Good god, Riverdale. How is it that you are managing to get everything so wrong?
This week’s episode revolves around Pickens Day, a day to celebrate General Augustus Pickens, the man who won a battle for the land that is now Riverdale.
To celebrate more (and to profit from), the Lodges and Fred Andrews approach the Mayor with the idea to host a festival to properly celebrate the day. Supposedly to get the North and Southside to get along better. With frictions continually getting worse, it sounds like a good idea on paper, but since the Lodges are behind it – it’s purely for selfish reasons.
Archie’s weird FBI agent wants him to get closer to Hiram. Knowing that Hiram hates his guts, he asks Veronica for advice. How to do that? Wrestling, of course!
Much of the episode revolves around Hiram and Archie’s relationship, or rather lack of it. Hiram, being a former wrestling god, partakes in the wrestling try-outs. While Archie has never wrestled before, he tries out anyway just to get closer to Hiram. It’s weirdly uninteresting as much of the episode just drives home what we already know:
Hiram really hates Archie for dating his daughter.
Archie gets humiliated a number of times by Hiram during the try-outs, but Archie persists. Hiram warms Archie away. They try to out run each other. It builds nothing to the story.
At the end, though, Archie decides to take on an “internship” with Hiram. Seemingly this stops Archie’s contact with the FBI. I guess Archie making the wrestling team was worth it after-all?
But even more boring than Hiram is his daughter. Veronica serves no purpose here other than to sing Duran Duran and get slighted by Josie when Josie backs out of their Pickens Day number. Hermione and Mayor McCoy increasingly dislike each other, and pit their daughters against one another. As every good mother does.
There’s also a weird subplot about white privilege. Told through the lens of a white male! One who is so hellbent on thinking he’s getting the short end of every single fucking stick.
I’m looking at you, Jughead.
During his history project, Juggie interviews Toni’s father, who is a member of the fictional Uktena tribe (uktena is the name for a horned serpent in Cherokee mythology). But while the tribe is not real, it is very much based on America’s very tragic history. Toni’s gradfather tells Jughead that General Pickens was paid by a Blossom to slaughter the Uktena people for their land.
It’s a piece of Riverdale’s history that is mostly forgotten. Toni’s grandfather started the Southside Serpents to be able to hold the remainders of his family together.
Fired up by Thomas Topaz’s story, Jughead takes this story to the Blue and Gold. Only his story, rightly pointed out by Toni, is all about Jughead’s issues with the Northside, and not about her grandfather (with the great line, “It’s not your story to tell.”). He eventually goes to apologise.
During the Pickens Day celebration, the Serpents arrive in peaceful protest. Toni gets her moment to make a statement, but before she can get anywhere, Hiram interrupts and steals away her voice.
So fuck Hiram!
The following morning, the Mayor, Sheriff Keller and the Lodges find the Pickens statue beheaded and bloodied. They all agree to blame the Serpents, without any scrap of evidence. This will certainly cement the hatred that the North and Southside feel for each other. Shame no one really cares.
In the continually boring plotline that is Chic, Betty learns from Kevin that her brother is infact a webcam boy. In an olive branch, Betty gives Chic her old laptop so he can continue his work. As his things from his hostel have been stolen, to agrees to take it.
Betty, in exchange, asks for help coming to terms with her dark side (blegh). This, of course, means a “dark education” in being a camgirl! FUCKING YAY. Only it’s not. And let’s stop sexually exploiting a minor. Also this darkness shit didn’t work in season one, and it’s even less interesting now. Go back to super sleuth Betty.
Best thing about this episode is Mrs Blossom approaching Hal for “some company.” Season 2 of Riverdale is sorely lacking in parental drama. Bring it all back, please.
Again, Riverdale fails to really do anything interesting. It’s lost is spark and personality, and it slowly sliding into a lull. I fully blame the 22-episode season format. But mostly, it doesn’t seem like Riverdale knows where it wants to go. With all four of its central characters just sliding around, it feels really hard to root for any of them anymore.
On the bright side, it was excellent to have icon Graham Greene on the show playing Thomas Topaz. Shame the show made him do things like “nod sagely” at things the entire episode.