The adults of Riverdale w
ere never role models, but "The Wrestler" took their bad behavior to a whole new level. In the wake of their terrible decisions, there is one question that remains -- why do they act the way they do?
Little kids, little problems; big kids, big problems. It's an aphorism that rings true even in the topsy-turvy world of Riverdale
, but it's one that fails to mention what happens when those kids grow up and start wreaking havoc on everyone else. Those problems become like asteroids, ready to cause extinction-level events when they touch down.
For instance, Hiram Lodge spent "The Wrestler" attempting to send Archie's self-esteem, and his relationship with Veronica, the way of the dinosaurs. In a show of toxic masculinity, the crooked businessman locked horns with his 16-year-old rival as wrestling took center stage. Dude, if there's one way to show you're weak, it's to torment your daughter's boyfriend. He. Is. Sixteen. One of you needs to grow up, and it's not the teenager.
And yet, Mr. Lodge spent the hour exchanging steely-eyed glares with his foe, a boy who was only trying to curry favor thanks to the ill-advised decisions of another scumbag adult, one Agent Adams. Although even as Hiram lambasted Archie's manliness and crushed him in front of his peers, we at least knew his reasoning -- he was tarring Riverdale's golden son with the sins of his father, namely Fred and Hermoine's little tryst.
It's nice to know what one crazy parent is thinking, particularly as another remains inscrutable. Chic's untimely arrival managed to resurrect the Hal Cooper of early season 1, an unfortunate turn as we were really hoping that particular iteration was gone for good. A family man in name only, Mr. Cooper hasn't even bothered to try and hide his blatant contempt for his eldest child. While we're hesitant to comment on the complex feelings that accompany giving a child up for adoption, it's fairly safe to say Hal isn't suffering from a firestorm of guilt at his son's plight. No, he wants that boy out of his life and he's willing to risk his marriage in the process. Just like with Polly and Jason's relationship, we sense Hal is harboring a bombshell revelation. What it could be, however, we don't know.
That's not to say Alice's behavior is any more acceptable, even if it is on the complete opposite side of the spectrum. The Cooper matriarch is willing to welcome her son with open arms and the frightening illusion that she can use him to replace a wayward Polly. If Chic knew what was good for him, he'd bolt ASAP. He's already the victim of sexual and emotional trauma, a burden the Coopers' self-serving behavior will only add to.
As we're winding down a critique of a thoroughly uneven episode, let's not forget the cold war between Mayor McCoy and Hermione. The Lodges have dirt on Josie's mom, that much is clear (it's probably evidence of her affair with Sheriff Keller, let's be real), and as the Trumps of Riverdale press down on that pressure point, the Mayor is ready to fight back. This means a thoroughly icy rebuff of Veronica's Pussycat endeavors which, although intended to shield her daughter from harm, actually caused a stinging blow as Josie's band was ripped out from under her.
It's little wonder Riverdale's youth acts the way they do. Betty's internal maelstrom exhibits in the same selfish ways as her parents' emotional turmoil. Veronica uses the same cold, underhanded tactics as her parents. And even though Archie's father is one of the few competent guardians in town, it's Fred's egalitarian ideals and trusting nature that have our hero in over his head. For these children, there's an asteroid rocketing through the atmosphere. Let's hope they can find cover when it hits the ground.
Do you think the parents of Riverdale need to shape up? Can you believe believe adults can be so petty? Sound off in the comments section!
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