Following the post-Black Hood-lull, where the series was obviously in a transitionary period and didn’t exactly know what to do with itself, Riverdale returned with two of the season’s best episodes, back-to-back. It begins with “Chapter Twenty-Five: The Wicked and the Divine,” a Godfather-inspired episode that finally gives Archie what he needs to function well as a character. Obviously, the FBI informant stuff wasn’t doing it for anyone, and the writers are smart to recognize that Archie is at his best when paired with Hiram Lodge. For this week’s episode, subtitled “The Tell-Tale Heart,” the focus is back on Riverdale‘s most interesting character by a longshot: Betty Cooper.
So, to break down what Riverdale might be leading to, here are five questions I have about the upcoming season, with a couple of theories thrown in for good measure.
1. Is Archie in the mob now?
Because it damn sure seems like it. Overlooking a bluff that makes Riverdale seem more like the edges of Los Santos and Blaine County than any existing American town, it’s revealed that Agent Adams was actually one of Hermione’s “capos,” a personal assistant and confidante to high ranking mafia officials, often doing all the dirty work. A lot of viewers said they saw this coming, but I was completely blindsided by this reveal, and more so how this is going to impact Archie’s life moving forward. As for a theory regarding what this might mean moving forward, I genuinely believe that Hermione Lodge is going to die.
In the comics, she’s already been dead for some time, leaving Hiram to raise Veronica on her own. If Riverdale has any shot at finding that kind of dynamic – which it doesn’t always seem like they want to – Hermione’s got to go, Hiram’s life needs to change completely, and Archie needs to become useless to him. As of now, Riverdale is doing the exact opposite of that, securing Archie’s (and Hermione’s) position in the family.
2. Who did Alice and Chic kill?
After the intense and effective cliffhanger that ended “The Wicked and the Divine,” its follow-up focuses on the aftermath; in particular, we see the step-by-step process of Betty, Alice, and (kind of) Chic cleaning up and disposing of the body, all while Alice tries to hide the truth from Hal, and Betty is plagued by some mixture of guilt and fascination. The highlight of the entire episode comes when Betty, exhausted from a long day of mopping up blood, crashes into bed and sleeps through the night without so much as a single movement. The entire thing plays out in one fluid motion and director Julie Plec – who created The Vampire Diaries for The CW – absolutely nails everything about it.
But the question still remains: who the hell was this guy? We know Chic wanted to buy some smack off of him, but what else is there to know. More importantly, when someone inevitably comes looking for him, who is it going to be?
There’s a lot going on with Hal right now. Between his love affair with Penelope Blossom – who, if I’m not mistaken, is at least tangentially related to him – and his blatant disdain for Chic, Hal’s in search of a family who will at least pretend to respect his wishes. It seems like Penelope becoming a prostitute was just a really weird and convoluted way of setting up the affair, especially since the two seem to have started something passionate and real just weeks after becoming, as Cheryl puts it, a courtesan. But Chic. Therein lies the real mystery.
Why does Hal hate Chic so much? What does he know about Chic that we don’t? Or, is his aggression just a result of the guilt he feels for having to stare at the young man who he sent away so many years ago? Then again, he might not be too far off labeling Chic as an unsafe presence in the home, leading me to my next (and possibly most important) question…
4. Chic…? Buddy….whatcha doin’?
I think we can all agree that Chic is a bona fide weirdo. After watching Betty while she slept, it’s become clear that Chic’s entire “damaged little boy” act is a total bust. He wants something, and we don’t know what it is. Seeing him cut Hal out of the family photos might offer some insight into what he wants, but Chic’s motivations are so unclear because he doesn’t seem to have a plan of any kind. One minute he’s murdering drug dealers, the next he’s eating chocolate chip pancakes and playing Clue with Alice. If he’s biding his time to earn their trust, he’s doing a damn good job. The cracks are forming, though, and I have a feeling we’ll get to the root of Chic’s true intentions sooner than later.
5. What does all of this mean for the Black Hood?
I’m of the belief that the Black Hood is still very much at large and planning to strike again. Of course, when things in Riverdale start smoothing over, that’s when the shit really starts to hit the fan, so I’m honestly just waiting for a moment of calm, which has become the Black Hood’s cue. I’m also of the belief that we’ve already met the Black Hood, or know somebody who knows him (or them). Hal*, maybe? He sure does spend an awful lot of time away from home…
*It’s probably not Hal but I just want to believe that it is because he always acts so suspicious. Like, come on, guy, do you have to be that shady?
Bonus Theory: Chic Kills Hal
The writers clearly don’t know what to do with Hal, and never really have. Lochlyn Munro is an engaging screen presence, and he’s the kind of actor that can say any line and make it sound credible. The Wayans Brothers equipped him with that skill after forcing him into horribly unflattering situations in Scary Movie, White Chicks, and Little Man. But the character himself is kind of aimless. He doesn’t take away from the experience, but he doesn’t really add to it either. Everybody in the Cooper household is obviously tired of him. He’s barely on-screen as it is, and his scenes feel more like a series of contractually obliged appearances. Having Chic kill Hal would really get the story moving, and would just “take care of” the whole….Hal situation.
GEEK Grades: B+/A-
Next week, does the Black Hood return? Do Veronica and Jughead hook up? Is the world of Riverdale imploding before our very eyes?! Unfortunately, we have to wait a month to find out. THANKS, OLYMPICS!!!!
I mean, see you guys in March!
Images: The CW