Wednesday, March 27, 2019

REVIEW: 'Riverdale' - Betty and Cheryl Learn More About What's Going On At The Farm in 'Chapter Fifty-Two: The Master'

The CW's Riverdale - Episode 3.17 "Chapter Fifty-Two: The Master"

As Betty enlists Cheryl's help to infiltrate The Farm, Archie and Veronica help an ally from his past. Jughead's attempt to put a stop to Riverdale's drug trade puts him on a collision course with Gladys. Hiram breaks some surprising news to Veronica.

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 Fifty-Two: The Master" was written by Greg Murray & Ace Hasan and directed by Pamela Romanowsky

With Edgar Evernever finally in Riverdale, Betty can more fiercely investigate what's actually going on with The Farm. This organization is only increasing its recruitment efforts in Riverdale. Alice and Kevin are true believers now. This episode manages to ensnare Cheryl as well. Betty is so confounded by that because Cheryl has never let anyone tell her what to do. She stands proudly as the queen of Riverdale. And yet, the promise of a new connection with Jason is all it takes to lure her in. Betty reminds everyone that Jason also had a connection with this organization. It's where he and Polly were going to run away to before he was killed. And now, Edgar can promise Cheryl the opportunity to have an actual relationship with Jason again in the flesh. That seems absolutely crazy and miraculous. Betty can't believe it when she hears that this organization has somehow brought people back to life. That would only increase the power of its appeal. It's also not the first time the show has flirted with something more supernatural going on. Remember when babies were levitating and people were having seizures? At one point, those even seemed connected to The Farm in some way. But now, Betty continues to stand all by herself in being critical about this organization. She sees it as a cult that has slowly infected her life. They are only increasing their attacks against her community as well. This is a more serious threat than any of the other shady things that have gone on in Riverdale too. It's the power of an idea that can completely reinvent a person's life. That's much more transformational than people simply being afraid of the latest serial killer on the loose. This episode even returns to the vicious imagery of the Gargoyle King. Sure, it's a visual that has lost a ton of its power because it has been corrupted by whomever needs to use it to organize the drug trade in this town. But the power of images is still important. It's meaningful that Cheryl and Alice can have these relationships with loved ones who have died. Betty remains skeptical. She may get answers from Edgar. She has a sit down with him that is bound to change everything in a significant way. But it also feels like just one of the many crazy things that is happening on the show at the moment. There really isn't any sense that everything is connected in some way. That means that Archie is fighting to protect the other guys who were forced into illegal fights at the prison. They aren't condemned to move over to Hiram's new facility which is finally opening. Instead, they are granted their freedom by the governor. He issues a blanket pardon because of the abuse they suffered. The show really doesn't analyze whether or not these guys actually deceive that. Of course, Archie just assumes that they are all good guys. With Mad Dog leading the pack, that's the overwhelming feeling as well. It just feels as if the show is missing a piece that would make the audience care about what's going on. In order to get his family out of a bad living arrangement, Mad Dog takes a deal from Elio. Archie and Jughead are working together to disrupt the Gargoyle Gang and the drug trade. However, Jughead is flung out of a second story window and doesn't seem to suffer any injuries whatsoever. That's odd considering the show is trying to explain that there is a significant cost to this ongoing war with Gladys. He is committed to it while F.P. is seeing the error of his ways in trying to train the Serpents as deputies. But it all remains scattered in a way that also threatens to void all of the personal connections the audience is suppose to be feeling at the moment.