Sorry Skeet, you got stuck playing a really shitty father. I don’t care if he’s a “hot daddy,” as Tumblr likes to claim, the latest episode of Riverdale proved FP Jones will never be a good parent.
Wednesday’s episode of Riverdale, “Chapter Twenty-One: House of the Devil,” was pretty bad overall. It awkwardly amped up the drama between Archie and Veronica, as well as Jughead and Betty, solely so we could get some dramatic breakups, followed by a “will they or won’t they” moment between Archie and Betty. Cheryl got all Misery with Josie, who’s too aloof to notice (I do have to give props to Cheryl for bringing her own red bath towel to the gym). Then, there was that part where Betty stripteased so she could become “Serpent adjacent,” which didn’t work at all. Granted, Dark Betty is a thing, and it’s fine to see her claws come out. But the whole scene felt like a peep show for a bunch of middle-aged creeps.
But that’s not what we’re here to talk about. We’re here to discuss FP Jones (Skeet Ulrich), who has now surpassed Hiram Lodge as Riverdale’s shittiest father figure. Throughout the episode, we’re led to believe that FP is heading on the right path. He’s been let out of jail early, and he plans on using his time to get clean and go straight. He’s joined Alcoholics Anonymous, plans to retire from the Serpents, and gets a job at Pop’s so he can earn an honest living. He even calmly handles Cheryl’s mean girl moment, cleaning up her purposefully spilled milkshake with kindness and maturity.
Then, FP’s retirement party happens. At first, everything is going fine—well, apart from Archie and Veronica deciding “Mad World” wasn’t the worst karaoke song in the world to perform. After Betty does her weird uncomfortable dance, FP makes his grand speech to the crowd—only it’s not the one we thought. Instead of leaving the Serpents, FP is fully on board to lead the gang again. Wait, when did this happen, and why? As a round of shots is poured, FP turns to his son, Jughead, and tells him it’s all his fault.
FP knows that Jughead made a deal with the Snake Charmer, and is stepping back in to lead the Serpents so he can “clean up the mess” that stemmed from Jughead taking that delivery last week. He kisses Jughead on the forehead and tells him that he broke his heart, right before downing a shot because “Screw AA, my son is a failure!”
I’m sorry, I call bullshit on this whole thing. FP isn’t heroically sacrificing his own happiness for someone else, he’s projecting his own backsliding onto Jughead. Just think about how intense he got talking with Betty’s mom, a former Serpent, while inviting her to his retirement party. He was pressuring her to get back in the game, seducing her to the dark side that he himself was walking a fine line toward. Let’s be real: He’s not getting back into the Serpents because Jughead fucked up, he’s doing it for himself. FP is simply looking for an excuse so that he doesn’t feel guilty for the fact that he’s now failing his son.