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TV Review: Riverdale (Season 3, Episode 10)


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This week's Riverdale episode is a welcome return to something resembling normal (normal by Riverdale standards, anyway) as Betty, Jughead and co. take some time out from investigating the Gargoyle King in order to take the SATs.

Image credit: Dean Buscher // 2018 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc

After the cliffhanger of the last episode, it's pretty quickly revealed that Archie isn't dead, which of course we all knew. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit curious about how Archie's death would change Riverdale, narratively speaking, but I knew that Riverdale would probably never have the balls to take on a move like that. It's a little disappointing that Archie seems to just bounce back right away (physically anyway, mentally is a whole different story, which we'll get to later on). 

Archie immediately returns to the arms of Veronica, and they go right back to where they were before, avoiding all of their issues and having sex instead. All this, bearing in mind that Veronica was with Reggie in the last episode. 

It's not all fun and games, however. Archie is suffering from some pretty serious PTSD after the bear attack, and everything else that he's been put through so far this season, and is being haunted by flashbacks of Hiram. He's also not doing so well in the school department, and is told by the Principal that he should probably repeat his Junior year, given that he has missed so much school. A sensible suggestion, but of course, Archie being Archie, thinks he can learn several months worth of work in a few days and is determined to take the exam.

Being British, I don't know all that much about the SAT system - but I'm pretty sure you can't just rock up to the test. Don't you need to register? Anyway, Riverdale logic takes over, and Archie's only choices are to take that particular SAT or repeat the year because, you know, drama. 

Meanwhile, Betty discovers that her mother has stolen all of her money and wants to give it to the farm. Her only course of action to remedy this, which of course involves visiting her creepy father in jail, to get him to sign an affidavit saying that he did not authorise the transfer. Hal is now kept in a massive glass cell (overdramatic much) but weirdly comes off as the least bad of Betty's parents in this scenario. 

Archie turns to Reggie for help with cheating on the SATs, but of course, Reggie assumes this is a different kind of cheating and admits to Archie about what he did with Veronica (I don't think it was really cheating, since Varchie did pretty much break up and Archie kissed another girl while he was away, so he doesn't have a leg to stand on). They don't quite come to blows, but Archie clearly isn't very happy about it, and avoids the situation with Veronica, with yes, you guessed it, yet more sex.

All of this is pretty much pointless, since Archie bombs the test. In fact, he doesn't even start the test, because he's shaken by flashbacks and storms out. 

Meanwhile, in other news, Hiram Lodge is shot. I mean really we've been expecting this for a while, though the shooting isn't fatal, he just lands in the hospital. Top of the suspect list is Fred Andrews, who immediately threatened Hiram (backed up by FP and the Serpents) as soon as Archie returns, but I'm sure things can't be that easy - after all, Hiram has a lot of enemies. 

In the most anti-climactic moment of the episode, the Gargoyle King's identity is revealed (I don't buy it), before he is accidentally killed. And after Cladius Blossom, newly appointed Sherriff by Hiram, is also found dead, FP takes up the mantle. I'm interested to see where they go with this, since obviously being Sherriff and involved in the Serpents is a pretty massive conflict of interest.

We end the episode on Archie, new teen alcoholic (doing some pretty serious day drinking), punching out a punching bag in his room. I'm not sure where they're going with this Archie storyline, and I don't have high hopes for it.

Riverdale Season 3 is streaming weekly, with new episodes available on Thursdays.

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