Riverdale Season 2 Episode 14 – TV Review
Riverdale the show apparently feels the same, too, as it continues to sip leisurely from a not-that-good cocktail and be dour and bitter.
The Season 2 blues are no joke.
TL;DR Riverdale continues to commit more and more to this Lodge mafia family subplot, and I could not give a shit about it at all; Chic simmers in the background, portending the return of possible Black Hood drama, of which I also could not give a shit; Cheryl gets some Bi the Way time with Toni; Josie and Kevin scrape and claw for screentime while dealing with the revelation of their parents’ tryst.
Do you think Josie’s actress is mad that Sabrina gets the spin-off, and not her? And yes, I know it’s not really going to be a spin-off. Shoosh.
So it’s time for our Core Four to take a sexy lake house holiday. Which is the perfect excuse to introduce more Lodge mafia crap, of course. Duh. Riverdale makes a token effort to pretend that it has characters by playing with some minor drama about Betty and Archie’s Christmas kiss (Cheryl reveals it out of pettiness), but it doesn’t go anywhere. Then suddenly some local thugs rob the gang, which leads to Archie witnessing the Lodges’ driver executing one of the thieves. This doesn’t really bother Archie. There’s also a bit of back-and-forth when Jughead discovers Hiram has bought the trailer park, and Alice calls to tell Betty that he’s also bought the newspaper, but who cares? Meanwhile, Cheryl is upset that she wasn’t invited to the lake house, so blows up the kiss deets. Toni overhears her bitchiness and offers her an emotional ear, but Cheryl is too proud. But later, when they meet up at the movies, they do hang out, and Cheryl admits she once loved some chick named Heather, but Penelope broke them up. Looks like you’re in with a shot, Toni. Meanwhile, Kevin sulks over Moose still being with Midge, and Josie doesn’t make things better when she tells him the truth about their parents’ affair (Josie apparently already knew, but finally got sick of it). Some tantrums later, and the families make up, and Josie and Kevin’s friendship grows stronger. Oh, and Chic continues to be unsubtly creepy for no reason.
It’s sad that this thread, which is the link back to the Black Hood bullshit, is the better of the major arcs.
Like, come on, Riverdale. You’ve got all these great characters who could be doing and saying meaningful things. You know, like you did expertly last season?
But no, let’s bicker about land deals and unearned class warfare and gangland executions. What the fuck, show?
The Black Hood stuff was an alarming escalation. But at least it didn’t involve teenagers being in the mafia.
Just shut up, already.
Why I hate this episode:
And if you’re gonna go there, show, just go there. Let Veronica loose to be the big bad mob boss. Enough with this one-foot-in-one-foot-out tedium. Just do it. It’s better to be a magnificent catastrophe than a dull whimper.
This episode also finds a pathetic way to combine the violence of the Black Hood arc with the “wait, what?” of the Lodge Mafia arc with the home invasion sequence. While I appreciated Archie’s traumatic flashback to how the Black Hood dominated him at the diner, the rest of this sequence was such a wank. Why would the thugs do all this just to rob a purse? Why did Veronica only press a paltry panic button, when it would have been way cooler for her to reach behind that side table for a motherfucking gun (again, if you’re gonna go there, show, fucking go there)? It was just crap.
And then Archie being okay with the driver straight-up murdering that guy was too much. Remember when we were worried about Archie going off the deep end with his Black Hood crusade, only for him to appropriately realise how crazy that was? Riverdale doesn’t. Archie is just cool with executions, now.
The solution to the Christmas kiss drama, of Veronica kissing Jughead, was pretty basic. But because it’s Riverdale, it was still pretty hot. But then Betty brings up the fact that Archie/Jughead is the only kiss pairing of the Core Four that hasn’t occurred, which got my gay ass pretty keen. But then it doesn’t come back up again. Goddamn, Riverdale. Goddamn you.
Whatever happened to Cheryl’s obsession/crush on Josie? Riverdale’s forgotten this, too, as now Cheryl has a different lady lover in her backstory, and Toni on her radar now. I don’t have a problem with Cheryl being bisexual or gay, as she hasn’t shown much interest in the boys, but at least be consistent with your pairings, show.
I’m a little mad, too, that Kevin and Cheryl weren’t paired up in this shuffle of non-main characters. Josie is no Cheryl, Kev.
Moose tells Kevin that Midge is aware of their sexual past, but when Kevin has dinner with Midge and Moose, that doesn’t seem to be the case. So why would Moose offer to have Kevin join them earlier if he knew it would be a problem? It’s weird. And, again, this doesn’t go anywhere or have any payoff. Will we have to wait another eleven episodes before Moose and Kevin tease their relationship again? Jesus.
Oh, and the Love, Simon promotion is a bit heavy handed. Not oppressively so, but it’s obvious.
But it’s not all bad:
Unless Cheryl’s Bi the Way backstory turns out to be momentary and forgotten, at least the cross promotion was relevant.
Like usual (or at least when she’s actually in the episode), Cheryl is the bright spot this week. She’s strong out of the gate with her fabulously petty outing of the Betty/Archie kiss as revenge for the Core Four excluding her from the lake house trip. When Toni overhears and questions her about her viciousness, Cheryl picks up the episode’s best line: “Oh, that’s right. You’re new here. Hi. I’m Cheryl Blossom, aka Cheryl Bombshell. Which means I need no reasons. I simply am. Feel free to tremble.” The last part was a bit much. But Cheryl is a bit much, so.
I was also invested in her backstory blab to Toni. Apparently, she once had a female friend who she loved, but Penelope found them sleeping in the same bed one time so squashed the crap out of that. As they were quite young when it happened, it’s unclear whether Cheryl is implying anything sexual/romantic was involved. But I’m eager to know more. As is Toni. And Toni’s labia.
Kevin and Josie don’t get to do much, but I’ll give them snaps for eking out whatever screentime they can get these days. They end up being mature enough about the situation with their parents, which is nice.
Speaking of being mature, I’ll give Riverdale some more “characters actually talking to each other” points this episode. When Cheryl makes her nasty call to Jughead, he immediately tells the rest of the gang what it was about and they talk it through. More of this, please.
Likewise, Betty and Jughead are pretty direct in blasting Veronica about her parents’ latest purchases.
The hot tub scene is steamy.
Betty brings her Dark Betty wig to the bedroom with Jughead later to re-lay her claim to his body. It works.
Chic doesn’t do much, but I’m liking Betty’s open suspicion of him. Get to the truth, girl. We know you can.
Veronica’s pillows at the lake house have the same pattern on them as the Overlook Hotel’s carpet. Veronica knows her references.
Oh, and I don’t think I’ll ever tire of our characters affirming their love for each other, preferably in a diner setting. I haven’t given up hope for Riverdale, yet. All the pieces are still here. Someone just has to remember to use them.