Riverdale Season 3 Episode 10 – TV Review

Riverdale The Stranger Betty

If Rose McGowan’s taught us anything, it’s that truly brave people call themselves brave.

I had an epiphany during this episode: what if this rash of undoing everything the mid-season finale set up is intentional? What if the writers realised the mistakes they made and have decided to walk it all back?

Hey, in an episode without Cheryl, it’s the only thing keeping me going.

TL;DR Archie’s back, but now has some sort of PTSD or whatever; Hiram gets shot; Jughead and the Serpents reveal a not-dead Tall Boy as the Gargoyle King; Alice steals Betty’s money and gives it to The Farm; Betty teams up with Hal-libal Lecter; Veronica’s vagina wavers between Archie and Reggie.

Por que no los dos, mija?

So adding to the evaporation of the Big Bad Quarantine, Archie’s exile from Riverdale is also overturned this episode, as he’s back in town, baby. His hair is soon back to his classic red, but sadly it’s not as easy to get back into the swing of high school, and Archie crumples under the pressure of the SATs. This is brought on seemingly by traumatic flashbacks to his spirit quest, and Archie just isn’t the same person he used to be, man. Meanwhile, Archie and Veronica get a bit awkward when her tryst with Reggie is revealed (but you two were broken up, tho. So…?), but then Hiram gets shot and hospitalised, and Veronica thinks Archie might have done it, which makes her decision to let Reggie slip back in a little easier. Meanwhile, Jughead’s plan for Fangs to infiltrate the Gargoyle gang pays off, and they raid a ritual to discover Tall Boy alive and well under the mantle. They flub a plan to use him to lure out Hiram, and then Fangs and Sweet Pea accidentally kill him when he tries to escape. Oh, well. But if the law comes sniffing around, they needn’t worry, as in the hottest surprise of the episode, Hermione picks Skeet as her new sheriff (Hiram wanted Claudius, but then Claudius gets murdered off-screen. Oh, well). Meanwhile, Cheryl isn’t in this episode. And Betty gets fired up when she finds out Alice forged Hal’s signature and has drained all of Betty’s bank accounts. There’s a minor detour where Betty visits Hal and then he says he’s the one who was the killer on Ascension Night, but then we find out Penelope had just been running her mouth to him about things and Hal used this info to lie to Betty to keep her coming back. But hey, it worked, because after Alice gives the money to The Farm and they use it to buy the asylum for their new HQ, Betty still turns to Hal for solace.

When it’s right, it’s right.

I really do hope my inference that Riverdale is trying to course correct turns out to be true. Wouldn’t it be nice for Gryphons & Gargoyles to be gone? At least The Farm is comprised of people, and not evil board games and masked deities.

Still, wouldn’t it be even nicer if Riverdale went back to being a high school soap opera?

 

Why I hate this episode:

This episode almost tries to do that by making the SATs a big feature. It temporarily did feel like the show was trying to transition from its egregiously OTT bullshit back to some mildly OTT high school silliness. But then no, Archie turns his bedroom into a prison/gym, begins developing alcoholism, and Hiram is shot and Veronica blames Archie. Can these kids just go back to being kids? Sexy, teen kids. You know? Like they used to be?

Riverdale tries to fill its sexy teen quota this episode with the groan-worthy Archie/Veronica/Reggie love triangle. Who cares? Has Veronica got nothing else going on? Look at how much non-romance plot Betty gets to play with every week. I know Veronica hasn’t exactly proven herself with all this speakeasy trash, but she deserves better than to be merely a love interest.

The Hannibal allusion, much like its first appearance, is much too close to rip-off to be enjoyable. And why has Betty seemingly given up on getting her money back now that The Farm has spent it? Wouldn’t she still be able to prove the forged signature and claim it back? We know she’s got McCoy on speed dial should the need for a lawyer arise.

Tall Boy as the Gargoyle King must be a fake-out. And I don’t have much more patience for it.

Hiram abandons his vendetta against Archie way too easily.

Claudius’ death is pretty blasè.

Oh, and Hiram has a meeting with Claudius and Penelope this episode that made me realise that Hiram’s Legion of Doom never came to fruition. If we were going to go in this loopy direction, they could have at least made good on that promise from last season’s finale.

 

But it’s not all bad:

Again, keeping the hope in my heart that I’m not wrong, I am so relieved that Riverdale is trying to crank down the G&G insanity. I’ll take a PTSD Archie and a villain handover to The Farm if it means Riverdale’s evil board game shenanigans fuck the fuck off. I mean, can you imagine if Tall Boy really was the Gargoyle King, and he really is dead? That would be bliss.

That, naturally, wouldn’t account for whoever the Gargoyle King was back at Ascension Night. But good on Hal for giving that one a red hot try. He almost had me going there for a minute. And I enjoyed Betty’s deconstruction of his lies, which necessitated having a meeting with Penelope wherein she admits to visiting Hal and posing as Alice so she could bone him. Well done, you two. Keeping the flame alive after all this time.

And if Alice really is going to be this much of a cunt to Betty, then why not have Betty team up with her father? He’s her very own Sealed Evin In A Can in case Betty needs someone to do battle with the emerging true villain of the season, The Farm King.

Speaking of Alice, we get my long-whinged-for reprise of Type A Bitch Alice this episode, as she affects the persona to nail a local TV job. Hopefully that means we get to see more of her, even if her Farm persona is still lurking underneath.

Before The Farm buys the Sisters’ old asylum for their headquarters, Hiram proposes buying it as his and Hermione’s new home. She’s more polite than I would have been at the suggestion.

In fact, Hermione is my absolute highlight of the episode, as she secretly installs Skeet as the new sheriff of Riverdale, against Hiram’s wishes that it be Claudius. Maybe Hermione is also the one who killed Claudius to ensure there would be no quibbles. Hell, what if Hermione is the one who shot Hiram?

To be fair, though, do we really care who shot Hiram? I’m just ecstatic that it happened. #blessed

Oh, and when Betty accuses Penelope of fantasising over serial killers in reference to Hal, Penelope mistakes this as something more general and gleefully reminisces on her past obsession with Jeffrey Dahmer.

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About ijusthateeverything

Sincerity is death.

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