prom was canceled. Ignoring the guffaws and the sarcasm from those who love to hate 'Riverdale', this shouldn't come as a surprise for a series loyal.
There's one moment that sees the parents of the teens come into school to give Honey a dose of his own medicine. Spearheaded by Amick who ensures that just about every parent has enough power to take down the principal in their own ways and while at it, Amick gives a great punchline to FP Jones' (Skeet Ulrich). When each of the parents threatens to put Honey through the wringer, he looks at FP who promptly and casually replies "We're the muscle".
Whether this is Marisol Nichol's and Ulrich's last appearance in the show, we don't know. But an emotional celebration at Pop's following a moral victory over Honey sees the families celebrate and that can be added to the 'Best moments in Riverdale' album. Hopefully, Ulrich fans get to see the man make an appearance next season. With the Charles and Chic (Wyatt Nash & Hart Denton) still unresolved, there's still a slim chance we get to see Jug's old man in the upcoming season.
The ending is worth the hype. It potentially hints at one videotape that blatantly points out that the teens stabbed Honey to death, thereby resolving the murder. But in the story, the ending sees Ronnie and Arch rush Honey to the hospital. Honey is actually shown as a hero in the aftermath of his resignation as principal from Riverdale High. He may have moved on to Stonewall Prep, but not before ensuring scholarships to the deserving students and a letter of recommendation to the University of Iowa about how they would benefit having Jug in their midst.
And despite an ending like that, the episode poses more questions than answers. There is still no clue about the videotapes. There is enough darkness in these clips that we can relate to Dark Betty and we don't know if someone mumbled "Tangerine" to her to get her to do this. So is Betty still the culprit? Or are there unknown forces in play? Only Season 5 will tell.
It is an abrupt ending to the series, no doubt. It is safe to say the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic had a hand in ensuring that we're all in for an impatient wait for Season 5.