Riverdale season 4, episode 12 review: Men of Honor

Riverdale -- "Chapter Sixty-Nine: Men of Honor" -- Image Number: RVD412a_0243.jpg -- Pictured: Sean Depner as Bret -- Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW-- © 2020 The CW Network, LLC All Rights Reserved.
Riverdale -- "Chapter Sixty-Nine: Men of Honor" -- Image Number: RVD412a_0243.jpg -- Pictured: Sean Depner as Bret -- Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW-- © 2020 The CW Network, LLC All Rights Reserved. /

On Riverdale, Frank’s past comes back to haunt him, Betty and Alice team up for an investigation and Veronica reunites with her New York pal Katy Keene.

Riverdale delivered an action-packed episode this week with an old Army buddy of Frank’s revealing himself to be a hit man with Frank and Archie in his crosshairs, Betty and Alice trying to get to the bottom of Mr. Chipping’s “suicide” and all the other shady stuff that goes on at Stonewall and Toni teaming up with Kevin and Fangs to give an old enemy a taste of his own medicine.

Meanwhile, Veronica heads to the Big Apple for an interview at Barnard College and a shopping spree with her fashionista friend Katy Keene. Plus, Jughead and Bret go head-to-head in a series of challenges.

Here’s a look at what went down in “Men of Honor.”

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Riverdale — “Chapter Sixty-Nine: Men of Honor” — Image Number: RVD412a_0262.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Lili Reinhart as Betty and Sean Depner as Bret — Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW– © 2020 The CW Network, LLC All Rights Reserved. /

Who’s the real Big Bad?

With Jug’s death (if he’s really dead, that is) on the horizon, Bret, the obnoxious, preppy jerk who really has it out for Jug, has seemed the obvious culprit, assuming that Betty isn’t, of course. But this week, Riverdale threw yet another curveball. What if Bret isn’t actually as big a threat as another Stonewall lifer — namely, Donna.

She’s never been the menace that Bret is, but maybe that’s why she’s dangerous. It’s certainly why she’s suspicious. She’s been relatively friendly to Jug (for no clear reason) to the point that Jug chooses her as his “second” for his duel with Bret. And, after round 2, when everyone starts being straight-up hostile to Jug for besting Bret, she makes a point of saying that she’s still his friend. No offense, Jug, but if that doesn’t scream ulterior motive, I don’t know what does.

What ultimately convinces Betty and Jug that she might be up to something is Donna’s Quill & Skull confession tape. Remember when she told Betty that she had an affair with Mr. Chipping and he got “aggressive” when she tried to break it off? Well, in this taped confession, she says that exact same thing, word for word, except she accuses a different teacher… who doesn’t exist.

So what’s Donna’s endgame here? Jughead’s death? If so, why? Plus, if Jug and Betty are onto her this early, how does she manage to kill Jug? Or is his “death” an elaborate ruse concocted by Betty and Jug to expose Donna? Fingers crossed it’s the latter.

Who leaves town?

"“Sometimes people just need a chance to get things right.”"

As Legacies fans may remember, Landon Kirby said that in an episode of the CW fantasy drama a few weeks back. Landon wasn’t referring to a Riverdale character obviously, but I think his quote applies to Uncle Frank quite well.

Frank has made his share of mistakes, and he has the chance to finally face his demons this week when his old life as a mercenary comes back to bite him, or rather knife him. Ultimately, his friend-turned-would-be-assassin Ted is prevented from “tying up lose ends” for the security company that hired them back in the day thanks to some good thinking on Archie’s part. He turns to FP for help.

I never thought I would say this but S/O to Archie for actually making a lot of good decisions lately. He’s on a roll, and I’m here it.

Unfortunately, Frank has not taken Archie’s lead. When FP turns Ted over to the feds, he tells Archie that they’re looking for Frank. Archie encourages Frank to do the right thing and turn himself in, but he knows deep down that Frank won’t listen to him. And he’s right.


Who comes back to town?

The worst possible person: Nick St. Clair. And he even shows up at The Maple Club, hoping to throw a party for himself and his fellow Harvard-bound bros. Cheryl later explains to Toni what Nick did to her sophomore year and that she thought she’d “worked through it” but seeing him again was triggering. Toni says that she went through something similar before she came to Riverdale, and that with time and “a lot of help,” she was able to work through it.

Hopefully, we’ll see Toni and Cheryl working on mental health together moving forward. Riverdale was been notoriously poor at having characters work through their trauma, Cheryl especially. Also, are we ever going to get the backstory on Toni we were promised this season?

Anyway, for the moment, Toni decides there is at least one thing she can for Cheryl: revenge porn… sort of. She drugs Nick at the party and films a video of Kevin and Fangs tickling him in bed. Then, she uses it to blackmail Nick into never thinking about Cheryl again and never sexually assaulting anyone ever again. Otherwise, she’ll release the tape and “ruin” him.

This felt like a rather immature way to address such a serious topic, but it was very on-brand Riverdale. I’ll give it that.

Who’s sick?

I never thought I’d reference a father and daughter in this way, but there’s been a new development in the never-ending “will they or won’t actually cut ties” drama that defines Veronica and Hiram’s relationship.

When Hermione tearfully tells Veronica that Hiram’s been diagnosed with a neuromuscular disorder that will weaken him (and maybe worse), Veronica decides she’s Team Lodge again. She excitedly tells her parents about her acceptance into Barnard, making sure they clear their schedules for move-in day, and pointedly refers to herself as Veronica Lodge.

If the preview for next week’s episode is any indication, this decision will naturally send her into a self-destructive tailspin.

Next. 20 most shocking Riverdale moments. dark

Plus, here’s the real kicker: what if Hiram is actually faking? He’s certainly done things just as insane, cruel and manipulative to bring V back into the fold. And if he is faking, when will Veronica finally, truly decide that enough is enough?