Let’s Ponder Riverdale’s Mobster Problem
by Erik Amaya
The word has finally been said. Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos) is a mobster. Like, a pin-stripe suit, Goodfellas type mobster with no compunction about killing a business associate/rival based on the word of a 16-year-old boy. And it changes at least a few perspectives.
Since arriving in town, Hiram has been a cartoon or 1980s prime time soap villain; and Consuelos plays him with the right sort of charm, menace and cartoonishness. Everything has been going his way so far, but with Archie (KJ Apa) and Veronica (Camila Mendes) finally facing the facts, everything we’ve been seeing as viewers all year will come into clarity for those crazy kids. So that will be one difference in the weeks ahead.
Another difference — unconnected to Archie and Veronica’s new mutual understanding — is Jughead (Cole Sprouse) finally seeing Hiram as his true oponent. After a tense meeting with Mayor McCoy (Robin Givens) and a talk with Tall Boy (Scott McNeil), Juggie finally sees Hiram as the source of most of the town’s current woes. But I don’t think he’s connected all of the dots. For one: Sheriff Keller’s persecution of the Serpents has to be motivated in part by his affair with the Mayor; something Betty (Lili Reinhart) knows but hasn’t shared with Jughead yet. Then there’s the true nature of Mayor McCoy’s complicity in the SoDale project. Selling Southside High means she gets a generous contribution to her re-election fund, but Hermione (Marisol Nichols) seems to have an extra card over Sierra. Maybe she knows about Keller? Whatever it is, it led to poor Josie (Ashleigh Murray) being used as a prop again. I really hope that when things come to light, Josie finds a way to find herself in all of this.
Hiram was also ultimately behind the beheading of the General Pickens statue by way of Tall Boy. Knowing his motivation — getting F.P. (Skeet Ulrich) and Jug out of their leadership roles — Hiram was able to play him and help seed further discord within the Serpents. But you have to wonder if Hiram was also getting a piece of the drug trade Penelope (Brit Morgan) was so hot to start up in Serpent turf. Come to think of it, she must be connected to Hiram in some direct way as well. And though Jughead and F.P. were able to shut her down this week, you can bet she’ll continue to be a problem for the strangely virtuous Serpents.
Meanwhile, it is interesting to note that all of Jughead’s bad decisions led him back to Betty. They’re great partners even if their romantic entanglement flip-flops. Like I said after he tried to break up with her the last time, the on-again/off-again nature of their relationship is one of the most realistic elements about it; even if it makes for frustrating television. But now that they’re reunited, they can face whatever Hiram’s bigger plan for Riverdale is together.
Well, unless of course Chip (Hart Denton) destroys the Coopers utterly. First, there’s the underlying darkness which he manifests almost all the time and which also appears in the form of Dark Betty. It has to be tied to Alice’s (Madchen Amick) almost split personality between her Serpent past and the suburban mom she desperately tries to be. Notice how every dinner scene opens with her shoveling food onto Chip’s plate? Then there’s that strange looking dude Chip apparently shot in the Cooper kitchen. If that isn’t bringing trouble to the doorstep, I don’t know what is. But I suspect — and I know my speculations haven’t exactly been right on the mystery side of things — Alice shot him and Betty will cover it up.
Which brings me back to one key thing about Betty and Jughead going forward: why won’t she tell him about Dark Betty or kissing Archie? They are the strongest when all the cards are on the table and if she could shrug off Jug messing around with Toni, he certainly could deal with Betty’s slight indiscretions, right?
Oh, and because I’m not here to judge, Betty’s camming is neither good nor bad even if the show is going to play it like a flaw for the moment.
But let’s ponder those things, and Riverdale‘s unique morality, as we watch a preview of next week’s show. It seem Hal (Lochlan Munro) is onto Alice, Chip and Betty … but will it lead to exposure? And what is Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch) up to with that bow?
Riverdale airs Wednesdays on The CW.