Cheryl quit the rum business, the FBI raided the Scarlett Suite, and the tickle business was shut down on Riverdale Season 4 Episode 18.
Below, TV Fanatics Meaghan Frey, Jasmine Peterson, and Becca Newton debate Betty and Archie exploring their feelings, Ethel's potential role with the VHS tapes, and the possibility of Veronica finding out the truth about Hiram killing a Malloy.
Betty and Archie met up for secret meetings in the bunker to explore their feelings. Share your thoughts on their short whirlwind debate.
Meaghan: As I said in last week's round table, I am all for #Barchie giving it a go!
I found it funny that they were debating on what to do about their feelings/attraction without even realizing that the mere act of them meeting in the bunker to discuss this was saying a lot.
You don't go to a secret bunker to meet up with your best friend and talk about what you're going to do about the fact that you kissed each other because you don't want it to happen again.
Jasmine: You're right, Meaghan. They already were in the thick of it with that alone.
I mean, they were trying to have a measured, mature discussion about this instead of jumping in and acting, and I suppose it was a better way of doing it that didn't make them instantly unlikable for being "cheaters."
But, I do wonder how many times they're going to pull this out and leave it lingering between them unaddressed. It feels like Riverdale likes the idea of teasing the idea of them than actually digging deep into exploring them.
Becca: Archie was ready for an affair, and I am reminded of why I don’t ship him with anyone.
He moves from one girl to the next without batting an eye. He’s fine with cheating and pursuing inappropriate relationships. He would’ve cheated on Josie with Veronica on Riverdale Season 3 if Veronica hadn’t stopped it. He let Cheryl, who he was obliging because of the rewards the Blossoms promised, kiss him while he was seeing Val.
There was his student-teacher romance with Grundy, and he cared more about getting into Farm Girl’s pants than he did about not getting caught while he was a fugitive on the run. Now, there's this thing with Betty.
Whenever I see Archie pursuing or with someone romantically, I don’t see someone who’s in love. I see someone who deludes himself into thinking what he feels is love and then uses it as a justification to treat his girlfriends, friends, and family horribly.
That has been consistent with Archie's characterization from the beginning.
Cheryl believed Betty's feelings for Archie were made from a fantasy she built up over the years. Was she right, or was Betty truly in love with Archie?
Meaghan: I'm torn on this one. If Archie was someone who Betty had barely had any interaction with over the years and thought that she was in love with him, then I would 100% agree with Cheryl, but Archie and Betty have been best friends most of their lives. Betty knows Archie better than almost anyone and has felt for years like she had these feelings for him.
I do think that some part of it was the fantasy of the boy next door, but I do think that she genuinely has always had feelings for him as well.
Jasmine: I often resent this notion that comfort and safety are instantly "bad" and not valid in any way. Like comfort, familiarity, and all of that somehow invalidates "real love," and that's sort of what was being toyed with here.
"Is it love, or is it just familiarity, safety, and comfort?" To which, I say, "why can't it be all of it?"
As Meaghan said, Archie and Betty know each other, deeply, good, bad, and ugly, so Betty doesn't have any fantasy version of Archie where that fantasy doesn't match up with the reality. She wasn't pining after a boy she never knew close up and personal. He has been her best friend for their entire life, so "fantasy" doesn't work here for me.
They're around each other damn near every day. They've experienced unspeakable, life-altering things together. I don't doubt that Betty was and maybe still is in love with Archie and has been her entire life, and Cheryl isn't the most equipped to dole out love advice herself.
Betty: I think a part of me has been in love with Archie for 10 years, Cheryl.
Cheryl: False. You’ve been in love with the idea of Archie. The idea of the perfect romance. That wasn’t real, that was fantasy. In this town of nightmares, you and Jughead found each other. That’s real. That’s maybe even, dare I say, endgame? Who knows?
Becca: Cheryl was right! Besides creating buzz and an excuse to blow up the romantic and friendship dynamics among Betty, Jughead, Veronica, and Archie, the Riverdale writers derailed Betty’s character to make her go through a character arc she already went through.
Reggie wanted to start his own tickle business to cut Terry out of the profits. Would the business have worked out had Mr. Honey not shut it down?
Meaghan: Why is this tickling storyline still a thing!? I almost forgot about it because it was so ridiculous of a concept that I wanted to put it out of my memory.
I do think that if Terry managed to find a customer for this particular fetish, then Reggie and Kevin would have been able to as well and make bank off of it. Seriously, though, now that Mr. Honey shut it down, can this storyline please be laid to rest and give Kevin an actual interesting storyline to work with?
Either that or move him over to Katy Keene permanently because his storyline on one episode of that was better than almost any storyline that he has gotten in the history of Riverdale.
Jasmine: I, too, forgot about the tickling storyline and must have blocked it out of my stream of consciousness while focusing on all the other more important storylines. It's absurd, and it's a classic case of giving a throwaway storyline to all the characters that they rarely bother to use much.
Reggie is a shockingly good salesman and hustler, so yeah, I think the business would have worked. If it was working all this time, why not?
Terry: You’ve been a naughty boy, Kevin.
Terry: You lied to me. You weren’t getting out of the tickle business; you were setting up your own shop.
Kevin: We don’t want to make trouble.
Terry: You already did.
Becca: Since this is the show where high schoolers can have a thriving rum business, why not. When you consider what it takes to get those types of operations up and running, I find it more believable for high schoolers to be successful from making fetish videos than from making and selling rum.
Terry and his thugs came off as a nuisance Reggie and the others could easily handle.
Hiram killed one of the Malloys as retribution for being beaten up. Will Veronica find out about him falling back into bad habits?
Meaghan: This is Riverdale; OF COURSE she is going to find out. The real question is how she will react.
Will she be upset because her daddy dearest hasn't even remotely turned over a new leaf? Or, will she cut him some slack because the guy was threatening her and Cheryl?
Veronica has been heading down a dark path following in Hiram's footsteps for a long time, so I feel like it will be the latter.
Veronica: What happened when you spared that Malloy troll, you said it revealed that you were weak. But I think it did the exact opposite. It took strength for you to not go back to your old habits and I’m proud of you for it.
[Flash of Hiram killing the Malloy leader]
Veronica: It showed me that you have finally and truly turned over a new leaf.
Hiram: I have, Miha. And might I add, it’s a pleasure doing business with you again.
Jasmine: Veronica finding out is inevitable, and then her relationship with her father will implode again, and then they'll have that weird cross between animosity and inexplicable, disturbing sexual tension. Also, this is The Lodges.
But yeah, it could be that she accepts that Hiram was trying to protect her and Cheryl, and in a twisted way, it'll bring them even closer together.
Becca: Yes, I think Veronica will find out, but whether she’ll be upset about it is harder to predict.
Veronica turns a blind eye to most of Hiram’s bad behavior. Even if Veronica is upset over the Malloys, I don’t foresee the wedge between her and Hiram lasting for long.
After she finds out about the Betty and Archie kiss, I think Veronica will fully align with Hiram because she’ll believe he’s the only one left in her life who cares about her.
The video store owner claims that people sell him tapes to place in the Scarlett Suite. What footage throughout Riverdale's 4-season run do you think has made it to the back room?
Meaghan: Oh god, the secrets that room probably could tell! I'm sure there are plenty of videos from La Bonne Nuit because the creeps thrive in Riverdale.
I wouldn't be surprised if some video footage of Archie and Miss Grundy is there too. The two weren't exactly great about being covert during their affair.
Jasmine: Oh man, there is so much stuff that could be there. I can't even begin to scratch the surface of it.
Oh boy, definitely some Archie and Miss Grundy. Archie probably has his own "The Best of Red" shelf at the Scarlet Suite.
Someone has a side-hustle of capturing everything that's happened and selling it. Maybe some quality content from The Farm? Serpent initiation snake dances? The Hood kink? The possibilities are endless.
Becca: Anything seems fair game. I smell a premise for a clip show episode.
Ethel swears that she didn't create the tapes and that she didn't watch Jughead/Betty's sex tape. Do you believe her story?
Meaghan: I completely believe her. Ethel has made a lot of mistakes in the past, but she is always working for someone else. If anything, Ethel is helping the real culprit.
As has been pointed out in this round table in the past, it is most likely Charles and Chic behind this, so it wouldn't necessarily be too surprising.
Jasmine: Yup. Ethel has always been used as the ultimate red herring whenever something creepy happens, and she's never leading anything either. She's no mastermind. And yeah, still in the Charles and Chip train.
Becca: I believe she didn't create the tapes. I'm on the fence about whether she watched, but I also think it won't matter in the grand scheme of things if she did or didn't.
I’m just trying to keep my head down and make it out of Riverdale in one piece. I didn’t make any tape.Ethel
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Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.