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TV ReviewsRiverdale Season 3 Episode 11: The Red Dahlia Review

For our review of the last episode of Riverdale, click here.

Synopsis: After one of their own becomes the target of an unseen assailant, the gang works together to get to the bottom of Riverdale’s latest mystery; Jughead comes face to face with Hiram’s alleged mistress. (IMDB)

Writers: Devon Turner & Will Ewing

Director: Greg Smith

Rating: TV-14

Running Time: 45mins

Airs: Wednesdays at 8pm on The CW (United States)

“The Red Dahlia” starts off with Jughead writing at his typewriter about the state of the town setting up a film-noir style for this week. He and the Serpents explain to Sheriff Jones they let Tall Boy go, but he doesn’t believe it. Betty goes to her father to discuss Claudius’ death as they question who might have been the culprit. And Archie asks his dad for a job with the construction business which lasts about 20 minutes before he’s fired.

Archie returns home to be berated for being fired and hiding drinks in his room. He decides to head down to La Bonne Nuit and drink his heart away. Reggie won’t serve him another drink and when Archie starts to get belligerent, Josie saves him. She brings him home and gives him a cold shower as a wake up call. Josie sits down with Archie and tells him to channel this anger into music or boxing, but he wants to face his demons once and for all.

Archie arrives at an eerily deserted hospital looking to end this chapter. He enters Hiram’s room and cocks a gun, ready to finish what he started. Archie stands over Hiram and explains how he’s felt through everything with Hiram. How much he hates him for what he did, how he almost killed his father. He prepares to shoot Hiram when someone starts fiddling with the door. The masked man enters and points a gun at Hiram, but Archie fires and manages to make the assassin flee.

Betty attends Claudius’ funeral with the Blossoms as Nana Rose scoffs at Penelope’s reaction. With Cheryl not wanting to hear Betty’s conspiracies, she decides to look at the autopsy reports. Betty and Jughead head to the Maple Club which turns out to be a brothel hidden in a hotel room. They are confronted by Penelope as they learn she runs this women’s club that specialized in domination. While they try to get information concerning the deaths of Clifford and Claudius, she won’t budge.

Betty meets with the coroner and learns that Clifford’s cause of death was puffer fish venom and that the hanging was staged. She confronts Penelope and learns that she is a resident Red Dahlia, killing the terrible men of the town. Claudius was the cause of the seizures in Riverdale as his Fizzle Rock runoff polluted the river.  She returns to her father and discusses the idea of good serial killers as Penelope’s list of victims seems a bit justified. He replies by saying he hopes that this revelation may change her perspective of him.

While Hiram is in the hospital, the vultures start to circle causing Veronica to take matters into her own hands. She creates a ruse to convince groups to continue giving them protection money. Veronica looks through the Lodge’s books and finds a connection to Hermione. She questions her mom’s involvement in the Fizzle Rocks empire, but she denies it. Instead, she was told that the quarantine was to close down the drug lab, but he instead used it to consolidate his assets behind her back. Hermione plans to sell off the drug lab, but Veronica wants retribution and opts to burn it down with Reggie’s help.

Veronica is curious as to who wanted her father dead so she brings some cash to Jughead to dig into it. She overheard her parents fighting about a broken promise. Jughead decides his first stop is Hermione Lodge. She laughs off the accusation, but reveals their fight was over Hiram’s affair with a blonde at the Five Seasons. Jughead heads there to investigate where he finds a priceless Glamorge egg and is confronted by Ms. Mulwray. She reveals herself to be Hiram’s “water inspector” to keep the government off his back with the contaminated water.

But there are bigger problems when Sweet Pea learns where the Lodge’s money has been going. Him and Jughead head to a cabin in the woods where Hermione is having her own affair, with a very alive Sheriff Minetta! She discusses an outstanding problem and asks Minetta to frame FP causing Jughead to race off to protect his dad. He tells FP about the setup and to arrest them before they blame him, but FP reveals the truth. He shot Hiram for Hermione and in return she gave him the Sheriff’s job. With her double-cross out in the open, Jughead reveals the truth about Tall Boy hoping to solve both their problems.

Hiram regains consciousness and learns of Archie saying his life. He proposes a truce between them as they shake hands on their most likely very brief ceasefire. FP calls Hermione to tell her the exciting news. Turns out they caught Hiram’s shooter and blame it on Tall Boy, but FP had to shoot him when he resisted arrest. With Alice setting up an interview with FP, she asks Hermione for a comment, but she decides it’s best to leave. Hermione confronts Jughead who plays his cards causing her to tie up loose ends by shooting Minetta.

Questions

  • Who will wind up dead next?
  • What is Hermione’s plan?
  • How long will Archie and Hiram’s truce last?
  • Will something blossom between Archie and Josie?
  • Will Betty forgive her father?
  • What is The Farm’s plan?
  • Will the dynamic of Riverdale change with FP donning the sheriff’s hat?

Overall, The Red Dahlia was an interesting episode. It’s noir style is definitely up Riverdale’s alley and it manages to be the juiciest, most exposition-heavy episode of the season. The reveal of so many outstanding questions caused jaw-dropping moment after moment setting up for something much bigger for this season’s end. These high schoolers are way in over their heads and it’s surprising that the national guard hasn’t gotten involved, but that’s just what happens. It’s Riverdale.

Score: 9.5/10

What did you think of “The Red Dahlia”? Where do you see this season going? Let me know in the comments below!

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