Riverdale: 2.13 – ‘Chapter Twenty-Six: The Tell-Tale Heart’ – Review Everyone has blood on their hands.

“And in one reckless moment, the lives of the Cooper women were forever changed.”

It’s dangerous in this week’s episode of Riverdale, as after the horror Betty (Lili Reinhart) returned home to last week, the Cooper family are thrown into turmoil. Finding her mother on the floor, next to a dead body, blood surrounding both of them as Alice (Mädchen Amick) tried hard to clean it up, we begin this week with Betty, who must decide what happens next.

Helping her mother clean up the mess, while Chic (Hart Denton) weeps in the background, we don’t get a full story of what happens beyond Alice saying that this man tried to hurt her, so Chic stopped him. Though Chic is the one responsible for the dead body in the Cooper household, he’s nowhere to be seen when it comes to the whole clean up operation, and takes an a sinister backseat for the whole episode. It is Betty and Alice who take the body and dump it in an abandoned sewer pipe in the woods, and it’s Betty and Alice who scrub the kitchen with bleach. And more importantly, it is Betty who experiences the flashbacks and PTSD of the event that leaves her vomiting in the school bathroom.

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Faced with the realisation that she has been involved in a murder, Betty becomes distant and panicked, desperate to give their mystery victim some kind of identity. So, when she returns to his makeshift burial spot, and hears a phone ring, Betty does exactly what you wouldn’t – she retrieves the phone from his jacket pocket, and takes it away. Luckily for her, this man is the only person in the world who doesn’t have a passcode on his phone, and she is able to scroll through his messages in order to find any family, or indeed anyone who would miss him now. However, what she actually finds is an interesting connection which this guy has to her brother – the mystery visitor was a drug dealer, who received a call from Chic the night he was killed.

Incensed by the knowledge that her brother has lied to them, and concerned that her mother is acting as though nothing happened, Betty finds herself confiding in newly-reclaimed beau Jughead (Cole Sprouse). Upon hearing her story, Jug is naturally anxious for his girlfriend to explain everything to the police, but when he is pushed by the arrival of a traffic cop asking about a mystery car that has been parked opposite the Cooper’s house for two days, Jughead lies for his girlfriend, claiming the car as his own. The strange part about this is that, at no point during their mammoth clean-up operation, neither Betty, Alice, or Chic consider how this mystery visitor actually got to the house, or whose beat-up car was sat outside in the days that followed. Nevertheless, Jughead takes Alice and Betty to the only person he knows with experience of dealing with this kind of business – his dad.

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And so, the ladies venture to the trailer park, for a meeting with the head Serpent himself, FP Jones (Skeet Ulrich) who agrees to shoulder their burden. In the wood, alone, FP buries the man, pouring Sodium Hydroxide onto the body, so, like any light-heartedness Riverdale every had, any evidence of this man’s body will disappear. Where have the days of milkshakes and dances gone? Although, as a side note: the relationship between FP and Alice is definitely something that should be explored more, because the chemistry between the two is amazing.

In other Jones-related issues, FP finds out that Jughead has sent the decapitated head of General Pickens’ statue to the Lodges, placing the town on the edge of a turf war. Veronica (Camila Mendes) in her lacking knowledge of business affairs, proposes that the Lodges sit down with FP and Jughead and discuss things, as she did in the model UN of her previous school. Which is fine until Hiram (Mark Consuelos) tries to bribe the Joneses into keeping the peace, by giving them their trailer back, if Jughead promises not to mention the Lodge name in his exposé about the town’s dodgy dealings.

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It’s a tough week for the Lodges, as the announcement of Papa Poutine’s (M.C. Gainey) death causes Veronica to question whether her father was in anyway involved. Forced to face the dark reality of her family’s business, Veronica finds her allegiances wavering, as when Mayor McCoy (Robin Givens) threatens to expose the family’s upcoming development project on the South Side, Hiram and Hermione (Marisol Nichols) must find leverage to take her down. In order to force McCoy out of their way, Hiram proposes they expose her affair with Sheriff Keller (Martin Cummins), and seeing the dark consequences of them doing so, Veronica decides to give the mayor a heads-up, allowing her to decide for herself what her exit from office will be.

Elsewhere, Archie (KJ Apa) is troubled by the knowledge that it was probably the information he gave to Hiram that sealed Papa Poutine’s fate. The pressure from Agent Adams (John Behlmann) and the FBI becomes more intense, and while Archie reveals nothing of Hiram’s world, the agent begins to put more pressure on Fred (Luke Perry), accusing him of hiring illegal workers in the past, and in so doing, leaves Archie torn. However, when Adams finds out about Archie lying to him, he insists that the redhead plant a bug in Hiram’s office, pushing Archie to tell Hiram everything about Adams and the FBI. But it seems that Arthur Adams isn’t the man he thought he was…

VERDICT:

Riverdale continues its descent into darkness, plunging the characters into depths from which they may not return, and while the characters try their hardest to return to normal life after the Black Hood’s demise, we’re left wondering how much longer their secrets will stay hidden – and we’re only halfway through the season.

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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