Read the previous review here.
This post contains spoilers for Riverdale.
Riverdale is just one week away from its midseason finale. Naturally, everything is falling apart so that it can really explode before it’s gone for a month or so. “House of the Devil” takes the focus off the Black Hood proper and takes a look at how his murders might be connected to a family killing that took place well before any of our protagonists were born. It also takes some time to juggle some old flames, a whole lot of feelings, and some bad choices that have some very real consequences.
With FP out of jail, Jughead and Betty pass their detective hats over to Archie and Veronica to investigate the killings that took place in the Devil House all those years ago. The two focus on the case surprisingly well considering Archie has all of the intelligence of a bag of rocks, and he and Ronnie are going through some good old fashioned relationship drama. Archie loves Veronica. Veronica (probably) loves Archie. The only issue is that she can’t say it. There’s some solid introspection on her part toward the end of the episode where she acknowledges that she can’t say it because her parents don’t love each other, but that doesn’t fix the mess she and Archie find herself in.
While the two suffer through their tension, they find that the family of four that was murdered in the Devil’s House were actually a family of five, and that one of the children made it out alive. After some sleuthing, they discover that Joseph Conway and Mr. Svenson (kindly janitor to whom Cheryl is a monster) are the same person. Ronnie thinks he’s got some explaining to do, but Archie knows that he and the Black Hood aren’t the same man, and now the two have to go to a party with no murder investigation to distract them.
That party is a retirement shindig for none other than FP Jones. He’s turned over a new leaf in prison, and he’s ready to be the best man he can be for his son. He plans to quit the Serpents, he’s already a found a new job at Pop’s, and he’s even going to AA! Nothing can stand in the rehabilitated Jones’ way except for, you know, his son. FP warned Juggie not to get involved with Penny Peabody, but it turns out when you give a 16-year-old the responsibilities of someone twice their age they mess up from time to time. In the span of a day, FP is back to his old ways, but his motives are no longer self-preservation. Now he’s in it all to save his son, and the fallout from it all is going to be exceptional TV.
This review is far from in chronological order, because we needed to save the best part of the episode for last. Let’s talk about the Cooper women, yeah? Alice is such a fascinating character. She’s the worst right up until she isn’t, and there’s no rhyme or reason as to why. Sometimes when she’s feeling extra terrible she manages to get a good shot or two in. Turns out when it’s FP Jones on the receiving end of those shots, it’s hilarious. Also, those two are for sure going to bang before this season is over. That would make things awkward for Betty and Jughead if the two weren’t so busy being idiots and pushing each other away all of the time, but before we go there, let’s talk about what a badass Betty Cooper is.
Betty is the bubblegum friend. She’s sweet and kind, and always looking out for all of her friends while managing to be portrayed as the pinnacle of innocence. B doesn’t have the best home life, and her mother’s a bit of a monster, but where Alice is cruel, Betty is kind. Both women have a vengeance streak in them that you wouldn’t believe, but their overall motivations vary greatly and where Alice is a coward, Betty is brave. Betty Cooper isn’t the type of girl to get up on stage and dance in a teddy, but she’ll do it if it means she can stay close to someone she loves and help keep them safe.
“Devil’s House” ends with Archie and Jughead being dicks, and Betty and Veronica being sad. That all only gets one sentence because the breakups are either only going to last one episode, or we’re going into love triangle territory. Both are terrible story tools, so we’re just going to ignore them for now. B and V for life, the boys need to pull their heads out of their asses, and FP Jones is the best broken dad out there. Riverdale brought it with another great episode with plenty of build-up for their midseason finale next week. If you’ve got thoughts on the episode, you know what to do!