Riverdale Embraces the Importance of Returning Library Books

Before closing the library, he wants to get all his books back. Jughead correctly assumes it’s because Percival seeks to control the knowledge and thinking of the people of Riverdale. The books promote imagination and independent thought, things that are enemies of Percival and his evil plans. Since none of our heroes except Reggie have the books handy, Percival takes possessions that mean a lot to them. He then uses these totems to create spells that will rekindle past traumas, allowing Betty to recover forgotten memories of her serial killer father, Jughead needing some serious time with a dermatologist, Archie recalling his abuse from Mrs. Grundy, Veronica caring for literal black widows. , Cheryl… getting roses, and so on. It’s all extremely unsubtle, as one might expect. But also very effective.

Betty compares Percival’s latest antics to “someone poking around in my brain with dirty fingers”. That’s an accurate statement, as he uses items of great significance to mess with his enemies. By the time Jughead is able to find the missing books and retrieve all of their possessions from Percival, the damage is already done. As the credits roll, Archie recontextualizes his experiences with Ms. Grundy, Betty makes discoveries about her father that she can apply to the TBK case, Cheryl grows more and more amazing, Jughead verbalizes one of his biggest fears, Veronica inadvertently killed (more on that next week), and the not too bright Reggie decided to learn dark magic from Percival.

Along with reminding viewers that public libraries are necessary and generally awesome, the big accomplishment of this episode was reminding viewers just how much of an asshole Percival is. One who also masters dark magic, which makes him even more menacing. But by this point, his antics are already starting to tire, and if the season continues to establish him as untouchable, powers or not, he’ll just be Hiram 2.0. And nobody wants that.

Preview of Riverdale

Riverdale finally (and fleetingly) addresses how problematic the first season’s Mrs. Grundy storyline is here, showing Archie haunted by their relationship and Betty reminding him that the music teacher was grooming him.

• Kevin Keller continues to go around the drain as a character, choosing to ally himself with Percival. (And connect with him too, despite Moose yearning for him). In a series where everyone always makes bad decisions, Kevin might just be the worst of the bunch.

• Veronica casually referring to Dr. Curdle Jr. as “Betty’s best friend” is the funniest dialogue in this episode.

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