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TV Review: Riverdale (Season 3, Episode 11)


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The latest episode of Riverdale, "The Red Dahlia", sees Jughead getting deeper into the mystery of the Gargoyle King and Archie continuing in his downward spiral of increasing anger and alcoholism.

riverdale 3x11

Image Credit: © 2019 The CW Network, LLC.

Riverdale this week takes a turn for the noir, a pretty good fit for the show overall. The combination of Jughead's overdramatic monologue, the typewriter, and Veronica asking half of our show's resident detective team to uncover who shot her father, all filmed in black and white, is a genius and slightly ridiculous move - but this show has always worked best when it leans into its ridiculous side, and this episode is no exception.

Archie's day drinking leads to him being rescued by Josie. The two aren't exactly known for spending time together (which the show acknowledges in a fun meta moment), but that's exactly what Archie needs as Josie is able to give him some hard truths - or at least that's what it seems. Later, it turns out that Josie's pep talk has led Archie towards a rash decision - something that does seem kind of pointless, although it does lead to consequences that have been a LONG time coming.

Several revelations come up through Jughead's investigations, each one more confusing and twisted than the last. The first is in relation to Hiram, and (let's face it) who didn't see that one coming? The revelation offers a weak explanation for this plot strand, but at least we now have an explanation. Other revelations include more affairs, and more double-crossing. There was so much going on in this episode, at times it made my head spin.

Betty, in the meantime, is investigating her "Auntie" Penelope again, which does lead to some interesting information re the death (and until now assumed suicide) of Clifford Blossom. 

Meanwhile this week Veronica is involved in a war of attrition with her mother for a change. Hermione certainly looks set to take centre stage as the next Lodge villain, and we end the episode with her shooting someone important - and we actually see the body this time.

This week's episode was certainly quite confusing, and there was a lot going on - but it does finally seem like the storylines are gathering momentum and pushing forward. Hopefully that keeps up for the rest of the season, with a better balance of storylines than in this episode. Good as it was, it felt like it was trying to do far too much to make up for the slow start to the midseason run of episodes. 

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

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