Wednesday, February 27, 2019

REVIEW: 'Riverdale' - Betty Learns More About the Farm and Its Practices in 'Chapter Forty-Eight: Requiem for a Welterweight'

The CW's Riverdale - Episode 3.13 "Chapter Forty-Eight: Requiem for a Welterweight"

As Veronica attempts to steer Hiram away from the drug business, Gladys' return to Riverdale throws a wrench into her plan. Betty grows concerned when Alice decides to take her commitment with The Farm to the next level. Archie's rush to get into the boxing ring lands him in hot water. Cheryl's attempt to send the Serpents a message causes tension between her and Toni.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of The CW's Riverdale.

"Chapter Forty-Eight: Requiem for a Welterweight" was written by Michael Grassi and directed by Tawnia McKiernan

This episode mostly just meanders around to the point where the audience may question just how relevant or meaningful some of the plot developments will be. Sure, there are some exceptions. Everything going on with Betty and Alice is incredibly consequential. It would be hard not to be given that Alice almost dies here. The Farm is coming into the foreground as the most significant concern that everyone has to be worried about. The show is leaning fully into the cult comparisons now as well. Sure, it's different than the suspicions the audience had at the start of the season where the Farm could have been connected to the Gargoyle King in some way. That may still be true even though that mystery has largely petered out already with multiple people being behind the mask. Right now though, it's absolutely terrifying and agonizing as Betty has to keep fighting with everyone to get them to realize the horrors happening within this organization. Sure, that also requires her to be isolated in a number of ways. She reaches out to Kevin here as the friend who can help her investigate. That requires the show to suddenly say that he has swiftly been brainwashed after Moose left town. That's jarring. He also isn't the only person who could help Betty investigate. It's simply a priority here for Betty to feel isolated where her only choice is to desperately run to her mother's baptism in order to save her life. She sees all of this as a crime that could have ended in tragedy. Meanwhile, Alice sees it as the clarity her life has been missing for a long time. Betty seeing that look wash over her mother's face is absolutely devastating. It will ensure that a new conflict is brewing between them. One that may not be easily solved this time despite Betty's assertions to everyone that this is a troubled organization that needs to be exposed. That will still take time. It remains the one ongoing story of importance and relevance though. Elsewhere, Hiram and Gladys are going back-and-forth over who is in control of the drug trade in Riverdale. Gladys has made her debut in the series and is immediately pushing for this power. All of this could be fascinating if told through the idea of Jughead not being a good leader of the Serpents and the organization going extinct under his watch. And yet, the show only gives fleeting moments to that premise. He is losing members to Toni and Cheryl's rival gang. Meanwhile, Gladys recruits the Gargoyle Gang without really considering the impact that decision could have on the Serpents as an organization. Jughead wants to protect them as part of his family. He feels the importance of doing that. And yet, his control is slowly slipping away. Toni feels that as well. Cheryl feels power over the Pretty Poisons too. It's understandable that she would struggle ceding control to someone else. But that's also necessary in order to keep Toni an empowered and multi-dimensional character as well. And finally, Archie is going all-in on boxing. It may just be the latest excuse for him to be shirtless in every single episode. This show has committed to him as a fighter beyond anything else at the moment. He sees that as his only opportunity in life now. At least it's being played in a healthy direction even though it comes with the threat of death here. The stakes are just a little bit off throughout this entire story though. That makes it difficult to care when Archie once again enters into a silly and foolish situation without knowing any better. He should be glad to have Tom Keller and Josie in his corner.