Liam Hoofe reviews the seventeenth episode of Riverdale season 2…
With the season finale on the horizon, Riverdale ramped up the pressure on several of its key characters this week in what was a mixed bag of an episode.
With quite a lot to discuss from this week’s outing, let’s start with one of the show’s most divisive storylines – the relationship between Archie and Hiram. I have praised Hiram’s involvement throughout the series, and have felt that the storyline has helped make Archie into a much more interesting character. This week, however, things got a little silly and Hiram was easily the worst thing about the episode. The storyline concerning the mob was just a little too on the nose, the arrival of Lenny and Carl (come on, seriously!?) and their accompanying Godfather inspired score was laughable, and Archie’s confrontation with the ‘threatening’ duo was just outright ridiculous. Seeing Archie and ‘The Dark Circle’ square up to the mob was far too hilarious to be taken seriously, and it echoed back to the regrettable ‘Red Circle’ nonsense from the first half of the season.
That being said, Archie’s storyline with his dad is starting to build quite nicely. Fred Andrews is the shining light of Riverdale and watching him be betrayed by his son makes for compelling viewing. Archie’s Mother has made a nice addition to the show, and Archie’s torn loyalties felt a lot more believable this week than they did last. Having Fred run for Mayor gives fans something to root for, and hopefully, it gets a nice payoff. Archie, as naive as he is, is bound to see the light before the season reaches it climax, and seeing Archie and Hiram square off next year should be nothing if not fun.
Elsewhere, Chic was up to no good again this week. At the start of the episode, the murder victim’s car was discovered in the swamp, sending Betty and her Mother into a panic. Chic, always willing to lend a hand, decided to go and find the women who owned the car and bring her around to the house. This seemed like a bit of a crazy move, and really brought Chic’s motives into question. The ensuing showdown between the thugs and the Serpents was one of the episode’s stronger moments though, and I really enjoyed the Serpents stuff this week. Jughead was also used much more sparingly, and his character benefitted from some much-needed breathing space. Chic is probably not going to make it past the end of the season, and with Betty having now forced him out of the house, we can expect him to get even more conniving as the week’s pass by.
The best part of the episode though was, of course, Cheryl Blossom and her trip to the Nun’s correctional facility. Cheryl centric storylines are often some of the finest in the show, and she shone once again this week as she attempted to resist the Nun’s correctional tactics. The sequence where she was saved by Toni and Veronica was ludicrously entertaining, and Cheryl and Toni’s big moment in the facility felt well-earned. Nana Blossom was also great in this episode, and after a quiet season, it looks as though Cheryl is finally going to grab some of the limelight as season 2 approaches its finale. The episode ended with Cheryl telling Kevin that she wanted the lead role in his musical adaptation of Carrie (Kevin’s reaction was hilarious), means that she will be front and center for the next episode. Her promise to burn down the school really whet the appetite for the next episode, though, sadly, we will have to wait a few weeks to find out what happens, with the show taking yet another hiatus for the next fortnight.
There’s quite a lot to process as Riverdale gets closer to its season finale. This week’s episode was a mixed bag quality-wise. The Cheryl stuff was great, but the Hiram storyline was a little bit too much this week. The war between Hiram and Fred for Archie’s affections is growing into one of the show’s more interesting storylines though, and Riverdale being Riverdale, this is all likely heading towards an explosive ending.