Riverdale excelled in this week’s episode as both the characters’ hair and the cinematography were styled to perfection. Spoilers follow!

Things finally got moving this week, but in case you need a reminder on what happened last week, refresh yourself here. Now, let’s get into the interesting, well-executed ideas of this week’s episode.

I had a few predictions that ended up being wrong based on last week’s episode: the first being that Archie wasn’t really about to betray the FBI and go all-in on crime with Hiram Lodge, and the second being that Betty wouldn’t start doing sex things on the internet. And wow, both of those things happened. Archie’s business internship began simply, just running errands. But Archie had gained some of Hiram’s legitimate trust, and that led Archie learning more than Veronica wanted, but as much as the FBI wanted. And while we didn’t see much of it this episode, Betty, wearing the short, black wig we first saw in season one when she got all crazy, started talking to strangers on the internet while in her underwear, basically letting them get off to her. Which again, I think is weird because she’s a minor. Betty is definitely turning internet creeps into sex offenders and the show doesn’t seem interested in acknowledging that. But whatever, I guess.

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Archie’s chance to enter the Lodge crime family came when Veronica had a baptism ceremony, bringing lots of her (crime-doing) family into town. Hiram hosted a poker game at Pop’s which he had Archie work for him. This made Veronica nervous, because although she committed to becoming involved in her family’s shady dealings, she didn’t want Archie to get roped up as well. This is a similar struggle to that of Betty and Jughead earlier this season, and ties into one of the show’s main themes: darkness eclipsing the light. Archie has always (with the exception of his bloodlust earlier this season) had good intentions in his heart, and he still does. But that is just what Veronica admires about Archie, and seeing him pulled into the bad things her family does scared her. This led to the best scene in the episode, and one of the best in a while, being the visually stunning baptism scene. The obvious wedding parallels represented how Veronica was committing to Archie specifically, with his presence being her equivalent to “renouncing Satan”. She viewed her work with her family as a sin and Archie as the opposite of that, essentially her saving grace and light in the dark. She wasn’t so much renouncing Satan as she was placing her faith in Archie rather than her family. He was, as she called her friends earlier, part of her “chosen family”.

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And that’s too bad for Veronica, I guess, cause Archie is into crime now! While working for Hiram at that poker game, Archie happened to overhear a few of the guests (who are definitely mobsters) saying that Hiram needing to be taken out. After Veronica’s baptism he warned Hiram about it. Hiram seemed pretty chill about it, but Veronica made it clear to him that she didn’t want Archie anywhere near their family business. She even warned him about who her father really was and what they really did, but Archie cut her off, saying that he both didn’t care to and couldn’t know. But it seems Archie’s allegiance to the FBI, already slim as it was, has been traded for allegiance to Hiram. The FBI agent informed Archie that the same mobster who threatened Hiram, the one Archie warned him about, was found murdered in his hotel room the next morning. And rather than admit his part in it, Archie denied all knowledge of why that might happen.

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Anyway, speaking of crime teens, Jughead and Betty were finally brought back together. The ramifications of Jughead’s newspaper article and the outrage it created are continuing, as he and Betty were both suspended from the school paper. And even worse, as no one had been convicted of decapitating the statue of General Pickens, the mayor ordered eviction notices on all the Southside Serpents. I’ve got to say, forced eviction because of profiling is really the first time the whole “the Serpents are persecuted” angle has really connected with me. It felt realistic, petty, and unnecessary. As everyone was trying not to get evicted, Tallboy brought back Penny Peabody, the Snake Charmer lawyer who Jughead kidnapped and mutilated a couple of episodes ago. Still his darkest moment, it had some consequences as the Serpents voted to either keep Jughead or Peabody. Angered, Jughead and Betty, the original crime-solving teenage duo, teamed up once again and found the statue’s head, which Tallboy himself had stolen. He and Peabody were exiled, but not before it was revealed Hiram Lodge himself incited the incident in an attempt to shift power at the Serpents and get a hold over them.

That itself is an interesting revelation, but the biggest change from this is Betty and Jughead becoming close again. Jughead accepted Betty’s will to become part of the Serpents, no longer trying to protect her. And then they had sex, so if you’ve been hoping they would get back together, you’re in luck. Betty, did not, however, tell Jughead about her kinda-sorta child porn dealings. That’s always a real mood-killer before your first time.

Meanwhile, Chick got a legit job, so good for him. He’s apparently still into the whole webcam thing, as he warned Betty to never let any clients know where they actually live. Maybe he failed at that, or maybe some part of his past caught up with him, but some mysterious creepy dude showed up at the door when only he and Alice were home. What happened in between the man showing up and Betty getting home is a mystery, but Betty walked in on her mother scrubbing blood from the floor, the seemingly lifeless body of the stranger on the floor with a nasty wound on the side of his head. Did Alice kill that guy? Did he attack them? Will they have to cover it up? These questions have yet to be answered, but one thing is for sure: this show is at its best when murder is involved.

Finally bringing the characters back together in meaningful ways, presenting fresh spins on the show’s core themes, and really bringing the engaging melodramatic stories that makes the show fun to watch, I give “The Wicked and the Divine” 9.5 mob hits out of 10.

What did you think of the episode? Let us know at SuperBroMovies.

Riverdale airs on The CW Wednesday nights at 8 p.m.

Weston Sheffield 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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