Riverdale Season 2 Episode 13 – TV Review
A similar sense of relief washed over me by the end of this episode, too.
After weeks of “huh” and “meh,” Riverdale finally makes the first move to pull itself out of the pits of second season mediocrity.
I could still use about 100% less land deal intrigue, though.
TL;DR The FBI agent presses Archie too hard, leading to him revealing his duplicity to the Lodges; and to the Lodges revealing it was all a secret test of character; Veronica tries and fails to broker peace between her family and the Serpents; Betty is appropriately traumatised by that guy who her family killed last episode.
And much to my delight, Alice does indeed call on Skeet for help. They were written in the stars…
So we’ll start with Archie, whose subplot is mostly water-treading until the juicy reveal to close out the episode. The FBI agent turns the screws to get more answers about Papa Poutine’s assassination, but Archie comes up short (mainly because Hiram keeps lying that he doesn’t know anything about. More like Lie-ram, eh?). Fred is threatened with some nebulous legal action, so Archie gets fed up and squeals to Hiram about what he’s been doing. But psych, Hermione reveals the FBI agent was a fake hired by them to test his loyalty. And he passed. Meanwhile, Veronica can feel a war brewing between the Serpents and her family, so arranges a peace summit between Hiram and Skeet, with herself and Jughead in attendance. Hiram offers to help with the trailer park evictions, but only if Jughead promises not to write any newspaper articles about his shadiness. The offer is, naturally, refused. So Hiram and Hermione then decide to push their land deals up on the schedule, which Mayor refuses because it’s too dangerous. Here, too, Veronica must step in for the sake of peace, tipping Mayor off that her parents plan to publicise her affair with Sheriff to discredit her, so Mayor resigns peacefully. All’s well that ends without a PR scandal. Meanwhile, Betty chooses to help clean up that dead body she walked in on from last episode, as Alice tries to explain it away as Chic killing the guy (who I will name Trick. To rhyme with Chic, and because it seemed like he was a customer? You get it) to protect his mother. The guilt and terror gnaws at Betty, though, so she tells Jughead about it, and eventually they decide as a group to bring in Skeet for his body-hiding expertise. They do, and my Skeet/Alice shipping wishes begin to become reality. But with a few side glances, it appears that fucking up the Coopers may be exactly what Chic wants. And Cheryl gets a satellite subplot wherein she discovers that Hal Cooper is taking Penelope up on her offer, but not as a customer: as a true lover. Noticing Betty’s inner turmoil (without knowing it’s actually because of a dead body), Cheryl chooses to intervene to try to help Betty’s family, and gives Hal his marching orders.
Hal just can’t land on a woman who isn’t a crazy, cuckoo cunt. Which is what he deserves.
So has Riverdale learned yet that it’s at its best when focusing on Betty? Because that’s the only positive lesson to come out of Season 2 so far.
If Veronica wasn’t completely bogged down in Lodge mafia family stupidity, maybe she’d stand a chance, too.
Why I hate this episode:
Don’t forget Archie, who’s also trapped in the criminal underworld quagmire. Maybe this subplot will pull a Black Hood and fuck off until a trashy, later date re-emergence. If only to give us a momentary respite.
I mean, sure, the reveal of FBI agent actually having been a Lodge family plant all along is vindicating. But it doesn’t erase the trudge we went through to get here. And now that Archie’s been accepted as one of the family, he no longer gets to remain heroically detached. Brace yourselves.
Veronica’s role in all of this continues to confuse me. Earlier in the season she was all smirks and sneers about being a big, bad Lodge. But now she’s actively pursuing diplomacy with the Serpents, and being generous enough to warn Mayor? I know both plans were for the purpose of furthering the Lodge land developments, but if you’re going to be a bitch, V, then be a bitch.
I’m happy that Cheryl got to be in the episode, but she’s still stuck in subplot limbo with nothing really to do. Remember when she was going to become Josie’s psycho stalker? I moaned about that at the time, but at least it was a subplot of her own. Use her, show. Fuck.
Oh, and the build up to the FBI agent reveal is Archie being taken by the Lodge chauffeur to meet with “the Boss.” Which turns out to be Hermione, which made me think that we were about to find out that she, not Hiram, is the true mastermind Lodge. But nah, just the FBI agent thing. Couldn’t we have had both?
But it’s not all bad:
It’s the first time Hermione’s done something other than grimace behind a wine glass all season. So that’s gotta count for something, right?
And at least it means the end of pretending that the FBI agent subplot was compelling and believable. I just wish this mafia subplot was compelling and believable.
But you know who is compelling and believable? Betty Cooper. While Archie Andrews may be the in-universe rock of Riverdale, Betty is the rock for us, the viewers. Even when she’s doing something as bonkers as instantly agreeing to help her mother cover up the murder of a drug dealer, I believe Betty. I care about Betty.
Yes, even when she’s too-quickly helping to dump a body, Betty saves it by showing the appropriate level of disturbance about it as time ticks on. I was beginning to lose faith in the characters of Riverdale having appropriate responses to things last episode (Bittersweet Symphony at a confirmation? Why?), but Betty’s kept us on the ball.
Cheryl also shares my concern for Betty, as she sincerely offers assistance to her when she sees her in distress. Later, after discovering Hal and Penelope’s tryst, her concern for Betty again motivates her to both intervene, and also tell Betty the truth about it. Now that Veronica is doing her best to take over for Token Evil Teammate, maybe Cheryl will be our Bitch With a Heart of Gold?
Veronica herself does the best she can with the bogus plot points she’s given this episode. Mayor needed to be taken down a peg, so I’m satisfied that Veronica found a way to make that happen.
It looks like Chic isn’t the Black Hood, but he is shaping up to be a villain in his own right. He fakes being a scared, hurt baby this episode to have Alice and Betty take pity on him. And he secretly smiles as the Coopers start tearing each other apart. Way to sell that creep factor, dude.
Penelope refers to Alice as a “gorgon.” I lol’d.
Alice does the right thing by deciding to reach out to Skeet. He moves Trick from the place the Coopers had stashed him and into a proper grave. With lye to destroy the body. Smart.
Oh, and it may only be a reassuring hand-hold, but I’m ready for the Skeet/Alice ship to set sail, baby. Hermione/Fred got fucked by the Season 2 writing, but there’s hope yet for our king and queen of snakes.