With only three episodes left in this season of Riverdale, the pieces weren’t quite in place before this episode. That’s what last night was all about. Getting everyone where they need to be. These kinds of episodes are necessary, but when done as plainly as this, it comes off just a bit awkward. After last week’s cliffhanger, Jughead and FP run home to find Jelly Bean gone and a note left behind inviting them to a round of Griffins and Gargoyles. How they play will determine whether Jelly Bean comes home or not. Jughead is very pointed in telling Gladys who kidnapped her daughter. It appears adopting the Gargoyles as her own gang had consequences she didn’t foresee. When the three of them are forced to play the game, she is told to divulge a secret. At Jughead’s insistence she reveals to FP that she’s the new Fizzle Rocks dealer in town. FP isn’t happy to hear that. Which means her operation is about to get more complicated.The game goes to some uncomfortable places too. Their next quest is to rob Pop’s and bring back the money. The Gargoyles get the money, they release Jelly Bean. This scene is tonally… strange. The music and comedic banter beforehand implies the show thinks what’s happening is much cooler than it is. It is realistic that the family would joke a bit to lighten the tension, but the tone of this storyline is all over the place as it is. It’s deadly serious, but revolves around a game of dollar store Dungeons and Dragons. This scene is played like a bumbling heist comedy, but they’re targeting a place that holds a lot of meaning for the characters on this show. It’s also a bad idea from the start. Pop’s just had an attempted murder last season. Of course he has a shotgun behind the counter now, and he’s ready to use it. ‘Riverdale’ Season 4 Trailer Toasts to a Mysterious Senior YearSDCC 2019: ‘Riverdale’ Cast Spills Details on Core ‘Mystery’ for Season 4 Draw your swords. #Riverdale starts NOW on The CW! pic.twitter.com/SO7zjUmln8— Riverdale (@CW_Riverdale) April 25, 2019This was the biggest story of the episode and it just kind of fizzled out here. It had exciting, ridiculous moments, but I had to wonder what the point of any of this was. It didn’t move the Gargoyle King mystery forward in any appreciable way. Its only purpose appears to be to get Gladys out of the way so we don’t have to deal with that loose plot thread for the season’s final three episodes. The way this story ended was also super lame. Half a season of power games between mother and son end with a meek forced confession and FP promising to be real mad about it later. Talk about underwhelming.Meanwhile, oh great. Someone’s accusing Archie of murder again. That storyline worked out so well at the beginning of this season. This time he’s accused of killing Randy Ronson in the ring. He tries telling the doctor about the drugs Randy was on, but Elio denies it. To make things worse, the police are raiding both gyms involved in the fight. So this is where that detour about Mad Dog giving Archie drugs last week was going. I still maintain that it didn’t work in the moment. Introducing a plot thread and forgetting about it instantly doesn’t really get better when you remember it the following week. And of course, Archie kept the drugs. Because he’s a dumbass. Archie’s stupidity is endearing at times. This is not one of those times. Just a little jog in the storm. #Riverdale pic.twitter.com/MLYHPYK0ZO— Riverdale (@CW_Riverdale) April 25, 2019Fortunately they have Veronica on their side. In addition to diner server and speakeasy owner, she’s apparently now a lawyer/publicist/fixer. She drug tests both Mad Dog and Archie, and publicly announces the results (they’re negative, of course). The Ronsons show up real angry and Archie lets them slap him and apologizes for Randy’s death. Because the boy apparently just loves getting himself in legal trouble. God, law offices must board the doors and windows when they see this kid walking by. Not that it ever comes to that. The story soon switches to Elio denying the Ronson family insurance money. So Archie gets his prize money and gives it to them. Veronica also turns Josie’s performance into a benefit for the family. It’s an awfully convenient way to end this. I’d be more annoyed about that, but I definitely don’t want another Archie Andrews murder trial.He almost quits boxing, but Veronica convinces him to get back in the ring. Because her desire to see shirtless boys outweighs the fact that we’re all pretty much over this story. I’m guessing the show needs him to continue boxing for whatever’s coming in the next three episodes. Elio and Hiram meet in the steam room. Just two heterosexual men talking about heterosexual things while naked and glistening. Anyway, nobody’s coming to Elio’s gym ever since the whole death thing. He needs to get back and Archie. And Hiram is on board with that plan despite their truce. Turns out he knows that Archie was there to kill him the night he inadvertently saved his life in the hospital. Who knows what they have planned, but it’ll probably involve more boxing. Thank you, Season 3. And goodnight #riverdale pic.twitter.com/xhZekdh90l— Ashleigh Murray (@iamamurray) April 25, 2019The only good thing to come out of this story was Josie finally getting any semblance of an arc to herself. Unfortunately, it’s in service of saying goodbye, because that’s just how this goes. As soon as a show realizes it needs a character’s exit to mean something they cram a whole arc into part of an episode. So Josie’s dad is performing nearby and she wants to go on tour with him. She invites him to see her perform at the speakeasy. He almost doesn’t make it, but shows up at the last minute. He invites her on tour with him and she goes. Translation: She’s going to be in a spinoff series. Her and Archie’s relationship ends the way we all thought it would, and I’m genuinely looking forward to her next show. Here’s hoping it has more time for her.The most interesting story also gets the least amount of screen time. At this point, I’m only mildly interested in the Gargoyle King storyline, and view whatever’s going on with Archie as obligatory filler. The comics line is named after him, so he has to have something to do. Betty versus an increasingly creepy cult on the other hand makes for consistently good TV. And boy does it get creepy in this episode. She decides to look into Evelyn Evernever’s file. She digs into her past and finds that she’s been enrolling in different schools as a junior every year. She asks an investigator to check that out, and we learn something very interesting, about her. “Evelyn is much older than she appears. 26 to be exact,” the investigator says. OK sure, but isn’t everybody on this show?Lili Reinhart as Betty — Photo: Shane Harvey/The CWJokes aside, it turns out Evelyn is actually Edgar’s wife, not his daughter. They move from town to town, Edgar recruiting the adults into the cult and Evelyn works on the kids. Things get even scarier when Betty tries to kidnap her niece back from the Farmies. She enlists Toni to help, but Toni has been sucked into the cult too. She leads Betty to a room where the entire farm is waiting. Once again, she tries confronting her mom with the truth, and once again it has no effect. Alice knows Evelyn is Edgar’s wife and is perfectly happy sharing him. Yeah, all kinds of alarm bells should be going off now. At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if the FBI shows up in the season finale and burns the farm to the ground.There were definitely enjoyable moments in this episode, but none of the conclusions felt like they had any real weight. Archie starts boxing again for… reasons. Jughead and FP just let Gladys go into hiding. Even after the shock Betty receives, we don’t here anything more about the farm. Instead, the episode tries to cram one more in there. Betty’s dad, while being transferred to the new prison, died in a traffic accident. It feels so tacked on it’s hard to even feel shock. Clearly this is setting up for some big conspiracy to come, but until we see what that is, this is just another out-of-nowhere ending to a storyline that didn’t need it. If I know Riverdale though, this all has to be in service of something. I always hold out hope for things to get wonderfully weird as we approach the finale.Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.Previously on Riverdale:Riverdale Season 3 Episode 18 RecapRiverdale Season 3 Episode 17 RecapRiverdale Season 3 Episode 16 Recap Stay on target It’s getting tense during family game night. #Riverdale pic.twitter.com/pgzsDAXcjn— Riverdale (@CW_Riverdale) April 25, 2019Fortunately this story gets more fun as Riverdale remembers what kind of show it is. It finds its absurdity again. The place where everything is completely ridiculous, but (and this is what was missing from the last quest) the internal logic makes sense. Also it’s way more fun than robbing a diner. They have to fight a cyclops, which of course means Gladys has to fight Penny Peabody (now one-eyed after her last encounter) with ninja sai. Why sai? Because their freaking awesome, that’s why. Gladys sustains some injuries in the fight, but she’s not nearly as bad off as Penny who gets a blade directly through her leg. Damn, Gladys. Is there some ninja training facility near Riverdale we haven’t seen? If so, why aren’t we following that story?In any case, Jughead takes his mom to the hospital meaning he is the only one who can complete the last quest. Kurtz tells him to climb inside a storage locker to save Jelly Bean. Jughead does, only for Kurtz to instruct Rickie to kill the princess anyway. Jughead struggles to get the door open, and when it finally does, he sees Kurtz dead on the ground. The Gargoyle King stands over the body. So that raises some interesting questions. Did Kurtz die because he cheated at the game. Someone who dresses up as its main antagonist is sure to take such things pretty seriously. Or does the Gargoyle King have some connection to Jughead we don’t know about? The answers will probably come later. For now, Jelly Bean is safe, and Gladys decides to skip town until things cool down. Without her daughter.