There’s a real (and sad) possibility that The Black Hood story might not be completely over on Riverdale. For now, the series is acting as if its serial killer days are behind it and a new compelling overarching storyline for Archie (and the gang) has yet to emerge. Yet in “The Wrestler” a new possibility emerged as Archie, urged by his FBI contact, struck up a personal relationship with Hiram Lodge. Of any of the plotlines Riverdale season 2 is juggling, this rivalry has the most potential and should become the new focus.
The Right Rivalry at the Right Time
Hiram and Archie’s antagonism didn’t suddenly appear in “The Wrestler.” As soon as Hiram arrived on Riverdale, it was clear he had his sights set on Archie and not in a good way. However, because the Black Hood became such a big concern so quickly, Hiram and Archie’s simmering hatred got shoved way into the background. Now, though, Riverdale can get back to the two fighting over Veronica in the cheesiest and most glorious way possible. It’s the exact storyline that the show needs right now.
There’s nothing too original about Hiram and Archie being at each other’s throats. This is not just because the two have a long-running rivalry in the comics. A father who doesn’t like his daughter’s boyfriend is about as cliched a story as they come. Yet like most Riverdale plots, the show manages to find something fresh or at least interesting in well-trodden ground. The real magnetism over Archie and Hiram absolutely loathing one another isn’t that Veronica stands between them. It’s the way the show manages to make the two characters play off one another with their unique personalities.
Archie is defined by the fact that he’s constantly in over his head. Hiram, meanwhile, has plots layered on top of schemes which lead to long-term goals. There are no two characters on Riverdale more mismatched than Archie and Hiram. This is precisely what makes their “partnership” so interesting to watch. Archie is fighting a huge uphill battle but the struggle to see if he can get even the slightest bit over on Hiram is fascinating.
“The Wrestler” proved that Archie, while out of his depth 99.9% of the time, can be successful against smarter opponents. Hiram did come up the lesser in “The Wrestler” … although it’s entirely possible that’s exactly what Hiram wanted Archie to believe. This ambiguity about who is in control is what makes the rivalry such a great tug-o-war. Hiram would likely be interesting sharing the screen with just about anyone but with poor innocent (and stupid) Archie he’s tremendous. Particularly because there’s a chance that Hiram’s behavior could end up rubbing off on Archie himself.
Dark Archie Done Right
Riverdale season 2 already toyed with a Dark Archie and it didn’t go to plan. The serial killer nature of the Black Hood required Riverdale to throw Archie into the deep end of darkness. Like most things with the storyline, the intensity was jarring. Archie went from playing guitar to brandishing a gun — it just felt wrong. With Hiram, Riverdale can ease Archie into the heart of the darkness. He can dip his toe into the criminal waters (and maybe become less of a doofus) while still keeping intact the good heart and kind nature that makes Archie, well, Archie.
Archie being drawn into Hiram’s web of lies and crimes also has the potential to bring the many threads of the disparate Riverdale season 2 into one tight drama-filled package. It’s obvious that the “civil war” between the South and North Side isn’t going away anytime soon and Hiram is seemingly the leader of the North. By aligning himself with Hiram, even if it’s supposedly to take him down, Archie is putting himself at odds with his best friend Jughead. Any chance Riverdale has to bring Archie and Jughead together, even on opposite sides, is worth it.
Furthermore, Hiram seems to be the axis on which most of the dark underpinnings of Riverdale are turning these days. So Archie being welcomed into that inner circle will open that storyline even more than it already is with Veronica joining the family business. Riverdale is an ensemble but Archie is the main character and most storylines do sort of filter through his gaze and expereinces.
Archie’s life might not get any better as a de facto member of the Lodge organization but Riverdale certainly will. Or at least the very least the show will become even more wild and action-packed.
But what do you make of Hiram and Archie’s rivalry? Do you want to see more or are there better stories out there for Riverdale to center on in season 2? How do you think Hiram and Archie will play out? Can Archie ever defeat the master of deception?
(Image courtesy of The CW)