Every television show always has a few select episodes that viewers can point to and say, there, that was a watershed moment for this show. Twenty years from now (yes, we are still going to be discussing “Riverdale” decades into the future), we are all going to look back on this week’s episode of “Riverdale” (2017–), “Chapter 25: The Wicked and the Divine,” and know that this was the episode where “Riverdale” finally and truly went off the deep end. At long last, “Riverdale” completely succumbed to its own “Riverdale-ness,” and honestly it was kind of incredible to watch.
Guys, Betty is actually a full-on cam girl now. She has resurrected her Dark Betty™ wig from the Chuck-in-a-hot-tub incident (never forget) and now spends her evenings in a lacy bra cooing at guys through a webcam. As much as Chic is loving the new family business, he has also gotten himself a job at the local movie theater so he can pay rent to stay at the Coopers’. Hal is not cool with this and leaves. Okay, bye Hal, maybe you should just go join the farm cult with Polly.
Betty and Chic aren’t the only ones securing jobs in this town, though. Archie has landed a sweet new internship as Hiram’s errand boy. Archie is already doing a great job with the dry cleaning and the food delivery, but then Hiram finds out Archie beat up a defenseless, bedridden Nick St. Clair, and is so impressed that he invites Archie to work the Lodge family’s poker game. Moral of the story, kids: Beat up a teen with two broken legs and you just might land yourself a promotion.
The reason the extended Lodge family is in town is for Veronica’s much-awaited confirmation. Veronica is excited, but she is slightly concerned about renouncing Satan because she thinks her family business might be unethical and that she might end up hurting Archie. Hey sweetie, it’s probably a red flag if what you’re doing is so bad that it makes you worried you can’t renounce the literal devil. Just saying.
But let’s forget about Veronica and her heinous confirmation dress for a minute to discuss what is truly important: the reintroduction of the Bughead romance. Jughead is stressing because the sheriff is trying to evict all the Serpents. Sheriff Keller and Mayor McCoy are claiming it’s because of the decapitation of General Pickens’ statue (even though they have no proof a Serpent did it), but Jughead figures out the whole thing seems to be an excuse to get rid of the Serpents and continue their sketchy plan with the Lodges.
Jughead has another problem though, and that is the return of snake charmer/devil incarnate Penny Peabody. She is (understandably) unhappy that Jughead sliced off a chunk of her arm, and is willing to help the Serpents with their legal battle, but only if Jughead gets kicked out of the group. Oh and also, she wants to cut off Jughead’s tattoo too … with a dirty knife. Whoa, hope you got your tetanus shot, Juggy.
All this sends Jughead running off to Betty, the only one who understands him, and the only one sick enough to not be turned off by the fact that he, as he puts it, grabbed and cut a woman. Actually, she definitely was kind of turned on. Never change, Betty.
Betty and Jughead plan to put up flyers to crack the case of the missing head in order to save the Serpents and prevent baby Jug from getting scalped, but first they have to have an awkward conversation about who they’ve hooked up with during their relationship break. Jughead admits he got with Toni, but specifies that they did “some stuff but not everything.” Classic high school. Then he asks Betty if she did anything with anyone, and she straight up lies and says no, even though we all know she kissed Archie right before she was forced to almost bury him alive. And considering Cheryl is aware of this hot gossip, it’s sure to not stay secret for long.
Speaking of hot gossip, Archie gets an earful over at Hiram’s poker game. While plunging the toilet, he overhears this one mobster named Papa Poutine (he loves poutine, okay?) saying that he wants to “remove” (aka murder) Hiram. This puts Archie into kind of a sticky situation because he’s still working for the FBI so he probably shouldn’t be helping Hiram, but it also probably isn’t great for his relationship if he gets his girlfriend’s dad killed.
Now it’s time for the confirmation, where Veronica and Josie sing “Bitter Sweet Symphony” (1997) because that’s an appropriate choice of song for a confirmation ceremony. Side note, as she prances down the aisle (is there typically a lot of prancing in confirmations?), Kevin at first looks incredibly proud but then his face drops, definitely because he finally lays eyes on her dress. Veronica also is able to successfully renounce Satan, but only after seeing Archie’s sweet, innocent face in the crowd. Too bad Archie’s on his way to becoming even darker than Dark Betty (and we know what a feat that is).
At the after-party, Archie warns Hiram about Papa Poutine’s evil plan so that Hiram can protect himself, and next thing you know, Papa Poutine is discovered with a bullet in the back of his head. Godfather Hiram strikes again. When questioned by the FBI, Archie claims to not know anything, so it looks like he’s really in deep with Hiram now. Welcome to the family business, Arch.
Also during the after-party, Betty and Jughead get a tip that a tall man in a Serpents jacket had deposited the Pickens statue head in a scrapyard, which can only mean one thing: It was Tall Boy! It doesn’t seem like Tall Boy is that unusually tall, but oh well, it’s in his name so okay, we can all pretend this makes sense. Once FP finds out Tall Boy is to blame, he kicks him out of the gang.
Back in the trailer, Betty uses her newfound cam girl confidence to mount Jughead so they can finally lose their virginities to each other. Bughead shippers, rejoice, the holy day has finally come. Between the dramatic unzipping of Betty’s dress and the extremely passionate kissing (Cole and Lili, have you been practicing or something?), it was a pretty steamy scene.
Betty returns home all glowing and smiley, but her happiness quickly turns into horror when she walks in on her mom and Chic cleaning up the blood of some guy who had showed up on the doorstep earlier but now is bludgeoned and dead on the floor. Looks like the Lodges aren’t the only killing family in town anymore.
So there you have it, a Bughead virginity loss and a double murder. It’s not even a mid-season finale. There were as many murders tonight as the total number inflicted by the Black Hood, which really just goes to show how lame the Black Hood actually was. This episode was so bizarre (still not over “Bitter Sweet Symphony” at the confirmation) and over the top, especially with all the mob drama and “Godfather” references. (The Serpents also sent the Lodges the statue head at the end of the episode, because apparently that’s the closest thing they could find to a horse’s head.) Say what you will about “Riverdale” — this reviewer certainly does — but at least it always keeps you on your toes.
“Riverdale” airs on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW. Full episodes are available on cwtv.com and Netflix.