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Why? The why is not important at this point. As I’ve said before in my breakdowns of the show the reasoning behind Riverdale in inconsequential as the show is an island unto itself. (In case you really need to know what was up, the series’ current villain Percival Pickens runs a curiosity shop a la Dickens and Friday the 13th: The Series — one that just so happens to have such priceless religious relics lying around). Whee!

The appearance of the Grail was a throwaway moment in the episode, which shows you the level of confidence that the writing staff current has. After all, who needs Indiana Jones macguffins when time travel is suddenly on the table? With the exception of Jughead Jones briefly becoming unstuck in time a few seasons back, sending characters back and forth through decades was not a bow in this series’ creative quiver until right now. But thanks to a near death experience that triggered Tabitha’s latent “chronokinetic” abilities, she is sent to the town’s past where she has to deal with variants of Pickens in the 1940s, ’60s and ’90s — all of whom are determined to destroy Riverdale.

Due to the time periods involved, the show gets an opportunity to attempt some social commentary here. Given Riverdale’s what the fuck? vibe, this could have gone very wrong very quick, but instead we learn about Pop’s past and how the restaurant has been a safe haven for the unjustly marginalized across the decades.

Whether it is being featured in the Green Book or used as a gathering place to heal following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., Pop’s Chok’lit Shoppe is not just a diner, but the beating heart of Riverdale itself. And possibly even it’s salvation, but more to come on that front later this season.

Once she realizes that Pop’s is her personal anchor that keeps her grounded during her time jumps, Tabitha is able to glimpse the future of Riverdale and it is a post-apocalyptic wasteland a la The Stand. As she learned in her Curiosity Shop battle with Percival, he is the “personification of evil.” As such, the powers that various Riverdale residents have suddenly been manifesting are going to be used in a war at which the fate of the town, and also humanity, are on the line. Sounds great. And also ridiculous. I’m in.

This is an episode that had to cover a lot of ground, not limited to just giving Pop’s a detailed history or establishing a new normal. Along the way, it also attempted to comment on real life events in a way that — although somewhat awkward at times — was mostly graceful. (Especially the gathering in Pop’s following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.)

Source: Den of Geek

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