Riverdale: Chapter Twenty-Four: The Wrestler
January 25, 2018 5:45 AM - Season 2, Episode 11 - Subscribe

WINNING OVER HIRAM LODGE — Amidst preparations for the town's annual Picken's Day festivities, Jughead interviews Toni's grandfather and learns some shocking details about Riverdale’s history. In an attempt to get closer to Hiram, Archie tries out for the Riverdale wrestling team after learning of Hiram's love of the sport. Meanwhile, Betty unearths some dark secrets about her brother Chic, and Veronica and Josie clash as they prepare for their Picken's Day performance.

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posted by Bulgaroktonos (13 comments total)
So obviously, as always, I have many thoughts and I am so excited to hear what other people have to say.

-LOVED Toni telling off Jughead. He thinks that because he's well-meaning everything he does is good and he really needs to learn some damn nuance.

-Someone cut the head off a statue of a town founder? The same thing happened to Jebediah Springfield!

-Possibly a second (at least) Grease reference, when Kevin and Archie were wrestling which is just like when John Travolta tries out for the wrestling team (also when Cheryl dropped the scarf at the drag race like ChaCha).

-Man Josie's mom is a jerk, huh? Also "Veronica and the Pussycats"? HOW IS HER NAME IN THIS? SHE DOESN'T EVEN GO HERE! Poor Josie.

-Betty trying to enter the world of camming? I mean, not totally out of nowhere what with Dark Betty and her ill-advised striptease at Serpent headquarters but still, perhaps not a great idea? I also think she has a responsibility to Chic here, like, if she starts doing this and her parents find out they're going to blame him even if it was 100% her idea.

-Mrs. Blossom and Hal Bettysdad seems like an unholy alliance. God only knows what the two of them will get up to.

-I think once again we had a pleasant instance of Cheryl caught by surprise. She's so used to being proud of her family and when it turns out they were responsible for the slaughter of a bunch of people it had a big effect on her because she's more human than she tries to acknowledge.

-Who do we think cut the head off the statue? Cheryl's my guess because she's a wildcard who gets shit done but it could be a Serpent or someone trying to make the Serpents look bad like in that plot arc on Ghostwriter with the Thunderheads.

-So obviously the whole thing with Hiram Lodge and Archie, I don't even know what to say about that. Yes, weight does matter when you're wrestling. What did it mean when Archie hung up on the FBI man? Did it mean he's actually on Team Lodge now or did it mean he's going deep undercover?

-WHO WERE ALL THOSE PEOPLE IN THE STANDS? It's DAY THREE of WRESTLING TRYOUTS, why is there an audience? Who comes to this?

-In that meeting at the beginning there was a plate full of untouched cookies. No meetings I attend ever have full plates of cookies left at the end.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 6:49 AM on January 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

-WHO WERE ALL THOSE PEOPLE IN THE STANDS? It's DAY THREE of WRESTLING TRYOUTS, why is there an audience? Who comes to this?

In some places, where I have never lived, high school wrestling is an incredibly big deal. Kind of think of those episodes of Friday Night Lights where people come to watch the practices and what not.

Archie hanging up.

I wouldn't look that deep into it, he was in a situation where he couldn't take the call. My expectation was that it's meant to show that Archie is willing to go that deep under cover to get what's needed to bring down Lodge. Likewise, how he doesn't realize that this will drive a stake between him and Veronica, well, he's Archie. It's only fitting (when this happens), as Archie's behavior at times really reduces Veronica as an object to win over her father.

Graham Greene! He was a wonderful surprise in this episode and I hope they find someway to use him more. Toni's take down on Jughead was superb. I was surprised, pleasantly, when Cheryl decided to join the protestors at the Pickens Day event.

Betty Cooper. I get the desire to juxtapose the "all american girl next door" with the "dark" sexual stuff, but it's definitely bleeding into camp. I was especially confused by the whole shock over Chic's webcam stuff, as it seemed to have been made repeatedly clear that Chic was a prostitute leading up to that moment. And Hal Cooper, WTF, dude? He's your son. Yeah, you dumped him off as a baby because you didn't want to have a kid in high school or what not, but there's nothing that has happened since that really explains the virulent hatred Hal has for Chic. It feels really manufactured. Meh.

Also, I thought one reason the Pussycats broke up was Veronica, and now they're singing with her? Hrm.

The show is fun, but in a clumsy way at times.
posted by Atreides at 7:46 AM on January 25, 2018 [4 favorites]

Do we know for sure that Hal is Chic's dad? I thought maybe he was FP's son but very possibly we have confirmation that it's definitely Hal (who is the dad of Chic, not FP's son).
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 7:59 AM on January 25, 2018 [3 favorites]

Ooh. That would explain how ticked off Hal is over it. Given the Serpent back history, it'd make a lot of sense!
posted by Atreides at 10:48 AM on January 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Theory: FBI man actually is an employee of Hiram, who is going to elaborate lengths to destroy Archie -- possibly by framing him for the murder of that guy who hurt Veronica -- as vengeance to Archie's father.
posted by amtho at 3:09 AM on January 26, 2018

I took some notes of things I wanted to discuss about this one, and one of them just reads "Cheryl's pants."

I like the idea that the FBI agent might be working for Hiram. I definitely don't think he's real. Even with that thought I kind of want to scream at Archie for just accepting his immunity agreement without, you know, talking to a lawyer about it.

I thought the Pickens Day/origin of the Serpents plot was decently done and I'm curious to see who actually cut the head off and why. I did really like Toni's reaction to Jughead's article and I think it all fits with Jughead's too strong embrace of the Serpent identity last episode. Adding in the racial angle was a nice wrinkle. The show generally hit a high point for incredible lines like Mrs. Blossom talking about "the dark fertile earth" and "the mighty river" and Jughead's narration about the "the dark education of Betty Cooper."

I am not super psyched about the Chic plot. I know why they think Dark Betty is a good idea, but it's never clicked with me. Hal is such an awful human being that if they went all the way and just made him a villain it would work, but for now he hangs around on the edges of the action being terrible but not going anywhere. I don't love that.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:22 AM on January 26, 2018 [2 favorites]

posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 5:44 AM on January 26, 2018

Someone cut the head off a statue of a town founder? The same thing happened to Jebediah Springfield!

Something similar happened in New Mexico: Statue’s Stolen Foot Reflects Divisions Over Symbols of Conquest (New York Times, Sept. 30, 2017 -- reporting on a 20 year old story that isn't over).

Thoughts on Hiram from others: Hiram Lodge Is the Best Part of Riverdale Right Now, and That's a Problem (Germain Lussier for io9)
When discussing this in Slack, fellow io9-er Charles Pulliam-Moore asked me “Are Archie and Hiram dating?” I didn’t immediately have an answer. I mean, no, they aren’t, but Archie courting Hiram is infinitely more interesting than anything else going on with the other main characters. And that unattainable, evil streak in Hiram is making him the best part of the show.

That’s also, partially, because Consuelos seems like he’s having so much damn fun playing this diabolical villain. He’s toying not just with Archie, but the whole town of Riverdale too. And everyone else, the characters and actors included, just feel like they’re over it. Veronica’s big storyline is she’s taking over the Pussycats? Betty makes the “shocking” discovery of her brother’s side business? Poor Jughead has what should be a fascinating storyline, of a literal genocide in the town’s history, but it’s made almost no impact.
Agreed all around. This episode was its usual dramatic CW/Riverdale self, but less focused, and at times the writing was terrible.

Chic: I've also got a pretty good collection of scars I could show you.
Betty: I have scars, too. Crescent moons on my palms.

Really? Really? That's your response, Betty? After seeing your half-brother get stabbed, you say "I get depressed and drive my fingernails into my palms?"

But at the same time, I also really appreciate that Jughead's story about the Uktena (the Cherokee word for the horned snake, not the name of an actual Native American tribe) lead to Toni telling Jughead "that's not your story to tell." The whole "the serpents are the continuation of a Native American tribe" is an interesting idea, but the "we shall not be silenced" felt just as much of story-stealing as Jughead's article, IMO. Sure, Toni's grandfather was there, but so were the other non-Native Serpents.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:35 AM on January 26, 2018 [2 favorites]

Really? Really? That's your response, Betty? After seeing your half-brother get stabbed, you say "I get depressed and drive my fingernails into my palms?"


God, the Chic plot is creepy. As for Hal, I think he's going to be the end of the season's villain a la Dad Blossom.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:11 PM on January 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

-Mrs. Blossom and Hal Bettysdad seems like an unholy alliance. God only knows what the two of them will get up to.

With Betty and Jughead broken up, I wonder if we're going to see an Alice Cooper/FP relationship. Those two have really great chemistry. And although I do enjoy Bughead, I'm holding out a teensy bit of hope that they might explore Asexual!Jughead at some point.

And I also found it super weird that they're making this huge thing about the web cam stuff when Chic was pretty upfront about the prostitution. Like, seriously? And although I get Betty being supportive of Chic, I don't really get her wanting to do the web cam stuff, and I think it's not a great way for the show to go, considering how off putting their handling was of Dark Betty's strip tease for the Serpents.

Do we know for sure that Hal is Chic's dad?

Yeah, based on his atrocious behavior, I began to think that maybe Hal wasn't the father. Of course, FP seems like the most likely candidate, but Chic's blonde hair maybe rules that out? It would make a lot of sense. Of course, that would also probably put a big damper on any future Betty/Jughead reunion, because that might just make things too weird. Or not.
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:58 PM on January 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

And in the "Archie being dumb" category, setting aside the whole probably Fake FBI agent, did anyone else think that maybe it's not the best idea to go running through the woods at like 4 am with Hiram Lodge? For a minute there I wondered if some Lodge Industry goonies were going to jump out and attack him.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:12 PM on January 26, 2018

The way Riverdale has been handling sex work lately has made me really uncomfortable, because it's making out sex workers to be manipulative evil creeps or it's being used for cheap drama. Penelope is slightly positive but it's still being pitched as "let's horrify Cheryl!!". And oh, let's have the camboy groom his possibly underage sister into this deep dark world ~ooo~.

I really wish Tits and Sass wasn't down for maintenance because I would really love to read a sex-worker-written take on Riverdale's approach to sex work.
posted by divabat at 6:47 PM on January 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

agreed that it was really weird to make such a stink about cam work after he heavily implied that does in-person sex work and no one had that strong of a reaction?

I get the desire to juxtapose the "all american girl next door" with the "dark" sexual stuff,

They didn't let her have sex with Jughead! Archie, Veronica, and Kevin are shown having sex or referencing sexual encounters pretty much constantly, but the one time Jughead and Betty were going to sleep together they got interrupted. It's such a weird thing how the show jumped from keeping her well away from normal sexual situations and then having her perform a public striptease and show an interest in cam work? It's very strange and weird.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 3:46 AM on February 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

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