Riverdale Season 2 Episode 15 – TV Review
But don’t get too excited just yet.
There’s a still a whole lotta Lodge mafia family bullshit, character inconsistency, and even some fresh twinanigans.
But you know what I realised today? At least we’re not dealing with Serpent drama, anymore.
And for that, I’m grateful.
TL;DR Veronica and Archie butt heads over her family’s manipulation of Fred; Jughead ramps up his investigation into the Lodges’ ultimate plan; which is revealed (and it’s boring); Betty drops pleasantries with Chic and DNA tests him behind his back; Clifford Blossom’s twin brother suddenly appears, but he’s not allying with our favourite Blossom.
How could anyone not choose Cheryl? It’s madness.
So we’ll start with Archie and Veronica, who do make up the meat of the episode. Basically, Hiram and Hermione have decided that they want Fred to run for mayor (now that Mayor isn’t mayor, anymore). They pressure Veronica to run the play, but this pisses Archie the fuck off because he doesn’t want dear, decent Fred to get caught in the Lodges’ spiderweb. Veronica agrees and tells her parents she’ll draw the line, but this comes back to bite her when it’s discovered that Archie, in his efforts to untangle Fred from the Lodges’ plans, has leaked knowledge of the diner sale to Jughead. Veronica thinks on her feet and takes the blame to spare Archie Hiram’s wrath, but things aren’t looking good for our alpha couple. Meanwhile, Jughead, with this newfound knowledge, forges ahead with trying to expose Hiram. Although Pop asks him not to publish the diner story, Jughead instead gets some well-timed inside intel from a Deep Throat-imitating Smithers (not this one), and all is revealed: Hiram wants to turn South Side High into a for-profit prison. SoDale will be housing for the staff. Not really that sexy, Hiram. You could have been eviller. Hiram is forced to also reveal this to Fred and Archie, which leads Fred to abandon his mayoral dreams, and Archie into making some bizarre blood oath. Not sure why. Meanwhile, a secret Clifford Blossom will is discovered, and at a public reading it’s declared that half of his fortune will go to anyone in Riverdale with Blossom blood. So the Coopers are in luck. More shocking, though, is the arrival of Clifford’s mysterious twin brother, Claudius. He at first seems to be on Cheryl’s side, abhorring the archness and villainy of Penelope. But, sadly, Cheryl later overhears him yucking it up with Penelope. Poor Cheryl. Meanwhile, Betty gets sick of treading water on the Chic front, and with Hal and now a visiting Polly backing her in the “Chic is weird and we should probably do something about that” club, she tests his DNA.
First Riverdale thinks it’s The Sopranos, and now Maury?
So Lodge obstruction aside, this is a fairly decent episode of Riverdale. It’s got a long way to go to get back to the heights of Season 1 (I’m telling you, a Cheryl/Kevin bottle episode could get us there, baby), but I’ll take any promising leads they can give us.
I’m even willing to forgive soap opera twinanigans. I just want Riverdale to be worthy again.
I’d also say that I want it to stop being constantly outshone by Dynasty, but the CW isn’t made of miracles, people.
Dynasty’s really good, you know.
Why I hate this episode:
I did do an involuntary eye roll when the Claudius twinanigans were revealed, though.
I haven’t got anything fiery or new to say about the Lodge mafia family stuff. I’m simply tired of it at this point, and want it to end. And like I said, the Serpent stuff eventually petered out. I guess I’ll just have to wait for this to do the same.
I will say this, though: Archie is demonstrably super okay with gangland executions. But he’s not okay with the Lodges helping his dad become mayor? Sure, it’s obvious that Fred will be under their thumb. But on a scale of things to be offended by, I’m pretty sure “literal murder” should be higher than “uncomfortable business transaction.” Get your priorities in order, Archie. Gosh.
On a similar note, why is everyone so shocked and appalled by the sale of Pop’s diner? Unlike South Side High and the drive-in, at least Pop’s is still operating. Calm down, Jughead.
Jughead can’t publish his exposè of Hiram in Alice and Hal’s newspaper because they sold it to Hiram, and the principal also refuses to let them publish it in the school paper, so Jughead throws up his arms in defeat. Dude, just post it online. Surely Riverdale has one of those trashy, small town social media pages. Remember what century you’re in.
Riverdale usually does pretty well with characters actually talking to each other and avoiding typical soap opera plot holes of ambiguous dialogue. But Betty drives straight into that pit when she presents the DNA test findings to Chic. She doesn’t say that he’s been proven not to be a Cooper. She only says “you’re not who you say you are.” Come on, show. You’re better than this.
The reveal of the for-profit prison as Hiram’s big master plan is a letdown. I don’t know what I expected it to be, but I expected something more salacious than this.
Oh, and why didn’t the Lodges just position Hermione as the new mayor in the first place? What a no-brainer.
But it’s not all bad:
Hermione as the new mayor makes perfect sense. And I can’t wait to see Mayor McCoy seethe about it.
Mayor McCoy also gets a cute scene when Archie asks her to attempt to discourage Fred from his mayoral bid. And not by spilling any Lodge secrets or horror stories, but by simply detailing how crummy the job is. Smart.
Speaking of smart, although she’s given a limited amount of screentime this episode, Betty continues to impress as the most intrepid of the Core Four. She employs Kevin to catfish Chic via webchat to investigate him, and when the whole Blossom family money thing is brought up and Chic says he doesn’t want to get a blood test, she parries by having Kevin introduce the idea of getting STD tested. Sadly, Kevin is too pure for this sinful earth and Chic figures out he’s being fed lines, so Kevin aborts. But I admire Betty’s willingness to get the job done.
And she apparently does. With the indirect approach yielding no results, she just goes straight to his bathroom rubbish bin, takes a bit of used dental floss, and orders that DNA test. Nice.
Archie and Veronica spend their episode mired in all that Lodge nonsense, but the interpersonal conflict between the two of them is still valuable. Even though she’s mad at Archie and had stuck her neck out for him, she instantly takes the blame for the diner sale info leak to protect him. I’ve said and I’ll keep saying it: I care about these characters because these characters care about each other.
And as inconsistent as Archie’s morals are, it warms my heart to see him so fiercely protect his dad. But what was that blood oath about, dude?
Hal begins his episode by demanding a divorce from Alice. This seems innocuous enough, but then Alice later realises at the will reading that it was motivated by the chance Hal will get that Blossom blood money, and he wants to cut her out. She loudly announces her disagreement with that plan. At the will reading.
Alice also gets the best line of the episode when explaining what exactly it is about the Blossoms that she doesn’t much care for: “Yeah, that’s right. I said ‘inbred.'” If we could have less mafia and gang drama, and more insults, I think we’d be good.
As part of the will reading, Penelope is left Thornhill. I lol’d. And the other half of the fortune that isn’t the blood money has been left to Cheryl and Jason. Which is now just Cheryl, obv. She’s got the power.
She also appears to have Claudius on her side, as he explains that he left the family despite being groomed to take it over because he wanted to avoid the “one twin always dies” Blossom family curse. He makes it clear he’s no fan of Penelope’s, and even makes a (supportive) lesbian joke around Cheryl and Toni at dinner.
But Cheryl’s hopes of an ally are cruelly dashed when she eavesdrops on Claudius and Penelope later, and they are discussing their plans to work against Cheryl. For the money.
Cheryl does still have an ally and potential love interest in Toni, though. So that’s nice.
Oh, and Cheryl pulls out some choice looks this episode, saving her Cheryl Blossom-iest for the will reading.