riverdale season 6 episode 17, betty cooper

‘Riverdale’ season 6, episode 17 review: The mask is about to slip

The town fully embraced its serial killer saga by hosting its first Slaughter Con in Riverdale season 6, episode 17.

I an attempt to stop the TBK once and for all, Betty, Veronica, and Agent Drake teamed up with Charles to throw a convention that the TBK couldn’t resist. Because who better to catch a serial killer than a serial killer!

Of course Queen Veronica was able to put the convention together incredibly quickly, but I have to say some items could have used some more forethought. There was a little too much “let’s take the serial killer’s word for it” for my liking, which was evidenced when someone showed up with not one, but two of the Black Hood’s favorite weapons which were only missing one thing: the signature of a Slaughter Con attendee’s hero, Betty Cooper.

Betty had to confront her suspected nature in so many ways in Riverdale season 6, episode 17. The convention had her coming face to face with her own attraction to the dark side and the ways that she compartmentalizes with the people in her life, including Archie.

Related: Riverdale season 6, episode 16 review: Another battle for the town’s soul

Betty was the only one surprised when Agent Drake confessed her feelings for her, but I know I was a little bit surprised with Betty’s reaction. There were definitely “vibes” between the two women, but I didn’t expect the ease with which Betty fell into some pretty serious doubt about her relationship with Archie.

I did really like the conversation that Betty and Archie had at the end of Riverdale season 6, episode 17, but I can’t help but wonder if this isn’t the end of that storyline. It seems like a waste of the Agent Drake dynamic to simply build it up and burn it down in one episode, but that’s not the only reason.

Archie put aside any thought of “Dark Betty,” saying he sees the light and the fight in her and he loves her for that. I see this going one of two ways. One option is that Archie actually fosters the light inside of Betty, and that she’s truly just a lighter person when she’s with him. This would be a really good and freeing thing for her, and I think a nice closure for the “Dark Betty” storyline.

The other way I could see this going is that there is more darkness in Betty that Archie refuses to see and that she actually wants to explore. The fact that Betty and Archie have loved each other since they were children could actually work against them, with each of them holding onto the person that they’ve known their whole life, rather than the person they’ve become.

While Archie has remained relatively simple, Betty is a pretty complicated gal. If Archie can’t actually accept all of Betty this could make her feel fearful or shameful, and even more caged, which I think would eventually break them no matter how “dark” or “light” Betty ends up being.

Betty also had to confront some very serious serial killer fanatics and even a real serial killer in Riverdale season 6, episode 17. Both made her face how she’s perceived by others, but only TBK made her confront who she actually is. She made the choice to kill him rather than entertain his weird soulmate fantasy. Honestly, I think she made the less dark choice, and I think she feels the same way, but it’ll be interesting to see how taking a life affects her going forward.

The fact that the TBK has always been a B storyline rather than a main villain plot makes me think that it’s always been much more about Betty’s development than a mystery for the show. Either way, it doesn’t seem like this can be the end of that story. My guess is that Betty still has some more storms to weather before the season 6 finale.

Coming back to Agent Drake’s bold play, Veronica’s reaction was almost as surprising as Betty’s. I loved that Veronica was back in the center of things in Riverdale season 6, episode 17, and that a big part of that was her sticking up for her friend, but did I detect a little possessiveness in her tone? I could’ve sworn she had just a note of “if Betty’s going to be with a woman, it’s going to be me” in her voice. Just me?

Two people who definitely experienced jealousy in Riverdale season 6, episode 17 were Cheryl and Kevin, who delightfully teamed up to drive a magical “wedge” between Toni and Fangs. Obviously it’s sad that Baby Anthony ended up being the temporary victim of this, but I loved seeing Kevin and Cheryl scramble after they found out what they did. I could use way more of this witchy dynamic in Riverdale.

Again, maybe this was just me, but I also feel like Toni felt at least a little longing when she found out about the rekindled flame between Cheryl and Heather. The pitch of her voice said a lot, but it did not say “I am completely chill about this.” Just like with Betty and the TBK, I think there’s still a lot of story to tell for Choni in Riverdale season 6.

Speaking of Toni, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention her bachelorette party in this Riverdale season 6, episode 17 review! I loved all of the musical numbers in this episode (which came from the American Psycho musical written by Riverdale showrunner, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa), but the bachelorette number was definitely my favorite. The girls just looked like they were having so much fun, which they’ve all been lacking lately.

Finally, Jughead is still in his self-imposed bunker sentence, trying to work through voices from Riverdale, Rivervale, and maybe even beyond. This also wasn’t the only Rivervale connection in Riverdale season 6, episode 17, as Percival confessed that part of his plan hinges on the appearance of Bailey’s Comet.

After being thwarted by Archie and the strikers, Percy promised that the price for their victory will be “biblical.” Are we talking a plague, or what? Whatever it is, Perc is going to have to act before his power runs out, since that nosebleed didn’t make him look very strong. Maybe that’s precisely what he needs the comet for!

With Percival’s plan slowly unravelling and the veil between Riverdale and Rivervale seemingly dropping, I feel more excited for a Riverdale season finale than I have in a long time. I truly have no idea what we’re in for, and I can’t wait to find out. With just a few episodes left in the season, they’re all bound to be important, and I’m excited to see what Percy and his super adversaries get up to next. Will there be more nasal blood, or will Percy come out stronger than ever? We’ll just have to wait and see.