This week’s episode of Riverdale, “The Tell-Tale Heart”, has been made into a movie or three but it is, of course, best known as a piece of literature by Edgar Allan Poe. The story concerns a man who has committed a murder, dismembered the body and buried under the floorboards of his house. But the guilt begins to weigh on him to the point that he begins to go mad, thinking he hears the dead man’s heartbeat from below the floor. That bad decision led to the man’s madness, and this week a lot of bad decisions may come back to haunt some of the denizens of Riverdale.
That title and story fit perfectly with this week’s episode as we pick up exactly where we left off last week, Alice Cooper frantically cleaning up a massive amount of blood from the dead body in the middle of her floor. A horrified Betty has just entered the room, but Alice forbids her to call the police, but swearing that everything that happened was in self-defense, she just doesn’t want to risk the police taking her boy away. And the Hal calls, wanting to come home to pick up some of his belongings, forcing Betty to assist her mother with the clean up and removal of the body. Hal arrives and the place is spotless, except it has an overwhelming odor of bleach.
The next morning, Alice and Chic are enjoying stacks of chocolate chip pancakes like nothing happened while Betty is still trying to process everything. Having helped her mother move the dead body to an abandoned sewer pipe, Betty revisits the second scene of the crime after hearing about a different murder in Riverdale. When the mystery man’s cell phone rings, Betty takes it to do some digging and … learns that the guy wasn’t Chic’s trick, but a drug dealer. Figuring out Chic’s been lying to them, Betty goes off, causing Chic to start crying, but while eliciting sympathy from his mother, Betty sees through his crocodile tears.
During all of the clean up and disposal of the body, Jughead called Betty and said the L-word, but she was too busy about to head out the door to even notice. Concerned, he showed up the next day to make sure everything was okay after they seemed to have resolved their issues. Betty managed to pull herself together to ease Juggie’s mind, but the situation was beginning to weigh on hers to the point that she called Jughead later that night and told him everything. And he was horrified. And then the police came by wanting to know whose car was parked across from the Cooper home. Ever the knight in shining armor, Jughead said it was his, but he lost his keys. And then they both go all Norman Bates and ditch the car and the phone in a nearby pond. Surely no one will find it … or come looking for the dead guy.
Having roped Jughead into this nightmarish web, Betty and Alice go to FP for help and he assures them he won’t make the same mistake he made with Jason Blossom. So now FP is part of this crime, taking the body to the woods, covering it with sodium hydroxide and burying it (did FP know the dead guy, because he hesitated for a moment as if he did recognize him). In a week not even the guys teeth will be there. FP meets the three at Pop’s after the deed is done and tells them this all stops here, no more loose threads. Yeah, except there is one and his name is Chic, who after another confrontation with Hal is not gleefully cutting Hal out of the Cooper family photos.
The Lodges re finding themselves in a lot of hot water this week as well. First, Jughead sent the head of the statue to the Lodges as a declaration of war (in their eyes), so Veronica convinces the Joneses and Hiram to have a sit down to call a truce. And it seems to work, with Hiram offering to pay any back rent at the trailer park so none of the Serpents lose their homes. FP takes the deal and then Hiram throws in one condition — Jughead leaves Hiram’s name out of the expose he’s planning to do about the land grabs in town. Juggie took Hiram’s offer now as a bribe and refused the deal.
And that put more heat on the Lodges as they were going to be forced to reveal their plans to the town before Mayor McCoy’s re-election. If she wasn’t willing to play ball with them, they were going to remove her from office, planning to reveal her affair with Sheriff Keller to damage her campaign. But again Veronica took the initiative to approach the mayor and let her know what was about to go down and before the Lodges could launch their attack, she resigned from office, telling the citizens of Riverdale that she is going back to her law practice. Hiram knew Veronica talked to the mayor and asked her point blank about it, but she simply said no. That was a nice moment as Veronica earlier asked her father if he had anything to do with Papa Poutine’s death and he answered no. I think they both know the other is lying, but Hiram seemed pleased with his daughter’s deception, the apple not falling far from the tree.
But there is still the matter of Archie’s entanglement with the Lodge family business. FBI Agent Adams is pressing Archie harder to get information from Hiram, not believing that Archie is telling the truth about not hearing anything from Lodge about Papa Poutine’s death. When Archie comes home one day, he finds Adams in his house chatting with Fred. Turns out the FBI wants to look through Fred’s business records to see if he’d ever hired any illegals from Canada to work for him. Fred knows he’s in hot water, so Archie meets with Adams again and is asked to plant a bug in Hiram’s office. If he does that, Fred is off the hook.
Seeing his dad dig through seven years of paperwork, Archie asks to meet with Hiram. We think he’s there to plant the bug but instead he tells Hiram everything, that he’d been approached by the FBI weeks ago, that he’d been asked to plant the bug but that he had not told the agent a single thing. Hiram assured Archie he would deal with Agent Adams, promising he wouldn’t end up like Papa Poutine, and sent Archie on his way. Later, however, Smithers’ replacement Andre shows up to take Archie to talk to “the boss”. Missing the turn for the apartment building, Andre tells Archie the boss wants to meet somewhere a little more private.
Arriving at a very secluded destination, Archie finds not Hiram but Hermione standing near the edge of a cliff. And she reveals to Archie what we’ve suspected all along, but not quite the way we assumed. There is no FBI Agent Adams, he is, in fact, one of her capos, instructed to press Archie hard, hoping to get him to crack and reveals Hiram’s secrets. But he passed the test with flying colors and Hermione happily welcomed him to “the family.”
With all of the terrible decisions made this week, it seems that Cheryl Blossom was the once voice of reason. Increasingly sickened by her mother’s new profession, she spies Hal Cooper leaving the house one day. Upon a return visit (according to Penelope he isn’t a client, this is more serious than that, and they seem awfully close so soon after Hal leaving his family), Cheryl tells him to go home to his family but after swearing she wouldn’t tell Betty, her conscience got the better of her, which in turn gave Betty some leverage over Hal when she found him berating Chic, warning him to leave the house or she’d tell Alice everything. After shooing him away, Chic thanked her, again through crocodile tears but she said she didn’t do it for him, she did it for their mother. But we have to wonder with Chic obviously getting some kind of enjoyment out of seeing Betty and Alice bicker if he’s really the boy Alice gave up, and if not, what exactly is his game?
And I still say Hal is the Black Hood. But we’ll have to wait a month to see what happens next because of the Winter Olympics. The next episode is intriguingly titled “The Cabin in the Woods”, which brings back the memory of the house in the woods where Betty firrt encountered the Black Hood face-to-mask, so it makes one wonder if the Hood will return. We’ll find out on March 7.
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