The good news for Thursday night's episode of Riverdale: Ethel Muggs is back. The bad news? She comes back only so we can learn that she and Veronica have a heartbreaking connection to each other. Things went from good to bad to much worse for the Muggs family on Thursday night's episode. The revelation that Veronica and Ethel have a sad connection to one another, despite their stable friendship, left Veronica distressed and ready to cut ties with her toxic parents.
On Thursday's night's episode, we learned that Hiram Lodge and Ethel's father once did business together. When things went sideways for Hiram, they also went sideways, financially, for the Muggs family. This left the Muggs family in a bad way and Ethel worried about her parents well-being. Veronica learned of the Ethel's family turmoil when she invited Ethel, Betty, and Kevin over for dinner. Hermione was there, too, and when she learned Ethel's last name was Muggs, she couldn't keep the connection hidden from Veronica.
Of course, Veronica was pretty ticked off. Wouldn't you be too? With her mom constantly concealing major plot points in the Lodge Timeline of Treachery, only to reveal them at the worst moment, Veronica was so over it. She became visibly angry with Hermione's disclosure about the Muggs family. Storming off, it was easy to see Veronica wasn't about to let her father's wrongdoing against the Muggs family become her sin, too.
Veronica felt a strong sense of guilt about Hiram's effect on the Muggs family. She attempted to draw Ethel in closer to her, offering Ethel her old clothes. Definitely not the smoothest way to bring a new friend closer into your life, Veronica, but your heart's in the right place. Ethel rejected the gifts and simply stated she wanted to be friends with Veronica. So, problem solved, right?
Wrong. So, so wrong. The stress of impending financial ruin got to Ethel's dad and he attempted suicide. When Kevin informed Veronica of this dire turn of events at school, she collapsed in the bathroom, distressed. The Lodge-inflicted damage was done and Veronica resolved in that moment to firmly distance herself from her parents' bad deeds.
This meant attempting to repair things with Ethel. While taking flowers to Ethel and her parents didn't work out so well, Veronica and Ethel were actually able to mend fences. This was a big learning curve for both young women but it became pretty clear that Veronica has the longer road to travel when it comes to establishing that she is nothing like her parents.