Warning: This contains spoilers for Episode 22 of Riverdale Season 2. Not seen Riverdale? Catch up with spoiler-free review of the first three episodes.
Riverdale Season 2’s very final moments left viewers on the edge of their seats, thanks to Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos) stitching Archiekins (KJ Apa) up like a kipper, with our flame-haired sensitive jock clapped in irons and taken to the cop shop on bogus murder charges. However, Episode 22 felt like the calm after the storm, instead of building on Episode 21’s riveting and action-packed narrative. It’s a grumble we’ve persistently made through this sophomore run, and we’ll make it once more, with feeling – there are too many episodes.
There was a second Black Hood, after all, and it turned out to be Tall Boy working for Hiram Lodge. That’s been a suspicion – that Mr. Lodge benefitted from the chaos wrought by Hal Cooper (the real Black Hood) and his bloody reign of terror – for a few weeks now, and the last episode in this season’s run also proved Hiram is prepared to do anything to anyone to get what he wants. And what does he want? Like Riverdale’s answer to Darwin Mayflower from Hudson Hawk, he wants World Domination. Okay, maybe the world can wait, but he sure plans on making the town his personal fiefdom and not even Mayor Hermione Lodge (Marisol Nichols) or daughter Veronica (Camilla Mendes) is going to stop him. Consuelos has been excellent since his introduction and he’s made Hiram a truly captivating baddie. He can be charming, reasonable and logical, but you do not get in his way.
Betty (Lili Reinhardt) visited Hal (Lochlyn Munro) in a straight up homage to Silence of the Lambs, with the serial killer in a plexiglass cell and Betty informing her maniacal old man that she will banish the darkness from her soul. Which is a shame, because Dark Betty was super fun. But it’s clear the girl’s stranger side threatened to get too out of hand. There was a lovely, poignant moment, when she asked Jug (Cole Sprouse) whether evil was genetic, asking aloud if she’s destined to be monstrous like the Cooper men. This troubling notion – evil is a gene and a lineage – is a pretty heavy thing for a young person to ponder and Reinhardt played her scene beautifully.
With the gang having patched up their differences and Veronica buying Pop’s from her dad, Archie’s arrest threw a mighty spanner into the works and set up Season 3 with much anticipation. While it wasn’t as good as Fred Andrews (Sideshow Luke Perry) getting clipped in Pop’s, Archiekins sure is in a tight jam, but V, B and Jug are there for him again. Cheryl Blossom has arguably had the best character arc of the lot. Madelaine Petsch is so good as Cheryl, and her journey from high school stereotype to out and proud honorary serpent (she’s dating Toni Topaz) has been hugely entertaining.
While it’s a shame there was no Sabrina cameo to set up the ‘Chilling Adventures’ of the teenage witch, the spin-off show is currently in production, and fans are awaiting crossover episodes down the line, as Greendale (Sabrina’s hometown) has been firmly established in Riverdale’s world. Hopefully, both series will hire more and more ‘name’ guest directors. Tim Hunter – former Twin Peaks alumni – crafted some brilliant and memorable imagery during his stint on bull horn duties. More of that, please.
What awaits us down the line? Only time will tell, but we can expect Riverdale to be gripping, funny, crazy, melodramatic, smart, postmodern, a bit daft and spread across too many episodes. See you again soon.
Riverdale is available exclusively on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription.
Photos: The CW Network