There quite literally is not one happy marriage happening in Riverdale. Maybe it’s the water, maybe it’s the maple syrup, maybe it’s the disturbing amount of redheads … but relationships are not meant to survive in that town. Tensions ran high in this episode with double crosses and back alley deals happening all over the place. Riverdale is a dangerous place to live. But they do have Skeet Ulrich, so there’s that. Let’s get to it …
How many times can you reference abortion without actually saying the word ‘abortion’? I counted five times, but I may have missed one. I’m assuming it’s a CW censorship thing, but I was surprised they had to avoid the word as it’s absence made it all the more obvious, but I suppose that was the point. This week, Mr. Cooper became oh so much darker than just some guy who breaks into the Sheriff’s house to steal his murder wall. He’s harboring such a hatred for the Blossoms that he actually wanted his daughter to abort the baby. The guy is certainly carrying enough hate to push him over to the darkside, but his banishment from the Cooper household says a lot more about Alice Cooper (the blonde chick, not the guy who used to bite heads off chickens on stage) than it does about him. Mrs. Cooper has always seemed so controlled in her insanity, however we certainly saw some cracks as she tries to deal with the Blossom family now trying to steal her daughter, while also revealing her own shadowy past, also at the hands of her husband. There goes another Riverdale marriage.
Polly herself is still severely lacking as a character and I think it’s partly due to us not really knowing her. The reason we care so much about who killed Jason, and not about Jason himself is because we never got a chance to know him. All we really know is he had terribly fake-looking red hair and apparently he was a mute. The same almost goes for Polly. We met her at the mental asylum where she was hysterical and she hasn’t really calmed down since. Okay, so the father of her child was murdered, her dad tried to have her abort her baby, the father’s family want to keep the baby, her parents sent her to a mental asylum, and now she’s back, there’s a power struggle over this child who will undoubtedly have fake-looking red hair. Okay, fine. She has every right to be hysterical. Unfortunately, her lack of grounding as a character is making it really hard to sympathize with her. Maybe that’ll change now she’s a member of the Blossom household. By making the choice to join the Blossoms, she’s effectively shunning her own family. And who can blame her?
Speaking of the Blossoms, let’s take a moment to appreciate just how awesome Granny Blossom is. Come on, that crazy old lady is great. Part horror story cliche, part gypsy, part crypt keeper. She keeps getting better and better.
Fred Andrews and his business woes seeped throughout most of the story this episode. With the Blossoms wanting to buy the old movie theatre land, and Mr. Lodge being the secret buyer, and Hermione knowing this but not telling Fred, we can clearly see another relationship is about to go down the toilet. It all makes for interesting TV though, so who cares? Fred confronting Clifford Blossom was a nice scene but it felt a little empty with Fred not really having a good threat to come back with. Too bad he doesn’t have a biker gang working for him … oh wait.
It was a touching moment when Archie and his pals came out to work for his dad, even more so when Fred and Archie have their heart to heart in the kitchen later. While I didn’t love this episode as much as past ones, I did love this scene. And it wasn’t just Luke Perry’s sincere delivery, it was the balancing out of Fred and Archie’s relationship. While Archie’s legacy speech was a bit on the flawed side, the messaging was still solid and the Andrews boys still represent a united front that doesn’t appear to exist anywhere else in town. This is of course after Fred tries to solve the problems he’s experiencing himself, and Archie walks into a biker bar. We’ve yet to see Mary Andrews but we know she’s coming (bring it on Molly Ringwald), so we’ll likely see that balanced father/son relationship shaken again very soon.
Skeet freakin Ulrich as Jughead’s dad is fast becoming one of my favourite characters. After we saw all his misgivings in the last episode, it was nice to see him find a bit of redemption here. His volunteering information to Jughead and Betty regarding Jason and then rounding up a crew to help out Fred proves that Mr. Jones isn’t all that bad of a guy. Well, except for him having Jason’s jacket, and that he uses teenagers to sell drugs, oh and he’s the leader of a violent biker gang, and that he has Joaquin (who I’m still saying is Jason’s murderer) cozy up to the delightful Kevin … so yeah, never mind, he’s a bad guy.
STORY FLAW ALERT! - Mr. Jones tells Hermione that it was likely Mr. Lodge who had people disrupt the construction site and beat up Moose. He blames it on Hermione getting frisky with Fred and someone ratted her out (Veronica, clearly Veronica) and that the incident was part of a jealous attack? On property he owns? Disrupting the building of his weird hipster community housing? Where he stands to make a lot of money? And didn’t Clifford Blossom all but admit to being the culprit in order to bleed the owner of the land dry? Something isn’t adding up there but maybe it’s all a bunch of red herrings. Or trout. Or whatever fish happens to be native to Riverdale.
This was a setup episode, inserted so we can get from here to there. The Jason story got moved along with Mr. Jones and Joaquin (the murderer) hiding the jacket. Polly moving in with the Addams family effectively destroys the ‘Stepford Family’ archetype that the Coopers had been trying to project. Fred and Mr. Jones getting the band back together means it’s being setup to be broken apart again later. And the looming threat of Mr. Lodge stretched its shadowy tendrils a little bit further.
Next week sees the return of Ethel (finally!), though it doesn’t look like we’ll be getting an answer to the burning question on everyone’s mind: Where is Hotdog?
Until next week …
STRAY THOUGHTS OF AWESOMENESS …
- Valerie was there, but … not really there? True, there wasn’t much room for development of Varchie? Valerchie? Archerie? (we’ll need to work on that) Hopefully we’ll be able to see more of that relationship over the coming weeks.
- Same goes for Bughead. Not the best way to start a relationship, amid a murder investigation and a crazy pregnant sister, though we’d still like to see some development happening here. And more than just ‘yeah, my Dad’s a biker’.
- Sheriff Keller - Absolutely terrible at his job. Fortunately for him, he appears to be the only law enforcement agent in all of Riverdale so he’s got great job security.
- Was anyone else hoping that Moose would lay some smack down on those two guys? I mean, c’mon, he’s Moose!
- Archie and Jughead’s ‘bro moment’ was underwhelmed by the lack of conflict. Archie got a little angry, Jughead got a little sad, and then all was well again.
- I kinda love how much Kevin loves the Lodges. From his awe over Veronica’s party invites to complementing Hermione’s shoes. Yeah he’s a walking gay stereotype, but he’s adorable.