Riverdale‘s ‘House of The Devil’ episode caused much discussion amongst fans of the series, myself included, with many becoming concerned about a certain scene and the overall direction the series is taking. Last week on Riverdale, we saw three stories intertwine with Jughead and Archie delivering a package, Betty and Veronica investigating Sheriff Keller, and Josie being stalked.
The episode kicks off with Jughead narrating the hormone-fuelled lives of Veronica and Archie. According to Jughead, apparently being a horny teenager is how you rebel against the Black Hood. Except things take a turn when Archie says “I love you” post-activity in front of a roaring fire, which makes things awkward and so he makes a quick exit.
Luckily, Betty and Jughead announce that FP is being released from prison and ask Archie and Veronica to take over their investigation into the Riverdale Reaper, and this allows them to focus on this rather than those three little words. Jughead and Betty also learned that the house where the Reapers murders took place is where the Black Hood sent Betty.
Meanwhile, Cheryl gives Josie a massage in the locker room when the janitor, Mr Svenson, barges in without knocking. Sure enough, Cheryl yells at him for being a creepy—he’s not the only creep here Cheryl.
At Veronica’s, her parents tell her someone has sent them a threatening letter, although others have also received it. Hermione tells Veronica to keep Archie close because “he’s brawny and devoted to you.” (Um, Hermione? Are you implying that you’re willing to let Archie die to protect V?). Regardless, she invites him over and dodges the L-word conversation by throwing themselves into the investigation—but first, let’s get frisky. The pair also look to their parents for guidance—Hermione says perhaps she’s not ready to hear it and that’s why she can’t say it back while Fred says it’s not a big deal and to give it time.
Betty asks to borrow the car so they can pick up FP from prison, but Alice refuses and instead takes Betty and Jughead. They pick him up and she asks FP whether it’s true that men released from prison are “incredibly sexually frustrated.” (Are we really talking about FP here, Alice?)
At Pop’s, the four of them eat when FP reveals he’s in AA and done with the Serpent life, plus he’s applying for a job at Pop’s. Jughead and FP then go for a ride and FP tells Jughead to get out of Riverdale and live a good life, but Jughead explains he survived the gauntlet and wants to remain a Serpent. FP isn’t pleased with this and then asks Jughead to never stop writing, to which he promises. Later on, Penny calls Jughead and meets with her to say he’s done, but she threatens Betty as she is Jughead’s weakness.
FP starts his new job when Cheryl pushed her milkshake onto the ground and forces him to clean it up. Jughead is upset because his dad used to be king, so Betty decides to throw him a “retirement” party. During her planning, she asks Toni about becoming a Serpent (or rather, Serpent adjacent) and she learns it’s worse for girls. Basically, the female equivalent of the gauntlet is a striptease and Toni tells her that they’ve tried to remove it, but it hasn’t happened yet.
Meanwhile, Archie and Veronica go to Sheriff Keller for the case files on the Riverdale Reaper, however, the previous and deceased Sheriff took them home. Upon calling his daughter, she tells them that her father spent his life obsessed with the murders and visited the “devil’s house” regularly.
They decide to visit the house at night and read the newspaper article about the murders to piece together what happened. It takes only a few minutes and Veronica has miraculously beaten the Sheriff and discovered there’s three sets of initials on a door frame to measure the height of children. They realise there were three children, but the Reaper only killed two and discover the Sheriff’s case files in the house.
The discover Joseph Conway, the surviving child, changed his name when he was adopted. Since he attended Riverdale, they compare the photo of the Conway’s to old yearbooks and it turns out to be Svenson the janitor. They confront him and he says the following day after the murders, he identified the man and a group of guys killed him, or so he says. Veronica becomes very worked up, but Archie reassures her as Svenson isn’t the Hood. However, at the end of the episode, Svenson is looking at a photo of a group of men who we don’t know just yet.
Prior to the party, Alice drops by Pop’s to yell at FP about Betty organising his party and he says she should come to “supervise”. Alice responds saying Hal would never come, to which he says, “then leave him….at home.” That very long pause makes us all very excited to learn exactly what history is between them!
When it’s time for FP’s party, the Cooper women enter and steal the show. Betty ditches her iconic ponytail and Alice goes full Serpent in all black clothing and dark make-up. Jughead greets the two of them and compliments Betty, though Alice thinks it’s for her and it’s both a hilarious and cute moment.
Veronica realises that she probably can’t say those three little words because she’s never heard her parents say it, but he tells her it’s fine even though he hopes she will. So when she doesn’t, he’s not happy. With things awkward, they get on stage to sing “Mad World” and halfway through, she storms off and he goes after her.
Now here comes the questionable scene.
Betty takes over from the pair, and instead of just singing, she starts stripping. Clad in lingerie, she takes to the pole in a room full of adult strangers, her boyfriend and his father, and her mother. Quick reminder: Betty is sixteen.
Nobody pulls her off stage, and we all half-expected Alice to storm up there. At the end, FP puts his jacket around her and escorts her off. He then makes a speech about how he’s not leaving the Serpents, which Jughead is upset by. When FP pulls him in for a hug, he tells him that Jughead broke his heart when he asked for a favour for Penny. FP says now he’s in, so Jughead is out.
Outside, Jughead realises his dad was on the right path until he messed it up, and he says he can’t ruin Betty’s life too. He breaks up with Betty without explanation leaving both of them upset. Veronica also tells Archie that they shouldn’t be together so when she gets in the car to go home, it seems like they just broke up.
At the end, Jughead’s narration talks about “feelings that had long been buried” shaking loose, and we see Archie stare out his window at Betty. Jughead says Archie sees Betty, “as if for the first time.” The two make eye contact causing Archie to smile.
This episode was good until Betty’s striptease and FP rejoined the Serpents. I personally think that Betty should not have done that as it really doesn’t help paint a great picture to younger girls, and perhaps she should have been reprimanded more in order to make the scene a little more justifiable. However, it also looks like Barchie might be on the rise—do we hear cheers or sighs?
What did you think of ‘House of the Devil’? Did you like seeing FP again? Sound off in the comments below!