Riverdale can never been the simple, rapturous show it once was during season 1. Now, there are Farmies and teen Serpents (who are now basically sheriff's deputies) and killer role playing games and drug labs. By maple tree or fizzle rock, it all has to work together.
Wednesday night's new “The Raid,” was the first episode in a while to get that mix just right. Yes, Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart) has to break into the Farm, but her boyfriend Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse) and pal Archie Andrews (KJ Apa) also need to fight the Gargoyles. Both projects should sound ridiculous, but, somehow, it works. It’s a late-in-the-season miracle worth celebrating.
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 excels in the chaos.
The Farm’s Pull, Explained
After Betty’s own mom Alice (Mädchen Amick) snubs her in public, the teen gumshoe’s Farm investigation jumps into high gear. Unfortunately, Betty loses lonely, susceptible Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch) to the sway of Edgar Evernever’s (Chad Michael Murray) cult. But, it’s not Edgar’s cool man jewelry and unbuttoned shirts that really get her.
Instead, it’s alleged access to Jason (Trevor Stines). Apparently, the Farm has the ability to put their members in a room with the physical manifestations of their dead loved ones. “I know it sounds crazy, but I saw him. Talked to him in the flesh,” Cheryl tells Betty about her dead brother.
This disturbing fact brings Betty to her mom. Is she staying at the Farm because of Charles, the late, missing Jones-Cooper son? Yes, yes she is, Alice confirms over Pop’s coffee. “It’s like i never lost him,” Alice says, tearing up about her “most beautiful boy.”
I’m officially putting my bet in: Betty’s going to find a very alive Charles as proof her mom needs to get out of the Farm ASAP. Blonde boys of Hollywood, please prepare for your auditions.
Betty Makes It To The Farm
In a true inevitability, Betty finally shows up at the Farm to confront Edgar. It’s tense battle of wills, but also the meeting of beautiful CW teens past and present. There is so much symmetry in a single frame.
Prepare for this immediately creepy scene to anchor next week’s “Jawbreaker.”
The Daredevil Scene
In 2015, Daredevil made waves for its brutal hallway fight scene. This week, Riverdale payed homage to that classic Netflix moment as Archie and Jughead break into the newest Gargoyle headquarters-drug den. For Archie, it’s a way to repay Maddog, freshly out of Leopold & Loeb after some Red-Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes) blackmail, for helping him get out of prison during “The Great Escape.” For Juggie, the attack is the newest way to fight his mom and her not-so-secret drug trade (truly, lawman F.P. is the only person in town who hasn’t noticed).
The episode's titular raid culminates with Archie’s brawler L&L friends and the Teen Serpents breaking into the Gargoyle’s new cook house, where Maddog’s sweet family lives. The visual of the boys fanning out over every floor of a shadowy building is scary. When a gunshot goes off, leading to a floor-by-floor pan of the gang fighting, it’s exhilarating.
It’s impossible not to imagine the episode’s director, Pamela Romanowsky, didn’t have fun with this one. If only Baby Teeth (Connor Paton) survived…
Baby Teeth Revisited
This is a show with a minor — likely dead character, based off of that premiere-ish cliffhanger — named Baby Teeth. Baby Teeth. And not one single person laughs when they say it. Someone give these youths an Emmy.
“Water Under The Bridge”
The Lodges are divorcing. For someone who tried to “take down” their dad more times than we can count, Veronica is too upset about this turn of events than logic would dictate. But, at least this family melodrama forces Ronnie to bring up the fact she choose her dad (Mark Consuelos) over Archie, despite the wild number of times Mr. Lodge tried to murder her then-boyfriend.
Hiram responds by shrugging and saying, “Water under the bridge.” His multiple attempts on a young teen boy’s life is “water under the bridge!” Please remember this fact the next time anyone attempts to criticize your own, far less fatal mistakes.
It’s all Water. Under. The. Bridge.