The Blossoms are front and center in “Riverdale” again this week after Polly decided to stay with them. Alice wants revenge for them taking her daughter from her. Archie gets an offer from Cheryl Blossom that comes with strings. Meanwhile, Veronica makes friends with a classmate whom her father hurt with his schemes in “La Grande Illusion.”

The Blossoms take a weird interest in Archie

Despite Archie dating Val, Cheryl invites him to accompany her to the Blossom family’s annual tree tapping ceremony for their syrup company. It’s odd that once he says no, the family is suddenly all over him to escort her.

They start offering up perks for him to escort Cheryl to different events. At first, it’s creepy since it seems more like he reminds them all of Jason than anything else. But it’s even more sinister than that as the episode goes on.

The Blossoms are still trying to do anything and everything to get under Fred Andrews’ skin and giving his son everything Archie wants on a silver platter seems like a great way to do that. It’s like Mr. Blossom is just waiting for Archie to ask for help for his father’s company and to give Cheryl a leg up with the family business. The Blossoms turn out to be even shadier as the episode goes on though. They are the ones who put Hiram Lodge in jail.

Where are the Pussycats?

It’s another episode where Val is the only Pussycat to make an appearance, and it’s only due to her relationship with Archie. Cheryl even says her inner circle comes to the tree tapping with family, yet we don’t see the Pussycats put in an appearance, even though they’re supposedly allies. Do the writers just not know what to do with them?

Shannon Purser returns as Ethel Muggs

Shannon Purser got her big break thanks to “Stranger Things,” and she was a great addition to “Riverdale” earlier this season, but here, she gets to show another layer to Veronica. Ethel is clearly having a hard time at home after she reads a particularly dark poem in class. Veronica, who used to bully other girls before realizing how cold she was, wants to make Ethel’s life easier.

Complicating that is that Ethel’s parents are fighting because they lost money as a result of investing with Veronica’s father. Veronica has idolized her father and vilified her mother on more than one occasion, but in “La Grande Illusion,” she realizes just how bad of a man her father is. As Veronica discovers that her father is the reason the Muggs family might have to sell their house, she leans into her guilt, trying to give Ethel gifts, and then gets her empathy thrown in her face by Mrs. Muggs after Mr. Muggs tries to commit suicide.

Teenage girls are not cannon fodder

Between Mrs. Muggs berating Veronica for her father’s mistakes, the Blossoms underestimating Cheryl, Valerie realizing that Archie doesn’t understand her, and Jughead placing, even more, pressure on Betty to hold her family together, this episode wasn’t too kind to the young women in "Riverdale." What gives?

Why does everyone want to blame teenage girls for someone else’s shortcomings?

"La Grande Illusion" felt like a big reminder that for teenage girls, the world is a horrible place where no one takes you seriously and everyone wants you to be a scapegoat. At least Ethel has the sense to not blame Veronica and Valerie decides that her relationship with Archie is done.

The verdict and what’s next

Uneven in its execution, but a fascinating hour all the same. I want to know just what Polly thinks she knows about the Blossoms and just what Cheryl has planned after being rejected by Archie.

3 out of 5 stars

In next week’s “The Lost Weekend,” Archie’s mom finally shows her face in "Riverdale" after being away all season.