RIVERDALE 3.03 Review “As Above, So Below”

Long live FLOTUS Toni.

This post contains spoilers for Riverdale.
Check out last week's review here.

In true Riverdale fashion, we’re three episodes in and already have a lot of threads to follow. The main three are currently Archie in juvie, Veronica’s speakeasy, and Betty and Jughead's investigation, but each one of those arcs split off into several other subplots. Too many storylines might eventually bite the show in the butt, but for now it’s giving them the opportunity to showcase more of the characters outside of the main four. So, we’ll allow it.

Nothing’s as it seems when Hiram Lodge runs the show, and the juvenile detention center currently holding one Archie Andrews is no different. Archie’s jailer, who seems to be a more pathetic version of Vince McMahon, has an underground fight club, and he wants Riverdale’s golden boy to play along. Arch refuses, so the Warden finds a pressure point. It seems several boys have left the center in a body bag, and Archie has to decide whether it will be him or Joaquin. Three guesses which path he chooses to take.

Early on in the episode, Veronica reveals to Betty that the speakeasy’s been ready for quite a while, she just didn’t want to open it without Archie. With the realization that her business is failing, and a little nudging from her bestie, V decides that it’s time to get things rolling. Unfortunately, the Ghoulies and Hiram have other ideas. Penny Peabody tries to force Ghoulie protection on the club, and goes so far as to send a gift of several boxes worth of jingle jangle at the precise moment that Sheriff Minetta decides to show up. Too bad Hiram forgot that his daughter wasn’t raised by no fool.

While all of this shakes out at Pop Tate’s, Betty and Jughead do their best to unravel the goings on with the Goblin King. But they weren’t banking on their parents going out of their way to stop their investigations. Despite FP and Alice’s interventions, Jug gets far enough to smooch Ethel and get himself a copy of ye ol’ Griffins & Gargoyles manual while Betty does her best to get in with the creepers at the Farm. Neither member of Bughead’s plan goes great, but Betty learns that their parents know what the game is, and Jug manages to save Ethel’s life despite her best efforts.

Archie may have agreed to the Warden’s terms, but he doesn’t want to hurt anyone. Injuries inspire investments in the Warden’s world, so the two have a little chat about their differences in opinion. Forced into a corner once again, Arch does the only thing he can think to in his second match: he lets his opponent beat the hell out of him until he’s ready to knock him out. Thankfully, wins come with perks. Though Archie quickly destroys the majority of his winnings after he’s given Hiram’s bottle of rum, he discovers a parting gift from Mad Dog that he quickly takes to his fellow prisoners.

After being shaken down by his own daughter (and Riverdale’s incomparable first couple: Choni), Hiram makes the decision to come to the speakeasy’s grand opening. He even comes bearing gifts! Gifts in the form of the portrait of Veronica that once hung above his desk that is now undoubtedly bugged. All the same, Ronnie invites her father in to see how a legitimate business is supposed to run. Strangely, there’s no Hermione in sight.

“As Above, So Below” pushes all of its stories forward a considerable amount. Juggie and Betty confirm that their parents are hiding something from them, while Ethel manages to spread the manual to all of Riverdale high in the efforts to get the Goblin King more followers. Veronica has a successful opening night and the game of chess between her and Hiram remains an utter delight. Archie, in all of his idiot glory, is going to escape from the detention center. Nevermind what happens on the outside. He’s got a tiny hammer, some hopes and dreams, and Joaquin on his side.

The dynamic between the children and their parents will be put on hold next week so we can all head back in time to see what’s got the adults of Riverdale so spooked. Tragically, this may mean that we miss out on the incredibleness that was this week’s attention to Cheryl and Toni for a chapter or two. Hopefully that sacrifice will be worth the information we’ll glean on this weirdo game and all the new pairings the show will play with in the past!

Which thread in Riverdale’s season three tapestry has you most interested so far? Are you already itching for one to go? Shout your feelings into the comments void below!