Riverdale Season 3 Episode 11 – TV Review
This episode is just really exhausting, you guys.
And I truly want to believe that this avalanche of exposition is Riverdale clearing the decks so we can move forward.
But can we really trust that?
TL;DR Penelope is Claudius’ (and Clifford’s, it turns out) killer; Hermione was behind the quarantine, and arranged Hiram’s shooting; Veronica swings between bizarre mafia bullshit and teen petulance, basically just to be a disruptive shitbag all over the place; Jughead finds a way to get rid of Tall Boy’s body; Archie’s drunken depression may already be over, and he and Hiram call a truce.
I mean, while we’re clearing the decks, couldn’t we have just let Hiram die, tho?
So my cautious optimism from last week about Riverdale burying its mistakes seems to be panning out, as this episode wraps some shit up (thank God). We’ll start with our fave Betty, who is out to find out who murdered Claudius. Turns out it was Penelope, who reveals that the seizures from this season were caused by his development of Fizzle Rocks at the maple syrup factory poisoning the town water supply. It’s also revealed she poisoned Clifford, before faking his suicide, too. Neat. Meanwhile, Archie grapples with his demons, leading to backlash from Fred and some drunken embarrassment. An attempt to murder Hiram is interrupted by a masked gunmen, so Archie instead shoots at that guy, earning a truce with Hiram and an epiphany that he needs to stop being so bloody dire. The masked shooter, it turns out, is a very much alive New Sheriff who Hermione has been boinking on the side. She ordered him to finish the job we learn Skeet started last episode (she gave Skeet a chance for revenge on Hiram, and he took the shot. Literally). The plan was to frame Skeet, but thanks to Jughead, the Jones’ foil her and pin the shooting on Tall Boy, which gets that little problem conveniently wrapped up, too. Bravo. Hermione then kills New Sheriff. For real, this time. Meanwhile, Veronica’s own investigation into her father’s shooting sees her finding out the Lodge gangland territory is at stake now that Hiram’s been proven mortal, and she ropes Reggie and poor old Smithers into some mafia garbage that really highlights what a subplot black hole Veronica is these days. Through her, though, we do learn that the quarantine was mainly enacted by Hermione, purportedly to give Hiram the chance to wrap up his Fizzle Rock bullshit. He didn’t, so now Hermione wants to sell the operation off while he’s incapacitated, to which Veronica originally agrees. But psych, Veronica is also a petty bitch, and instead destroys everything, leading to frustration for Hermione who has already accepted payment from her buyer (and spent it. D’oh!). And there’s also a half-formed detective noir allusion where Veronica hires Jughead to find out who shot Hiram, but the only decent result of this is Kelly Ripa (Mark Consuelos’ IRL wife) getting a bland cameo.
I’m surprised it took them this long.
So wow, what a doozy of an episode. And in contrast to the similarly “too fucking much” of last season’s penultimate outing, this one is mainly just exposition.
But if it means tying up a whole lotta threads, then I’m willing to endure the pain.
And then we get back to Riverdale not being shit? Right?
Why I hate this episode:
Can you imagine if Riverdale instead just found new ways to be even more shit?
The episode is a hell of a slog. But despite all the payoffs we did get (of varying quality), there’s a notable absence of anything to do with Gryphons & Gargoyles and the Gargoyle King. The biggest festering wound on Riverdale. Which makes me worry that, with the rest of the trash storm now cleared up, we’re now going to get fully focused on the evil board game stuff. Please don’t let it be so.
Kelly Ripa’s cameo as a gun-toting water inspector was just fucking weird. And not the old fashioned, good kind of Riverdale weird.
Why would Veronica hire Jughead as a detective? He’s already supposed to be busy being her gangland muscle. And Betty is a much better detective, who is otherwise also available. Not a good plan.
Speaking of the Serpents being Veronica’s gangland muscle, why didn’t she turn to them when she needed some backup?
Veronica acting like a hardcore gangster is simply, undeniably embarrassing. While we’re leaning away from things, show, you should really lean all the fuck away from this.
Cheryl is barely in the episode, and Toni’s role has been reduced to just being her parroting love interest.
Why has Riverdale not yet shown us the prison? Reggie even goes to it this episode to steal the drug lab stuff, but we don’t see it.
Veronica leaves a horrific taste in our mouths with an attempt to reference Chinatown to close out the episode. The Simpsons did it better.
Oh, and why introduce Archie’s darkness, only to have him acknowledge he needs to move away from it the very next episode?
But it’s not all bad:
Josie helps Archie out when he’s in his drunken despair, and he appears to be taking her up on her suggestion that he get back into music. Season 1, here we come.
She also suggests he should go to the gym and train with Sheriff Keller. I support this.
Before we go any further, let’s give it up for Riverdale answering some fucking questions:
- The seizures were caused by run-off into the river from Claudius’ Fizzle Rocks production;
- Penelope killed him because the seizures only affected women, and she’s some kind of feminazi or something;
- She also killed Clifford because he was an evil man;
- Hermione put Skeet up to shooting Hiram out of revenge, and she also wanted revenge for him having a fake Black Hood take potshots at her last season;
- New Sheriff’s death was faked by Hermione, but now he’s dead for real;
- Tall Boy is dead and gone, publicly named Hiram’s shooter, and Hermione can’t refute it without incriminating herself;
- Hiram and Claudius had two separate Fizzle Rocks production facilities;
- The quarantine was supposed to be for Hiram to quietly get out of the Fizzle Rocks game (Hermione could be lying about this one, though);
- In any case, Fizzle Rocks are gone now thanks to Veronica;
- Oh, and Hal doesn’t say he, as the Black Hood, killed Chic. But he doesn’t deny it.
The highlight of the episode is Betty’s tete-a-tete with Penelope in her brothel. Penelope obliquely confirms the murder accusations at first, but then outright admits to them, but only because Hal has told her about how Betty handed Chic over to the Black Hood. If Betty attempts to out Penelope, she’s got some mutually assured destruction coming her hypocritical way. Touchè.
Hermione ends up in a similar situation with Jughead. Jughead gloats that he’s found out all about her dealings with Skeet and New Sheriff, and the Fizzle Rocks. But Jughead won’t be able to say anything without Skeet going down. Because he did totally shoot Hiram, you guys.
Hermione proves her best moves are with a gun in her hand, taking out the dangling loose thread of New Sheriff at the end of the episode. It’s a good look for her.
It was nice for Archie and Josie to have a tender moment of friendship together, and I do hope they make some music soon.
I kind of loved Archie’s dumb luck at the hospital. He’s about to finish off Hiram, but then he saves his life and Veronica is happy he was there to help, not knowing his real reason for being in the room. I lol’d.
Maybe Tall Boy really, really was the Gargoyle King, and that shit is done? Pretty please?
Oh, and Hiram must have a thing for petite women who know their way around a pistol.