Riverdale Season 3 Episode 14 – TV Review
Remember the resolution I made last episode to just grimly soldier on through this travesty of a season?
This is me. Soldiering.
TL;DR The gang bullshit trades places for Gryphons & Gargoyles bullshit this episode, including a bratty kid character, as Archie remembers he’s marked for death; Veronica’s speakeasy continues to prettily poison all her subplots this season, as she does some business stuff; Jughead finds a way to unite his new Serpent/Gargoyles hybrid gang; Betty, again, gets to enjoy the only subplot that isn’t a complete dumpster fire.
But on the plus side, there is some regular fire.
So let’s start with Betty, just to switch things up a little. She does her best to stall Alice’s attempts to sell the house, but an anonymous buyer makes quick work of it, sadly. Meanwhile, she tries to pry Kevin from The Farm’s clutches, but fails at that, too. But hey, she ends the episode by setting her house on fire out of pure spite, and if I can’t support that, then what good am I? Meanwhile, Archie finds some young kid squatting in the gym he now works at. He tries to take care of him, especially when discovering he’s been marked with the same Sacrifice G&G rune as Archie. But oops, the kid is actually Joaquin’s little brother, and is actually crazy and did this whole thing as a setup to murder Archie and join with some kind of splinter Gargoyle faction. Archie ends up okay physically, but is depressed by the fact that he is still marked for death. Meanwhile, the less insane Gargoyles that Jughead’s been saddled with turn out to be hard to control. Largely thanks to the impulsiveness of their leader, Kurtz (hot gay gay from The 100), who it turns out also goes to their school. With the principal bearing down on gang activity, Jughead’s solution is to have Skeet deputise the Serpents, which means they’ll be getting paid to help enforce the law. Everyone accepts the position, except Kurtz. Meanwhile, Cheryl and Toni have some flaccid disagreement about what the Pretty Poisons should be about. But this folds neatly into Veronica’s subplot, wherein she becomes frustrated with Gina and Hiram walking all over her at the speakeasy (and tucking into her profits, of course). Even after she turns the place in to a casino to boost revenue, she’s still pissed off. So she hires the Pretty Poisons to be bouncers and doesn’t let Gina or Hiram in, anymore.
Is a single room bar/casino underneath a diner, run by teenagers, really Riverdale’s only nightlife spot? Is this where the hardcore gangsters really go?
So yeah, more crappy, disappointing, Season 3 Riverdale.
Let’s just get this over with while we wait for Dynasty to come back. It’s been way too long.
Why I hate this episode:
Who cares about gang activity?
Who cares about Veronica’s speakeasy?
Who cares about Gryphons & Gargoyles?
Who cares about the characters? Clearly not Riverdale. Remember when Kevin wasn’t a complete fucking idiot? Remember when Veronica cared about her friends, and not running a business (while also still being in school?)? Remember when Jughead had a life outside the Serpents? Remember when Archie wasn’t just dumb-dumb-good-guy? Actually, that last one’s probably not true. But the rest are. Remember when the best thing about Riverdale was that the characters were empathetic, sincere, caring human beings?
Hiram keeps bringing up all the weird and wonderful things that are going on at the prison, and Riverdale is still yet to show it to us. What the fuck is up with that? Is it supposed to be some kind of running joke?
This “what do the Pretty Poisons mean” thing seems to be building as a genuine problem between Toni and Cheryl, so I think this could be an upcoming excuse to break them up. Why have actual character conflict, when you can introduce a new gang to Riverdale, hey?
The only thing that the revelation of the G&G psycho kid being Joaquin’s brother achieves is to remind us of how arbitrarily Joaquin died, and how little impact his death had.
Gina gets a chance to sing, but it’s bad.
For an episode titled Fire Walk With Me, there is a distressingly small amount of Madchen Amick.
Oh, and as much as I’m on board with Betty taking down The Farm, I think her reaction to their coal-walking ceremony was a little melodramatic. Coal-walking is a thing, honey. Calm down.
But it’s not all bad:
The only character Riverdale doesn’t seem to actively hate is Betty, and thank God for that. Yes, she’s dealing with the too-wacky Farm stuff, but at least her interest in it is altruistic. She wants to save her sister, and her mum, and now Kevin. Stay wholesome, Betty.
But I’m also glad you’re not too wholesome, and you’re not above a little opportunistic arson. Her early episode attempt to dissuade buyers by listing the Black Hood-related atrocities that have occurred there was admirable. But just burning the motherfucker down is far more comprehensive.
As for her efforts to go after The Farm, she does attempt to write an exposè, but Farm Girl and Kevin put a stop to that by threatening to tell the police about how she and Alice (and Skeet and Jughead) covered up Chic’s murder of that guy last season. Well done, Farmies. Also, Kevin now knows about that. I wonder if it will affect their relationship once he’s out from under The Farm’s influence?
Veronica’s demonstration of how her casino equipment can fold away in the event of a raid reminded me of when The Simpsons did that on the Beer Baron episode.
Kurtz tries to kill Fangs by dropping him headfirst over a balcony (Jughead and Sweet Pea break his fall). Vicious. And he’s the only one who refuses to become a deputy, so way to stick to your guns.
Oh, and Gina’s performance isn’t very good. But unlike some of the other Riverdale music numbers, at least it wasn’t very long.