This week’s episode of Riverdale is all about mind games. After Mayor Pickens goes around town collecting collateral for overdue library books, the gang starts to experience some traumatic stuff going on around them. Meanwhile, as Kevin and Moose reconnect, someone else comes into Kevin’s life, and Betty and Archie get the results of the pregnancy test.
Keep reading to find out what happened in “Chapter One Hundred and Eight: Ex-Libris.”
After getting the results of the pregnancy test, Archie and Betty have mixed emotions. “All tinged with a hint of what might have been.” Betty is relieved, not knowing how to raise a kid without totally screwing them up. Archie, though, seems disappointed. He might have been a little bit excited about the idea of starting a new life with Betty. She promises that it will happen someday.
“Maybe the universe just wants us to stop the bad guys first.”
Percival’s First Move
Percival’s first move as mayor is closing Riverdale Public Library to build a hotel as a service for the new railway. He goes around town collecting overdue library books, some from years ago. If the resident doesn’t have the book, he takes something as collateral until they return it — the exact edition, or they have to pay a fee that is in the thousands.
For Jughead and his copy of The Metamorphosis that he checked out 10 years ago and had when he was homeless, Percival takes a Baxter Brothers Mystery novel written by his grandfather. He promises that he’ll get his book back if Jughead brings back the book he owes.
For Archie and his copy of Songwriting From The Heart that he borrowed in high school, Percival takes the guitar that Ms. Grundy taught Archie on as collateral.
For Veronica and her copy of Kiss of the Spider Woman, she’s willing to write a check no matter how much. Percival tells her that she could be charged with a misdemeanor and subject to jail time. Veronica says she’ll try to track it down, and Percival takes Hiram’s portrait as collateral.
For Cheryl and her copy of Flowers in the Attic, she says the last time she read the book, she was with an old friend who she hasn’t seen in a long time. She believes she has it. Percival mentions Heather’s name, telling Cheryl he’s “very perceptive.” He takes the trunk with Jason’s corpse as collateral, and Cheryl warns him that he’s playing with fire. Percival promises they’ll take good care of her brother.
For Betty and her copy of Small Engine Repairs that she checked out when she was 12, Alice tells her that she gave Percival her diary as collateral since she couldn’t find the book in her room.
Meanwhile, Reggie has kept his copy of a workbook on dyslexia and gives it to Percival. However, things start to go wrong after he gives the copy back.
Percival tells Kevin that if one steals from a town, they tear at that town’s civic fabric, its sense of order.
“Now they claim to love Riverdale, to want to save it, to fight for it. But can anything be worse than stealing from the very place you profess to love?”
He informs Kevin that he, too, has a missing book, Lord of the Flies. He tells him to bring it in, and after Kevin leaves, Percival performs a spell.
Archie can’t escape from Ms. Grundy, no matter how long it’s been. His ROTC students stumbled upon an old yearbook, bringing back some music memories for Archie. When he’s walking through the halls, Archie hears a cello, and when he walks to the music room, he sees her and has flashbacks of Ms. Grundy. When she looks up, her face is zombified. In his shop, Percival is playing the cello.
Meanwhile, as Reggie plays some poker, he notices his cards are all messed up. He gets a comic book from his desk and notices the jumbled letters. He later tells Percival he needs the book back, explaining that he was diagnosed with dyslexia as a kid and that workbook taught him how to read. Percival is unwilling to give it back but instead offers a limited edition Glamerge egg. He tells Reggie to take the egg to Veronica, and he does.
At the FBI office, Betty smells bleach, and she sees her dad mopping the floor. But he soon goes back to looking like a normal janitor. She goes to Percival’s shop to try to get her diary back, and that’s when she notices a container of bleach on the counter. Percival tells her that there is no more powerful memory trigger than a potent scent.
“Imagine a normal household item like bleach, unlocking a door that hadn’t been opened in years.”
Percival refuses to give Betty back her diary, but she can read it there in the shop.
A spider sits on Veronica’s portrait, and when she hits it with a newspaper, the spider is gone. Nowhere to be found. Smithers later delivers the egg to Veronica, and when she opens it, a bunch of black widows crawl out. She drops it on the ground, and when she looks at it again, they are nowhere.
Jughead notices his fingers are bleeding when he’s looking for copies of The Metamorphosis online. He tries to clean off his hands, but they were getting itchier, rawer, more painful. He was either coming down with a horrible case of eczema, or he was turning into a cockroach like the book. Either way, he had to find the book.
Cheryl hears laughter in Thornhill, and when she goes to investigate, she sees a blanket covering a form of a person on the bed. She figures it’s Heather, but there is nothing there when she takes the blanket off.
“Flowers in the attic, indeed.”
Trauma Trumps All
Betty catches Archie up on what happened with the bleach and Percival. In her diary, there was an entry from when she was 12. It was when she checked out Small Engine Repairs. One night, she was so excited to show her dad what she learned from reading it and when she went into the garage, he was using bleach to clean the family car. Or, more precisely, cleaning the blood of his victims off the family car.
The five meet up at Thornhill, and Cheryl tells the group she’s been doing some reading on occults. She says that when spell casting, an enchanter uses personal items to focus their magic on their targets, like the collateral Percival received. Cheryl believes he’s using those items as totems to harness or manifest phantoms from their past or subconscious to haunt them, test them, torment them.
Jughead tells them about his grandfather and being afraid to die alone like him. Cheryl says they simply find their missing library books, get back their confiscated items, and break his spell. If they can’t find their books, they just have to face their demons and hope they survive the encounters.
Archie’s ROTC students look through a Riverdale High yearbook again, coming across pictures of Ms. Grundy. He takes the yearbook and threatens one of the students that he’ll kick him out of the program. Archie looks at a cello and has flashbacks to his relationship with Ms. Grundy and smashes the instrument.
The Core Five Strike Back
Archie, Betty, Jughead, Veronica, and Cheryl convene a meeting. Jughead figures there’s a purpose behind what Percival is doing. Books promote ideas and free-thinking. If people stop reading and thinking and dreaming, it makes it easier for them to just follow Percival. Archie thinks it’s a distraction for his next move. Cheryl thinks there is a whiff of sorcery about all of this. She says books are objects of immense power. Every reader imprints on the book they read; every book changes a person in some way. If Percival knows what books they read during their formative years, there is only so much he can do with that “secret forbidden knowledge.”
After talking to an older guy, Hank, on Sketch Alley, Jughead finds out that Percival told everyone, including Doc, to start walking west and not to stop until they hit the ocean. Hank didn’t go because walking is the one thing he can’t do, as he’s wheelchair-bound.
Archie breaks into Percival’s shop to get their items back, but all that Archie finds is a note from Percival on a cello, indicating that the items are not there, but the cello is all his should he choose to get back into music.
Jughead goes back to Sketch Alley, and Hank tells him that Doc sold the book to Barney’s Book Barn in Allentown, PA. In Allentown, Jughead successfully finds all their books. They give the books to Percival, except for Veronica, who doesn’t need her father’s portrait.
“No one has power over me, not my father and definitely not you.”
Burning the Past
The gang gets ready to burn their items, as they’ve most likely been polluted by Percival, tainted by some dark enchantments. Cheryl already burned Jason once; a second cleansing is unnecessary. Jughead doesn’t want to burn the Baxter Brothers book because he wants to make sure there is at least a piece of his grandfather still left. He doesn’t care if it’s cursed or hexed. The ritual commences, and the other items are burned.
Moose brings Kevin his copy of Lord of the Flies and the two bond over the book and Kevin’s awkward teen years. Kevin later returns the book to Percival, and Percival somewhat flirts with him to get in his head. Percival kisses him, and Kevin kisses back.
Kiss of the Spider Woman
After spending the night with Heraldo, Veronica tries to wake him up. When she turns him over, his lips are black, and his face looks as if he was poisoned. Veronica calls Reggie to accuse him of being responsible for his death due to the black widow spiders in the Glamerge egg he sent her.
Dr. Curdle Jr. calls Veronica with the results of the toxicology report. While it was black widow venom that stopped Heraldo’s heart, Dr. Curdle didn’t see any puncture mark on his body. The source of where the venom entered Heraldo’s body was his lips.
“His death, it seems sealed with a kiss.”