Riverdale Recaps S2E15: There Will Be Blood
“Of course he did,” Cheryl sighs when she finds out that her father had a secret will. There’s a lot of moments like that in this episode: of course Fred Andrews has always wanted to run for mayor. Of course Chic isn’t who he says he is. Of course Cheryl’s Not What He Seems long-lost uncle turns up at the family’s will-reading. Of course there’s a scene with an actual, honest-to-God blood pact. Of course.
But hey, Riverdale has never claimed to be a show of subtle character development, and as long as all the ridiculousness is couched in as much fun as this, I can let it slide. The best Riverdale, for my money, is one where self-aware style takes precedence over gritty substance, and this episode, There Will Be Blood, has that style in spades, from Jughead meeting an informant in a scene straight from a lost Hitchcock thriller to Betty stealing her faux-brother’s hair as Cooper Scene Investigator. I don’t give an actual fuck if I say this every week: I love the way Riverdale looks, the way it indulges in it’s love for classic film, and the bold way it uses the tropey plots to forefront a brilliant, distinctive cinematographic style. So there. Also I want to bang every single father figure in the city, including Hal and especially Sheriff Keller. Just the balance out that pretentiousness.
And I’m sorry, but you’re a right misery if you can’t find something to enjoy in the bold-ass ridiculousness of this week’s outing. Any great episode of Riverdale finds an excuse to bring the town together over something or other, and the will reading pulls the Blossoms and the Coopers together for a delightfully catty confrontation: Madchen Amick gets to yell “Half-melted ten-cent trollop”, for God’s sake, and that alone is almost enough to make up for Polly’s brief reappearance in the show (though I am THE broodiest right now, and her babies outdid her in the annoyance stakes because I couldn’t smell their beautiful little heads and squeeze their tiny little toes). As I said last week, Betty is always at her best when sharing the screen with her family, and Lili Reinhart is back on form this week as she coerces Kevin into catfishing her brother in order to find out the truth about him. She’s got that wild-eyed look around her edges and this is the Dark Betty I came for. You can insert your own “Hart Denton is a Grey Alien in a Poor Human Disguise” joke here this week: I’m fresh out.
Over in the Lodges plotline, Hiram and Hermione are pushing Fred to run for mayor so that they have someone in office who owes something to them. Oh, and also Hiram is pulling off a plot that’s literally straight out of an episode of The Simpsons, by buying up a school and turning it into a prison. But that aside, somehow, this plot actually holds up, mainly because it traps Archie between his father and his increasing involvement with the Lodges – I live for the Archie/Hiram study scenes, and this one delivers as they perform a literal blood pact to seal Archie into the family for good. All of this plays like an incestuous gangster movie and is shot like a horror flick and it just hits all of my buttons – speaking of, I would totally wear those Fred Andrews for Mayor badges as an intently oblique Riverdale reference to carry out into the real world like the passionate wanker I am.
Last but not least, the Blossoms actually get a significant story this week, as the town gathers as their house to hear the reading of the will. Cheryl’s relationship with Toni is developing in a way that makes by bisexual little heart swell, much to the chagrin of her mother. I don’t talk a lot about Nathalie Boltt as Penelope Blossom, surviving matriarch of the Blossom clan, but she is the next Pokemon evolution version of Cheryl – an agent of chaos, constantly draped in black lace and red accents, dissatisfied by everything and scheming on everyone. It’s always fun to get to spend time with the most Gothic family on television, especially when they’re involved in a plot plucked straight from an Edgar Allan Poe story, as Cheryl’s long-lost uncle returns but is Not What He Seems. I’m so here for it.
So yeah, after a wobble last week, we’re back to normal service with There Will Be Blood. Goofy, overblown, and totally committed, Riverdale is still one of the most joyously silly shows on TV, and you can stick your snobbery up your arse along with the rest of that box of defunct Fred Andrews for Mayor badges.
And on that very mature note, thanks for reading this recap! If you enjoyed this review and want to see more stuff like it, please consider supporting me on Patreon or checking out the recaps of UnREAL another very silly show with a darker edge that you’ll probably like if you enjoy Riverdale!
(header image courtesy of Den of Geek)