Welcome back to my weekly Riverdale recaps! You can find all of my previous recaps for the show here.
“The Outsiders” felt more like a transitional episode that stopped to sort out everyone’s feelings about certain situations, but left out other aspects and developments. For example, Valerie and Archie… are they a couple now? What’s happening with them? It’s implied, but with Archie, one can never be too sure. What’s going on with Josie and her parents? It had good moments and character development, but there was a bit of occasional lagging and the episode didn’t always maintain its energy.
It was all about the blood feuds and betrayals in this week’s Riverdale. The focus was very much on making right the wrongs of the past as the Coopers and Blossoms tangled with each other over Polly and her baby. Elsewhere, F.P. helped Fred out by having the Serpents come work for him temporarily as a show of good will for Fred taking Jughead in. Archie, meaning to help by leaping headfirst into (usually wrong) conclusions, tells his dad that because the construction site is his legacy, Archie is a part of that legacy by extension. It belongs to him and he wants to honor that. It’s a nice sentiment in an episode riddled with family history that isn’t as easy to contend with.
It’s all about the sins of the parents. Their issues hover over the choices and lives of their offspring. Polly is still unable to forgive her mother and father for sending her away and is offered shelter and money from the Blossoms, who had only wanted the baby and not her. However, now they’re singing a different tune (and it’s suspect). Alice tries to make amends, but her hatred of the Blossoms gets in the way. When it’s discovered that Hal orchestrated for Polly to get rid of the baby without telling Alice, she’s furious and their relationship, which is full of anger and boiling hatred over past issues, is practically shattered when she kicks him out of the house to ensure Polly feels safe and wanted. But Polly rejects her legacy and it’s almost like a punch to the gut and a major betrayal when she chooses to go live with the Blossoms instead.
Jughead, on the other head, chooses to ignore his legacy as the son of the Serpent gang leader. He’s ashamed of his father in a way that has him hiding F.P.’s ties to the Serpents from Archie and Betty. But Jughead, feeling the love and trust from his best friend and girlfriend, allows himself to break free from his lie. The differences in parenting is most obvious here because, while Archie embraces his dad’s legacy, everyone else is shying away from theirs, not proud of their parents’ mistakes. Betty, who has criticized her mother for being controlling from day one and has pushed her away, is now pulling Alice back in after feeling the sting of Polly’s actions. I quite like the way the dynamic is playing out and am grateful that Alice is getting to show more of her vulnerable side. But I do find it fascinating that Alice doesn’t seem to mind that Betty is dating Jughead, which is strange considering how much of her daughters’ lives she’s wanted to control before.
While there was a lot that was happening, it didn’t always pull you in. With exception to the Polly storyline, “The Outsiders” lacked a bit of momentum. The Jason mystery didn’t progress too much either, but it’s nice that the show took a bit of a break to focus on moving other characters forward. It did feel like many other characters, like Veronica, were wasted on trivial matters and weren’t a more active part of the plot. The show has a lot of characters to handle each week, but it has proved that it’s capable of balancing all of them in a way that works and this episode neglected some of them in a way that was very noticeable.