Who doesn’t love a scary story? There’s something so fun whenever Riverdale does a tale from the dark.
On Riverdale Season 7 Episode 5, Jughead was back at the typewriter helming four new horror stories.
Each tale was bloodier and campier than the next. This Tales from the Crypt-inspired chapter was a bloody good time!
“Chapter One Hundred Twenty-Two: Tales in a Jugular Vein” isn’t the first time Riverdale has done short stories. There have been fictional stories or times where the plots were broken into separate segments, like Riverdale Season 2 Episode 7.
I love this format because it keeps the tales concise and the pacing straight to the point. No distractions, all climaxes. This chapter was no exception.
And framing it in a Tales from the Crypt style warmed my horror-loving heart.
The scary stories, particularly the cartoon (Tales from the Cryptkeeper), were a mainstay of my childhood. Not many people can out-camp the Cryptkeeper; they can try, but it’s a lofty role.
Julian: You gotta get your head in the game.
Dilton: How do I do that?
Julian: Maybe a night stuffed in a locker will help you figure it out?
Jughead’s framing device captured much of that same magic.
His four stories and the creepy narrator had many of the same beats from Tales. The horror surprises, their twisted deeper meanings, and the childish jokes could’ve been ripped from the comic pages.
Plus, with Jughead’s habit of infusing himself into his writings, his stories make his thoughts clear. (We’ll get into this later on.)
The first story was an excellent taste of revenge and spooky justice. It’s a simple tale of bullies getting their just desserts.
If anyone needed to get a win, it would be Dilton Doily.
Seriously, Julian Blossom is a jerk in every universe! He got what was coming to him the second he trapped Dilton in a locker.
It’s a miracle Dilton didn’t suffocate and die. Those lockers were small and didn’t have much breathing room; the team caused all their troubles.
The basketball tale gave us a good idea of how campy the stories could get.
Come on, Dilton playing basketball with the severed heads of his teammates? Deliciously morbid.
The decapitated bodies didn’t even need to look real; the shock value mattered here.
Plus, the twist got across what Jughead wanted. Be careful who you bully because that karma will get you one day.
Jughead’s second story about the midnight hook-up felt the least compelling.
There wasn’t much weight to it except the big shocking twist at the end. All we had was Archie hooking up with a mysterious girl and discovering the family’s big secret. That’s it.
Nana Blossom: She has this compulsive craving for intimate, physical, and some might even say, inappropriate touching.
Nana Blossom: Oh yes. She’s ravenous for it! She can’t keep her hands to herself.
The lack of a story could be due to a timing issue.
With four short stories and the sandwiching of Doctor Werther’s op-ed meetings, a lot was happening in this chapter.
One of the segments had to suffer. Unfortunately, it was this tale.
If there had been more development, the tale of a sweetheart hiding a deadly secret could’ve landed better.
Plus, it had great potential, and the story idea is the type of urban legend you’d talk about over a roaring campfire. And the visual of an infected Cheryl wearing a wedding dress was a terrifying image that left a mark.
There was something here, but the story needed more depth and turns.
The same could be said about the third story.
Don’t get me wrong, I liked the tale of Betty’s venomous hairdo. Like the second story, the idea was a lot of fun, and it’s a well-known urban legend. (Remember spider eggs in the sandwich, anyone?)
And like the second story, this plot can be narrowed down to one key idea: a lesson about vanity and Betty’s focus on her hair.
Sometimes you don’t need more than that for an urban legend. Betty’s focus was on winning guys over with her beehive.
This tale stood out, even though it was shorter, due to the layers added before the big twist.
In her short scenes, we learn a lot about Betty and why she turned to her beehive. Her desperation for romance, the snide comments from the jealous girls, and her big ego became her undoing.
Betty: I would like a new look, please.
Hairdresser: Awww. What’s giving you the gringles, Dollface?
Betty: I just feel so unseen. All the girls at my school have beaus and it’s just like I’m a ghost. I need something else. Something new. Something amazing that will get all the boys’ attention.
Hairdresser: Well, I gotta tell you, this ponytail is doing you no favors.
Betty became a fleshed-out character, someone who got dealt a rough moral of the story.
Sure, how the black widow got into her beehive was cheesy, but it was the fun type of cheese. The kind you’d sit back with and enjoy popcorn on.
The stories are better when we get invested in the character. Riverdale made us connect with Betty.
The fourth story was the one that felt the most Riverdale. A darker Halloween story that could’ve been in an Archies Comic.
It’s what the love triangle could’ve been had it got bloodier.
There was so much campiness, love triangle mess, and Riverdale fun here, making it a good time. Playboy Archie finally got what was coming to him with his dating games.
Plus, a Betty and Veronica team-up? Sign me up!
I loved the twist of Betty and Veronica sawing Archie in half.
The story was about how the girls dealt with a boyfriend who only gave them half his heart. So, it felt like the right turn of events to give him a dose of his medicine.
And his toxic mind games made their revenge so much better!
Betty: We were thinking: what if you had us both?
Veronica: At the exact same time. For a very, very special date.
Betty & Veronica: Really.
Did he not think the girls would ever talk with each other? He wasn’t as slick as the basketball team said he was.
And why did Cheryl agree to go out with him? She knew how much of a player he was; she wasn’t a good friend.
The big moral of the story came at the end with Veronica’s assessment. Did you agree with her critique of Jughead’s writing?
Individually, each one painted a different picture with their horror and tale. Though, when you put them all together, Jughead was particularly judgy about many people.
The guys were bullies or sex-crazed manipulators, while the girls were vain or predatory. Except for Dilton, everyone got what was coming to them.
Jughead might set himself apart, but he does tend to put himself on the moral high ground.
It’s a shame it cost him any potential romance with Veronica. Just like a Riverdale romance, it was over before it ever began.
Last Thoughts From Sweetwater River:
Mayor Blossom, Principal Featherhead, and Doctor Werthers are hiding something big. Trying to turn the attention onto the comics has to be a diversion for something terrible they’re doing within the town.
Congrats, Jughead! Getting your first byline is a big deal.
All of Archie’s stories were mostly of him hooking up with girls. Jughead must really think his best friend is sex-crazed.
Now, over to you, Riverdale fans.
What did you think of “Chapter One Hundred Twenty-Two: Tales in a Jugular Vein”?
Which of the four tales was your favorite? Which story would be the scariest to live through? Will the plan to distract with the comics rile up the town?
If you missed the latest episode of Riverdale, you can watch Riverdale online via TV Fanatic. Come back here and share your thoughts in the comments below.
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.