Chapter 26 of ‘Riverdale’: Just some ‘typical’ Cooper family drama

Lili Reinhart as Betty and Madelaine Petsch as Cheryl on The CW's hit show, 'Riverdale' (2016–). Courtesy Bettina Strauss / The CW

You know the parenting in Riverdale is bad when FP comes off looking like father of the year for helping cover up a murder. But seriously, where is Child Protective Services when you need them? Cheryl has been emotionally abused for years and it’s continued now that her mother is neglecting her to live her “harlot” lifestyle, Veronica’s in a mob family and her parents are definitely kind of murderers and now Betty has gotten herself tangled up in a murder cover-up thanks to her mom and creepy brother (not to mention that her dad is just kind of a huge jerk). Aside from the end reveal, “Chapter 26: The Tell-Tale Heart” felt mostly like filler. The stuff with the Lodges’ schemes and feud with the Serpents is overly complicated and confusing for a show like this, but hopefully it will come together in the next few episodes. But as always, this week’s installment of “Riverdale” (2017–) had its moments, so let’s dive in.

We pick up right where we left off last week, with Betty wondering why there’s a dead guy on their floor. Betty suggests calling the police, which is truly shocking considering the number of times Betty should have called the police and did not, but Alice orders her not to so Chic won’t get taken away. Clearly the apple didn’t fall far from the tree in this case.

Speaking of apples, Betty spends approximately three hours cleaning a bowl of them during the bleach-filled Cooper family murder cover-up. Her mom assures her that the guy didn’t touch them, but Betty can’t seem to stop herself. And here is sign number one that Betty is finally breaking.

Sign number two is her hanging up on precious Jughead right after he calls to say he loves her. Poor Jug is now all worried he’s bad in bed, but the next day Betty explains that his skills were completely up to par and she was just distracted by “typical Cooper house lunacy.” Sure, Betty.

Betty, however, continues to spiral, vomiting in the school bathroom and eventually revisiting the body that she and her mom had thrown in a sewer tunnel, otherwise known as her mom’s favorite childhood hideout. No comment. Betty then steals the dead guy’s phone and starts calling people on it. (We always knew Betty had a death wish.)

Alice and Chic, on the other hand, decide to pretend like everything is fine, even playing a casual game of Clue. (Alice Cooper in the dining room with the lamp?) Betty bursts their bubble quickly once she figures out from the guy’s phone that he was a dealer, and the reason he visited the Cooper house was not to receive gigolo services from Chic like Chic told them, but rather to sell him drugs. Betty goes off on Chic and he starts crying, but when no one’s looking he smiles through his apparently fake tears. Chic is evil, help.

Betty finally cracks and confesses everything to Jughead. Hey Betty, maybe it would have been nice to also let him know you kissed Archie and lied about it, so Jughead knows his options before committing to risking jail time for you? But okay, you do you.

After discovering that the dead guy’s car had been parked in front of the Coopers’ for two days and neighbors had complained about it, Betty and Alice finally realize they are in way over their heads and call the best murder accomplice in town, FP. Good times when he was in jail for helping to cover up Jason Blossom’s murder. FP takes over and buries the body, also covering it in sodium hydroxide so it will decompose. Hey, thanks for these helpful murder tips, “Riverdale”!

So for now at least, it seems like this murder is behind them. The only loose end is Hal, who thinks something suspicious is going on (valid) and can’t stop popping by the house to terrify Chic. Betty finally gets him to leave by threatening to tell Alice about his relationship with Penelope Blossom. Thanks for the tip, Cheryl.

Random fun fact: the actor who plays Hal was in a Hallmark movie with Meghan Markle and played her boyfriend. Have fun never looking at Hal (or Meghan Markle) the same way again.

There were, in fact, some people in Riverdale who were at least claiming to not be involved with a murder plot this week. While the investigation of Papa Poutine is ongoing, Hiram assures both his daughter and Archie that he had no part in that hit, although continuing to refer to him as Papa Poutine may be crime enough. Hiram has his hands full with Mayor McCoy anyway, who is trying to stall their plans. (Yes, it is still unclear exactly what their plans are.) Hiram and Hermione decide they want to shame McCoy into resigning so she won’t be in their way anymore by publicly revealing her affair with Sheriff Keller, but Veronica goes behind her parents’ backs and lets McCoy in on the plan so she can resign on her own terms before the Lodges can humiliate her.

While all this is going on, Archie is still dealing with this FBI guy, who is now trying to get Archie to bug Hiram’s office. This dude was literally right next door when Alice Cooper bludgeoned a guy to death, but somehow is still only focused on this Hiram Lodge mob business? Doesn’t seem like the FBI’s finest.

Well, surprise, surprise, that’s because it turns out he isn’t actual FBI (told you). Hermione has Archie dropped off to meet her at a cliff side (for dramatic effect, duh) and reveals to him that she and Hiram hired Agent Adams as a test to see whether Archie would remain loyal to the family. For a second it looked like she might push him off the cliff, but instead she’s boring and informs him that he passed and he’s now in the family. For all the buildup, it is a fairly lackluster reveal, especially since it was pretty clear from the start that this guy was not real-deal FBI.

Guys, “Riverdale” isn’t coming back until March 7. Such a travesty. The good news is the preview for the new episodes was literally incredible, and honestly may have been better than the episode. There was definitely a glimpse of a Black Hood-looking figure (Chic?), and Veronica and Jughead were totally shown about to kiss, possibly as revenge for the Betty-Archie smooch? Let’s ditch this boring Lodge Riverdale takeover plan (notice how little time was spent on it in this recap?) and get back to the teen shenanigans please.

“Riverdale” returns with new episodes on Wednesday, March 7 at 8 p.m. on The CW. Full episodes available on Netflix and


Chapter 26 of "Riverdale" doesn't reinvent the wheel, but continues established storylines with varying levels of success.

3.5 stars