Riverdale Season 2 Episode 7 – TV Review
Apologies for the lateness, but I actually spent the past few days marathon-ing through the Season 1 Blu-rays of Riverdale I just bought because they were on sale.
Oh, come on. Don’t pretend like you thought I actually had a life.
TL;DR The three vignettes are cute, but don’t really achieve anything; Cheryl can’t manage to snag herself a good subplot, no matter what she tries; Jughead’s continued Serpent involvement is tiring me out; Betty and Veronica do their best Veronica Mars impressions.
I’ve made that comparison more than once already this season. And hey, Veronica Mars is good company.
So the plot this week sees Riverdale weave three largely discrete stories. The framing device is a proclamation delivered by the Black Hood: if the denizens of Riverdale can go forty-eight hours without sinning, he will pack up shop. The individual tales we follow are:
Jughead and Archie. Jughead is harangued by the Snake Charmer into making a one-time drug drop off in Greendale (how very Jason Blossom of you, Jughead). Archie insists on tagging along, but when they get a flat tyre, Tony Todd shows up to offer Jughead a ride. He tells him a story about the Riverdale Reaper who once murdered a family back in the day, and this may be a viable lead for the Black Hood. But then he goes religious and wacky (making the case for himself as the pious Black Hood), so Archie and Jughead hoof it to the drop. There, they learn the Snake Charmer has actually signed Jughead up as a regular delivery boy, lied about Skeet’s in-jail predicament in the first place (she has beef with him or something), and now has blackmail fodder to force Jughead into doing her bidding. Oops.
Josie is next. The Mayor’s concerns for Josie’s safety have escalated, as she’s been receiving death threats, some of which mention Josie, too. Simultaneously, Josie starts receiving at-first endearing, but then threatening, gifts from a secret admirer. In between this, she is also accepting help from Cheryl (who is still pretty grateful about Josie saving her from Nick) to do some solo music material, which ruffles the Pussycats’ fur when they find out. Chuck is also back in the mix as an apparently reformed man and potential love interest, but he goes down because everyone assumes he’s Josie’s upsetting admirer. But it turns out it’s actually Cheryl, and she wants Josie all to herself or something. I’m not feeling it.
Betty and Veronica make the world’s most natural duo to close us out. Kevin mentions that his dad, the Sheriff, is coming undone over the Black Hood case. So, obviously, Betty assumes that Sheriff is the Black Hood, while Veronica more pragmatically assumes he’s having an affair (his wife is away or whatever). They put their detective skills to use (ie. Veronica sleeps over and just pokes around a bit, while Betty takes the “straight-up break into his house” approach), with Veronica’s theory proving true: the Sheriff is boinking the Mayor on the DL. Oh, go on, you two. It makes sense.
And to end the episode, the Black Hood announces the town has failed the purity test.
So all in all, this episode doesn’t achieve much. The only plot-propulsive tale is Jughead’s, and I’m getting pretty over all this gang nonsense.
Do you believe Jughead as a serious gang member?
No. Don’t lie to me. The answer is no.
Why I hate this episode:
The fact that he didn’t check with Skeet before believing the Snake Charmer’s story is pretty stupid. And the Riverdale characters (well, maybe Archie) have proven themselves to not be stupid. It’s disappointing.
With news that the upcoming Sabrina series has been moved to Netflix, I also question the value of setting up Greendale. Unless the CW plans on doing a cross-network (platform?) crossover type thing. I mean, they did it with Supergirl when it was still on CBS, but it wasn’t great.
The Josie story is a good ol’ piece of filler. It’s nice that Riverdale has remembered Josie exists and has given her some time to shine, but (and again, I’m fresh off of watching Season 1 for the second time) the band drama card has already been played. And Cheryl deserves a better subplot than this sudden obsession with Josie.
Oh, and Chuck returns and I will now have to accept the failure of the show to mention the bogusness of the football team sex playbook as my final answer on that dangling thread. The hints in the episode weren’t real; it wasn’t all a ruse made up by Ethel. It’s a shame. That could have been a powerful idea to follow, especially considering the current sexual assault climate.
But it’s not all bad:
At least he didn’t get recast, like Reggie. And I do believe he has reformed.
But Cheryl helped take that bro down as part of keeping up her own cover. The reveal that Cheryl is the admirer is still juicy, even if the subplot is beneath her. My question is: will Riverdale continue on with this? Or was it only a wacky wayside story for this Treehouse of Horror-esque episode?
Cheryl looks fucking fabulous, too. Natch.
Jughead’s subplot is dragged down by Serpent/Ghoulie/drug gang garbage, but the casting of Tony Todd as the mysterious, suspicious truck driver was brilliant. The Candyman himself (and let’s not forget the mortician from the Final Destination series. Iconic) is the perfect choice for a one-and-done horror tale cameo.
And he also provides two possible leads for the Black Hood. First is his story about the Riverdale Reaper, however true it may be. And the second is Tony Todd himself, who spouts similarly judgemental religious stuff as the Black Hood does. Maybe he’ll be back?
The Snake Charmer alludes to some personal beef she has with Skeet, and I do want to know what it’s about. Mainly to justify more Skeet Ulrich screentime.
Betty and Veronica’s pairing is so effortlessly entertaining. The Riverdale casting department are the real heroes, baby.
I admired the directness of Veronica’s approach to investigating Sheriff. She just barges right in on Kevin with the sleepover, and has no subtlety when confronting Sheriff himself. The highlight is when she finds Sheriff sweaty and shirtless while working out, and although her line of questioning is supposed to infer that she knows he’s having an affair, what she says actually comes across as her flirting with him and seeming to come onto him. It’s a cute touch.
The reveal of Sheriff and Mayor’s affair is some hot tea. But simultaneously sweet. They seem right for each other. Josie’s dad is a fuckhead (are he and Mayor still together?), and Sheriff’s wife is permanently absent. I wonder if we’ll meet her soon?
Oh, and gurl, why would you stay away from this? She must be crazy.