10:00 pm EST, December 12, 2018

‘Riverdale’ mid-season finale review: Bow down to the Gargoyle King

By Kendra Cleary | Edited by Karen Rought

The Riverdale mid-season finale for season 3 was as packed with drama as Archie’s stomach is with abs!

With Betty singing the praises of the Gargoyle King, Fizzle Rocks spreading rapidly and Archie and Jughead desperate for a safe place to hide, the stage was perfectly set for an amazing Riverdale mid-season finale. So, did the episode live up to its potential? Check out our review, and then let us know what you thought in the comments!

‘Riverdale’ mid-season finale review

After Hiram Lodge nearly caught Archie and Jughead at their last hideout, they needed to seek refuge with someone they could trust. Lucky for us, that led them to Toledo, where we finally got to meet the rest of the Jones family.

Gladys Jones seems like a very complicated woman, and I have a feeling we’ve only just begun to unpack who she is, who she’s been, and how she fits into the lives of F.P. and Jughead. She obviously cares deeply for her children and wants to protect them, but she may have some questionable methods for achieving that.

It’s possible that she even went so far as to kill Penny! Penny has definitely been a poisonous thorn in Jughead’s side for a while on Riverdale, but it didn’t really seem like Gladys had cause to take such drastic measures. I’m guessing Penny’s actually still alive and just scared off for the time being. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of her.

riverdale season 3, jellybean jones

The one missing thing from the Jones reunion was a conversation between Jughead and Jellybean. How great would it have been to see Jughead step into his role as big brother in the Riverdale mid-season finale? These two share parents with some serious baggage, and even though siblings often get on each other’s nerves, nobody quite understands a kid’s particular brand of trauma like their brother or sister. Hopefully we’ll see some more of Jellybean so we can witness some serious sibling bonding soon.

Not to be left out, F.P. even made an appearance in the Jones reunion. I have to say, although I’ve loved seeing the “hot dads club” kick ass in the town of Riverdale, it was kind of awesome to just see F.P. and Fred be great dads in this episode. It was a much needed reminder that not all of the parents in this show have ridiculously questionable motives.

We’ve been waiting forever to see Fred Andrews get his son back, and it finally happened in the mid-season finale. Obviously it was one of the best and most heartwarming moments of the episode, but unfortunately, their reunion was far too short-lived.

How could Fred just let Archie trot off into the woods? Archie clearly believes that he’s somehow the center of the tragedy whirlpool that Riverdale is currently caught up in, but the adults should be able to see that his complex is not founded. He thinks he’s doing the noble thing, but in reality, he’s just taking off while everyone he cares about is left to deal with some seriously messed up shit.

Like his girlfriend, for example. Okay fine, ex-girlfriend! Veronica has been taking subtle stands against her father for the entirety of Riverdale season 3, but everything came to a head in the mid-season finale.

Once Betty tipped Veronica off about Hiram’s dealings as the “Man in Black,” she’d heard everything she needed to. After the Vixens all fell together, it was great to see Cheryl and Ronnie team up. While I don’t see these two characters being besties any time soon, it’s always special when they combine their collective spunk.

It was also really cool to see Betty and Ethel team up to get everyone out of Sisters of Quiet Mercy. I continue to be amazed by Betty’s resilience, week after week. I have to admit, I was a little afraid after she “met” the Gargoyle King in the last episode, but she used her hardship to discover the truth, in classic Betty fashion.

It’s clear that she’s still wrestling with her past trauma, but she’s still the cool, caring, level-headed Betty that we’ve loved since Riverdale season 1. Instead of being trampled by her tragedies, she’s armed herself with them and become stronger. She’s very quickly becoming my favorite character to watch.

riverdale, betty cooper, ethel

Betty and Ethel were victorious in their quest to free their fellow captives, but although Veronica discovered her father’s crimes and Cheryl successfully syrup-ed Penelope, they had too little proof and even less time to save Riverdale. Hermione had already made the call to get the town quarantined, although it looked like it almost broke her to do it. I can’t wait to see how she proceeds in the rest of Riverdale season 3, because right now, I have no idea what she’s up to.

Hiram, obviously, was much happier with the result. Frankly, I was shocked when he lifted his glass to the Gargoyle King, because it was only growing more obvious that he, himself, was the King. However, there’s always the possibility that he was hallucinating or that he was actually toasting his own Gargoyle King costume, so I’m not reading too much into that mid-season finale reveal yet. I would definitely be happy if they switched things up on us, though, and the Gargoyle King was someone that we’d never suspect!

Whoever the King is, it looks like they’ve successfully cordoned off their kingdom. Riverdale is locked in with F.P. and Jughead on the outside. I guess Cheryl and Toni will just have to stay snuggled in their bed until things get better, right? *squeal* I’m so glad those two finally got their ship moment and some screen time and I can’t wait to see what they, and everyone else, are up to when Riverdale returns.

What surprised you most in the ‘Riverdale’ mid-season finale?

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