RIVERDALE 2.16 Review “Primary Colors”

Don’t ever double cross a Pussycat.

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

Riverdale has never been shy about tackling topical issues. We’ve seen them tackle slut shaming, rape, racism, feminism, classism, and probably several other -isms that don’t immediately hop to mind. “Primary Colors” continues the class war between the North and South sides of Riverdale, but it also takes the conversation over Cheryl’s sexuality in a shocking direction.

In case you’re just now catching up, Riverdale has been tearing itself apart this season over a class war that has been going on for generations. Hiram Lodge left prison with the goal of turning Riverdale into a for-profit prison town, but he knew no one within the city limits would be jumping at that idea. Because of the “simple folk”, Hiram starts his plan off on the sly, and eventually involves Veronica to help ease the minds of her classmates. Minor problem: her classmates found out she was in league with daddy dearest, and they’re pissed.

Despite Hiram and Hermione telling Veronica to lay low, she decides to run for student body president with her bestie at her side. Her parents might be crooks, but this might have been the one instance she wanted to listen to them. The Lodge’s have already hurt a lot of people, and it turns out that Pussycats remember when they’ve been burned. Ethel and Josie team up and show V that the ladies of Riverdale high (and their families) aren’t going to take her family’s nonsense anymore.

Unfortunately for Ronnie, she and Archie lied to Betty and Jughead about some of the things she’d done that very week, and Betty’s not having it anymore. Betty leaves Veronica’s side to support Jughead through his hunger strike, the baby Serpents’ silent protest and - by the end of the episode - his campaign.

Jughead has gone down a strange road in season two. While he’s certainly made some unfortunate decisions, he’s the one speaking out when everyone else is just happy to roll with the punches. That’s not a shot at his fellow classmates who just want to go to school, by the way; they’ve all been through hell, and many come from backgrounds that have taught them that you keep your head down if you want to keep it. Like anyone with privilege, Jug’s had some missteps, but he seems to have found his stride now that we’re over half way through the season.

No matter how big of a fool Jughead Jones manages to be now and again, he still has a long way to go to catch up with his would-be best friend. We talk about Archie’s stupidity every week, but that’s because it manages to reach unfathomable new bounds every week. This week’s flavor was talking out against his father (the one consistently good parent and person in Riverdale) and eventually outright betraying Jughead and the Serpents in favor of Hiram’s plan. Don’t worry too much, Momma Andrews is in town and is not having any of Archie’s shit, and Jughead won their battle well before Archie brought out the chain clippers.

The baby Serpents’ protest went unnoticed at first, but by the time Hiram sent Archie to put an end to things, people were already talking about their cause. Kids get stereotyped as aloof, but it turns out that when you give them something to care about they’ll fight harder than anyone. Hiram Lodge can buy up all of the papers he wants, you can’t stop the signal, and everyone around you has a smartphone and a voice. If they’re lucky, they also have people in their corners. Betty’s always going to be there for Jug, but the big “aww” moment this week was seeing all the Serpents watching over their kids should anything go awry with their protest. That, and Good Dad FP™ bringing his boy a bag full of burgers and letting him know that he told Hiram Lodge and his penthouse offer to shove it.

We close out “Primary Colors” with Cheryl. Throughout the episode she remains convinced that her mother and uncle are trying to murder her and Nana Rose. After Rose’s tumble down the stairs and the revelation that she had a rare paralytic in her system, those theories seem all but true. Unfortunately for Cheryl, Penelope and Claudius can’t have her telling Sheriff Keller. At first you’d assume that they were sending her off to an asylum of some sort. It’s easy to get away with murder when the one person who knows your plot is labelled as crazy, but Cheryl’s fate is much worse than that.

Penelope sends her daughter off for conversion therapy. Her disdain for Cheryl’s sexuality has been a recurring theme since the reveal several weeks ago, but a big part of me is genuinely surprised Riverdale would go there. It’s not that there’s a grey area around conversion therapy. It’s hack nonsense that has no business in the world of medicine, and torture to those forced to endure it. Parents who put their children through such things should unquestionably have them taken away, and yet, it still seems a dangerous subject for a show to cover. Perhaps that’s why the conversation so rarely comes up, but, all the same, Riverdale is going there. We’ll see how they manage to tackle it in the coming weeks, but with their track record of other big issues it seems safe to remain cautiously optimistic on how they’ll handle this one.

Next week we’ll see things start to unravel when the authorities find the car of the dealer that Chic brained earlier in the season. With him and Betty’s current game of chess, it seems to be a good thing that she’s living with Jughead and FP for the time being. Oh, and Lodge’s are going to find out that Fred is going to run against Hermione for mayor. Just another day in the neighborhood.

You know what to do if you had thoughts on this week’s episode!