Riverdale: 2.12 – ‘Chapter Twenty-Five: The Wicked and the Divine’ – Review It’s time for Archie to decide whose side he’s on.

“You the kids looking for a head?”

When last we left the town of Riverdale, Pickens Day had been ruined by decapitation of the statue of their town’s founder, and with suspicion being lodged firmly at the Serpents’ door, the Lodges and their associates were ready to destroy the South Side once and for all. This week, there is surprisingly little being done to actual find the head, and the culprit of the crime, with Sheriff Keller (Martin Cummins) and the powers that be having decided that one of the Serpents is definitely responsible – without any real proof.

Given the article Jughead (Cole Sprouse) and Betty (Lili Reinhart) published in the Blue & Gold was the spark that lit the town on fire, it’s no surprise that they are suspended from working on the paper until the issue is resolved, with Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos) even threatening to sue the school for defamation of character. Which seems a little over the top, it’s a school newspaper, not the New York Times, I doubt anyone other than those at the school will ever read it.

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Nevertheless, it’s up to Bughead (as always) to solve the crime, and find General Pickens’ head, while they also talk about how neither of them are getting any – these teens, if it’s not murder and vandalism, it’s sex. So, naturally, they do what anyone would when trying to locate a stolen bronze head – they put up flyers asking if anyone’s seen it. Strangely, it does work, as they receive a call from the local creepy rubbish tip man who has found a head in an old fridge – and what’s more, he knows who put it there.

It’s a tough week for the Serpents that only seems to get tougher, as not only do they receive eviction notices on every trailer in the park, giving them a fortnight to move out, we also see the return of the Snake Charmer, Penny Peabody (Brit Morgan). Her return brings with it the news of what the gang’s tween brigade did to her, as she reveals the scar on her arm where her tattoo used to be, before Jughead sliced off her skin. Understandably, FP (Skeet Ulrich) is pretty annoyed – Jughead broke one of the only rules, the Serpents don’t hurt one of their own, and his actions may lead to the downfall of the gang once and for all. However, while his father is angered by his recent actions, some of the other gang members, including lead campaigner Tallboy (Scott McNeil), call for Jughead’s removal. Though when it seems that some of the Serpents have been making allies of the wrong people, it isn’t just Jughead under scrutiny.

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Elsewhere, it’s Veronica’s (Camila Mendes) confirmation, and with it comes the Lodge family – both real, and crime – which piques the interest of both Archie (KJ Apa) and his FBI friend Adams (John Behlmann). Yes, we go full tween Godfather this week, as the arrival of Hiram’s “associates” and their wives falls somewhere between a half-hearted Sopranos, and the Mob Wives of Riverdale, where the men go to Pop’s for an evening of poker and cigar smoking, while their wives sit in a circle, drinking wine and talking about everything they do to feel like they aren’t terrible for being involved in the world of organised crime. For Archie’s part, his “internship” for Hiram has him running all over town, before acting as waiter for the poker game, where he must discreetly listen for anything that the FBI might find interesting.

The confirmation brings with it decisions for both Archie and Veronica, as they must decide how involved they want to be in Hiram’s world. While working at the poker game, Archie hears a conversation that leaves him torn between wanting to protect his girlfriend, and wanting to stop her father, but his decision has repercussions that leave us wondering whose side Archie is actually on, as he lies to the FBI. Meanwhile, Veronica must decide whether to bring Archie into her family’s world, as her father gives her an ultimatum, “Either bring him in, or he stays on the outside forever.” But is she willing to corrupt Archie by involving him in the less-than legal business? Or is ignorance really bliss when it comes to the Lodges? Either way, Hiram and Hermione (Marisol Nichols) are in deep with the wrong people, with a Se7en-themed parcel turning up on their doorstep, a tame reminder that they aren’t operating as discreetly as they thought.

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Tensions are high at the Cooper household this week, as Chic’s (Hart Denton) continued presence drives a wedge between Alice (Mädchen Amick) and Hal (Lochlyn Munro) who insists that if their estranged son is staying, he will leave. Which they don’t really mind, because no one likes Hal. Things begin to seem a little suspicious, when Betty arrives home to find a strange guy in her house, and her brother coming downstairs in a dressing gown. Concerned, Betty confronts him about bringing a client into the house, however, he insists that it was a job interview and he would never tell clients where he lives – and neither should she. Yes, they’re really going for the Dark-Betty-is-webcam-girl storyline, and it’s just as strange as you would imagine.

Though it seems that the Cooper children aren’t the only ones in that house with darkness inside them, as Betty returns home after Veronica’s confirmation to a horrifying sight that leaves us questioning what Alice has been doing during her daughter’s absence.

VERDICT:

More dark and broody than ever, Riverdale seems to be falling down a rabbit hole of dramatic (if not a little farfetched) storylines, with threads darker than most teen dramas out there. While some work, some don’t, but all of them are dragging the characters into a dark world that no one could have expected at the start of this season. No one will have the grades for college at this rate.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

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Lucy Cale

Written by: Lucy Cale

Lucy Cale is a writer, cinephile and cosplay enthusiast, who hopes to become a professional screenwriter. Failing that, a jedi.

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