The weather was back in the day, if you wanted to investigate something you had to sift through mountains of microfiche in the library, dig through someone’s trash, or spend all day on the phone looking for leads. Now all you need is an Instagram account and some reading comprehension skills to find out what might be going on in your favorite TV shows. And if we are to believe a hashtag actress Mädchen Amick left on a recent post, we can have a huge clue where RiverdaleThe mystery of the farm season 3 season 3 is heading.
First of all, a grain of salt here. In fact, probably enough salt to make a Morton factory jealous. This whole theory is going to be based on a hashtag, I want to stress again. But it’s specific enough to grab our attention. Following Rob Seidenglanz, the director of the penultimate episode of Riverdalein season three, Amick took the following photo of the hard-working man on a rare break:
“… and that sums up the observation of our director @robseidenglanz on #riverdale 😴🤤 #allnighters #alldayers # 321 #epicepisode #thedarksecretofharvesthouse”, read the caption.
Besides the confirmation of Seidenglanz, who has already directed three episodes of Riverdale and five episodes of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, runs episode 21 (there are 22 episodes in total this season), there’s that final hashtag. Riverdale tends to take names from its cult movie episodes that at least somewhat tease the plot or themes that will unfold in the series. For example, the pilot was called “The River’s Edge”, a reference to a 1986 film about a teenage girl found murdered, her body lying near the titular river, something that triggers the events of Riverdale also. There were exceptions and riffs – the last episode of the series was titled “BIG FUN”, which refers to heather as well as a number of “Heathers: The Musical” which is played during the hour. But for the most part, true to the mix of pop culture and Americana that is Riverdale, the episode titles are a bit teasing.
So is 3 × 21 titled “The Dark Secret of Harvest House”? It’s entirely possible (we’ve reached out to The CW and Warner Bros. for confirmation). But whether it’s called that, or something else, there is is a cult 1978 TV miniseries named The dark secret of the harvest it looks suspiciously similar to what’s happening this season with the mysterious farm.
For those unfamiliar with the mystery of the farm, the short version is that it is a new-agey cult led by a man named Edgar Evernever (Chad Michael Murray) who has essentially taken over the city. from Riverdale. He has a daughter named Evelyn Evernever (Zoe De Grand Maison) who recruited kids to school while he was off screen to do… something. And The Farm may (or may not) have something to do with the season’s other mystery, the evil role-playing game called Gryphons & Gargoyles.
Edgar was finally featured this week, so it’s likely we’ll find out a lot more about him and The Farm during next week’s episode (March 27), “Chapter Fifty-Two: The Raid”. Instead of waiting for this let’s move on four upcoming episodes and speculate on “Chapter Fifty-Six”.
The dark secret of the harvest is based on the 1973 horror novel by Tom Trynon, which Stephen King said: “It’s not a big book.” The miniseries wouldn’t be great either, but due to some kind of incredible cast and your hard-to-find status typical of cult movies, bubbled in the background. Running initially at three hours and 48 minutes, the miniseries aired over two nights on NBC. It starred Bette Davis (ensuring instant cult status), Rosanna Arquette and more. It was then reduced to three hours, then released on VHS in a 2 hour version. Thanks to the magic of the internet, however, you can watch both parts on YouTube in their original and ultra-long versions: Part 1; Part 2.
In case you don’t have four hours to watch a ‘just okay’ TV miniseries, here’s the gist of what The dark secret of the harvest is about. After a family moves from New York to a small town in Connecticut, they discover that citizens are obsessed with a ritual called “Harvest Home”. This happens every seven years and is supposed to celebrate their corn harvest (the city is built entirely around corn) which is ready to be harvested. But of course, it’s much more complicated than that, as Nick, the family patriarch finds out. The “Harvest Lord” a guy named Justin Hooke has sex with the “Corn Maiden”, who turns out to be Nick’s wife, who was drugged. As Justin reaches his climax, his throat is slit, his blood consecrating the floor. Then Nick is blinded and has his tongue ripped out. His wife gets pregnant and his daughter becomes the next Corn Maiden. Roll the credits!
It’s not too hard to see Riverdale throw a riff on it. The city is extremely focused on trading maple syrup to an odd degree, instead of corn; but the emphasis is still on cultures. In addition, The Farm cuts back to the basics, a simple lifestyle, as do the people of Cornwall Coombe (the name of the town in Harvest reception). And when it comes to the whole ritual sacrifice thing, there is a parcel options, all terrifying. There’s the newly reunited Jones family, two of whom recently moved from a larger town to the small (?) Town of Riverdale. There are also the Coopers, of course, and with Alice (Mädchen Amick) who is a part of The Farm, and two daughters of your choice – Betty (Lili Reinhart), who hates the cult, and her sister Polly (Tiera Skovbye) who is all in on top – you can potentially see where this thing is going. Or there’s also the Blossom family, which has been pushing the maple syrup business in a ritualistic way for years.
Perhaps important on the latter, the city matriarch (played by Davis) is called Widow Fortune and is an herbalist. Penelope Blossom (Nathalie Boltt) is also a widow and herbalist, something the show has spent a lot of time establishing and raising this season.
There are other links between Riverdale and Harvest reception you could draw. There’s a character named Grace Everdeen, a previous left-disfigured Corn Maiden who cursed the town’s corn crop (that’s a whole thing). Everdeen certainly looks a lot like Evernever, right? And Nick’s daughter has seizures, which are cured by Widow Fortune. There has been a guideline on the mysterious crises in Riverdale since the first episode, which was apparently resolved within the hour titled “The Red Dahlia,” but at least one question – why has Betty Cooper seen floating babies at the season premiere? – can relate to this.
Or, you know, maybe Mädchen Amick was chilling out on set and watching old, kitschy movies on VHS. She’s posted three photos of herself in a swimsuit at age 16 on Instagram since the post featured here, and I’m not wasting more than a thousand words on whether Alice Cooper is heading for a pool party in time. Regardless, given Riverdalethe dedication of digging up every piece of forgotten pop culture possible, rubbing it over Archie’s (KJ Apa) abs like a cheese grater and letting the pieces fall where they want, it’s fun to speculate.
Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8 / 7c on The CW
Where to stream Riverdale