If you would like to read my review of last week’s episode, click here.
Synopsis: In an attempt to get closer to Hiram, Archie tries out for the Riverdale wrestling team; Betty unearths some dark secrets about Chic; Veronica and Josie clash. (IMDB)
Writers: Greg Murray & Devon Turner
Director: Gregg Araki
Running Time: 45mins
“The Wrestler” starts with Jughead’s weekly narration, this time on Archie’s struggle with balancing school and informing for the FBI while the newly integrated Riverdale High prepares for Pickens Day. Cheryl pleads her case that the local day should be renamed for her ancestor Colonel Barnabus B. Blossom who financed Pickens campaigns. At this point the episode breaks off into five storylines, so let’s recap those leading up to the big Pickens Day celebration.
The Lodges and Fred Andrew offer to co-sponsor a larger Pickens Day festival to help ease the civil unrest between the North and South sides, but while that is happening Jughead has his own idea. He goes to interview Toni’s grandfather, the oldest living Serpent, about how their traditions were created. He learns that General Pickens and by extension Colonel Blossom were part of the mass genocide of indigenous tribes, like Toni’s ancestors, which prompted the creation of the Serpents to help fight back. Jughead brings this information to Betty and wants to publish this story to let the truth come out. Betty says go for it and Jughead is happy someone is on his side.
He calls Hiram for a quote about him using land that was desecrated by their supposed hero and that causes Hiram to pause for a second. Most likely to plan and scheme. Toni reads Jughead’s article and is enraged by the picture it paints of her grandfather. She doesn’t want Jughead dragging her family into his sick vendetta against the Northsiders and he realizes the lengths he has gone to. Jughead apologizes to Toni and her grandfather for using their story to force his agenda on the town. Her grandpa says bringing it up opened an old wound and now it needs to be healed.
Meanwhile Archie is able to get his father’s immunity deal, but he’s told to get closer to Hiram Lodge somehow. He opens up to Veronica about being hesitant that her father likes him and learns he used to wrestle. Archie decides it is time to impress, but wrestling is not his thing. Kevin continues to beat Archie in front of Sheriff Keller and Hiram. Archie and Veronica practice a duet (FIRST GUITAR CITING IN A FEW EPISODES) when Hiram walks in and takes shots at his masculinity, saying he’s less concerned now that he knows that Archie is more of a backup singer in an all-female band rather than a brutish wrestler. Archie fights back by kissing Veronica in front of her father and says he plans to practice his wrestling moves.
At wrestling practice, Hiram decides to help train the team and suggests Archie as his guinea pig. He takes Archie down and whispers a simple message: I always win. Kevin asks Archie about why he is trying so hard to impress Hiram and he replies with that he made it personal. So melodramatic Archie. Archie confronts Hiram about his dislike of him. At first Hiram pins it on Archie’s dad, but then says he isn’t worthy. Things get heated until Veronica enters and breaks it up.
Early the next day, Archie is awoken by a call from Hiram to meet him outside. They go out for a quick run then breakfast at Pop’s where Hiram explains Archie is just another phase of Veronica’s as boyfriends come and go, but fathers are forever. WHAT SICK SHIT IS THIS. Archie is at his final day of tryouts where he is matched up against Chuck Clayton, who is in a higher weight class, but somehow Archie is able to use the moves that Kevin and Hiram taught him to beat Chuck.
Now onto the Coopers who are having a lovely breakfast with Chic where Hal pushes him to talk about his work and living situation, but the estranged Cooper isn’t so willing to reveal details of his life. IS FP CHIC’S DAD? Kevin calls Betty and informs her where he knows Chic from: he’s a cam boy. Oh my, scandalous! Betty decides to dive down that rabbit hole and wants to find some way to connect with her long-lost brother. Chic comes home enraged as his landlord threw out all his belongings and he doesn’t believe he is welcome at the Coopers for long.
Betty goes to Chic’s room, hoping to talk, and gifts him her old laptop and webcam. At breakfast, Hal brings up Polly to Chic and him filling a void, but Chic explains he’ll pay to stay if that’s the case. Chic asks Betty why she was so generous with the computer and figures she had a reason. She reveals her fears about her darker side and is curious if Chic has experienced that too, but he walks out. As the Coopers discuss going out for Pickens Day, Hal opts out of the family outing.
And finally the minor stories of the week: Josie and Cheryl. Josie and Veronica are discussing a potential Pussycats reunion at Pickens Day, but the Mayor squashes the idea. She is against the idea of her daughter being dragged down by Veronica’s negative influence. Meanwhile Cheryl confronts her mother about her ancestor’s involvement in the displacement and genocide of the indigenous and she reveals that their family has done whatever it takes to get ahead.
At the Pickens Day festival, Hiram congratulates Archie for his win and invites him over after the celebration. Hal arrives at the festival after snooping on Chic’s computer and demands they kick him out and he suggests that Alice knows why. Definitely FP’s kid. He is later asked by Penelope Blossom if she can comfort him with a “proper” dessert.
Veronica and the Pussycats perform at Pickens Day, which upsets Josie, but the show is interrupted when the Serpents, led by Jughead and Toni, protest the celebration of a man who committed such heinous crimes. Hiram quickly intervenes and spins it as SoCale being a way to protect the way of the Uktena tribe as part of the rich history of Riverdale. Jughead immediately wants to punch Hiram, like most of us I’m sure, but Toni’s grandfather stops him.
That night, Chic comes to Betty’s room and admits he came into her room the first night he was there. He decides to open up about his webcam business and how it is his way to escape his own reality and the darkness within him. This intrigues Betty and she asks him to show her the way. At the estate, Hiram asks Archie where he hopes to be and assumes it’s music, but Archie counters with Business and proclaims he wants to buy back his father’s company. Hiram seems pleased by this and offers Archie an internship. As this happens Agent Adams calls Archie to remind the audience of how getting closer to Hiram benefits Archie in more ways than one. The criminal apprenticeship of Archie Andrews.
The episode ends with the Mayor, Sheriff Keller and the Lodges standing beneath a beheaded General Pickens statue. Who could’ve done it? They assume it was the Serpents and as Jughead states: war is inevitable.
- Who is Chic’s real father?
- Will Dark Betty take over as she dives into the world of camming?
- What is Jughead’s next rebellious idea?
- What will the fallout be for the beheading of the Pickens statue?
- Will Archie’s luck change by interning for Hiram?
- What is going on with Cheryl and Josie’s underused storylines?
- Is it implied that Penelope slept with Hal? Are they the related ones or was it on Cheryl’s paternal side?
- How will the Lodges continue to get their fingers into the businesses of Riverdale?
- Who is Agent Adams? Is he somehow connected to the Black Hood?
- Is the Black Hood really gone?
- Who is Charles Smith?
Overall, this was a good episode. It certainly wasn’t the quick-paced, exposition-heavy story of last week, but it dives into the relationships and internal struggles of many of the male characters. From the weird dynamic between Archie and Hiram to Jughead’s rebellious nature and Chic’s mysterious past, each character had enough story here to help set up intrigue for where they’ll go for the rest of the season. With all the tension rising, hopefully some underused characters like Cheryl, Josie and Toni receive some gratifying storylines before season’s end.
What did you think of “The Wrestler”? Let me know in the comments below!