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TV Review: Riverdale (Season 3, Episode 9)

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Riverdale returned to our screens last night, with a dramatic comeback in the very appropriately titled "No Exit", as Archie faced death in the Canadian mountains, and Veronica and Reggie took their relationship to the next level.

riverdale 3x09

Image Credit: © 2019 The CW Network, LLC.

We open the episode with Archie in the Canadian wilderness, since it turns out that in the five weeks since Riverdale went under quarantine (skipping the juicy carnage that probably happened in that time seems like a missed opportunity, but I'll let it slide), he has been working as a park ranger and living in a remote cabin. I mean, I can't see what agency would hire an underage kid without a high school diploma, but it's Riverdale logic, so little things like that don't really matter. He heads out with dog Vegas (arguably the best thing about Archie's storylines at the moment) and ends up getting attacked by a bear (offscreen). Archie being Archie, he reckons that a tiny strip of bandage & some alcohol is enough to do the trick for his insane wounds and after calling the other rangers, simply lies in bed for help. 

Meanwhile back in Riverdale, everything has returned to the status quo. None of this really make sense - what was the point of Hiram putting the town under quarantine if it was all just going to go back to normal, one episode later? I get that it's been longer in Riverdale time, but the resolution just doesn't feel at all earned.

Veronica and Hirams' power struggle continues, and it's starting to get tired. Every confrontation goes the same way: Veronica thinks she's found a way to outsmart him and then Hiram flips it, because let's face it, her plans usually aren't well thought-out and everything goes back to the status quo. 

It's Cheryl and Toni who unwittingly provide the solution to Veronica's problems, however. In the midst of a sheriff-less Riverdale, Choni has been breaking into people's houses, dressed as literal cat burglars and having sex on strangers beds. During one of their midnight romps, they steal a "Glamerge egg" from Hiram's office and leave a lipstick mark on his painting - so everyone knows who took it. Jughead kills two birds with one stone, demanding the return of the egg and getting the Serpents a paying gig, as Veronica's new protection. It's rather satisfying, seeing the smashed egg in Hiram's office. It seems for once, V finally has the upper-hand - though how long that will last, no one knows.

Betty, on the other hand, is busy dealing with the fallout from her ill-thought-out rescue operation of the patients of the Sisters of Quiet Mercy and, back at the cabin, Archie is suffering through numerous fever dreams, brought on by his wounds. Once again, Archie's story is probably the weakest and most out of place of the episode. We basically spend our entire time with him as he hallucinates his way through extended dream sequences. He is confronted by Warden Norton to play G&G and in various challenges, he tackles the Black Hood before he shoots his dad, kills Hiram Lodge and then attacks himself. It's a series of rather clumsily done sequences, and doesn't add much to the episode as a whole.

The episode comes to its end with a sequence of Veronica singing "Maybe This Time" (this episode goes HARD on the "Cabaret" references). Dubious singing aside, it's quite the exciting climax, with Betty making a discovery that blows her chances of bringing Hiram to justice (did she really think it was going to be that easy?), and Veronica and Reggie finally breaking the ever growing sexual tension that's been building between the two of them (FINALLY - they are so much better than Varchie, and I will die on this hill).

Meanwhile, Archie is finally found by the Park Rangers, lying unresponsive and incredibly bloody. Things are not looking good for the Red Paladin. 

I'm pretty sure that Archie isn't actually dead, but still, it looks as if Riverdale is actually ready to shake things up in a real way. Let's just hope it's not a fake out like the Quarantine.

Riverdale Season 3 is available for streaming on Netflix, with new episodes available every Thursday. 


 

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