Pep Talk: Riverdale Episode 219, "Prisoners"

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Poor Archie Andrews (KJ APA). Every time he learns a new mob term, he thinks he needs to apply it to his life, and his relationship with Mr. Lodge (MARK CONSUELOS), for whom he works as a capo. Yes, Archie has full knowledge that Hiram Lodge and family are mobsters, and he's all in. This is RIVERDALE, where school plays are scenes for murder, and best friends don't help you study for algebra exams, they help you hide bodies.

We open with the funeral for Midge, who was slain, ostensibly, at the hands of the Black Hood. Archie has long held a suspicion that Mr. Svenson was never the real Black Hood, and now it seems he was right. As Sheriff Keller (MARTIN CUMMINS) is attacked politically on all sides for his failure to capture the killer, Archie goes on his own hunt -- and winds up being kidnapped by none other than Nick St. Clair (GRAHAM PHILLIPS). He calls Veronica from Archie's phone, demanding a million dollar ransom. The problem is that Archie isn't blood to the Lodges, so Hiram isn't going to pay -- the St. Clairs are also a mob family, and paying for someone not in the family would set a precedent. Veronica (CAMILA MENDES) comes up with part of the cash, and Nick suggests there's a way she can make up the difference -- with her body.

While this is going on, Jughead (COLE SPROUSE) suspects that they're dealing with a copycat killer, and looks for anyone who might have had a connection to Mr. Svenson. He finds one in Chic Smith (HART DENTON), leading him and Betty (LILI REINHART) to the Sisters of Quiet Mercy, where they force their hand into obtaining the file on Betty's brother, Charles Smith. The photo that comes with the folder is Charles -- but it's not Chic! Betty realizes he's been an imposter the entire time, and breaks this news to her mom, Alice (MADCHEN AMICK). Chic relates that Charles died of a drug overdose, and spoke of how he tried to return home when he was grown only to have the door shut in his face, causing Alice to break down with guilt. She goes to tell Charles' father about the ordeal -- FP Jones (SKEET ULRICH). This really is a small, incestuous little town.

The question of whether the Black Hood is a copycat or not is put to rest, however, when Betty's phone rings again with the familiar "Lollipop" ringtone. Realizing that Chic is too dangerous to her family to just let go free, she takes him to give to the Black Hood! And upon her return, she has a revelation about the identity of the killer, one this writer posited a while back.

As Nick St. Clair prepares to take conquest of Veronica, he tells Archie he's going to kill him anyway, to "make his bones" with his father and become a made man. He has a camera installed in his suite so that Archie can watch everything he does to Veronica on a laptop. But Archie breaks free and runs to save Veronica -- who doesn't need saving. She's turned the tables in the traditional Lodge way, and claimed a ransom of Nick from his own family: one million dollars.  And they pay it. Veronica presents the money to her father, with a full disclosure explanation of how she got it. She then tells him that Archie is in the next room, and Mr. Lodge can go explain why he failed to help him. Hiram enters, and Archie takes over the conversation, stating that he knows he doesn't have the full trust of the Lodge family yet, because he hasn't "made his bones" with Mr. Lodge. There's only one man Archie wants to kill: The Black Hood, and Mr. Lodge is amenable to helping Archie on this quest.

A murder, two kidnappings, and a conspiracy to commit murder. This is definitely not your father's Archie and the gang!

Grade: 
4.0 / 5.0