Riverdale 2.11 Review “The Wrestler”

Let's all celebrate Kevin kicking Archie's ass.

This post contains spoilers for Riverdale.
Check out our previous review here.

Apparently it’s wrestling week on The CW Network! Things kicked off with Goldberg on The Flash yesterday, only to carry over into a wrestling-centric Riverdale (that might not have been for everyone). “The Wrestler” may focus on what many would consider a niche sport, but it does bury some metaphor in there for anyone confused by Hiram Lodge’s obsession. It also has all your favorite Riverdale beats: dumb Archie, bitchy parents, and new to this year – dumb Jughead!

When “The Wrestler” isn’t zoned in on Hiram and Archie’s relationship, it takes the time to discuss a topic that’s actually worth building an episode around: it’s Pickens Day in Riverdale, and while most of the town is happy to revere the good General Pickens for all he did, they ignore the bloodstains on their past. You see, General Pickens helped “colonize” Riverdale, but he did it on the corpses of nearly the entire Uktana tribe. Turns out he was even paid to do so by Cheryl’s great, great, grandpappy, Barnabus Blossom.

From there, Riverdale heads down a road that many well-meaning allies have walked. Jughead is infuriated by what he’s learned (and that he’s just learning it), and uses that wrath to write an article that he believes is a demand for justice on behalf of the Uktana tribe. Instead, it paints the remaining members of the tribe as frail remnants of a culture that can no longer defend itself. The situation is made worse by the fact that he uses their pain to fuel the revenge he seeks over the ousting of the South Siders and the Serpents.

While Jughead’s lost in his “woke” rage and Archie’s having a dick measuring contest with Hiram Lodge, there’s once again trouble in the Cooper house. Hal hates Cliq, Alice hates Hal, and Betty just wants one person in her family to talk about what’s really bothering them. After some digging on Kevin’s part, we discover that Cliq’s not shady, he’s just a cam boy! You could be both, of course, but he comes clean about his creeping later on once he and Betty finally have a heart-to-heart about the darkness that lives in the Cooper family, and what he’s done to cope with it. If you’re all in on Dark Betty, things are going to start going your way very soon.

Everything culminates in the Pickens Day celebration. The Lodges, Fred, and Mayor McCoy decide to use it as a coming together for the two sides of Riverdale. What it ends up being is the final straw for a town that has been struggling against a civil war for some time. After Jughead apologizes to Toni’s grandfather, the Serpents and the remaining tribe members march on Pickens Day celebration. A lot of things happen in the few moments that we see them marching; you’ll notice that many of the marchers (mostly white folks) have duct tape over their mouths while the members of the Uktana tribe do not, Hiram tries to diffuse the situation, and Cheryl (who was previously appalled to learn of her great, great grandfather’s actions) joins the march and remains respectfully silent.

Hiram trying to diffuse the situation is predictable and not worth examining, but the other two things are. The people marching who are not members of the tribe walk side by side in solidarity, but are silent - and they’re silent because it’s not their voices that matter (this is commentary a lot of “allies” would do well to take note of). Then there’s the enigma that is Cheryl Blossom: one day you want to smack that perfectly painted red lip right off of her face, the next you’re stunned by the empathy she’s capable of showing. One day we’re going to find out what happens in that pretty little head, but for now she simply gets bonus points for not being a monster.

All of that’s very serious, but it neglects to mention the real reason that a war is coming to Riverdale.

Veronica stole the Pussycats from right under Josie’s diva little nose, and Hiram and Hermione Lodge aren’t going to take kindly to the murder of their only daughter once Josie McCoy gets her hands on her. Ballsy, Veronica. Stupid. But ballsy!

And that's it for this week. If you had thoughts on this latest episode, you know what to do!