After a breathless season premiere, Riverdale doesn’t let the pace slacken this week. By the end of episode two, we’ll see major changes in the Lodge family, emotional catharsis for Archie (KJ Apa), and even learn the identity of the Auteur who’s been sending increasingly creepy videotapes to our faves.
The episode begins with Betty (Lili Reinhart) getting a 3am phone call from Jughead’s jailed nemesis Bret (Sean Depner). If Betty can secure his transfer to solitary, Bret promises to share a secret they’ll really want to hear. Betty and Jughead (Cole Sprouse) head to the prison to seal the deal, but it’s too late. Bret has been found dead with his eyes gouged out – grim as fuck. After a debrief with Betty’s half-brother, ever-present FBI agent Charles, they theorise that dastardly David from the video store might have ordered the hit before fleeing town.
— Riverdale (@CW_Riverdale) January 28, 2021
Ronnie (Camila Mendes) also has plenty to contend with – and keeping up the pretence that she and Archie are still together is the least of her worries. When a gang of mafia thugs accost her outside the diner, she’s saved by half-sister Hermosa (Mishel Prada), who persuades her that their beleaguered dad Hiram (Mark Consuelos) is in too deep with the mob. Ronnie and Hermosa plot a hostile takeover of the family business, which only makes Hiram more determined to stay in control. “Girls, all I need to do business are my fists and a gun,” he insists. Still, by the end of the episode, they’ve packed him off on a “sabbatical” to the Cayman Islands, leaving mum Hermione (Marisol Nichols) free to end their marriage and pursue her dream of becoming a Real Housewife. The reality franchise’s exec producer Andy Cohen even gets a name-check.
Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) also ends the episode in a stronger position than when she started. Seeking to rehabilitate the Blossom family name, presumably so that Toni’s grandmother will give their relationship her blessing, she tries to persuade her relatives to re-open their factory and re-brand Blossom maple syrup. They refuse out of spite, so Cheryl’s mum Penelope (Nathalie Boltt) has them all killed and makes it look like a suicide pact. Now, Cheryl can do whatever she wants with Blossom property – including transferring land to families they wronged in the past. Will we see Cheryl and Toni (Vanessa Morgan) together again soon?
Meanwhile, Archie is battling anger management issues as he continues to process his father’s untimely death. Mum Mary (Molly Ringwald) asks him to support a plea for leniency from Mr Augustine (Blake Stadel) – the father planning to take the rap for his son’s hit-and-run – but Archie says he’s still too haunted by what happened. When Mr Augustine shows up, telling him that son Jeffrey has confessed after all and is now making his own plea for leniency, Archie spirals out of control. After catching his mum watching the video recreation of his traumatic encounter with the Black Hood, he erupts and smashes up the TV with a baseball bat. Archie’s salvation comes in the form of uncle Frank (Ryan Robbins), who lets his nephew throw some furious punches at him before they hug it out. It’s an emotionally cleansing moment which compels Archie to do the right thing. He writes a poignant letter supporting Jeffrey’s leniency plea.
Who is the Auteur?
Back to Betty and Jughead. After they receive a phone call informing them that Joan, one of Bret’s schoolmates, has also been murdered, another creepy videotape from the Auteur arrives. This time, she/he’s filmed them sleeping in their own home. Betty is sure Charles has used his FBI nouse to bug the place, and decides to confront her half-brother. He confesses to killing Bret and Joan – and without a smidge of guilt, since he only poleaxes bad people – but insists he isn’t the Auteur. At this point, Jughead deduces that the mysterious tape-maker is actually his little sister Jellybean (Trinity Likins). Remember how they ran into her at the underground film club last week? It turns out this was a big clue. Anyway, Jughead tells dad F.P. (Skeet Ulrich) that Jellybean isn’t evil; she was just trying to scare him into staying in town instead of going to college. Jellybean ends the episode not with a telling off, but with an empathetic hug. But will this be the end of it?
Did you notice?
- Bret’s full name is Bret Weston Wallis: a shameless play on American Psycho author Bret Easton Ellis.
- Hermosa’s scheme almost comes to fruition a little too easily. Will she get her comeuppance in future episodes?
- Cheryl’s Blossom family business meeting is conducted over Zoom, which is definitely a nice topical touch.