Welcome back to my weekly Riverdale recaps! You can find all of my previous recaps for the show here.
There was a lot going on in “Chapter Seven: In a Lonely Place,” so let’s not waste any time.
Et tu, Fred?
Last week, I discussed how awful the parental figures were on Riverdale and side-eyed Fred, just waiting for the other shoe to drop. This week’s episode flirted with the notion that he wasn’t as decent as he seemed after F.P. regaled Jughead and Archie with the story of how Fred bought him out of co-ownership of Andrews Construction. Of course, Fred clears this up later and even offers to take Jughead in until F.P. can get his act together to mend his broken family. Archie and Jughead’s friendship got a nice refresher after being neglected for a few episodes. They talked about everything from Jughead’s newfound relationship with Betty (which Jughead is still a bit awkward about, but it’s to be expected) to his family situation. Archie is actually a good friend and supports Jughead the entire time, even talking to Fred about giving F.P. a job. I liked that the episode didn’t focus too much on Archie’s reaction to Betty and Jughead dating and that there wasn’t any animosity between them. Things were a bit tense in the beginning, but it’s nice to finally see them being there for each other.
Jughead is later brought in by the cops for question about Jason’s murder and we get a little more of his backstory, which was sadly unpleasant. Getting to know F.P. a little bit more helps to explain why Jughead is the way he is. Once again, the teens are seemingly more mentally capable of handling the various situations, but you can really see Jughead internally cheering for his dad, wanting him to get back on his feet so their family can be whole. There’s a part of Jughead that will never be the same and you can tell he’s a bit jaded, but it’s his friendships and relationship with Betty that are guiding him right now, whereas he’s seemed stuck in the past before.
What’s in a name
Last week ended with Veronica finding out that Hermione had forged her signature on official documents in order for Andrews Construction to partner with Lodge Industries. Veronica is upset and has a plan to exact revenge for her mother’s betrayal and, in a great scene, expresses why she was so hurt by what Hermione did. After her father’s arrest, Veronica lost everything, except her name, which Hermione said would always be hers. “And she took it from me […] like it meant nothing,” says Veronica to Josie, Reggie, and Kevin while out at a club.
But Veronica knows her mother and not before long, the two sit down to have a real talk about everything that’s happened between them. I was afraid that the forging of the signature predicament would have driven a wedge between them for far longer, but I’m always happy to be wrong in cases like this. Not only do they discuss their situation and their feelings about it, but they come to conclusions and make an action plan that make sense for them. It’s more than can be said about the rest of the Riverdale parents, with Fred still being the exception. It’s refreshing to see this particular mother/daughter relationship be presented in a way that’s rocky, but open at the same time. Veronica may have behaved like the spoiled teenager she used to be, but that didn’t last long before she was by her mother’s side, being supportive and open to healing the wounds of their relationship.
The hunt for Polly
After having been the topic of discussion for so long, Polly was finally revealed last episode and it was found out she was pregnant with Jason’s baby. Having run away from the religious institution her parents placed her in, Cheryl Blossom accuses Polly of killing Jason. Betty later finds her and after finding out she’s pregnant, Cheryl changes her tune about the elder Cooper sister. Betty and Polly’s relationship is also one of the more stable relationships on the show. It’s built on a sense of safety and trust they have with each other that they don’t really have with anyone else, especially their parents. Cheryl finding out Polly is pregnant may honestly be a turning point for her. At this point, everyone in Riverdale and the town over know how much Cheryl loved her brother. Having a part of him live on in a niece or nephew stopped her in her tracks and pushed her to warn Polly away from Penelope and Clifford Blossom.
“In a Lonely Place” really brought out the best in all of the characters. Riverdale isn’t afraid to allow the characters to interact in different settings. This episode expanded on their unresolved problems and most everyone got to shine in a new way. The cast is really pulling their weight and the show has already managed to make their characters’ interpersonal relationships central and integral to the narrative. Another solid, well-rounded episode that continues to cement Riverdale as a strong entry to The CW lineup.