Riverdale S3E21: The Dark Secret of Harvest House
I spent a lot of the last season of my Riverdale reviews annoyed that so many people seemed to be shitting on the show. “What more do you want?” I demanded. “It’s just doing what it’s always done! You can’t get mad at a show for doing what it set out to do!”
And I believed it, then. Because the show was and continued to do just what it said on the tin. Riverdale is more Riverdale than it ever has been before – more meta, more move-parodic, more obnoxiously itself. I couldn’t figure out why people didn’t just want more of what they signed up for. How could you get exasperated with a show just doing what it always promised it would?
And, well, I think that perhaps they had hit the point that I just have a little before I got there. Because I am exhausted by Riverdale right now. The last few episodes have actually been pretty strong, all things Riverdalian considered, but I have been dreading having to watch it, having to find something new to say about it that isn’t just “this show continues to just be a punishingly accurate version of itself”. I think I get why people were just checking out of last season completely, despite the fact that it was continuing to deliver on everything that it promised. Watching an episode of this show feels like being aggressively wrung out for forty minutes straight, and maybe my tolerance for that is getting lower.
Because this episode, The Dark Secret of Harvest House, has about everything that I could want from a gleefully ridiculous Riverdale episode. Jason Blossom is missing from his grave, and he’s probably the Gargoyle King! The Farm is actually an organ harvesting venture! Hiram has been arrested! And so on and so forth. It’s the high soap opera drama I have come to expect from this show, finally laying some cards out on the table to let us know that there really was some grand plan the whole time. But the thing is, I could go back and rewatch this entire show, and I’m certain that it would still feel like as much as a sensory assault as it did the first time around – Riverdale can try to retcon some reason back into its canon, but the truth is, this show has always been about twenty feet from careering down into Disaster Canyon, and these new revelations just feel like an extension of that, not a chance to bring everything together when we long-since passed no return.
I get it, I do. Looking for logic or consistency in something like Riverdale is a huge mistake, and I only have myself to blame for approaching this show expecting anything even close to that. But you know how an endless barrage of white noise can be used as torture? Because the brain drives itself crazy trying to find some sort of sense in the complete randomness? Yeah, I think I might be getting there with this show. Despite the twists and turns, despite the show indulging in even more absurd flights of fancy than ever before, I think I might have reached my limit with what I can take from Riverdale.
What did you make of the revelations this week? Are you getting tired of this show’s deliberate oddness, or are you ready for more? Let me know in the comments below. In case you missed it, I started recapping Game of Thrones earlier this week! If you liked this article and want to see more stuff like it, please consider supporting me on Patreon.
(header image via Den of Geek)
This show can certainly drive one to drink if you let it. I’ve also struggled to accept the futility of wanting more substance from it. It’s not like I want to see some neutered version of it. I just want a bit more continuity and connective tissue between episodes. Characters should have actual defined arcs (even if they’re totally ridiculous). I can’t stand seeing them act wildly different episode to episode. If every single episode is random and doesn’t follow anything that’s been previously set up then why should I care about any of it? It becomes empty spectacle.
But I digress… I actually enjoyed this episode! It’s super exciting to see the Farm and GK storylines drawing towards a resolution. I thought the organ harvesting revelation was dark and twisted. Not sure how I feel about retconning Jason’s death, but I’ll reserve judgement until I see how it all plays out. It could be Jason’s twin… The earlier revelation of Claudius established that twins run in the Blossom family. Jason’s missing body could be a red herring. But, of course, who knows with this show!
Are Cheryl and Jason not twins already? Maybe triplets? Either way, you’re right, who the fuck knows at this point.