Things are getting wild on Riverdale. With Veronica the latest to receive powers, she’s experiencing the downside to being a superhero with her kiss of death. Meanwhile, Archie struggles to build up his immunity to get back at Percival, and Jughead helps Betty recover some repressed memories, where she finds out some disturbing truths about her family.
Keep reading to find out what happened in “Chapter One Hundred and Nine: Venomous.”
The Downside to Having Superpowers
Having superpowers is not all it’s cracked up to be, as Jughead explains the downsides. The piercing headaches and blind spots; the kisses of death; the strange, debilitating vulnerabilities you develop. Percival and Reggie meet with Archie at Pop’s, and Percival shows off his new ring made of pure palladium.
While going through Jughead’s comic books, Archie wonders how Superman beat Kryptonite. Jughead mentions there’s an old comic book where the Man of Steel built up an immunity to it by exposing himself. Archie decides to get some palladium from Cheryl, who still has some from the mines. Cheryl warns him to be careful since he doesn’t know what he’s doing. She offers him another path that won’t involve him risking his life since she knows more about the arcane arts.
At the El Royale, Archie wears a palladium necklace while working out, but he pushes himself over the edge. So much so that his knuckles start bleeding. Cheryl later visits Archie, who looks like he’s on his death bed. She tells Archie he can build up an immunity with her palladium soup. The raw ore is too intense for him, so he has to titrate his exposure. Archie can build up a resistance to it by drinking small amounts over time.
Archie drinks palladium soup every so often during the day, but when he works out at the El Royale, he collapses. After waking up, Archie weighs himself, and he’s at a weight that he hasn’t been at since junior high. He later meets with Cheryl and tells her what’s been happening. His symptoms suggest acute anemia. Cheryl thinks the palladium may have neutralized other metals in his body, compromising him. At this point, it could be that Archie has poisoned his body, and it’s breaking down.
Cheryl has done even more research surrounding Archie’s tolerance. She found an ancient spell of transmutation. A spell that could turn gold into iron. What is palladium but white gold? If the spell is used on Archie, it could potentially neutralize the palladium in his body by transmitting it into iron. If Cheryl applies a certain amount of heat to his body, Archie could be forged. Strengthened, made impervious. Archie is all in, despite it possibly killing him.
Cheryl and Archie perform the ritual, and it proves to be successful. Archie is once again invulnerable. He is forged.
With a Taste of a Poison Paradise
Veronica meets Dr. Curdle Jr., who tells her that her body is generating enormous amounts of toxins. It’s in her saliva, tears, blood, and perspiration. He suggests dialysis to detoxify her body. Until they remove the poison from her body, Dr. Curdle thinks it’s best she avoids any and all physical contact with people.
After an ambush from Reggie and casino investors, Veronica meets with her ex and wonders if Percival put him up to this. Reggie tells her it was all him, and while Veronica talks back to him, she gets some of her toxins on him, and Reggie’s nose starts to bleed. Veronica rushes out after realizing what she’s done.
Veronica meets with Dr. Curdle Jr., who tells her that the toxins in her body have increased. He admits that he doesn’t see this ending any other way besides her succumbing to the toxins her body is producing.
“Sounds an awful lot like a death sentence, Dr. Curdle.”
Veronica, Archie, and Betty meet at the Whyte Wyrm to down multiple shots. A meeting of the sad superheroes club. On top of facing a hostile takeover at work and her acute health crisis, Veronica’s last non-lethal kiss before Heraldo’s death was Reggie. That’s going to be her last meaningful human contact. Veronica wants to have another round of drinks, but Betty and Archie are done. Betty wonders how Veronica isn’t the slightest bit tipsy, considering she’s had more shots than both of them put together. It’s then Veronica realizes that she doesn’t feel the alcohol at all.
Don’t You Know That You’re Toxic
Veronica gets other forms of poison like nightshade and snakeroot from Cheryl to test a theory that the toxins her body is producing are making her immune to other poisons. After testing her theory, it’s found out that Veronica is indeed immune to poison. She also figures she may be able to secrete her poison as long as she has a handle on her emotions. Cheryl gives Veronica a spider broach.
“You may be venomous, Veronica, but you are also resilient. Remember that.”
Veronica tries to secrete her poison when she talks to Reggie about the casino, keeping her cool despite Reggie trying to overtake her.
Veronica has her main-character energy back while giving a presentation to the casino’s investors. In a flashback, it’s revealed that Betty and Archie helped with her last kiss dilemma. Veronica and Archie kiss just like old times since Archie is once again invulnerable. Veronica dedicates her performance of “Toxic” to her besties.
A Blast from the Past
Given recent events, Cheryl tells Nana Rose that her mind has turned to the past. Her junior high sweetheart, Heather.
“The lost love.”
Cheryl admits she stalked her online and found out she’s now a librarian in Greendale, which is not far from Riverdale. Perhaps their story isn’t finished. Nana Rose, though, just wants Cheryl to move forward. What’s done is done. Cheryl turns to a magic 8 ball for guidance on calling Heather, but it tells her that it cannot predict now. Instead, Cheryl decides to send an email.
Heather has yet to respond to Cheryl’s email, so Cheryl is trying everything she can to distract herself. She later asks the magic 8 ball if she should call Heather, but it tells her to ask again later. Cheryl goes against it and looks up the number for the Greendale Public Library. Heather answers the phone, and Cheryl immediately hangs up after hearing her voice.
Betty asks Jughead to read her subconscious mind, to dig into repressed memories. She admits that a lot of TBK stuff resurfaced for her during the fog, and then Percival’s library books brought up things from her past with her dad; she just feels like a reopened wound. She needs the missing pieces, and she can’t get to them on her own. Jughead agrees to do some research.
After doing some research, Jughead tells Betty he thinks they can apply meditation, hypnotherapy, and guided visualization to his power. Betty has to think of her memories as something visual, like a series of comic books, collecting them all into a group. In theory, her subconscious mind will do the same with her repressed memories.
“Let’s go digging.”
In Betty’s mind, Jughead spots a box full of Betty comic books, Bughead memories going all the way back to the first season, including the bedroom window scene. So far, they’re all just shared memories, so Jughead has to go even deeper. In one memory, Hal and a young Betty are at Pop’s after Betty killed Caramel, the cat. Hal tells her that Caramel was a sinner for trying to run away and that sinners need to be punished. He tries to get Betty to admit that there was some excitement to it all, and in the present, Betty realizes her dad was grooming her.
“My dad was grooming me to be a killer.”
Betty tells Jughead he has to keep sifting through her mind after taking a break.
“Ready for round two of ‘So My Dad’s a Serial Killer and Tried to Make Me One Too?'”
Jughead goes deeper into Betty’s repressed memories, where it’s revealed that Alice does, in fact, have the MAOA gene mutation. The serial killer gene. And she never told Betty. Betty can’t believe that her mom kept this from her for her entire life.
What’s Under the Floorboards
Betty confronts Alice about the serial killer gene. Alice tries to deny it, but Betty knows better. Betty tells Alice she will get to the truth. Betty tells Jughead that it’s time they excavate her mom’s subconscious to find out what she knows that Betty doesn’t. Betty will do the work and prompt her; all Jughead has to do is stand close enough to hear whatever shakes loose.
The two of them show up at RIVW and Betty tries to get her mom to admit whatever it is she’s hiding. Jughead’s able to get into Alice’s subconscious, where Alice and Hal cover up some floorboards. It’s underneath the dining table.
“That’s where the truth is.”
After going through the floorboards, Jughead and Betty make a surprising and disturbing discovery. A dead, skeletal body. Alice tells Betty that she and her sister had just gotten back from apple picking. Hal sent them upstairs to watch cartoons, said he needed help with something. A deputy had come around to investigate Hal’s suspicious activities and wound up dead for his trouble. Hal threatened to blame Alice for the murder if she didn’t help him. Alice gave in. Betty asks again if she knew her father was grooming her, and while Alice doesn’t give her a straight answer, just that she was her dad’s favorite, it’s clear she did know. Deep down, she feared Hal might cultivate that darkness in her. Alice tried to keep Betty away from all that; she tried to fix it.
Betty understands why her mother was so controlling … or tried to be. She wanted Betty to be the perfect daughter. But with evil cultivating inside her, Alice’s plan didn’t work.
“That evil, it’s still there.”
An Old Flame
The doorbell rings at Thornhill, and when Cheryl answers the door, she’s happily surprised to see her junior high sweetheart, Heather.
“You called me. I came.”