Riverdale Roundtable 10: “The Blackboard Jungle”

Welcome back to Riverdale Roundtable: a recap series where we chat about all the drama and sexy intrigue from last week’s Riverdale — just in time to get you up-to-speed for tonight’s episode. Today we’re talking about Season 2 Episode 10: “The Blackboard Jungle.” We’re celebrating everything the mid-season premiere has to offer — from Looks to ships to callbacks to beautiful updates for our Thistlehouse moodboard.

Please note: this recap includes Extreme Spoilers for this episode, as well as the entirety of Season One. We warned you!!

 


 

Jenny: where do we want to start w this mess?

Rachel: there’s so much to choose from

Jenny: true
i’d maybe like to start w
things the writer’s room did right?
i feel like this episode really called back to some good stuff from earlier this season/also season 1 — like, the homeless jughead plot line really tied in to what a dummy he was being about “weatherbee disrespected the serpents” this and “i’m not going to take off my jacket” that
there was also musician archie
and POLLY FINALLY HAD THOSE BABIES

CC: yeah this episode had a lot of Nods
like, the writer’s room was tired of people @-ing them on twitter
HERES WHAT’S UP W THE DAMN BABIES. AND ARCHIE’S SONGWRITING CAREER. ARE U HAPPY NOW, FANS?????
“Josie, formerly of the Pussycats” too

Jenny: yeah — it def felt like they were trying to hit all the points in this midseason premiere
catch everyone up on everything and also tie up some plot holes going forward
but thank the lord they didn’t tie up the black hood plotline

Rachel: YEAH FOR REAL

Jenny: like obviously we all knew the janitor wasn’t the guy
but i was going to fucking lose it if they tried to pass that shit off
if they just straight up did not talk about it

CC: i mean i was hoping it’d be like grundy and we could all walk backwards away from that plotline until it receded into the distance
bury it in the cold, hard ground right next to archie’s still living body
pick it back up again to be a minor relevant “a ha” moment in another dumb plot next year

Jenny: i mean it’s a shitty plotline but it’s better than this fbi bullshit
this fbi thing is the fakest shit i’ve ever seen

 

 

Jenny: like why did archie even talk to him
if some dude motioned to me on the street to take my earbuds out and go for a walk w him
i would not give a single good goddamn about what badge he has in his wallet
i would not stop

Rachel: yeah what about that dude screams “you can trust me”
“I am not the black hood”

 

 

Jenny: i say i’m w the FBI so it must be true

CC: i bet he is in the employ of the lodges
that’s what i think

Jenny: GOD I HOPE SO
YES
perf casting for a lodge, fake-fbi investigator

CC: he looks like an off model young replacement smithers
he looks like young replacement smithers and the really endearing weird guy from silicon valley in one person
so basically: like a marionette but also a person at the same time
but you don’t need to be all that smart or crafty to trick archie
literally i could trick archie and i can’t even lie to bioware characters

Jenny: archie is a big dumb dummy
it’s true
but!
also kind of a sweet boy
really ran back on our #1 riverdale look

 

 

CC: ok let’s talk about this
i feel like, if hiram lodge wants to orchestrate near murder on this rapist who am i to say no
like archie!!!!! don’t look a scary crime family gift horse in the mouth!!!!

Rachel: how do we feel about his very crafty ploy to get information from Nick the Rapist

Jenny: crafty ploy that was like 85% cheryl

Rachel: at first I thought he wanted Jason’s blazer because he was going to pretend to be Jason’s ghost and spook him to death

Jenny: that would be SUCH A GOOD PLAN

CC: YESSSSS

Jenny: also why did they save Jason’s blazers from the fire??

CC: i don’t really understand how the blazer was important or helpful in any way

Jenny: like, jason went to riverdale high — that’s a major plot point — he’s not going to have the blazer from this fancy prep school in nyc

Rachel: yeah why??????
i did not understand

CC: maybe jason cosplayed in his spare time
maybe that’s why he had the blazer in the first place

Rachel: he cosplayed as a different kind of rich white boy

CC: he was only a huge dickhead to cover up his secret love of ouran highschool host club cosplay

Jenny: cosplayed, don’t you mean ROLEPLAYED

 

 

CC: god everybody has a Take on DnD these days!
even cardcaptor sakura clear card had a lowkey joke about “dungeons and dinosaurs”
maybe when u get right down to it…………isn’t life just ……. a big game of dnd…… and we all roll a part….

Jenny: it’s cool and hip now
wish someone had told me that in middle school

Rachel: ok but for real I would listen to a podcast where the serpents play dnd

CC: i would love a podcast where the serpents play dnd
dungeon master FP
dnd dad

Jenny: BOY

 

 

Jenny: dndad

CC: HA
amaze
wow
bless u jenny

Jenny: thank

CC: while we’re talking about serpent dnd tho
can we talk about those polo shirts

 

 

CC: i don’t know how ronnie thought that was going to help????????

Jenny: not her idea
weatherbee

CC: didn’t she go to her parents to ask for them to fund outfits for the fashionably disadvantaged or something?
that’s why I thought it was her idea

Rachel: yeah it super was!

Jenny: i may have missed that
i thought toni said she got them from weatherbee
but also yeah if that was veronica, then i have no words

Rachel: she did, but I think weatherbee got them from the Lodges

Jenny: lame

CC: either way, jughead dresses exactly the same as he did before he left riverdale high

Jenny: except in the dungeon master elective
maybe that was like — the next day
???

 

 

CC: look at that guy in the back tho
and sweet pea

Jenny: that’s a lot of look
love sweet pea like this, honestly
playing video games, talking about how he appreciates textbooks, and computers, and toilets that flush

Rachel: poor sweet pea, he’s going to sweat to death trying to cover up those tattoos

Jenny: also!
FOGARTY!!

 

 

Rachel: AND MAYBE KEVIN??????
THE EYES
THEY SHARED LOOKS
SIGNIFICANT GLANCES!

Jenny: they did!!
it’s true!!

CC: even without significant glances, the “he talked about you all the time” thing was hella sweet
i am sure that meant a lot to kevin so thank you so much fogarty for being a kind and sweet light

Jenny: it was so sweet

CC: ooh i have another fashion thing
i am sure there is some Symbolism behind this motif but:

 

 

CC: it’s the same spider in the bottom two but a different one in the first screenshot!
on 3 different outfits!

Rachel: hasn’t she always worn those??
they’re her fave

Jenny: i mean
i think she has

CC: WHAT
WOW
i literally just noticed

Jenny: there’s a bit in s1 when she gifts jug her “iconic spider brooch”
to “keep him in burgers and s t-shirts for years to come” or something

CC: i can’t believe i am noticing this for the first time
ok FINE i have a totally different take that hasn’t happened in every episode!
matching outfits??????

 

 

Jenny: AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
YESSSSSSSSSSSSS
it’s all in the costume department subtext

Rachel: CUTIES
they didn’t interact enough this episode
BUT ALSO
this is a good segue
can we talk about Betty + Madchen + Chick
and how Chick is the Black Hood
BECAUSE HE DEFO IS

Jenny: i think chic is too small to be the black hood
too slight

Rachel: i dunno!!!
maybe you’re right
or maybe he padded himself

CC: i feel like they’ve retconned more important things

Rachel: I think he’s at least the guy who called Betty
and knew about her childhood and stuff

Jenny: maybe
idk though
i’m not sold
i think he is a whole different kind of thing
i think he was raised by those lurking nuns in that house of horrors; didn’t see daylight until he hit 18

 

 

CC: secret theory: his dad is not hal and is also a serpent

Jenny: OOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHH
not hal
good stuff

CC: probably not fp tho
i would not bet against chick being the black hood but i wouldn’t be surprised if this storyline has some more dumb plot twists to throw at us before we find out for sure anyway

Jenny: i mean honestly
i think i need some answers on that hp lovecraft/greendale shit
before i need to know what “fantasy fulfillment” means

CC: he writes dnd campaigns for people
he makes tabletop games

Jenny: YES

CC: he made the game kevin is playing
bam
done

Jenny: ties in real nice
but in all seriousness
i think madchen did a good job in this episode
w emotion

 

 

CC: my emotions!!!!!!!

Rachel: I was so messed up about that
I know I give Alice a hard time but
jeezus

Jenny: and it was nice to see betty thinking about her mother

CC: even though this was a very bad plan

Jenny: that’s true
she is still a dumb teen

CC: yeah i got the feeling that she doesn’t quite realize the layers of emotional complications
like, i see her empathizing with her mom but i think the real weak point in her plan is that she didn’t think about how chick would feel

Jenny: i mean it’s never going to work out, just trying to replace a sibling w a different sibling
but it was nice to see her defending her mom to polly

CC: but also, imo polly has p good reason not to want her mom involved in her life after all the bullshit with the nuns
even though i love alice
and even though that cult sounds like bad news
everyone is making bad choices for understandable reasons! my heart hurts for them all!!!

Jenny: well
some of the reasons are understandable
but some are not
consider:
Juniper and Dagwood
mrw

 

 

CC: juniper cooper

Jenny: juniper blossom
dagwood blossom
they’re both plants
they bloom

CC: GOD
GOD DAMN
pooolLLLLLLYYYY

Rachel: how dare she

CC: ok on another note
this blessed interaction between jug and toni

 

 

CC: jug: they’re profiling us
toni:

 

 

Jenny: jug is the dumbest dummy to ever dumb

CC: jug you just joined!!!! you convert!!!! chill out!!!!

 

 

Jenny: they have books and computers and toilets that flush
BUT ALSO
TONI
was great in this episode, like in general
see:

 

 

Jenny: Toni: come over here and put your face on my face
Cheryl: happily! happily i will do that
i mean, classism isn’t a joke, but this is the beginning of a beautiful romance

 

 

CC: my ship, for shipping this ship

Rachel: aren’t buskers just musicians that play on the street? like, that’s not an insult, I don’t think

CC: I KNOW

Jenny: also does toni play an instrument?
could be hot
bass
i could see it
french horn
final answer

Rachel: (dear riverdale writers, see above ^ )

CC: so, if y’all were a southside serpent
would you be as insulted as I’d be if somebody tried to blame me for this ugly ass graffiti?

 

 

Rachel: YES
THAT IS AN UGLY ASS SNAKE

CC: you can tell right away the serpents didn’t do this bc this snake looks dumb as hell

Rachel: like, did they see that snake that Jug drew on the dnd chalkboard???
that was sweet

 


Rachel: SO COOL

CC: sweet pea doodles it on his binder

Rachel: also, probably sweet pea’s newest tat
I could see sweet pea getting the most into his character

CC: ok what type of character do you think they would play

Jenny: jug would be a rogue i think

CC: i mean imo obvz jug = rogue, toni = cleric/mage, sweet pea = warrior

Jenny: i’d like to see toni as a druid-y type?

CC: ooooh

Jenny: could still do cleric
maybe? i think druid is a subclass of something or other (edited)
but like nature magic

Rachel: sweet pea is def a warrior
I think Fogarty would probably be a cleric
like, seems lawful good
sticks to his code, won’t bend the rules he decides to follow

Jenny: also i kind of want to see toni as an archer
i want toni to be everything
druid w a bow
for range attacks
but also strong lady arms

Rachel: helllll yeahhhh
Cheryl is the necromancer she hooks up with

Jenny: YES

CC: god of course
my weakness is that i don’t know as much about real dnd as i do about final fantasy tactics or dragon age classes LOL
but cheryl would also be a great red mage
why red mage?
aside from color scheme, they are metal as hell, like cheryl

Jenny: the guy in the back w the hair could be the bard

CC: so, ok, I just realized a major thing we haven’t talked about yet!!!!

 

 

CC: mom’s new job

Jenny: yeah
i mean
look
penelope should be able to do what she wants w her body?
but also
her choices are obviously upsetting to cheryl
so she should really have an actual conversation w her daughter
instead of this
“don’t tell me what to do” stuff she’s putting out rn

Rachel: that’s the one very consistent thing about riverdale — nobody fucking talks to anybody else

CC: yea like on one hand, get it, penelope; on the other, don’t use your new job to purposefully emotionally distress your daughter / blame her for pushing you into it if you are actually happy about this career change idk ????
i feel like penelope is v “well bc YOU SPENT OUR MONEY now i have 2 do this” and once cheryl gets the money she’s v “lol why would i stop”

Jenny: right
like cheryl wants to help fix the mistake she’s been told that she made (spending a bunch of money on christmas stuff/also maybe some of the victim-blaming that went on w the nick st clair shit??)
but then once she gets that money back
nothing actually changes, and cheryl doesn’t get any closure (edited)

Rachel: yeah I see why it’s empowering for her? it makes her feel desired and youthful and also she’s more in control of her financial situation in an ongoing way

CC: this whole town needs therapy
every family in this town needs free therapy
healthy communication workshops for everybody
“i feel” statements for all

Jenny: that’s what mayor mccoy should be doing!
instead of making up meth labs
and arresting teenagers

CC: oh no jenny it’s just jingle jangle
i can see how u would be mistaken
LOL jughead god

Jenny: it’s JUST jingle jangle
the drug that we spent half a season warning out about

CC: where on the weed-to-tide pods continuum does jingle jangle fall????

Jenny: under meth, apparently
above weed (in universe confirmation)
(when fp was like, serpents don’t deal w anything worse than weed)
but good lord
there is no internal consistency here
are we maybe ready for takeaways?

CC: ya!
my takeaway is: nice real housewives of riverdale outfit, hermione

 

 

CC: #1 outfit in the Mob Wives On A TV Show lookbook

Jenny: ooh

Rachel: yeah she’s leaning into it hard

 

 

CC: what a pair
they don’t say “i love you” out loud but they say it in aesthetic

Jenny: made for each other

Rachel: hmm my takeaway is I’M SORRY I EVER SAID SHIT ABOUT YOU MADCHEN
I just want 2 protect her

CC: LEAVE HIM……at home!!!!
welcome to team Alice & FP Bone On A Car
Team Rollercoaster of Report Mom’s Emotions

Rachel: I just want her to be safe and happy

CC: same

Jenny: SAME
you know what else i want??
THISTLEHOUSE

 

 

Jenny: as y’all know i have now actually made a pinterest board for it
and that is really my takeaway from this ep
lots of good thistlehouse content

CC: amazing

Jenny: the more i learn about this kitchen, the more complete i will be
this episode: big hanging potrack full of copper cookware
the dream, frankly

CC: i want this for you and also for me

Jenny: i think we deserve it for staying with these writers for so long

Jenny Mott

Jenny Mott

Jenny is just a Silly Nerd with a lot of Feelings about Comic Books and Friendship and also This Capitalist Yoke We All Share; she enjoys Dogs and Sleeping and Cartoons. Her three favorite words are: Breakfast All Day.
Carolynn Calabrese

Carolynn Calabrese

If you prick your finger and write “Cat Fancy” on your mirror during a harvest moon, CC will appear behind you and make you put human clothes on your pets. CC is Head Crone in Charge at POMEgranate Magazine, as well as the co-host of Moon Podcast Power MAKE UP!!
Rachel Weiss

Rachel Weiss

Rachel is a designer and artist from Texas. She is pro-feminism, pro-crones, and pro-dogs. She's also Boss Crone at POMEgranate Magazine, and one day hopes to be able to drink her tea without so much milk and sugar.
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