Riverdale season 3, episode 10 review: The Stranger


On tonight’s Riverdale, the kids suddenly care about academics, the Gargoyle King is finally revealed and Betty is forced to pay Hal a visit.

How is it that Riverdale seems more outlandish when it actually focus on academics? Despite the fact that no one aside from Betty has ever shown any concern about their school work, the kids are suddenly ready to take the SATs in this week’s episode. To be fair, it is their junior year, so they don’t have much of a choice if they want to go to college.

Archie is really up a creek in that regard. After being in juvie and in Canada for months, he’s shocked to learn that can’t just pick up where he left off with his studies or with Veronica.

Meanwhile, the Gargoyle King is finally unmasked, Betty is forced to visit Hal in prison and someone gets shot. Here’s a look at what went down in “The Stranger.”

So the kids actually care about school?

It is a proud tradition of the teen drama to hint just enough that the characters are still high school students, so it can completely disregard that fact 85 percent of the time. Riverdale, on the hand, has focused so little on academics since season one that this week’s deep dive into SAT and college tuition woes feels absurdly out of left field, especially Archie’s storyline.

He really thought he wouldn’t have to repeat junior year (after missing months of school) and could just wing the SATs? Fred definitely should have tried to adjust Archie’s expectations, and he needs to get Archie into therapy ASAP. Boxing and alcohol is not therapy!

Understandably, Archie has severe PTSD after being hunted by Hiram for so long. Fred is one of Riverdale‘s best dads, but he needs to step up even more if he wants to help Archie.

R.I.P. Varchie

Veronica and Archie officially call it quits in this week’s episode. In the end, the deciding factor is… you guessed it, Hiram.

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Almost immediately, Veronica and Reggie notice that Archie has changed. Veronica still isn’t ready to give up on him, though, even after Reggie expresses concern about how Archie is treating her. After getting a Hiram flashback, Archie walks out on the “study/welcome home party” that Veronica throws for him. Adding insult to injury, she was serenading him at the time.

When Reggie accidentally let’s slip that he and Veronica had gotten together, Archie and Veronica almost talk about where they stand. But since it’s the night before the SATs, they decide to table the discussion… and study. Psych. They hook up, as per usual.

Archie has another flashback during the SATs and walks out. Veronica tries to go after him until the proctor informs her that she would be forfeiting the test, too.

When they next meet, Hiram is in the hospital, recovering from a gunshot wound. (Yeah, unfortunately, he doesn’t die.) Veronica is quite understandably suspicious of Archie, which shocks him. He denies being the shooter, but Veronica doesn’t know if she can believe him. Archie finally admits the reality that neither of them have wanted to face: Varchie is over.

Alice hits a new low

When your ex-husband is a convicted serial killer, it really should not be hard to be the better parent. After all, the bar has been set so low. And yet, by the end of tonight’s episode, Betty is venting to Hal about Alice’s poor parenting skills.

Alice illegally drains Betty’s bank accounts (including the one for her college tuition) by forging Hal’s signature and transfers the funds to The Farm. Betty’s only recourse is to ask Hal to sign an affidavit, but he cruelly plays his daughter.

Though he eventually signs the affidavit, he leads Betty down an investigatory rabbit hole by feeding her false intel in order to keep her coming back for visits. Betty is furious when she realizes what he’s done, but Alice manages to outdo even his nefariousness when she guarantees Betty won’t get her money back.

She uses Betty’s funds to buy The Sisters’ property for The Farm’s new headquarters, and Betty finds herself with only her father to turn to for comfort and reassurance. What could possibly go wrong there?

Who’s the Gargoyle King and who’s the new sheriff?

In a twist that no one saw coming, Tall Boy is not only still alive but also the Gargoyle King! Of course, now he’s neither. The Serpents trap and interrogate him, but Sweet Pea and Fangs accidentally kill him when he tries to escape.

The boys freak out about getting caught, so Jug decides to throw a party to distract everyone. Naturally, an unexpected visitor arrives: the new sheriff. But it’s not Claudius Blossom, who Hiram had tried to force Hermione to appoint. By the end of the episode, Claudius is also dead.

The new sheriff is none other than FP Jones. With Hiram out of commission in the hospital, Hermione appoints FP, and it seems that they’d been planning the power play for a while. Did one of them shoot Hiram?

Riverdale Randomness

  • Reggie and Veronica’s relationship is rooted more in friendship that Archie and Veronica’s ever was and that’s a major plus.
  • How big of a role will Hal play in the back half of season three now that he and Betty are reconnecting?
  • Will Alice ever get of her obsession with The Farm?
  • Did Archie shoot Hiram? Based on the promo, he’ll be holding him at gunpoint in the hospital. Is he trying to finish the job?

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Riverdale will return for another episode on Wednesday, Jan. 30, at 8:00 p.m. ET on The CW.