This post contains spoilers for Riverdale.
Check out our previous review here.
If you were one of the many commenters noting that you didn’t believe that Agent Adams was with the FBI, please take this moment to pat yourselves on the back. “The Tell-Tale Heart” focuses on two factions: the Coopers and the Lodges. Since we kicked things off with shady FBI guy, we’ll talk about the Lodge insanity first.
Riverdale is a town full of liars. Every resident has secrets, and none of them are small. That said, one would expect there to be at least a couple of rules when it comes to family, but the Lodges aren’t a normal family. Early on in the episode, Hiram looks Veronica in the eye and tells her that he didn’t have Poppa Poutine murdered. It's no stretch to say that was a bald-faced lie. Despite all of the lies that go down in within Riverdale city limits, it was actually a little annoying to see Hiram lie right to Ronnie’s face after all the growth they’ve had as a family. But then later on in the episode Veronica dishes it right back,lying outright about warning Mayor McCoy of the scandal they were preparing to unleash. Veronica lying to her father in kind didn’t just further the annoyance at the step backward, it also did much to signal that while she is involved with the business, she is still absolutely playing her parents.
Hermione certainly isn’t exempt from the Lodge family lies, but she chooses to play the long game. The matriarch of the family knows how the Andrews boys can be honest to a fault, so she sets up a test. Agent Adams was there as a test of Archie’s loyalty not just to Veronica, but to the Lodge family as a whole. Every move he made was dictated by Hermione’s mission to ensure they weren’t bringing a snitch into the family. Congratulations, Archie! You passed. You’re also an unfathomably huge idiot. It’s a good thing this human equivalent to a golden retriever has Veronica, because it is an absolute miracle he hasn’t died yet.
Whatever’s going on in the Cooper household couldn’t possibly top the craziness going down with the Lodge family, right? Wrong. Alice Cooper went full momma bear last week and straight up murdered a drug dealer that came to their home looking for Chic, and Betty comes home just in time to help her clean up the mess while Chic cries. There are a lot of differences between Alice and Betty, but the biggest is Betty’s moral code. Alice plays perfect, but we all know the world has made her cold, harsh, and selfish. Betty Cooper may have seen some shit, but she is still quintessentially good. That goodness inside her is what leads her to not only go back to the dead body they hid and make sure no one is looking for him, but to tell Jughead everything that happened.
Involving Jughead eventually leads to involving FP, and Good Dad FP Jones has been replaced by White Knight FP Jones as top adult male character in Riverdale. At this point the audience all but knows there was once a thing going on between FP and Alice (many going so far to presume that Chic is FP’s, not Hal’s), but the show leaned into that past relationship heavier than it ever has in “The Tell-Tale Heart”. Maybe the shippers will get Alice running to FP while Hal is running to Penelope. Whether that comes to fruition or not, the fact remains that FP risked his freedom for the Cooper women by properly disposing of the dead body. Once it’s done they all look at each other at Pop’s and agree that this is the end of this drama like they don’t live in a crazy murder town or something.
In addition to all of that is the side moment between Hiram, Veronica, FP, and Jughead. The meeting itself wasn’t weird, but it did feel like it should have been a much bigger moment. Hiram goes to the trailer park to make peace at the request of Veronica. In exchange for paying the back rent of the Serpents about to be evicted, Hiram calls for peace. Oh, and that Jughead doesn’t publish his little exposé that outs the Lodge family plot. FP initially accepts before Hiram notes he doesn’t want his name in said article, but when Jughead declines the second stipulation (and presumably terminates the agreement) FP backs his play. Welcome back, Good Dad FP! Please don’t slam your son into anymore walls.
Yet more fleeting than the meeting between the Hiram and FP is Cheryl’s empathy. Even “You have puke on your collar,” was strangely kind of the usually selfish and often kinda crazy River Vixen. Something about seeing Betty on the floor of the bathroom kicked nurturing Cheryl into gear, and it only got worse once she found out about Penelope and Hal. She chooses to tell Betty about the affair instead of using the knowledge as ammunition or blackmail in the future. Why? We don’t know! But the back and forth nature of the character keeps Cheryl Blossom one of the most fascinating characters in Riverdale.
And with that, Riverdale is on hiatus for a month. We’ll be back in the beginning of March to see what else has started to unravel in Murder Archie. Meanwhile, if you had thoughts on the episode you know what to do!