This post contains spoilers for Riverdale.
Check out our previous review here.
For a small town, Riverdale certainly has a lot of shady moving parts. “The Wicked and the Divine” gives a glimpse into each one, though some are just in passing. Up until the start of the latter half of their second season, Riverdale had always been a murder mystery jam, but after allegedly offing the Black Hood we’ve found ourselves in some small town mobster flick.
The Lodge family has a rich history, both criminal and otherwise. The familial importance has been played up since the moment Veronica walked into Pop Tate’s and residents of Riverdale’s lives, but up until recently the shady sides of the Lodge brood have been mostly whispers in the shadows. Even now that Ronnie is in on the game, we still don’t know the full extent of what Hiram and Hermione have planned for the Southside and their new roots in the town. Tonight’s episode didn’t do much to further that, but it did give us more of a glimpse into just how far Hiram Lodge is willing to go.
If Hiram’s willing to have a man shot in the back of the head at the mere whisper of a betrayal, imagine what he’s going to do when he catches the double agent whispering in the FBI’s ear. In a matchup between Archie and the patriarch of the Lodge Family, our well-meaning doofus would be dead in a second. But for right now it turns out he’s not feeding those whispers to the FBI. In fact, said well-meaning doofus is outright lying to the FBI, because of course he is.
While Archie has a crisis of loyalty, Veronica is battling with her conscience. When Ronnie first agreed to be involved in her family activities it seemed like she was doing so to protect Riverdale and her friends. Her confession in “The Wicked and Divine” makes it seem as if that might not be the case anymore. She clearly enjoys the power she feels from her involvement in her parents’ misdeeds, but the Veronica she became after meeting Archie and the rest of the gang seems to be fighting against the Big Town Bitch she once was.
Though no one would ever accuse a Lodge of being selfless, V has another big concern with her family’s life: protecting Archie from it. She and her father have very different ideas about Archie’s future, and where he sits on a morality chart, and she wants him as far away from this life as possible. All that CW drama will come into play soon, but in the meantime it’s nice to just lean into the good old mobster life.
What’s going on while all these Northsiders are tripping over their petticoats? More Serpent drama, of course! Sheriff Keller thinks it was a Serpent who chopped the head of the statue, and he and Mayor McCoy are out for blood. They evict the entirety of the trailer park, and Jughead, of course, takes it upon himself to stop it. Taking on the Mayor and the Sheriff is a tall task in and of itself, but Jughead’s got more problems than that. Penny Peabody’s back, she’s got Tallboy in her corner, and they’re pissed. To add to that, Bad Dad FP made his return after finding out that Jughead broke code and hurt Penny, so Jug ain’t got a friend in the world.
That is, except for Betty Cooper.
Sorry, that’s Call Girl Betty Cooper. Like the Archie and Ronnie explosion, we’ll unquestionably see this come up in the future. It’ll be right alongside the fact that Betty kissed Archie, but you know, who talks about those details while losing your virginity? That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, Betty and Jughead are back on for round three. We’ll likely lose count of these on-again-off-agains as the teenagers of Riverdale continue to be disaster children. But hey, Betty and Jug have a great dynamic and it would literally take a murder to bring Betty down from the high of getting back together with her One True Love™. Good thing Alice Cooper is always there to deliver when her daughter’s in need!
Never let it be said that Alice Cooper is afraid to get her hands dirty. She doesn’t pull a Hiram Lodge and call a hitman. No, if you go after one of her children Alice Cooper will straight up murder you with her bare hands. Or, more likely, a lamp or some other blunt object found in her living room. If you’re waiting for me to provide some backstory as to why Alice murdered someone in her own home, the episode didn’t provide much detail. All we know for the time being is that someone from Chic’s old life showed up to say hello and things presumably got ugly. Oh, and Hal’s moved out. Again.
And that, friends, is a very basic look at the very strange web that has cast itself over the town of Riverdale. Next week we’ll likely see something come up that would stop Alice from claiming self-defense and Archie will probably find himself deeper in this FBI/Lodge drama. Maybe we’ll even see the return of Good Dad FP. You know what to do if you had thoughts on the episode until then!