Riverdale” is about to have its annual variety show and Archie wants to perform for the first time -- if only he could get over his stage fright. The Pussycats are set to headline, but they face a major Archie related setback. Meanwhile, Betty and Jughead hatch a plan to pay a visit to Polly as they investigate the events surrounding Jason’s death.

Betty and Jughead take a trip

Betty, proving just how well she knows her mother, invites Jughead over for breakfast, who promptly asks where the bathroom is, and has Mrs. Cooper leading him around the house while Betty goes through her mother’s purse.

She has her controlling mother’s habits down and knows just how to push her buttons to get the information she needs to allow Betty and Jughead to take a trip to visit Polly.

Polly, as predicted last week, isn’t simply sick or a drug addict as her parents might have suggested. Instead, she’s pregnant and was planning on running away with Jason on the day he disappeared. It’s Betty who breaks the news to her that Jason is dead once she and Jughead find her. The sisterly reunion doesn’t go too far though as Alice Cooper shows up to wrench Betty away from Polly fairly quickly, though Betty promises her sister she’ll get her out.

What’s interesting here is that the Cooper parents continue to insist that Polly is depressed, delusional, even calling her plan to run away nothing more than a fantasy.

Betty doubts her sister’s sanity for a moment as well, and the situation does give a viewer pause. Are Betty’s parents, despite lying all the time and being more controlling than anyone thought possible, telling the truth? Or is Polly?

After Betty and Jughead share a kiss (which they don’t get a chance to talk about), they also find Jason’s hidden car, which happens to be full of drugs.

At the very least, Jason was up to something. Said car, of course, goes up in flames by the end of the hour, but Betty thought ahead and snapped a few pictures.

The Pussycats hit a roadblock

With Val helping Archie write music the last few episodes, Josie forces her to choose: it’s Archie or the Pussycats, but she can’t commit fully to both.

Val, not surprisingly considering her tiring of singing backup and never getting a say in band decisions, chooses Archie. Archie, who had planned on performing at the variety show with Veronica is then quick to toss her aside to sing with Val. It’s a little cold, though he’s a little clueless about the whole thing.

Val isn’t Josie’s biggest roadblock though. That would be her own father, who is finally in town just in time to hear her band perform. A professional musician, he’s her toughest critic, and when he walks out of the variety show in the middle of her performance without cracking a smile, your heart breaks for her. Josie just wants to make him proud.

Ginger Judas

Ginger Judas” is what Veronica terms Archie, and she’s not wrong.

What is it about Archie that he’s so quick to toss his friends aside and move on to the next, especially the young women in his life? He practically traded Betty in for Veronica in the pilot and then did the same to Veronica here. At least Veronica calls him on it and he realizes how awful he’s been.

Veronica, like everyone else in this episode, has her own familial problems though, which are where her anger at Archie really stems. She knows her mother is seeing Archie’s father, even though they are both still technically married to other people. When Hermione Lodge awards a development contract to Fred Andrews behind Veronica’s back, you can practically see the rage coming off her in waves.

I can’t wait to see what she does next.

The verdict and what’s next

How does “Riverdale” manage to get through so much so quickly? It’s impressive and makes the show continually feel fresh even when it throws cliched stories your way, which is a huge feat.

4 out of 5 stars.