Riverdale Season 2 Episode 17 – TV Review
Who knew that in an episode about thwarting the evils of gay conversion that our true hope spot would be the realisation of just how pathetically fragile Hiram is, and the confirmation of Archie’s unfounded bravado?
It’s good to be back, Riverdale.
TL;DR Toni and Veronica rescue Cheryl from the asylum; Hiram is besieged by jealous underworld cronies; Archie uses his utter lack of self-preservation instincts to temporarily ward them off; the student council election heats up; Archie neglects his father; Betty deals with her Chic problems.
Woah, Dark Betty. Bambalam.
Nah, Betty doesn’t go too dark. But she does get shit done (as she is wont to do). With news of Trick’s (the dead guy) car being found in the swamp, the Coopers start to feel the pressure. Chic stupidly tries to fix things by getting in touch with Trick’s ex-girlfriend, but it turns out she’s pretty switched on to wassup, and extorts the Coopers for money. When she inevitably heaps more crap upon her original demands, Betty uses her Serpent hook-up and gang-scares the bitch outta town. Alice also finally wakes up to the danger Chic poses, and kicks him out so Betty can come home. Aww. Meanwhile, some mafia goons comes to squeeze Hiram for an unfair profit stake in the prison. When Hiram’s own bodyguard turns against him, Archie summons his dumb, brawny might (and that of the football team. In hoods) to scare them off. Although Hiram admires Archie for his commitment, they acknowledge this will only be a temporary reprieve. And Archie does have to sacrifice the votes he’s earned from the football team to Reggie in exchange for their help. Speaking of votes, the student council election campaigns start chugging along, and the teen Serpents vow not to vote for Jughead because they don’t trust Betty. Because Alice used to be a Serpent, and she defected. But with their team-up against Trick’s ex-girlfriend, this feud seems to be put to bed (or at least Skeet and Alice get put to bed. Together. Because they’re having sex. It’s happening, people). Meanwhile, Toni rallies Josie and Veronica to help find out what’s going on with Cheryl. A timely tip from a still-fighting Nanna Rose and some inside intel from Kevin bring them to the Sisters of Quiet Mercy, where Veronica and Toni pull off the requisite dramatic jailbreak. Josie does not join them, though, as Penelope exposes Cheryl’s obsession with her earlier in the season (I knew that had to come back around). Oh, and in devoting so much time to Hiram, Archie leaves Fred out in the cold for his mayoral campaign debut, earning himself another verbal beatdown from Molly Ringwald.
Thanks, Molly. We’ve all been thinking it.
But you know what the best part of this episode is? It’s that I am actually excited for the next episode.
Even at its low points this season I can’t say I’ve truly hated Riverdale. But I haven’t been salivating at the prospect of what’s to come, like I did with last season.
But this episode ends on the transcendent whiplash of Cheryl’s triumphant arrival back at school, only then to demand that Kevin give her the lead role of Carrie in the school’s Carrie musical, and that she’s going to make the school burn.
Am I dreaming? Is this an episode of Dynasty? Because it’s that delicious.
Why I hate this episode:
But if Cheryl is Carrie, then who else is cunty enough to be Chris Hargensen? Alice? Omg, if we’re casting the parents, then Mrs White will obviously have to be Penelope. I’m keen.
Speaking of Alice, the teen Serpents’ objection to voting for Jughead due to Betty being Alice’s daughter is pretty weak. This show only seems to remember to care about Alice’s Serpent past whenever it’s most inconvenient, and I’m sick of it.
I know the football players of Riverdale High are a pretty suggestible bunch, but helping to blow up a mafia car and likely invite gangland retribution would warrant some pause, no? Making nebulous threats to the Black Hood on YouTube is one thing. Directly confronting murderous career criminals is another.
Archie lies that he’s the one who killed Papa Poutine to intimidate them. Oh, honey. No. Tellingly, they don’t believe him. It’s embarrassing.
I wish Skeet and Alice’s hook up had been more explicit. At least have them kiss or something.
Oh, and as much as it brings me joy, Hiram’s whole aura and power is undone when he loses his two bodyguards? Weak, dude.
But it’s not all bad:
But it does bring me joy. If that’s all it takes to make him crumple, and crappy little Archie is the only one in his corner, I’m starting to think we may be rid of this Lodge mafia bullshit sooner, rather than later.
On the topic of Archie’s commitment to Hiram, this leads into yet another episode-stealing moment from Molly Ringwald, as she once again denounces Archie for devoting his time to Hiram instead of his own father. She shouts Archie down for changing into this slippery, gross Hiram mentee, when he used to be a nice boy who loved his father, played music, and was best friends with Betty and Jughead. I long for those days, too, Molly. Let’s hope they’re on their way back.
Archie’s plan to reform the football players as the Dark Circle (instead of the Red Circle. Get it?) is nearsighted. Just like his plan against the Ghoulies way back at the start of the season. I expect that he won’t get off so easy this time, though.
Veronica reminds us that she can be more than just a pawn for her parents’ real estate dealings, as she pledges herself to saving Cheryl. Josie, understandably, abandons ship when Cheryl’s momentary stalking situation comes back to haunt her, but Veronica stands fast alongside Toni. And who doesn’t love a good scene of a bunch of attractive teenagers running through secret tunnels away from evil gay conversion nuns? This is the kind of Riverdale weirdness I can get into.
Veronica also takes this moment to break out the most boobalicious spelunking gear she can find. I miss the usual cape she wears for these kind of missions, but I guess she wanted to show Cheryl and Toni some sapphic support, huh?
Betty gets major points this episode for apparently stamping out this Chic nonsense for the time being. She cleverly outplays Darla (a delicious guest spot from Azura Skye), Trick’s ex-girlfriend, by using her Serpent boyfriend resources. Betty ain’t playing around.
And to have Alice wake up and kick out Chic to cap things off was the icing on the cake.
Or was Alice’s subsequent slip into Skeet’s place the true victory? Because I’ve been gunning for that pairing for yonks, baby.
Toni and Cheryl get a Big Damn Kiss.
Oh, and Reggie and Archie arm wrestle over who will get to have the football players’ votes for the student council election. It’s no wrestling episode, but I’ll take the testosterone-charged homoeroticism I can get.