“There it was. The Lodges had won. Time had run out for Riverdale.”

This week’s Riverdale sees Jughead (Cole Sprouse) go full conspiracy nut, as he delves deeper into Hiram Lodge’s (Mark Consuelos) business deals, trying to unearth his plans for Riverdale, and expose them to the town. But, don’t get your hopes up, because Hiram’s plan probably isn’t what you think it is.

With only an interim mayor presiding over Riverdale, the Lodges are looking to fill the vacancy with someone the town can trust – and someone they can manipulate. So, naturally, taking the top spot on their list of potential candidates is everyone’s favourite kindly suburban dad, Fred Andrews (Luke Perry). However, while Archie (KJ Apa) has been blind to the Lodges’ manipulation of him for weeks, the minute his dad is brought into the picture, working with Hiram is completely out of the question.

Unable to do anything himself, lest he incur the wrath of Hiram Lodge, Archie takes preventative measures to turn his dad away from the job. First, he goes to Riverdale’s resident investigative reporter, Jughead Jones, to give him some background on Lodge Industries’ dodgy dealings to pad out his article on the mysterious business’ plans for their sleepy little town. He reveals to the writer that Hiram didn’t make a charitable donation to Pop Tate (Alvin Sanders) in order for him to keep Pop’s open – he actually purchased the property. Don’t worry, if you forgot that no one else knew that, you’re not alone. However, when Jughead visits Pop, it alerts Hiram to the fact that there is a leak in his organisation, causing ructions between Hiram and Veronica (Camila Mendes) who takes the wrap for Archie’s indiscretion, and Veronica and Archie, who insists on knowing exactly what her father has planned.

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So, when giving information to Jughead does nothing to dissuade his father, Archie tries a different strategy. He approaches former-Mayor’s daughter, Josie (Ashleigh Murray) to ask if her mother would speak to Fred, and tell him all about the worst parts of being mayor (while avoiding the incriminating stuff) though it seems to do little to prevent him from following his apparent childhood dream of become the town’s mayor.

Elsewhere, Jughead is trying desperately to convince anyone with links to Lodge Industries to speak up about their less-than legal activities, though it seems that they are all far too frightened about the repercussions of loose lips to even consider talking. Though, when a mysterious phone call opens a wealth of information, FP (Skeet Ulrich) and Jughead go to the Serpent’s old stomping ground – Shankshaw Prison (yes, Shankshaw – not Shawshank), where they find an old associate of Hiram’s who knows all about his villainous plans for the town. Jughead puts everything he has into an article slamming Hiram Lodge and everything he’s doing, causing the businessman to come clean before he can be outed as the man who wants to build a for-profit prison in Riverdale. Which is a little bit of a let-down, as far as evil schemes go.

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It’s a rough week for HBIC, Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch) when it is brought to the family’s attention that the Blossom family patriarch had a secret will, only to be divulged when the police investigation around him had died down. The news brings family members out of the woodwork, when it’s announced that there will be a public reading of the will – including Clifford’s twin, Claudius, which sees the return of actor Barclay Hope, sans wig. However, as the episode goes on, it seems that there may be more to Claudius than meets the eye, and Cheryl may be in more danger than she realises. This week also sees the continuation of Cheryl and Toni’s (Vanessa Morgan) friendship, which, much to the dismay of Penelope Blossom (Nathalie Boltt) is still going strong – and if the writers have any sense, they will put more of this pairing in, because the dynamic between them is great.

Clifford Blossom’s will also brings another familiar face back to Riverdale – Polly Cooper (Tiera Skovbye), who returns to her family home with her twins, in order to find out how much inheritance they are set to receive. Which can’t be that much, given he stated that literally anyone who can prove that they have Blossom blood in them will get a share, and it’s doubtful that he had a lot of cash squirreled away considering he didn’t expect to be caught dealing drugs. But, with anyone of Blossom blood getting a cut, all the Coopers (except Alice) are set to inherit a share, so when Chic (Hart Denton) refuses a blood test, Betty (Lili Reinhart) smells a rat.

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Yes, Riverdale’s answer to Norman Bates is just getting creepier with every episode, and as the arrival of Polly and the twins pulls Alice’s (Mädchen Amick) attention away from him, Chic begins to resent his sister for ruining the family unit he has come to love. So, detective she is, Betty enlists Kevin’s (Casey Cott) help in order to try and pry some information from the strange airtight vault that is her brother, by talking to him via his webcam chatroom. But, when he reveals very little, Betty takes it upon herself to find out who Chic really is.

However, she finds herself asking if Chic is really who he says he is – and if he isn’t her brother, who is he?

VERDICT:

Though Hiram’s business plan reveal was a little underwhelming, the news is set to send shockwaves through the town. And with Archie falling deeper into the Lodges’ business, it won’t be long until he finds himself unable to turn back. As we move ever-closer to the final episodes of Season 2, it seems that no one may come out unscathed.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

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