Wednesday, November 6, 2019

REVIEW: 'Riverdale' - Hermoine's Trial Begins as Veronica Plots Her Next Moves in 'Chapter Sixty-Two: Witness for the Prosecution'

The CW's Riverdale - Episode 4.05 "Chapter Sixty-Two: Witness for the Prosecution"

Caught between Hiram and Hermoine's double trial, Veronica grapples with what the future holds for her family. Archie finds himself the unexpected target of the town's local businesses. Betty and Kevin join the Junior FBI Training Program. Jughead learns some surprising information about his family history. 

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 Sixty-Two: Witness for the Prosecution" was written by Devon Turner and directed by Harry Jierjian

Family is so important to so many characters. Of course, many of the young leads come from dysfunctional families whether through their own actions or the selfish and destructive traits their parents embody. It's something continually worth fighting for though. It's right up there alongside the heart and sole of Riverdale. This is a community that is worth doing whatever it takes to protect no matter how dysfunctional and tragic things may seem at any given moment in time. And now, the show continues to twist the narrative by revealing even more blood relations amongst the central families. Charles confesses to Betty that he too has the serial killer gene. He talks about controlling the inner darkness the same way that Hal used to. That may perk Betty's interest in him and trying to figure out why he is still in Riverdale. He may be teaching a class for the young FBI training program. However, he still presents as a mystery who shouldn't be as trusted as she has been willing to accept so far. The audience knows her instinct is right because we've already seen him monitoring her calls. There is no easy explanation for that just yet. Meanwhile, Veronica's plan to get her mother released from jail while sending her father away for the rest of his life is disrupted by the sudden introduction of her own sister, Hermosa. This too is a family connection she didn't even knew existed. Hermosa keeps her distance. She is just lingering in the background during the trial or at the speakeasy. However, her actions are concise and immediately destructive. When she reveals herself to Veronica, it's to prove that both of her parents will be coming home shortly. Veronica will no longer be an independent operator in this world. She still may not have the maturity to actually succeed in a way that profits her long-term success. She strives for that independence. She views herself as a success story. And yet, Hiram vows to come back stronger than ever before. He is a free man once more. He decides to use that in order to launch a mayoral campaign. That will give him influence in Riverdale again. Archie may always be first to suspect Hiram of trying to get in the way of his good efforts in this town. However, there are far more unsavory characters who will abuse this world to their advantage no matter who they hurt in the process. Sure, Dodger is not yet an engaging antagonist. He is simply the new threat who stands in Archie's way of achieving his vision for a better Riverdale. He is doing all of this to honor his father. And yet, Archie is once more roaming the streets of his beloved town viewing himself to be the best version of justice even though that may be far from the truth. It didn't work out for him last time even though he had a football team of supporters. And now, he presents as a sole masked vigilante wanting to step up and improve the neighborhood. He is doing more important work as the leader of the community center. However, the kids are justified in wondering what will happen to the place after Archie and Monroe graduate from high school. Right now, this doesn't present as a better alternative to the life that Dodger wants to sign them up for. It's only an aspirational concept in Archie's mind. Sometimes that can be enough. Other times though, people have to step up and prove that they belong in this world. They deserve every recognition they receive. Jughead is quick to get into physical confrontations. This season wants to challenge his mind. It comes with the looming doom of him being killed with Archie, Betty and Veronica being arrested for his murder. Again, there has to be more to that story than what is currently being presented to the audience. And yet, that shows how the season is playing more of a long game this year. That's fascinating and different. So even if some of the twists do feel familiar like Hiram always emerging unscathed from the attacks against him, it also means that the narrative is evolving and understands that the characters must do so as well. It may all end in tragedy. This episode is scattered when it comes to presenting a reasonable case for how Betty, Archie and Veronica's ongoing concerns ultimately rise up to Jughead's disappearance and death. However, the show has time to build that case. It just needs to be entertaining in the moment as well. This hour is a little more distraught and burdened by introducing new items. But the potential remains for extreme craziness.