After a few weeks away, Riverdale has returned with “Requiem For A Welterweight,” a nod to Archie Andrews’ (K.J. Apa) passion for boxing and also possibly this story about Manny Pacquiao. “Welterweight” is the very definition of a plot-moving episode, with lots of Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart) and The Farm crises and a stream of confounding mob-related power moves. All together, it’s a baffling hour of television in need of explaining.
So let’s get down to the most bonkers moments of the episode and try to unravel them. They’re in no particular order, because Riverdale thrives in the chaos.
No one calls Polly Cooper (Tiera Skovbye) “Polly Cooper.” Every single person in Riverdale has pronounced her name as “Pauly” since season 1, and I don’t believe this simply because I am from Staten Island, where Jersey Shore accents are born.
Since no one calls Polly “Polly,” I’m not going to either. She is Pauly Cooper from here on out.
Pauly Drowns Her Mom (And Other Farm Odds And Ends)
Of course, the mystery, cultish The Farm is involved. Throughout season 3, Alice has gotten more and more involved in The Farm, and is now finally ready to “ascend” through baptism. Considering the menacing music used when someone equates “ascension” and the Farm baptism, we’re supposed to make the speculative Gargoyle King connection. When Betty learns the baptism has already resulted in at least one woman’s death, she rushes to the Sisters Of Quiet Mercy Hell House Turned The Farm Murder House to stop the ritual.
Unfortunately, Betty is too late and walks in on her sister holding her unresponsive mother in a tub while women wearing Anthropologie's bridal collection look on. After Betty administers CPR to her mom, Alice comes to, spitting out three gallons of Voss in the process. The near-death experience only makes Alice more enamored with The Farm. So much so, she’s selling the Cooper family home to live there permanently. At least this means we’ll be meeting Lucas Scott, I mean Edgar Evernever (Chad Michael Murray), really soon.
P.S. A wayward Kevin Keller (Casey Cott) is also being lured into The Farm’s thrall with promises of hot cult-y queer boys.
An Adult Enters The Sex Bunker And G&G Den By Their Own Free Will
During previous episode “Bizarrodale,” Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch) informs dearly departed Moose Mason (Cody Kearsley) that every teen in Riverdale treats the Sex Bunker And D&D Den (Now With Murder Wing) in the woods as their own communal Smush Room. That fact alone would suggest it doesn’t smell too good in Dilton Doiley’s now-converted hidey hole. Then you remember it also housed many unshowered teenage G&G binges and a dead body for hours if not days. It is foul down there.
Still, Betty somehow convinces a grown woman and terrified cult escapee to crawl down into the bunker, which is covered in cult-like symbols, and remain there for a lengthy conversation about her trauma. This is the most impossible thing to ever happen on Riverdale.
Archie Andrews Cannot Escape The Mob
What is it about Archie Andrews that tells mobsters “this one is a perfect patsy?” Just a few episodes after Archie quashed his blood feud with Hiram Lodge (Mark Conseulous), Red is lured into a new organized crime scheme with a different crime kingpin, Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes) frenemy Elio (Julian Haig). In a whiplash-inducing series of events, a mostly-shirtless Archie agrees to throw a fight for Elio, accepts a bribe, realizes that is a terrible idea, tries to get out of it, fails, is threatened with murder, doesn’t get murdered, and loses the fight (but with dignity!).
Considering what we know about mob pop culture and how much cash Elio likely lost due to Archie’s antics, the new boxer should be suffering some immense kneecap-related harm soon. As usual, Archie is too busy tossing women into bed — this time it’s new lady friend Josie (Ashleigh Murray) instead of Ronnie — to consider the massive, likely violent consequences for his actions.
None Of The Scheming Really Adds Up
One of the biggest problems with “Welterweight” is just how few of the many Riverdale-ish schemes actually make sense. Take Archie’s mob drama for example. Archikins opens the episode desperate to enter a real boxing match so he can gauge his actual talent in the ring. Yet, he agrees to enter a fight he will purposefully throw, supposedly as a test of his mettle. One cannot assess their aptitude while purposefully losing.
This logic problem plagues the rest of the episode. The other mob storyline centers around Gladys (Gina Gershon), Hiram, and Veronica. In “Bizarrodale,” Veronica finds out her drug-burning flight of fancy put her family in thousands of dollars of debt to Gladys. So she agrees to pay Jughead’s (Cole Sprouse) mom back in installments and also spy on Hiram for her. Yet, during family dinner, Hiram says Veronica owes him $75,000 for the same incident. If Veronica is already paying Gladys back, she can’t also owe Hiram.
Then, there’s the matter of Gladys, who reentered Riverdale demanding Veronica not tell Jughead about his mom’s drug-dealing behavior. But by the end of “Welterweight,” Gladys is taking control of drug gangs and bringing said gang to her home for the express purpose of them meeting her son. Even Gladys’ deal with Hiram — he’ll manage the prison while she handles drugs and sending him prisoners — is questionable. If Gladys is obviously using her criminal business partnerships to eventually send collaborators to jail… why would anyone work with her?
F.P. Hates Tween Caffeine
There are multiple teen gangs, countless types of candy-related drugs, and so much high school sex they created a forest bunker for it in Riverdale — but F.P. Jones’ first real parental objection is about tweenager Jellybean Jones (Trinity Likins) drinking coffee. Sure.