Welcome back to Riverdale Roundtable: a recap series where we chat about all the drama and sexy intrigue from last week’s Riverdale — just in time to get you up-to-speed for tonight’s episode. Today we’re talking about Season 2 Episode 12: “The Wicked and the Divine.” Join us for religious subtext, Mob Wife #Looks, and intrepid teen investigators.
Please note: this recap includes Extreme Spoilers for this episode, as well as the entirety of Season One. We warned you!!
Jenny: i’d like to start by saying: my bad
i so wanted cheryl to begin her life of crime as a social justice vigilante
but i think mostly i just wanted her to have more screen time
CC: i mean same
Rachel: It was honestly a good hypothesis
Tall Boy ruins everything
CC: on the other hand i am proud that my gut was right on this one, even though i kinda hate that i was right on this one
like penny peabody, tall boy has been voted off serpent island
oh well good riddance RIP
CC: the best thing about that plot thread was getting multiple!! scenes!!! with FP in them
Jenny: my god i know!
Rachel: He’s so good!!!
CC: ugh agreed!!!!!
jughead don’t you try and justify CUTTING THE FLESH!!! OFF A WOMAN’S ARM
WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU??????
Rachel: I’m so mad I stood up for him
I feel duped
I wish he had gotten kicked out of the serpents
Jenny: hard same
Rachel: Burn down his whole life, that’s the only way he can even begin to redeem himself
Jenny: gotta start from scratch
Rachel: He just doesn’t deserve Betty
He hasn’t earned it yet
He’s fucked up too much
Jenny: i have never read truer words
he does not deserve betty
even w all the shit betty’s getting up to
CC: oo boy i have Complicated feelings about that plot thread
I do think jughead is doing one good thing nobody else is doing, which is being honest about literally anything
Rachel: That’s very true
CC: i appreciate that he realized he was in too deep and came clean, which no one else is doing with their significant other right now!!!
Rachel: Yeah it’s so frustrating!!!!!
CC: and i mean like
at the very least, archie told veronica about kissing betty
but he’s lying about other stuff!
supposedly for good reasons but still
told her about kissing betty only to distract her from the stuff he wasn’t telling her!
Jenny: and while we’re on this
i genuinely cannot tell if this fbi guy is fake as hell or if the writing is just bad
CC: a marionette who came 2 life and joined the fbi
Jenny: a marionette who came 2 life and is convinced he joined the fbi but actually he’s just some dude
Rachel: God I am 45% sure he’s a plant from Hiram to ruin Archie
CC: and 55% sure he’s just an actual plant
CC: so like, what area of this messy ass sandwich do we wanna take a big bite out of first
should we talk about the cooper family
bc man that plot thread is out of control
Jenny: i will say
i loved when hal was like “it’s me or chic” and madchen was like “lol”
CC: he’s such a whiny baby!!!!
Jenny: honestly the only reason i can think of for why he’s even still here is bc they’re going to bring the black hood plotline back in (and it’s totally him)
CC: i just wanna point out the plot with the coopers started here
CC: and ended here:
CC: it’s like 6 different lifetime movies at once
“not without my madchen”
a v wild and bumpy ride
I didn’t get a screenshot of it but also shoutout to what’s-his-name, the brother
for sauntering downstairs in a bathrobe drinking milk from a jug
where did he even get that jug in the year of our lord 2018???
Jenny: oh and that guy!
Jenny: wasn’t this the kid who was taking lessons from ms grundy in the s2 premiere?
i don’t remember ha ha
Jenny: he worked concessions at the drive-in in season 1
this kid’s life seems way more interesting than all of this shit
maybe HE’s the black hood
but i guess he had a decent alibi for the ms grundy part
CC: too smol imo, too bird boned.
although if this show brings in an identical twin plotline related to this guy I will be real mad
the black hood is actually! his secret russian twin!
Jenny: also named BEN
CC: THE CW SHOW I AM TALKING ABOUT KNOWS WHO IT IS
I think some of you might someday watch the show i am talking about so I won’t keep going about this lol
Jenny: i kind of want to talk about veronica???
CC: ya go for it
Rachel: oh ronnie
Jenny: like i’m a little disappointed in her, but also she did an alright thing?
she was supposed to be so tactful and socially conscious
Jenny: i thought she was supposed to have TASTE
yeah man what a song to sing
on your CONFIRMATION
CC: that whole plot point baffled me
CC: What kind of church lets you SING AT YOUR CONFIRMATION
like a song of your choosing and not you know
not w the whole congregation on a hosanna
Rachel: also I remember getting confirmed in like, bulk, with a group of other 10 year olds
I don’t think getting confirmed all by your lonesome is usual
CC: maybe just rich people
Jenny: i mean, i was part of a big group of other 15 year olds
CC: i got confirmed in, uh, college; i was also in a big group
Jenny: like, seems like a normal age to me
i guess if they’re going to, like, rent the whole church? set up all that autotune? like, i guess she can go it alone?
Rachel: bring in her own monsignor
CC: so one line from that song
“you’re a slave to the money and you die”
Rachel: YEAH WOW
RONNIE DO YOU NOT SEE
Jenny: i mean, also — fucking “bittersweet symphony” (the song she knows bc it was on the Cruel Intentions soundtrack?? the movie where buffy the vampire slayer keeps her cocaine in a crucifix that she wears around her neck???)
like, idk that this is really the appropriate time and place for that reference
CC: catholicism in media is so exciting lol
so one thing that i picked up on during this whole confirmation scene
riverdale going reaaaaaal hard on colors and symbolism
CC: what an outfit, hermione; but also, color coded for good and evil
i wanna drop this in
Jenny: hermione had a LOT of good looks this ep
CC: really leaning into her mob wife identity
Rachel: those pants are INSANE
CC: the hair extensions!!!!
ok but anyway, back to my main point
they even were SITTING NEXT TO A CHESS BOARD near the end of the episode like COME ON y’all
CC: but on the other hand, the show inverts the color scheme with veronica, who is entering into her family’s evil and josie, who is trying to escape from it; where we understand josie is the more virtuous of the two at this point in the show
more like josie is in mourning???? for something???? idk that feels like reaching oh well
she definitely was Not Stoked to participate
Jenny: this fucking scene!!
Jenny: when sierra apologizes!!!?!??!?!?!?
CC: jesus what a mess
Rachel: yeah I don’t want to know what happened behind the scenes to bring this about
CC: ok but, my final point and then I’ll stop pushing with this
veronica’s face when the priest tells her to renounce satan, complete w ominous sound effect
CC: more shadows, etc
then after she sees archie
CC: this renaissance painting ass shit
Jenny: it’s really nice to see that they’re trying, at least
putting some effort in
CC: anyway, thus concludes my thesis on the catholic symbolism power hour
Jenny: honestly i think there’s an argument to be made
that hermione’s giant shoulder poofs on that white jacket
those are basically angel wings
even though she’s kinda just lurked around casting shady looks and drinking wine all season
Jenny: maybe the costume department has their own ideas about where this story should be going
CC: well they are definitely doing A Lot this season
all the heavy lifting
thun thun thunder, etc
Rachel: really the best part of the show for me!
ok but wait we need to talk about Dark Betty
and also how Madchen has murdered somebody
or Chic did, and now Madchen is an accomplice
CC: i wish i’d put money down on the odds that madchen murders somebody
by the end of the series
Jenny: a smart bet to have made
CC: i’d still bet chic did it tho
Rachel: yeah, I mean honestly I could see it either way
I still do not buy Betty and her “darkness”
maybe that’s mean but like
I’ve said it before but they are just really hammering on a storyline that I do not feel like they’ve built up or earned
CC: oh man i totally agree
betty’s “dark side” feels more like…….ugh i hate to say it but …. like myspace angst……
also is camming….still a thing?
i guess I just think of that as an aughts internet thing lol
Jenny: i mean, i figure all of these writers are like early thirties?
maybe that’s all they know
Rachel: I honestly don’t know anything about the internet that isn’t like, comics twitter so
CC: i mean same tbh, especially these days
Jenny: look if it’s not a youtube tutorial on how to install a floating shelf idk what to tell you
CC: 100% 100% 100%
Jenny: but i will say!
betty’s angst to me feels slightly more justified by the makeup department’s work on her hand scars
i think the writing staff hasn’t been able to strike a balance between “being scared and repressing everything” and “asking questions/talking to people to try to figure this out” — what they’ve ended up with doesn’t feel genuine
CC: yeah that feels p accurate!
Jenny: but mostly i think it comes off that way bc
these writers don’t seem to have settled on any consistent characterization for anyone
so ofc they’re acting out of character!
their character is different every week!
CC: ugh! sad but so true
also everyone is at odds with each other but it feels weirdly low stakes
Jenny: re: betty this episode — i will say that i am SO Glad that they tried to get back to basics, at least a little bit
i am here for cute teen detectives!
that’s what i’m here for!
Rachel: yes!!! please!!!!!!
CC: same same same!
an oasis in the desert of weird content
Jenny: weirdest of all content:
Jenny: patently false, mayor mccoy
you have never liked jughead
CC: so…………………something I think is kinda weird but bear with me ………
I think it’s weird that this show has kinda ended up positioning the characters upholding the evil capitalist hegemony as PoC versus, uh, mostly betty, jughead, and I guessssss archie???
like, Josie is definitely still on the righteous side of this show but she gets so much less to do, and way less of a PoV
and Toni too is there, but mostly just to chime into whatever jughead says
Rachel: same with the rest of the pussycats, they’re barely even in the show
CC: yeah like give val some lines already ffs
“she gave me a……tattoo”
CC: shut up jughead
Jenny: i will say that for that shitty apology scene, i was glad that casting went against tradition re: veronica’s whiteness; but also, yeah
like, when sheriff keller went to post those eviction notices
or anytime they pan by all the serpents
a lot of white people in this oppressed underdog role
CC: at the same time though, I think those scenes could also be seen as “but it truly is the white people who are the most oppressed~”
but it kinda depends?
like I think it’s cool that riverdale made the conscious decision to make the show much more diverse than the source material — I just think sometimes it feels kinda weird that you’ve got like, PoC defending a racist statue to two white kids who want to tear it down
but! it’s complicated! and I want to avoid being jughead from the previous episode and be mindful of staying in my lane here
it’s just sometimes kinda awkward, imo???????
Jenny: i would agree with that
CC: to be generous to the show, I think it might be that they made a conscious decision to cast some of the most powerful people in riverdale as PoC
but once they started unveiling all the Secret Evil Machinations, they maybe didn’t think as hard as they could have about nuance and kinda the end result here,, a season and a half in
Jenny: i think casting is trying but maybe writing thinks they can have one episode about white people learning to be respectful and then it’s fine? like, instead of giving more screen time to Val and Melody, they’re just going to keep pursuing this dumb fbi plotline for no reason
CC: yea def
Rachel: very much agree
there’s just a lack of care, everything is so adhoc and nothing is thought through
CC: so so true
Jenny: maybe final thoughts?
are we there?
CC: my final thought is that as a person who doesn’t get the hubbub about poutine, I feel validated by the evil poutine mobster being so awful
I TRIED, okay, canadians! I tried! The texture is just too weird!
and, “curds”??? it’s just not an appealing word.
Jenny: i will say that i had poutine for the first time this fall and i am on board — i didn’t really know what cheese curds were, but they’re actually pretty appetizing
being a snob about poutine seems like the absolute worst decision
there are so many better things to be a snob about
Jenny: my final thought
is don’t trust tall men
Jenny: this could’ve been anyone!
but they’re all bad
CC: but, was he a boy?
a tall boy?
or just a tall man
Jenny: a tall gentleman
CC: oh well that couldn’t be the guy we’re looking for
if it’s a tall *gentleman*
Rachel: ok my final thought is: i wish there were more moments of teens just being teens. Like, betty and jug’s weird back and forth of “have you done anything since we broke up” was super high school and I want more of that
CC: ha ha yeah you’re right
Jenny: betty’s “of course not”
Rachel: yeah like, I know they’re trying to do stuff about how betty isn’t coming clean and being secretive but
i just want these teen babies to be teens
Jenny: i will say it was, like, one of the few moments this ep where i really felt for these characters
they felt really relatable there
but also i feel like there needs to be a line
bc teens being teens is also how we end up with bittersweet symphony and fucking mad world
teens having shitty taste bc they want to feel deep
Rachel: lol fair
I just want awkward teens!
CC: at least they’re not performing like
L O L
Jenny: but certainly more teen dweebs
Rachel: not knowing how to lie or talk to the FBI
Jenny: would love a true teen who never has to talk to the fbi
CC: i mean i def didn’t get a chance to take an elective on “how to lie to the FBI” til college
these damn overfunded tv high schools
Jenny: oh yeah — my god; not a single budget cut? even after merging with another school??
Rachel: throw this show in the garbage
(but also I’ll see y’all next week lol)