Two powerful forces are meeting on the gym mat for battle. It's the red-headed, football-playing musician vs. the ex-con business mogul for a spot on the Riverdale High wrestling team. (You know, sports!)
Riverdale Season 2 Episode 11 gave us the fight we've been all waiting for: Hiram vs. Archie. These two have had animosity for a while, with Hiram not thinking Archie was good enough for his daughter. Could this tryout be the deciding factor in who wins?
Archie's plan to win over Hiram wasn't too much of a stretch. It was pretty reasonable when you focus on the high-level pieces. Whether good or bad, if he joined the team (or even just tried out), he would be making somewhat of a connection with his girlfriend's father. The plan was a win-win.
I'm not going to deny that seeing Archie lose the first few matches, and being defeated by Kevin, was very satisfying.
Archie has, on occasion, been the worst character on Riverdale. He's made reckless decisions, he's had a terrible dating life, and trouble has a way of finding him. This wrestling tryout was simply another word for karma. Karma finally kicked Archie's butt.
He's not great at everything. He had to learn how to wrestle.
The Hiram and Archie war had been brewing for a while now during Riverdale Season 2. It's not surprising that it reached fight level, albeit during a high school wrestling team tryout.
These are two driven men with strong personalities and a knack for making poor decisions. If I had to get all psychology on this, I would say they see a lot of themselves in each other. Each of them would never back down; they would stand up and fight to ultimately win the war.
It's great character development to watch. Both of them are on trajectories that are conflicting but also similar.
Archie and Hiram's power struggle isn't only about Veronica. Sure, she may have triggered it because she means a lot to the both of them. However, Hiram and Archie would conflict regardless over Fred's business.
Hiram would still be choking Archie on the ground during the tryout. That is the type of relationship they have with each other; it's all conflict and reluctant admiration.
Now that Archie is working for Mr. Lodge as an intern, do you think Mr. Lodge is onto him?
It could be a case of "keep your friends close and your enemies closer." But, as the TV Fanatics discussed during the Riverdale Round Table for Riverdale Season 2 Episode 10, the FBI agent could also be untrustworthy. Who is to say they're not working together?
Hiram was already demeaning and challenging Archie; this could be his way of doing it personally. We'll need to keep our eyes on this plot. I wouldn't imagine Hiram would get Archie involved in his plans, but there has to be something he'd spill soon to his intern.
Hiram: What are you waiting for?
Archie: Mr. Lodge, it’s not funny.
Hiram: Come on.
[They wrestle and Hiram puts Archie in a chokehold]
Hiram: This is a symbol of a disrespectful and powerful move. When your opponent gets cocky, dominating your rival, demoralizing him is the key if you want to win.
[He leans in whisper to Archie]
Hiram: Get the message? I. Always. Win.
Josie clearly misses performing with The Pussycats. You could see the sadness on her face when Veronica sang with her former bandmates. Let's cross our fingers that they're reunited soon.
Also, the band being called "Veronica and The Pussycats" for their performance might be the shadiest thing Riverdale has done during Riverdale Season 2. (Sorry Josie, the shade is real.)
Giving Ashleigh Murray lines and a plot was a nice change of pace; we don't get to see this often. Her character tends to get the short end of the stick. This moment gave her real conflict against Veronica and a position in the Lodge vs. McCoy political battle.
As I've mentioned in the past, we need to see more of Josie. Treat her as a full-fledged series regular!
Jughead: This town is messed up and it needs to own up to its history.
Toni: My grandfather isn’t some bnroken down victim or some prop for your insane vendetta against the Northside.
Jughead: Of course not!
Toni: Look, I get it. You hate the Northside. You hate that instead of inviting you to a party, they asked you to work it. It triggers all your rage of being born on the wrong side of the tracks. But this!
[She holds up the newspaper]
Toni: This wasn’t your story to tell.
Jughead's motivation during Riverdale Season 2 Episode 11 never came into question until Toni brought it up. I agree that him writing the article, and being so vehemently against the treatment of Southside, stemmed from him being treated lesser than by the Northsiders personally.
Toni was spot on about her assessment.
Don't get me wrong, the issue Jughead tackled was critical and needed to be discussed. General Pickens killed a lot of people, and the town's history was marred in death, deception, and deals. Plus, many people in the Southside were being silenced and disadvantaged. These are all issues that need to be tackled.
Though, Jughead's recent role as a martyr has become exhausting. He barely acknowledged being a Southsider for a majority of Riverdale Season 1 and only took on the plight when he lived there as well.
Even though I like Jughead, he somewhat reminds me of Brian Griffin from Family Guy. A lot of talk, a lot of wind, and always a new thing to be upset about from the other side.
It's a shame that the protest didn't succeed in their mission. The group looked unified and would've stood up to the injustice that was being done to Southside.
One of my favorite new guest characters had to be Toni's grandfather. He seemed like a wise man and potentially knows a lot more about the town than some would care to remember. Hopefully, he has more to share.
Do you think Hiram's speech solved anything?
Sure, it silenced the potential protest, but it was a lot of empty words. It reinforced support to Toni for caring about the Southsiders, and it talked about helping both sides. However, it didn't address any of the issues that were brought up.
It was frustrating to watch people clap and accept it as an answer to end the protest. A moment like this would've never happened in real life; people would still be protesting and airing out their issues. I found this to be an unbelievable resolution to Riverdale Season 2 Episode 11's conflict.
The retaliation on the statue, on the other hand, seemed like something the Southside Serpents would do in anger. Getting revenge on the statue fit perfectly with their character development.
Chic's big secret was revealed, and it was...underwhelming. It had already been applied that he was doing sexual favors for clients; some of it in person. The added layer of the webcam work seemed like an obvious connection.
He needed money. Being a webcam model got him money. It all made sense.
I loved that it was Kevin who discovered this truth first. I can't wait for the awkward scene when Kevin reveals to Chic that he previously watched him "perform" on camera. That will be equal parts uncomfortable and hilarious.
Hal: Do you know what you’ve let into our house? In the room next to Betty’s?
Alice: Can you lower your voice? What on earth are you talking about?
Hal: I went on your computer, Chic. I saw what you were doing with your...clients.
Betty: Dad, stop! Stop snooping and stop harassing him.
Hal: And I don’t want to hear it from you. You bring home this...stranger, and you move him into Polly’s bedroom.
Alice: It’s not Polly’s room anymore, Hal. It’s Chic’s.
Hal: He has to go, Alice, and you know damn well why.
Why is Hal so dead set on getting Chic out of the house?
Ever since Chic appeared on Riverdale Season 2 Episode 10, Hal wanted nothing to do with his son. They're supposed to be family and yet he treats him like a nuisance. He should be excited to be reunited after all these years.
Theory time: Is Hal Chic's father? This may be a theory left to the Riverdale Round Table discussion, but from the way, Hal spoke to his son, and the animosity portrayed by Lochlyn Munro, there was no love there. Hal wanted his son gone, and it had nothing to do with him being a webcam model.
An obvious conclusion could be that they're not related...and Hal knows this.
I loved that Hal could be Penelope's next client. He made such a big point of Chic doing unmentionable things with his clients, that for him to seek paid comfort with Penelope would be hypocritical. But, let's be real here, Hal is a hypocrite and uncaring.
It's not surprising that Hal would bend the rules to suit his own needs.
This plot is exciting to watch because it has the potential to get a lot of people in trouble. Other shows, like Scandal and Melrose Place, have tackled this type of plot before. It's all fun, games and sexy times until some runs their mouth and the book of clients is exposed.
Penelope, Hal and the other men involved will no doubt be brought up in a Northside scandal.
I'm still on the fence about if we should trust Chic. Sure, he's had a rough life, and he's had to do whatever it takes to survive. And, he didn't have the Cooper name or privilege that his sisters had growing up.
On the other hand, there's something unsettling about him helping Betty to "manage her darkness" with the webcam.
Chic: We’ll start with why I webcam. One of the reasons is to make money. The other reason is...to escape.
Betty: To pretend to be someone else.
Chic: Yes, but...more than that...it’s a way of getting away from the darkness I feel inside me too.
[Betty looks at the scars on her palm]
Betty: Can you show me how to do that?
[He opens up his laptop]
He may have lived separately from the Coopers, but they're still family. I mean, Betty is his 16-year-old sister! You would never direct your sister to solve her darkness by following in your footsteps. That is messed up.
When he gave her a side-eye at the end of Riverdale Season 2 Episode 11, it made me wonder if this was all an act. Hart Denton is doing a great job portraying Chic as this mysterious, apathetic person who has clearly gone through a lot of struggles in his life. His unsettling tone kept me on my toes.
I can't read his character, and I don't know what to expect.
What did you think of "Chapter Twenty-Four: The Wrestler"? Will Hal become Penelope's next client? Will Josie reunite with The Pussycats? How long before Hiram discovers what Archie is doing?
If you missed the latest episode of Riverdale, you can watch Riverdale online via TV Fanatic. Come back here and let us know what you think.
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.