Riverdale Season 2 Episode 10 – TV Review
You know what gets me emotional?
Not this episode. Because not a lot happens and it’s boring.
Don’t let this become your normal, Riverdale.
TL;DR Jughead soaks up ungodly amounts of screentime with yet more Serpent contrived class warfare bullshit; Betty deals with sibling drama from both Polly, and the now-no-longer-long-lost Chic; Archie is harangued by an FBI agent to look into what happened to Nick; Veronica is her parents’ lap dog; Cheryl appears, but without much to do.
Except look good in red. Which is always on her list.
So goddamn, Jughead is still determined to be a Serpent to the bitter, stupid end, as this week sees South Side High shut down, and Jughead and his gang ferried off to Riverdale High. Cheryl and Reggie form a largely ineffective opposition to the scholastic refugees, with Veronica (at her parents’ command) trying to broker peace. The Principal comes down a little hard on the Serpents, but all of them except Jughead are happy enough to play ball. Because this school is way better than their old one. Not Jughead, though, who needlessly flaunts authority, before finally resolving to create a fake RPG club where they can still meet to be their Serpent selves. Eye roll. Meanwhile, Archie is approached by an FBI agent who’s digging dirt on the Lodges. He tasks Archie with meeting up with ol’ rapist Nick, and during this saga Archie discovers Nick also assaulted Veronica (and not just Cheryl). Archie does some face-punching, and Veronica lies that she never told her parents and has no idea how Nick got into a double leg-breaking accident soon thereafter. Meanwhile. the South Side School shutdown was orchestrated by the Lodges (by bribing the Mayor) as part of this ongoing, nebulous land deal. And the only strong plot thread of the episode gets tossed Betty’s way, as Polly reveals she’s had the babies, but has joined a cult and plans to keep them away from her parents. In an effort to cheer them up, Betty decides now is a good time to find her long lost brother. And she does. But, sadly, he’s a destitute hooker, and wants nothing to do with the Coopers. Until later he does after Betty rescues him from a knife attack, and also he could be the Black Hood because Archie isn’t convinced Janitor actually was. Oh, and Penelope is also a hooker.
Hookin’ for everyone!
I mean, the episode isn’t a total bust. It’s at this point in the review that I am tempted to trot out my expected refrain of “even bad Riverdale is still better than anything else in the genre.”
But this week, it’s not. Dynasty was head and shoulders (and shoulder pads, god willing) above Riverdale this week.
Gurl, you gotta step your pussy up.
And by that, I mean fucking use Cheryl.
Why I hate this episode:
Sure, Betty’s wholesome and great and has that sinister streak. But Cheryl is textbook 90s high school movie alpha bitch, and Riverdale keeps leaving her on the sidelines. If we’re going to have episodes revolve around forced, external conflict, then at least let’s get Cheryl in here to cunt things up a bit. She gets a token scene this episode when she does her slo-mo power walk with Reggie to shun the South Siders, but that’s it. She’s here, show. Use her.
The real, quantifiable black eye on the episode is the South Side/North Side conflict that Riverdale continues to try to impress upon us, but fails again and again to tell us why it matters. The differences have not been properly established, and every one of the South Side students is still a one-dimensional cardboard cut-out of a character. Why should we care?
Jughead is the major culprit on this front, though. I’ve had it, officially, with his psychotic loyalty to the Serpents. Even Skeet starts to become concerned with Jughead’s fanaticism this episode. Stop, Jughead. Please.
Kevin seems to get a new love interest introduced in the form of a beefy, racially ambiguous Serpent. You’d think I’d be on board for more Kevin romantic subplots, but the Moose thread is still dangling. Unless this new guy will get that subplot back into gear, I’m not interested.
Oh, and the FBI stuff is another example of Riverdale Season 2’s genre overreach. It was bad enough when this show turned into a slasher-lite with the Black Hood, but now it’s a federal crime drama? These kids are in high school, right?
But it’s not all bad:
The FBI agent is from Riverdale, so it almost brings things back down to quaint, small town Earth.
And quickly jumping back to Kevin’s new love interest, he certainly is good looking enough for Kevin. I would hope that he might strike up a rivalry with Moose.
Despite being the Lodge family mole, Veronica doesn’t get a whole lot to do on the scheming front. Basically, her job is to try to help keep the peace at Riverdale High so that South Side High can wither and die without contest. But Veronica makes her time this week count elsewhere when Archie, upon some light blackmail from Cheryl (because she witnessed it, remember?), quickly comes clean to her about the kiss with Betty. Archie explains truthfully what led to it happening and reminds her that they were broken up. And Veronica, ever the paragon of Riverdale’s enduring character sensibility, chooses to believe him and reaffirms her love for him now that they’re back together. You guys are great.
Betty also keeps her own wholesomeness fires burning when she tried to do her good deed for her parents by finding her brother, Chic. Sure, he’s a disappointment, but Betty truly is a hero when it comes to not only tracking him down, but then rescuing him later. She’s too good for this sinful earth.
And she might not be long for it, as Archie’s admission to the FBI agent about his doubts regarding the Black Hood is contrasted with Chic menacingly watching over Betty as she sleeps. Intrigue.
Still on the subject of prostitutes, after Cheryl (via Archie) has roughed up some more money from Nick, she presents this to Penelope as cause for her to cease her courtesan business. But Penelope claims she’s having too much fun and won’t give it up. I assume there’s something deeper going on her, but for now, you get your life, Penelope. I mean, I’m sure there’s not much worse sex out there than whatever she had to endure from Clifford, right?
I respect that the Serpents acknowledge that, regardless of whether they can wear their jackets or not, Riverdale High is a far better educational facility than South Side High, and they’re willing to make sacrifices to stay on there. Because duh.
Skeet is apparently still working at Pop’s. So we get some more diner uniform time from him this episode. Woof.
I assume Polly’s retreat from Riverdale is because of her new gig over on OUaT, and I won’t miss her. Come back when you’ve got something relevant to do.
Oh, and Cheryl may still be barely hanging on as a featured character, but she never fails to stand out.