On this episode of Riverdale, titled “Chapter Twenty Five: The Wicked and the Divine,” Mayor McCoy comes down on the Serpents, Penny Peabody returns causing trouble for Jughead, Veronica has doubts about Archie’s involvement in her family’s business and the secrets keep mounting up for the Cooper family.
According to Jughead’s opening monologue, Archie is being ushered into the intoxicating, but dangerous, life of crime by Hiram Lodge. In reality though, things haven’t gotten intoxicating for Archie quite yet since he’s really just an errand boy, doing menial tasks for no pay.
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Losing Their Heads
Veronica is preparing for her confirmation, which usually happens around the age of 12, but Ronnie’s parents waited because they wanted the monsignor who baptized her, Monsignor Murphy, to do the honors. (There’s no explanation as to what the monsignor has been doing for the past four years.) Veronica renouncing Satan is a very big deal to her family. Ronnie also asks all of her pals to come and witness her salvation.
Sheriff Keller searches for General Pickens’ head and his investigation centers around Jughead and F. P. who deny knowing where the head is or who took it.
With Alice Cooper as your mother, it would seem impossible to work as a naughty webcam girl from the comfort of your own bedroom, but Betty is managing.
Both Betty and Jughead are in hot water over Jughead’s scathing article about General Pickens. Principal Weatherbee informs the twosome that Hiram Lodge’s lawyer, Mr. Sowerberry, has revealed that Hiram is considering taking action against the Blue and Gold for defamation of character. Both Betty and Jughead are suspended from the paper.
Jughead feels bad that Betty’s getting dragged into the problem he almost single-handedly created and reveals to her that the Sheriff has been harassing him, convinced that the Serpents are behind the decapitation of the Pickens statue. Betty wants to know if Jughead was involved, and Jughead assures her he has no motive. Not so fast, Betty points out the same thing that drove him to write that article could be behind his desire to desecrate a statue — his desire to avenge Toni’s grandfather. Betty can’t help but notice how tight Jughead and Toni are. Jughead considers Toni his “pal,” but Betty recalls seeing them one morning at Pop’s — in the midst of the Black Hood attacks — and they looked like more than friends (the morning after their hookup).
Betty wants to know if anything has happened with Toni, and Jughead comes clean that there was some PG-13 action and asks if Betty has been with anyone since their split. She immediately denies anything. No Archie kiss and no naughty online vixen.
Turning Up the Heat
Archie has been neglecting Agent Adams who finally shows up at Archie’s house wanting an update. Adams is very interested in Veronica’s upcoming confirmation. His “sources” tell him Hiram’s crime family will be in attendance (could this dude be working with/for the St. Clairs?) Adams expects Archie to be his eyes and ears, but Archie realizes this is a big deal for Ronnie. He wants to be there for her, not the FBI. But Adams makes it clear, Archie will have to be there for them both.
If Jughead was disgruntled by the treatment of Southsiders, things go from bad to worse when he learns all of the residents of Sunnyside Trailer Park are being evicted, by order of the Mayor.
Sierra McCoy and Josie pay Hermione and Ronnie a visit. The Mayor apologizes for having misgivings about some of the decisions Hiram and Hermione were making. Hermione assures Mayor McCoy that neither she nor Veronica hold any grudges. To reinforce this point, Veronica invites the mother and daughter to her confirmation. Josie, prodded by her overbearing momager, offers to sing. Ronnie was planning on performing herself but reluctantly agrees to a duet instead.
F. P. addresses the Serpents. The heat has been on the Serpents since Pickens Day, and now the powers that be are using the statue as an excuse to turn it up. But if F. P. is going to fix this mess, he needs to know if any of the Serpents desecrated the statue.Tall Boy suggests that F. P. question Jughead since he’s the one who started this whole mess. F. P. pours some metaphorical cold water on the two, reminding them the last thing they need is to turn on each other.
Hermione and Hiram learn from the St. Clairs that Archie paid an unfriendly visit to Nick. Hiram is impressed that he beat up Nick, showing no sympathy because both his legs are in casts. Hiram likes anyone who goes to extremes to send a message, and he’s keen on how protective Archie is of Veronica. He offers Archie a reward of sorts. The night prior to Ronnie’s confirmation, Hiram plans to host a poker game for some of his out-of-town guests. He needs some extra hands to keep glasses filled and cigars lit and asks Archie to fill that roll. (This is all very Goodfellas.)
Jughead decides to go straight to the top-ish and speak to Mayor McCoy directly. He swears the Serpents had nothing to do with the statue and suspects she knows it too. Meanwhile, she sends the Sheriff to “sow seeds of unrest” and threaten to take their homes away. (What is the BFD with this statue? Is this storyline also a nod to the current Confederate statue debate?)
The Mayor could give a flying eff about the statue, it’s the Governor whose pissed. He paid a lot of money for the monument. Jughead points out the Mayor is supposed to be an ally although I have no idea where he got that from. Jughead realizes somebody must be pulling the Mayor’s strings and is stupid enough to ask her to her face if it’s Hiram Lodge. The Mayor warns Jughead to back down.
Jughead runs to his Girl Friday, Betty. To her, the answer to Jughead’s problem is obvious. They need to find that missing head. Find the head, save the trailer park.
When Veronica learns Archie will be attending the poker game, she’s concerned. She explains that this floating poker game is a long-standing tradition, and the participants consist solely of Hiram’s inner-most circle. It’s high stakes in every sense of the word, and Ronnie warns her BF he’ll have to be incredibly careful around the other players. They may be friends of her daddy, but they’re old school — industry titans nobody wants to cross.
Veronica confronts Hiram, questioning his agenda. Daddy doesn’t bring outsiders in, and Archie could learn some Lodge family secrets at that game. Hiram wants to test Archie because if he and Veronica are going to continue to date, Hiram may have no choice but to bring Archie into the fold. Ronnie isn’t sure she wants her Archiekins to be morally compromised. Hiram gives Veronica an ultimatum: Either Archie joins the family or gets shut out forever.
Tall Boy calls Penny Peabody for help. She shows F. P. the scar where her tattoo used to be — the one Jughead removed — before running her out of town. But she’s still willing to help. She’s confident she can stall the eviction process, possibly for years. All Penny wants in return is to be let back into the Serpents and Jughead kicked out.
This causes some tension at home between Jughead and F. P. Dad isn’t proud that Jughead mutilated Penny, and he does blame his son for bringing the Northsider down on them. Jughead doesn’t understand how his dad can’t see that the town is using his article and the statue to justify what they’ve already been doing. But F. P. doesn’t view Jughead as any type of hero, he predicts his son –a mutilator of women — will be the death of the Serpents.
I Love It When You Call Me Big Poppa
Concerned that she’s leading Archie down an unrighteous path, Veronica sits around, sipping wine with the other mob wives. She went to confession, but the monsignor didn’t have any advice on corrupting Archie, “Aw, shucks,” Andrews. The other women share with Ronnie stories of how they rely on God and pray for their husbands’ safety. They give to charity, they take solace in the fact that their husbands walk through the door in one piece every night. They advise Ronnie that if she wants piece of mind, she’ll have to figure out her own way of getting it.
Predictably, things do not go smoothly at the poker game. One of Hiram’s associates, Poppa Poutine (a Canadian hot dog king) questions how SoDale is coming along. When Hiram reminds Poutine that they aren’t supposed to be talking business, Poutine focuses his attention on Archie. When he learns that Archie is Fred Andrew’s son, he asks Hiram whose idea it was to bring Fred in as a partner, Hiram’s or Hermione’s. It’s obvi this guy knows Fred got into Hermione’s pants.
Then Poutine has an issue with Pop’s version of poutine (cheese curds, gravy, potatoes), calling the diner a dump which happens to be owned by Hiram. Hiram demands an apology, but Poppa opts for some fresh air instead.
Archie overhears Poppa Poutine speaking to another kingpin through a bathroom window. The guys think jail made Hiram lose his edge; he’s gone soft. They aren’t the only ones who think Hiram’s getting sloppy. Going after Nick St. Clair and partnering up with the man who’s been messing around with his wife makes Hiram seem very weak. The men think this could be their chance to take Hiram out, right after Ronnie’s confirmation.
Veronica makes it through her confirmation ceremony which takes place to “Bittersweet Symphony” sung by Veronica and Josie. She wobbles a moment when it comes to the big moment of renouncing Satan, she spots Archiekins smiling at her from the crowd and takes the plunge. Oh, Ronnie, will you and Archie both go down in flames or wind up homecoming king and queen?
It’s an action-packed after party. Mayor McCoy arrives with a huge, conspicuous envelope full of cash and informs Hiram he’s the proud owner of the land beneath Southside High.
Veronica makes it clear to Hiram that she doesn’t want Archie to be brought into their way of life.
Speaking of Archie, he finally decides to tell Hiram about overhearing Poppa Poutine’s conversation (nothing like waiting until the last minute to give a guy the heads up that he might lose his.) Hiram thanks Archie and sends him back to the party. Cue opera music as Hiram picks up the phone.
Jughead tells Betty that the Serpents are meeting to decide between him and Penny and fills her in on he and F. P.’s short stint as drug runners for the shady attorney.. He also comes clean about cutting her. Jughead is in a downward spiral. He admits to Betty that every decision he’s made since their breakup — including their breakup — just makes things worse and worse.
But it’s possible Jughead’s luck could change. He and Betty put up flyers, offering a reward for Pickens’ head, and Betty gets a call from a guy who runs a dump. He found the head and describes a very tall guying wearing a Serpent jacket having been hanging around at one point.
Betty, Jughead and F. P. arrive with the head in time to stop the vote. They confront Tall Boy who folds immediately. He’s tired of the Serpents going soft under Jughead’s rule. Hiram Lodge came by and asked Tall Boy to start a mutiny, and Tall Boy agreed, seeing it as his chance to get rid of Jughead. Then he’d go after F. P., and, eventually, run the Serpents along with Penny. Tall Boy is stripped of his jacket and exiled.
Veronica pulls Archie aside for “the talk.” That awkward conversation when a girl tells a boy that her father is a mobster. But Archie already knows and Veronica doesn’t question how once Archie explains he’s seen plenty of movies about organized crime. Being at the poker game was also a big tell (along with “Agent” Adams.)
Veronica’s determined to come clean about all her father’s business dealings, including SoDale which is only the beginning. Archie doesn’t want to know (since he’d have to tell Adams). He assures Ronnie that he loves her no matter what, and there’s nothing she could say that will scare him away.
Jughead’s on probation with the Serpents, but Penny is definitely not coming back. He’s curious what Hiram Lodge is up to and plans to investigate. Jughead and Betty also rekindle their romance, although how long it will last with Betty’s new hobby remains to be seen.
A few developments in the Chic department that need to be noted. He has a job at the Bijou that he most likely got by blowing the manager, Ben. Also, Hal throws down the gauntlet — him or Chic, so he’s living elsewhere. And a man shows up on the Cooper doorstep looking for Chic.
Agent Adams informs Archie that Paul Boucher, aka “Poppa Poutine,” was found dead in his hotel from a gunshot wound to the head. Adams wants to know if Archie saw or heard anything that would implicate Hiram, and Archie reveals nothing.
The Lodges get a large box which contains Pickens’ head, and Betty arrives home after sex with Jughead to find a dead man on the floor and Alice cleaning up the mess.
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How long will Archie cover for Hiram? Will Veronica eventually turn on her father? Can Betty and Jughead’s relationship survive her “Black Betty” phase? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8/7 on The CW. Want more news? Visit our Riverdale page on Facebook.
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Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Jennifer has worked as a freelance writer in the entertainment field since 2012. In addition to currently writing feature articles for Screen Rant, Jennifer has contributed content ranging from recaps to listicles to reviews for BuddyTV, PopMatters, TVRage, TVOvermind, and Tell-Tale TV. Links to some of Jennifer’s reviews can be found on Rotten Tomatoes.