Riverdale’s “Chapter Nine: La Grande Illusion” gives us a deeper look at both the Blossom and Lodge families. While the Blossoms have to appease the board to keep their business, Veronica and Hermione have to deal with the fallout from Mr. Lodge’s illegal activity.

Who Will Be The New Heir To The Blossom Empire?

Riverdale’s “Chapter Nine: La Grande Illusion” begins by giving the backstory to the town. The biggest business has always been maple syrup, which is owned by the Blossoms. Because Jason died, the business has no heir. And the vultures have started coming.

Every year, the Blossoms throw an exclusive maple tree tapping ceremony. Cheryl used to go with Jason, but she can’t face it to do it alone. She begs Archie to go as her escort and help her through. Archie, of course, is dating Val, so he says “no” and Cheryl storms off.

But then Cheryl’s mom approaches Archie about the ceremony. They have a family member who sits on the board of a music academy. So, he could get into the summer program if he just goes to this ceremony. Why are the Blossoms so obsessed with him? Because he’s a good guy? Because he has red hair? “I swear Archibald, when the light hits you just right…” Mrs. Blossom says. Gross.

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Archie tells the gang about his deal with Mrs. Blossom and they’re all against it except for Betty. Polly hasn’t been speaking to her, so she asks him to go and talk to Polly for her.

Cheryl and Archie show up to the ceremony and find that the whole board is there. They want to oust Cheryl’s dad since Jason died and Polly’s pregnant. They’re just waiting for him to screw up. Cheryl gets to tap the first tree since Jason had died, and she is totally feeling the pressure. Luckily it all works out, but everyone seems surprised Cheryl can do anything without messing up.

Archie also pulls Polly aside and asks her why she’s ignoring Betty, but Polly tells him to tell Betty not to worry.

Cheryl and Archie then overhear members of the board talking about how Cheryl would make a terrible successor to the business, but Archie totally stands up for her, which is sweet. Mr. Blossom eventually asks Archie to escort Cheryl to a dinner for the board. He adds that they can be “generous” to the right people. It’s super weird and they’re clearly up to something.

Then later, Cheryl shows up at Archie’s house and gives him a guitar, which is way too excessive. Fred and Jughead warn him against trusting the Blossoms and taking their gifts. They’re just using him, but he doesn’t see it. Poor, idiot.

Mr. Blossom takes Archie to get a fancy suit for the fancy dinner and Archie tries to get Mr. Blossom to help his dad’s business instead of helping him with music school. Mr. Blossom is super impressed and says Jason would never stick up for him the way Archie stands up for his dad. They already called the music school though. They can get through the dinner and then talk about Fred.

Val later tells Archie that Cheryl told her that she was going to steal Archie from her and she believes it. She says the Blossoms are buying him and he didn’t earn his place.

Eventually, it’s time for the big, fancy dinner. Everyone at the table is against Cheryl, but Archie promises to help. Mr. Blossom pulls Archie aside and says he’ll help Fred. He adds that the board doesn’t like Cheryl, so they want to create “the right picture” by having Archie by Cheryl’s side, which was obvious.

Polly pulls Archie aside and says Betty needs to stop contacting her. She knows the Blossoms have something to do with Jason’s death and she’s going to prove it. She’s really just been spying on them.

Archie then sees Cheryl and her dad fighting and he goes after Cheryl. Cheryl tells Archie people hate her. It’s fine at school, but this is her family. Archie says not to listen to them. He thinks she’s awesome. She kisses him, but he just walks away. But then he stumbles across Mr. and Mrs. Blossom talking about the Lodges and saying they should have sent Hermione to jail instead of her husband!

Archie says he’s leaving, but Cheryl threatens him and says he won’t go to music school or they won’t help his dad if he leaves. If he only came to get stuff from them, he’s no better than anyone else. Still, Archie leaves.

So Archie tells Val he’s done with the Blossoms, but she’s done with him now, too. He always ditches and ignores her. He kind of had it coming. Cheryl, meanwhile, is furious and starts creepily coloring over Archie and Polly’s heads in a group photo from the tree tapping. She’s out for revenge.

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Will The Coopers Take The Blossoms Down?

Betty’s really upset that Polly has stopped talking to her, but Alice has a plan. She’s going to write a tell-all book about the Blossoms and their feud with the Coopers. She wants to find a way in to see why the Blossoms’ board of trustees is showing up. Yeah. That’s gonna help Polly.

Archie later reports to the Coopers and says Polly isn’t coming back home. Alice also questions him about the board. He tells her there might be a hostile takeover and Alice obviously wants to write about it. Betty says that she shouldn’t write about it while Polly’s still there, but Alice says Polly’s the one who betrayed them. She’s clearly just covering up how much she misses Polly though.

So Betty goes to Cheryl and accuses her of casting a “Stockholm Syndrome spell” on Polly. Cheryl says it’s a time to celebrate, though, since Polly just found out that she is, indeed, having twins. Betty’s shocked. Then she tells her to ask Polly to call her mom, but it doesn’t seem likely.

So Alice and Betty go to Mr. Cooper and tell him they’re writing a tell-all about the Blossoms. He refuses to publish it and changed the password to the paper’s computer so Alice can’t work there anymore. He actually fires her. So Alice throws a brick through the window and screams about how she wants Polly back. She’s completely unraveling.

Betty rages about her parents to Jughead. Her whole family is falling apart and she can’t stop it. Jughead says she’s the one holding them together though.

Eventually, Archie tells Betty that Polly’s okay and is spying on the Blossoms. She didn’t betray them. Betty and Jughead tell Alice and she bursts into tears with relief. She was worried this would be the time that Polly really didn’t come back, but she will. Betty and Jughead invite Alice to write for their school newspaper, which is pretty weird. But now they’ll have a way to tell the truth about the Blossoms.

Archie also tells Betty and Jughead that the Blossoms went after Veronica’s dad. So, that means he might have wanted payback by going after the Blossoms and killing Jason.

Can Veronica and Hermione Redeem Themselves?

Hermione admits to Veronica that her dad found out new about the deal with Fred. Plus, the Blossoms still want the land and Fred still doesn’t know her dad’s the buyer. Veronica tells her she has to tell Fred about the land before someone else does.

Meanwhile, Ethyl’s back! She recites a super emotional, dark poem, so Veronica approaches her and asks her if everything’s okay. Her parents have been fighting, but they won’t tell her why. Veronica can relate. She invites her and Kevin over for a pick-me-up. Veronica admits to Kevin that she and her friend bullied another girl until she had to transfer and go to therapy. So Veronica’s determined to redeem herself by cheering Ethyl up.

So the whole gang goes to Veronica’s house, but Ethyl’s super upset. Her dad has money problems and they need to sell the house. Veronica explains they’d lost their place in New York, too, but it’ll all work out. But when Veronica mentions Ethyl’s last name, Hermione gets super uncomfortable. It turns out, Ethyl’s father invested in Veronica’s father’s company and lost money. Now her father’s testifying against Veronica’s father. Veronica’s furious about what her dad did. Could Fred lose everything too?

So Hermione finally comes clean to Fred. He’s working for Lodge Industries. Fred’s understandably angry, but Hermione’s trying to make the business legitimate now. Then she reveals that Mr. Blossom told her husband about their relationship and her husband sent those kids to destroy their equipment. So Fred decides to quit.

Veronica feels super guilty and gives Ethyl all these gifts her father had given her, but Ethyl says she just wants to be friends.Later, though, Kevin tells Veronica that Ethyl’s dad tried to kill himself. She completely loses it and blames herself.

So Veronica and Betty go to the hospital to give Ethyl and her mom some flowers. Before they leave, though, Veronica has to come clean. As soon as she says she’s a Lodge, Ethyl’s mom turns on her. She says Veronica should tell the truth about her father and that he deserves to sit in jail.

Veronica goes home and tells Hermione what happened and says she doesn’t want to lie for her dad anymore. Fred also eventually tells Hermione he’s staying with the job, but they’re doing everything legally and he’s getting a 20% share. He and his family won’t be used as pawns anymore. And he breaks up with her.

Veronica approaches Ethyl at school and apologizes again too. Ethyl says it’s not Veronica’s fault and she was there for her when nobody else was. She even lets Veronica sit next to her.

Do you think Ethyl really forgives Veronica? Did the Blossoms or Lodges have something to do with Jason’s death? And what will Cheryl do to get revenge?

Riverdale airs on Thursday nights at 9/8 c. on the CW.┬áLike BuddyTV’s Facebook page.

(Image courtesy of the CW)

Robin Lempel

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV