Review, television, Things Happening RN

“ROSEANNE” IS CANCELED

On Tuesday, ABC announced that it would be canceling the reboot of Roseanne after the show’s star, Roseanne Barr, went on a Twitter rant that included a racist remark against Valerie Jarrett, former senior adviser to President Barack Obama, in which Barr compared Jarrett to an ape. Despite tepid headlines calling it “racially charged” or heading into “racial waters,” the remark was just plain racist.

The reaction to it was swift; Wanda Sykes, a consulting producer on the show, announced that she was quitting, Emma Kenney, an actress on the show, Tweeted that she was going to quit. This is after showrunner Whitney Cummings announced last month that she was leaving the show as well.

In a letter, the president of ABC Entertainment Group, Channing Dungey, announced that Barr’s comments were abhorrent and they were canceling her show. Dungey is also the first black American president of ABC.

To talk about this is to talk about how something can be both good and bad at the same time. It is good, categorically, that people had the response to Barr’s comment. It was racist, because Roseanne Barr is racist. It is good that ABC canceled the show, and that people on the show had the reaction they did.

However, Roseanne Barr being racist on Twitter and peddling in racism, bigotry, Islamophobia and conspiracy theories existed before her show was rebooted. Former U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, who is black, said that Roseanne also compared her to an ape in a tweet. Roseanne also perpetrated the conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton was running a child sex ring in the basement of a pizza restaurant. That theory led to an armed man entering and threatening the occupants of that restaurant.

ABC did not have a problem with Barr’s past comments, so it’s difficult to assume that this latest remark, even though it is a racist, repugnant comment, was what sent her show over the edge. ABC canceled the show for one reason: because it affected ABC. Without Cummings or Sykes, and with the possibility that several of its actors would leave, the show, and Barr herself, became a financial liability. That is why they canceled the show.

In February 2017, Simon & Schuster dropped Milo Yiannopoulos as a client after acquiring the rights to his book with an advance $255,000. The book deal was tabled after audio surfaced where it appeared Yiannopoulos condoned inappropriate sexual relationships between men and boys. This was decidedly too far for Simon & Schuster, the people signing the same man who was banned from Twitter for inciting racial violence and bullying against Leslie Jones, who called people faggots and derided feminists as “ugly and sexless.” Simon & Schuster did not drop Yiannopoulos because they were offended morally. They dropped him because the bad publicity and optics of keeping him were not worth it. They found worth in him, and subsequently cosigned his words and bigotry, when the benefits of him outweighed the costs.

ABC cosigned Roseanne’s actions because the benefits of her outweighed the costs. When the scales were flipped, they dropped her. It was, and is, business.

This isn’t to say that I don’t think that the people behind these actions, like the executives at Simon & Schuster or Channing Dungey, were not offended by the actions and words of their clients. I think it’s highly likely that they were. But what I’m saying is that everything else, and everything before, they did not have a big enough problem with to stop working with Yiannopoulos and Barr.

I think that there is a place for conservative shows on television, and I think that it’s necessary to have conservative voices in the conversation.  I think it sucks that everyone on the Roseanne show was unceremoniously fired, leaving their jobs and their paychecks in limbo. I think it sucks that Roseanne Barr was given literally a golden opportunity and all she had to do was keep her raging racism barely in check – and she couldn’t even do that.

I think it sucks that the ABC executives who greenlit the show fed into the lie that Roseanne was important because it represented the so-called “silent majority,” white middle-class Republican voters, perpetrating this lie that they are the people who are being marginalized. Losing your status as the only voice can feel like, I’m sure, losing your voice, but that’s not true. Roseanne was not, and is not, the only show that represents white, middle-class Americans. There is, without sounding facetious, countless shows that represent this demographic – The Middle, Bob’s Burgers, Modern Family, The Goldbergs, Family Guy, Fuller House… the list goes on and on.

I understand the push behind reboots; it’s the same reason why I re-watch the same shows over and over against. There is power in the familiar, and there is capital in nostalgia. But the shows being rebooted after remnants, unfortunately, of a time in television where the pre-eminent voices were white, cisgender and straight. What if we put the energy, money and passion that is being directed towards rebooting old shows into creating new ones? What if we created shows that were representations of the present and future of Americans?

The 2016 election uncovered for many Americans the truth of our country: that we are riven with cracks, that we are deeply divided and angry and frightened. I understand the impetus behind rebooting shows like Roseanne, that desire to reach out to different sides of the aisle. But I don’t think Roseanne was the answer. I think the answer is not in encouraging growth from a poisoned root, but in growing something new and wholly its own. There is a way to truthfully and accurately represent what it means to be an American in 2018.

Advertisements
Standard
2018, pop culture, Review, Riverdale CW, television

REVIEW of RIVERDALE Ch.26, “The Tell-Tale Heart”

The devil you know.


Grade: B+

A “capo,” or caporegime, we learned tonight, is someone that does the killing – the dirty work of the boss. It widens the web of guilt, attaching other people to the sins of someone else.

Betty assists her mother get rid of the body of the man who came to the Cooper house, a crime that Jughead and FP will eventually get drawn into. Veronica negotiates with Mayor McCoy on behalf of her father. Archie gets pressured by Agent Adams. All of these tangential people are being drawn into the actions of others, almost against their will.

The energy of the episode catapults off last week’s, where, interestingly, Tall Boy was, in a sense, the capo of Mayor McCoy and Hiram Lodge. Now that Juggie knows that Tall Boy was working at the behest of Hiram, he sends back the head of General Pickens to the Lodges and uncovers the nefarious actions of Mayor McCoy – that the Lodges donated hush money to McCoy while she looked the other way on their business dealings.

What I love is that Jughead is, at his core, trying to do a good thing: stop his friends and family from being evicted. It’s getting overshadowed by, you know, covering up a murder but it’s still super nice! Veronica stops Mayor McCoy from going public of her crimes by threatening to release the information of her affair with Sheriff Keller, which would decimate them, their families and their social standings.

Archie is being pressured more and more by Agent Adams, who wants to get Hiram on tape. Archie uses the newspaper coverage of Papa Poutine’s murder to bring it up to Hiram, but Lodge isn’t budging. And when Archie doesn’t deliver the goods (and purposefully misleads the FBI), Adams goes after Fred with some made-up illegal immigrant worker business.

Screen Shot 2018-02-08 at 1.58.50 PM

Source: The CW // Cheryl was criminally underused this episode.

Upon a second visit to the dead body – wrapped in a rug and deposited in an old pipe – Betty discovers his phone, which show that he has a jealous girlfriend and a thriving drug-dealing career. This disproves my theory that he came to the house as a result of Betty or Chic’s cam-habits, but begs the question: is Chic doing drugs? Or is he involved in the dealing?

Betty cracks and involves Jughead in the cover-up. He, then, involves FP who utilizes his “getting rid of bodies” expertise to dissolve the body. He’s learned from his mistakes covering up Jason’s murder and he won’t be getting caught this time. Is it just me, or did we all gloss over the fact that FP got rid of Jason’s body?

After Archie comes clean to Hiram, that an FBI agent approached him but Archie hasn’t squealed, Hiram’s minion Andre – Hot Andre – comes to collect him for a visit with the boss. As the limo descends into darkness, conveniently scraping spookily against finger-like branches, Archie becomes more and more nervous.

And perched on the edge of a cliff, the river frothing below, is not Hiram Lodge. Instead, framed by liquid sheets of dark hair, Hermione Lodge is “the boss.” It turns out that, as we suspected, Agent Adams was not, in fact, an FBI agent. Instead, he was a test for Archie – to prove his loyalty. And the phrase, “capo,” comes back from the beginning of the episode. Agent Adams was the capo of Hermione. But more interestingly is the role, the active role, Hermione appears to be taking. She is not, perhaps, the capo of her husband. She might be an agent of chaos in her own right.

Archie is confused, and betrayed. However, the test worked: Archie didn’t snitch. But with the steely blackness of Hermione’s eyes, it doesn’t feel like a victory. It feels like a warning: that Archie is not safe, not because of Veronica, not ever.

This is the first time that the Riverdale ragtags didn’t involve the police in something that’s happened, and it marks an unholy shift in the narrative for me. Before, they circumvented the (relatively) hapless law enforcement when they had to, but they still were operating on the side of good. Now, with so many people moving to cover up a murder, and some getting deeper into the pull of mafia, our heroes of Riverdale are taking a distinctly antihero approach.

Standard
2018, Review, Riverdale CW, television

REVIEW of RIVERDALE Ch.25, “The Wicked and the Divine”

Are we going to ignore that it seems literally impossible to “decapitate” a bronze statue?


Grade: B-

In things I never thought I would say: I’m completely intrigued by Jughead’s storyline so far. He’s gone from annoying emo Dan Humphrey to annoying Serpent to now intrepid journalist and activist-ish. He’s fighting against the corrupt powers-that-be: Sheriff Keller and Mayor McCoy. But while he’s also fighting the good fight, he’s being tripped up by his old, dumb decisions: namely Miss Penny Peabody.

It’s Veronica’s confirmation, as we can discern from her couture fitting of a white satin dress. When I was confirmed, I wore a one-size-fits all robe and sweated it out with two hundred other 12-year-olds. But to each his own. Veronica’s whole family is coming into town…her crime family. According to Agent Adams, this provides a perfect opportunity, ostensibly, for Archie to dig up some good dirt on the Lodges. However, Archie, newly apprenticed to the Dark Lord, is having trouble balancing his two boyfriends (a problem I’ve never had). He’s been invited to work Hiram’s poker game with other industry kingpins.

Veronica is afraid of bringing Archie into the fold, into the family. Outsiders aren’t usually allowed in, but Hiram sees something in Archie that’s different. And either Veronica breaks up with him to protect him, or she forever keeps him at an arm’s distance. Veronica is grappling with her future in the family: both as a moll and as a scion. But I’m wary of Hiram’s sudden acquiescence about Archie’s role in the family: is he really okay with Archie taking a greater part?

And when Veronica eventually decides that she does not want Archie involved, it may be too late. At the poker game, he overheard two of the kingpins plotting to get rid of Hiram, whom they felt had become too weak. So when he suspects them of attacking, Archie warns Hiram. Veronica attempts to warn Archie off, but he already knows that Hiram is a monster. But then something happens that makes me unclear about Archie’s motives. This entire episode, I was operating under the assumption that Archie, in spite of himself, was actually enjoying being Hiram’s disciple and when Veronica tries to warn his about Hiram’s future plans – of which SoDale is “just the beginning” – Archie stops her from incriminating herself. Is he still loyal to Boyf Numero Uno, Agent Adams?

On the Southside, Serpents are being targeted as the suspects of defacing the General Pickens statue. Sheriff Keller regularly harasses Jughead and his friends with no evidence; Mayor McCoy allowed for the eviction of the entire trailer park. But the call is coming from inside the house. Those evictions spur Tallboy, who hates Jughead, to bring Penny Peabody, angry and irritated and tattoo-less, back into the fold for legal retribution. She, however, wants an eye for an eye: an end to Jughead at her own hands. FP, upon learning that Jughead skinned Penny’s tattoo and broke Serpent rules for attacking one of their own, says that Jughead will be the downfall of the Serpents. Okay, sis.

Juggie and Betty put up flyers to find the head, and get a call from a local scrap company. Someone’s found the head. When questioned, he admits to seeing someone unfamiliar around the scrapyard. In the most obvious twist, it’s Tallboy. He set up the decapitation, possibly with the Lodges, to bring Penny back and get rid of Jughead and FP, allowing him to take control of the Serpents.

Eventually, Papa Poutine, one of the kingpins that tried to get rid of Hiram, has been found dead and the Lodges get a cumbersome confirmation present: the head of General Pickens. Could it be that the Serpents know Tallboy co-operated with Hiram and now they’re taking their revenge?

In all of this drama, Betty’s induction into the world of cam-modeling seems relatively underplayed. If this were anything else, it would be the major storyline, but when I’m watching her and Chic, I can’t even muster up some energy. Betty’s “dark” side is being messily underutilized, and besides the fact that, like, she’s sixteen and that’s totally illegal for her to be a cam-model, I’m just not that interested. I don’t want to explore her darkness in a vacuum. Also Hal, who may or may not have fucked Penelope, refuses to live under the same roof as Chic, is going to a “Share B-n-B.”

Betty is more compelling when she’s putting her Nancy Drew skills to the test, and even more compelling when that puts her morality – and Dark Betty – in question.

And just when Betty and Jughead seem to be rekindling their flame, the lingering omission of her webcam life hangs between them. An omission that might come to light when one of Chic’s, or Betty’s, clients knocks on the Cooper door. A visit that ends with Alice Cooper cleaning his blood off her lacquered wood floor.

Standard
2018, Review, Riverdale CW, television

REVIEW of RIVERDALE Ch.24, “The Wrestler”

Slim Pickens


Grade: B-

Essentially, Riverdale is a show about the power of journalism – that and bizarrely hot high schoolers. The Riverdale Register and the Blue-and-Gold play crucial roles in exposing the seedy underbelly of Riverdale.

Things are reaching a boiling point; Archie is trying to balance sports with being an undercover FBI mole; Cheryl’s mother is running a brothel from their cottage; Veronica is training to be the scion of the Lodge family criminality; Betty is grappling with her newfound brother; and Kevin is running track, wrestling and writing a gossip column! Shockingly, minus the wrestling and the cruising for dick in dark woods, Kevin is me in high school.

The entire episode is framed around Pickens Day: a day to honor General Augustus Pickens. He, bankrolled by Cheryl’s ancestor, settled the land that would one day be Riverdale.

While Cheryl is petitioning to get it renamed to Barnabas B. Blossom Day, the Adults are using it to their advantage. Spurred by the bad press of closing Southside High, the Lodges and Fred Andrews want to sponsor Pickens Day to restore goodwill amongst the So-Dale project. Mayor McCoy, who is getting sudden nosebleeds from the high horse she’s decided to clamber onto (despite banging the sheriff and taking Lodge hush-money), is strongly against it. Also her name is Sierra?

It turns out that General Pickins operates as Riverdale’s Christopher Columbus: honored in the present because of efforts to whitewash his bloody past. It turns out that Toni and other Serpents are the descendents of the Uktena people, who were the original inhabitants of the land that would be Riverdale. But Great-Great-Great-Grandpappy Barnabas B. Blossom (a real Hiram Lodge) wanted the land for development (the maple industry, brothels, saloons and railroads), and hired General Pickins to slaughter the Uktena, 400 people.

Veronica, at the end of the table, casts her vote for bolstering Pickens Day, when Archie comes home. Drama! When he reports this development to Agent Adams – gay love affair – the FBI agent urges him to cozy up to Hiram Lodge by any means necessary. Archie, after learning that Hiram loves wrestling, decides to go out for the wrestling team. Basically, this episode is largely stagnant and dull, but gives us ample shots of Archie being hot. It’s a win, people, except that Archie kind of sucks at wrestling (even Kevin can pin him down, albeit later calling Archie a “1970s’ pornstar”). By the way, Kevin is a straight-up freak and I love it, because it leads us into Betty’s B-plot.

She learns, via Kevin, that Chic is a cam-boy, a digital gigolo, a virtual hooker. This is where I get a little preachy. Chic was put up for adoption, aged out of the foster care system and received no handouts from anybody. What he does to make money is of no business to anyone, least of all the rich, well-to-do famiy that decides to drop into his life unannounced. Although I’m not here for him introducing Betty, who is…16? 15?…to cam-life, or as Jughead refers to it, “The Dark Education of Betty Cooper.”

Betty and Chic bond over their weird rage-flashes and tendency to dig their fingernails into their palms hard enough to draw blood. She’s especially protective of him against Hal, who is, by the way, definitely not the father of Chic. That divide in the family deepens enough that, after a full-out fight on Pickens Day, Hal falls into the treacly company of Penelope Blossom.

The rest of the episode plays out like this: Jughead uses the plight of the Uktena to write an article (journalism!) lambasting Pickens Day as the celebration of slaughter (in the process angering Toni for “using” her grandfather) before all the Serpents protest the festival and, allegedly, desecrate the statue of Pickens.

Archie trains privately (gay) with Hiram Lodge, sinking deeper into treacherous Lodge waters as he defeats Chuck Clayton (remember him?) and earns the respect of Hiram. Oh and Mayor McCoy’s high horse gets in the way of a Josie-Veronica friendship, culminating in the band, “Veronica and the Pussycats.” Oh, and Cheryl realizes her ancestor was a bloodthirsty monster (are you really surprised, Cheryl? Look at who everyone else in your family is!), thus opening up the potential for her to approach Toni.

In the end, Archie denies a call from Agent Adams in favor of chatting with Hiram Lodge, leading us to wonder, “Is Archie getting too deep into the Lodges?” Is he infiltrating or converting? Upon a second watch, I noticed a squid lapel pin on Hiram’s suit. Could Archie be caught in the clutches without him even realizing?

I didn’t love this episode because, despite the ~drama~, it really operated to set up other shoes to drop later on.

Standard
2018, Review, Riverdale CW, television

Review of RIVERDALE Ch.23, “The Blackboard Jungle”

What’s with the backpack situation in Riverdale?


Grade: A

Riverdale is back! And all the dominos set up in the former half of the season are getting knocked down in the latter.

With the Black Hood unmasked (theoretically, I don’t believe it) we can move onto the mysteries of Lodge Industries. I personally would love a refresher on what they’ve done, but from what I can glean: Hiram Lodge, during and after being released from prison, has been using the Southside Serpents to depreciate land value in Riverdale and then swooping in to buy the land for development and gentrification. There also seems to be a drug element that wasn’t resolved before the mid-season finale, so I have to assume that that’s emanating from Casa Lodge.

But with the Black Hood nightmare over, the citizens of Riverdale are finding other ways to occupy their time. Utilizing Archie’s sleuthing, the FBI has sent a former Riverdale resident to recruit him into taking Hiram Lodge down. Despite the fact that Archie did nothing to solve the murder of Jason Blossom or the mystery of the Black Hood and that Betty did everything, the FBI is interested in him, mainly for his connection to Veronica and his own father’s involvement in Lodge Industries.

As an aside, the scene between FBI Guy and Archie could play equally as well as the introduction to a multi-episode gay porn arc. Agent Adams (gay) wants a few simple things from Archie: investigate the Nick St. Clair (Sinclair?) accident, and a deeper understanding of Lodge Industries.

Due to some nefarious dealings between Mayor McCoy and the Lodges (damn, they’re really earning their paycheck this season) Southside High has closed and its students are being move to Riverdale High. Normally, in comparison to teen murders and serial killers, normal storylines like school district consolidations would be a total bummer. But I’m just so glad that these kids are in class – I was worried about their college prospects. Now I’m just worried about the disturbing lack of backpacks amongst the Southside students.

And so while Veronica (who knew from her parents that Southside was closing), Archie and Betty are welcoming towards the merger – even as it muddies the water of a Bughead break-up (was it a break-up?) – others are not as enthused. Cheryl Blossom, backed by Reggie (hot) and a coterie of cheerleaders (a swarm of cheerleaders? A gaggle? A culture?), is using dog-whistle language to lament the loss of Riverdale’s above-average GPA. This seems oddly out of character for Cheryl (she’s a bitch, not a racist) so here’s my theory.

First, Cheryl is deeply insecure, and hates any change. Second, she’s also self-conscious of her own family’s changing socioeconomic status.

But at the core is the squaring off between Toni Topaz and Cheryl. Before the season started, the powers-that-be suggested that Cheryl would be getting an unexpected love interest. Basically, that’s code for “queer.” Now that we’ve seen Cheryl’s weird love for Josie, the stage has been set for a same-sex Cheryl romance. I’m here for it – Cheryl’s never read as particularly “straight” to me, and her kissing Archie at the end of season one felt much more like a desire for closeness than sexual tension.

So while Cheryl amps up the anti-Southside sentiment (leading to stricter censorship of Southside regalia, Jughead’s suspension and a burgeoning possibility of romance between Kevin Keller and Southside’s Fogarty – could we be getting two queer romances for the low, low price of $9.99 a month?) Betty’s B-plot involves the Mysteriously Pregnant Polly who is no longer Pregnant. Post-natal Polly has given birth to twins (“Juniper and Dagwood”) without telling the rest of her family. To make it up to her mother (?), Betty decides to locate Alice’s long-lost son.

They discover he’s living two towns over and his name is Charles. Against Hal’s express wishes, Alice and Betty visit him in his hollow-cheeked glory. Charles “Chic” Smith is doing some shady work making people’s “fantasies” come true and is appropriately resentful towards his birth family. After a tense first meeting, Betty goes back to the apartment complex only to find her brother being stabbed by a strange, hulking man. God, what isn’t gay porn in this show?

Inevitable creepiness (including some Chic standing over Betty while she’s sleeping – light fare) ensues, and that’s the that on that. Until next episode (!!!).

Archie uses Cheryl as a red herring in order to get close to Nick. I’m really hating how people keep using Cheryl (and her assault) as means to an end. In an attempt to get her mother to stop hustling (literally being a “courtesan”) Cheryl will do anything to get that money, even reliving painful memories and gifting Archie the blazer of her dead, hot brother.

Under the guise of getting Nick to replicate that hush money, Archie somehow scrounges up the money to fly to New York to intimidate Nick. His goal is to get Nick to admit that the Lodges broke his legs for attempting to rape Veronica.

Side note: there are a lot of layers to this, but let it not be forgotten that the Lodges were fine with Nick when they thought he just attempted to rape Cheryl, but broke his legs when they found out what he had done to their daughter. Rape culture, y’all.

Nick taunts Archie; Archie breaks Nick’s nose; and despite getting the hush money, the trip is painted as rather fruitless. Agent Adams admonishes Archie for getting “sloppy” and Archie does not get Veronica to admit that she told her parents about Nick’s assault on her. And when she turns the tables – sensing that he’s lying to her – Archie uses the fact that Cheryl (technically) blackmailed him into helping her under the threat of releasing the secret of Archie kissing Betty. Given the town they live in (with rapists, drug dealers, and serial killers) and the fact that all parties were single, Veronica has an annoyingly overblown reaction. “You kissed?” she asked, in the same diner where, weeks earlier, Archie’s father had been shot point-blank and left for dead.

In the last, lingering moments of an incredible episode, Archie gives a voice to something that we’ve (me’ve) all been thinking. “In your expert opinion, Agent Adams,” he says, his caveman-hot brows drawn close and his voice gravelly, “do you think we got the right Black Hood? Because I’m not so sure.”

Season 2B (is that what we’re calling it) is off to an epic start. I cannot wait to see what else is in store. I really enjoy that the mystery of the Black Hood lingers, but I’m excited to dig deep into the Lodge drama.

Until next time, think about the fact that no Southside Serpents had backpacks and the only one was a Coachella-appropriate red number from Cheryl that would only fit a popper and some Kleenex.

Standard
Review, Riverdale CW, television

REVIEW of RIVERDALE Ch.18, “When a Stranger Calls”

Somehow Riverdale did the impossible – they made sex, drugs and murder boring.


Grade: C+

The episode conveyed as if they had taken the A-plots from three separate episodes, edited them down to fit into forty-two minutes and hoped that no one would notice. So many of the scenes lacked context or buildup; they were all just heightened emotion, which, without context, just reads as campy. And it’s a shame because the most compelling (and I’m supposing actual) A-plot, Betty, was lost in the shuffle. And interesting potential plot points, like Alice going off the rails were completely truncated. The separate subplots of this episode – Jughead’s initiation, Veronica sinking into her family business, and Betty grappling with the Black Hood – could not have felt more distant from each other.

I truly feel like I’m missing something while watching this episode. The scenes followed each other sloppily. We barely saw Juggie’s initiation, we just heard about it after. Then suddenly Jughead is halfway through his initiation and Toni is in his trailer trying to warn him.

Out of nowhere, the Lodges are having cash-flow issues and it’s falling on Veronica’s shoulders to secure an investment from the visiting St. Clair’s. I was actually paying attention and have no idea who the St. Clair family is, except that they have the much-needed capital, and in a social climate of sexual predation, it’s weird that the St. Clair son, who is now a “music producer” (?), is flirting with Veronica, who is a sophomore. Weird and gross and weird and creepy.

Continue reading

Standard
Review, Riverdale CW, television

REVIEW of RIVERDALE CH.17, “The Town That Dreaded Sundown”

For an episode so focused on the Black Hood and the Red Circle, its anticlimactic plot-points gave us all blue balls.


 Grade: B

Now that I’ve decided that Archie is an idiot, it’s literally the lens I see every action he makes through.

I understand for the show that Archie needs to go dark. And while there’s nothing hotter to me than an Archie on the Edge, I really don’t think that anything he does is going to draw the Black Hood out of the shadows. In fact, all he’s succeeded in doing in alienating Veronica, pissing off the Southside Serpent and threatening his academic standing at school. And rightly, he should not be bringing a gun to school. There are times when a show that is filmed months ago uncomfortably bumps against the real world, and that happened a few times with this: calling the Red Circle Neo-Nazis, as well as any mention of guns. Also the rampant scapegoating of an innocent group – a.k.a. the Southside Serpents (WHO ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE BLACK HOOD).

While there hasn’t been any good Cheryl Blossom content is now two episodes, this episode did a lot to progress the storylines of Veronica Lodge and Betty Cooper. Veronica has gone full Bonnie Parker and Betty is suddenly finding herself at the nexus of the Black Hood mystery.

I can’t really understand the motivation behind the Lodge family, and I’m sure it’s meant to be mysterious but it ends up feeling like lazy storytelling. So Hiram told Archie to form the Red Circle so that he had an excuse to make Veronica break up with him? And he’s evil…because he’s evil? Because he wants to buy up real estate? I don’t get why Hiram would target this bumblefuck town to funnel drugs through real estate? Go for the coasts; go for the big cities! I’m almost mad at his lack of clear ambition.

And Hermione? Now she’s evil too? Or is she just playing Hiram at his own game? Her little soliloquy about blind loyalty rang a little too “people in glass houses” for me; it’s almost as if she’s warning Veronica about Hermione herself. And possibly hinting, though Veronica won’t ever understand, that Hiram is evil and Hermione is keeping her enemy closest.

Continue reading

Standard