One (major) thing I forgot to mention in last week’s recap was that Tall Boy was killed by his fellow Serpents. On accident, of course. Leaving Jughead to cover their tracks.
This death (that I conveniently forgot) was key in this week’s episode of Riverdale, which was an hour-long, not-so-subtle homage to the noir genre.
With Hiram in the hospital and Claudius dead, the children scramble to put together the pieces of the puzzle. Everyone but Archie, that is, who spends most of his screen time starting fights and getting drunk.
Veronica, on the other hand, gets straight to work trying to find out who shot her father. She goes to Jughead to pay him for his help, and he willingly agrees. His first stop is Hermione, who is rather open about the affair that Hiram was having with another woman, which was why Veronica heard her parents arguing one day.
Jughead heads out with Betty to locate the blond mistress. Instead, they come across the members-only Maple Club, run by Ms Penelope Blossom herself. Betty tries to interrogate Penelope about Claudius’s death, but the kids are eventually turned out.
But a quick visit to Betty’s favourite medical examiner. She learns that Clifford Blossom had a secret autopsy done on his body before it was cremated. The examiner tells Betty that he died of poisoning, not too different a fate from his own brother. When Betty confronts Penelope again, this time armed with hard evidence, Penelope admits to murdering all the horrible men in her life.
She explains to Betty that Claudius was poisoning Sweetwater River with the run off from producing Fizzle Rocks. With the water tainted, the women of Riverdale had begun to experience seizures as a side effect (Mystery #1 solved). When she lays out her reasoning, Betty starts to understand the woman more. And even more – Betty doesn’t turn Penelope (“The Scarlet Dahlia”) in.
Mystery #2 solved.
Jughead eventually corners the Hiram’s lady (played by actor Mark Consuelos’s real-life wife Kelly Ripa). He confronts her with the information he had about river, siting that the environmental impact work had been forged – by her, a health and safety inspector. By not denying anything, she confirms his suspicion: she was paid by Hiram to keep things quiet.
After, Jughead receives a call from Sweetpea, who had been tailing Hermione. Together the two follow her to a cabin where the see her together with none other than the dead sheriff himself: Minetta. While eavesdropping, the Serpent boys learn that Hermione gave FP the sheriff job for one reason – to frame him.
When Jughead goes to warn his father, FP admits that he was paid by Hermione to shoot Hiram. But conveniently Jughead has Tall Boy’s dead body to get rid of. The Jones men work together with Alice to pretend that Tall Boy had been killed in a confrontation with police after shooting Hiram.
Mystery #3 is also in the books.
And that leaves only Archie left. After a pep talk from Josie, Archie decides to pay his nemesis a visit the hospital…while bringing a gun. But after his revenge monologue, an actual black hooded hitman waltzes in. And before he can shoot Hiram, Archie gets the man in the arm.
Veronica is more than please, and thus willing to forgive Archie to a point. While Archie makes his peace with Hiram, Veronica sneaks off to burn her parents’ very-expensive stockpile of Fizzle Rocks before it can be sold to a new dealer.
While many of the shows mysteries are solved in this episode, many of the characters are left unsatisfied. Left in a place of limbo. And so is the show. While it keeps its constant style-changing ways, it really feels like Riverdale is trying to wind back down to something smaller. Poor Archie is being given the absolute scraps from the writing room. Someone please figure out what to do with his poor boy.