After a brief hiatus following the best episode of the season, Riverdale has … jumped back into the muck. For a brief moment, Riverdale actually remembered that it was a show about high-school kids, but in “Requiem for a Welterweight,” the focus is recentered on Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead, and the show is worse off for it.
The A-plot sees Archie, now semi-dating Josie and trying to figure out what to do with his life as a washed-up ex-con who walked about of his SATs (again, he’s 17). They grow up so fast, don’t they? Having learned how to kill a man playing Fight Club in prison, Archie decides that boxing is his future, because he helps him clear his mind (a couple of blows to the head will clear his mind forever). But first, he’ll need a coach, and Riverdale has the perfect guy for the job, former Sheriff Tom Keller, who used to box in the Navy.
After one training session, however, Archie thinks he’s ready to get in the ring, so against Keller’s wishes, Archie arranges a bout with a scary dude who is 12-0, and whose handler offers to pay Archie $5,000 to throw the fight. It’ll be good exposure, he promises. That’s good enough for Archie, until Josie tells him that his life is worth more than $5,000, after which Archie decides not to throw the fight and begs Keller — who had quit in protest — to return as his coach, otherwise his opponent will literally kill him. Archie hangs in, though, and manages to lose by a split decision, which is a moral victory. All he needed was a single training session! They didn’t even have a lousy training montage, which is 70 percent the point of a boxing storyline. What a waste. Archie does, however, spend much of the episode shirtless, which I suppose is also a moral victory for an otherwise lousy episode of Riverdale.
The B-story this week is a whole lot of nonsense. It has something to do with a dwindling number of Serpents and the dwindling number of Ghoulies teaming up under the leadership of Jughead’s mom, Gladys (Gina Gershon), to sell drugs for Hiram, who will be in charge of manufacturing at the private prison, along with his new partner, Veronica, who is already $75,000 in debt to Hiram after she took the fall for burning Hiram’s drugs. Somehow, this is also a play by Gladys to take over the drug trade in Riverdale. Shhhh. Don’t think about it too hard. Our brains are fragile and not equipped to sort through the incoherent complexities of Riverdale.
In the C-story, Betty is torn up over the fact that Alice has decided to officially join The Farm with a baptism ceremony and everything. Betty feels certain, however, that The Farm is up to no good, so she seeks out former members. One tells her that her sister died during the baptism because it is designed to bring you close to death, thus making the rebirth more literal. Startled by the news, Betty races to The Farm to save Alice from her impending death, only to arrive after Alice has already drowned during the baptism. Betty resuscitates her. Instead of being grateful to Betty for saving her life, Alice recognizes that being that close to death has allowed her to “ascend.” Alice decides its time to sell her home and give herself completely over to The Farm.
— The “ascension” at the Farm obviously has echoes of the Gargoyle King, so undoubtedly there is a connection with the neverending Gargoyle King storyline.
— Speaking of the Gargoyle King, the reason why the Ghoulies’ numbers have dwindled is because most of them have given themselves over to the Gargoyle King, which inspired a weird and nonsensical homage to Apocalypse Now in this week’s episode. They should really watch the movies with which they pay homage.
— The Serpents have also been leaving in droves out of protest to Toni’s ban. Jughead tries to recruit her back, but Toni rejects his offer, because he won’t designate her the Serpent Queen. That title is currently held by Betty, who probably could not give less of a shit about being The Serpent Queen.
— In any respect, Toni and Cheryl are busy with their new gang, The Pretty Poisons, who beat up a passel of Serpents to prove that they’re not to be trifled with. The ploy is spearheaded by Cheryl, but Toni takes issue with Cheryl giving orders to her gang (that Cheryl gave her). Trouble in paradise? Nah. These two crazy kids will work it out, mostly because Riverdale doesn’t devote enough screentime to the couple to give them enough time to break-up. That would cut into valuable Archie shirtless time.
Header Image Source: The CW