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Riverdale - Requiem for a Welterweight - Advance Preview: "Throwing Punches"

27 Feb 2019

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Riverdale returns tonight from a three-week hiatus with a surprisingly strong episode titled “Requiem for a Welterweight.” While season three has been a huge improvement from the previous season, it seems the writers have struggled to deliver consistently strong episodes. Some like “The Midnight Club” and “The Great Escape” have been excellent while others such as “The Man in Black” have been a hot mess. Part of the problem has been balancing the various storylines and giving each subplot each weight. Fortunately, tonight’s episode strikes a great balance and actually gives some of the less frequently featured characters – Josie, Cheryl, and Toni – some much needed screen time. Additionally, the mystery of the Gargoyle King and G&G take a backseat this episode, which works in the shows favor. What started out as an interesting story arc has just become bogged down by so many misdirects and red herrings and too few answers. What is interesting, though, is how the acolytes of the Gargoyle King and those who play G&G interact with the series regulars and the conflicts that arise, and this episode sort of shifts the focus to that. So without further ado, let’s dive in.

So after spending time in juvie and walking out of the SATs, Archie’s future after high school is looking rather bleak. Additionally, his present hasn’t been all that great, what with getting attacked by a bear and breaking up with Veronica, but I digress. So what would a “normal” high school teenager do after all of that? Refocus on school? Nope, but devote his remaining free time to boxing and starting a new relationship. However, his rush into the boxing ring lands him in hot water, per the episode synopsis, which I’m sure viewers never would have seen coming. It’s not like he’s only recently taken up the sport, which started by illegal matches in juvie. Oh, wait. But it’s Archie, so what did we really expect him to do. While I’m precluded from revealing what sort of trouble he gets into, I will say the outcome is better than what happened when he ran away from home and hid out in the wilderness for several weeks. I would hope that this incident sort of gets Archie to think before he makes rash decisions, but I doubt that will happen. Apart from boxing, Archie spends the rest of this episode getting closer to Josie. I have no idea whether they’ve made anything official or if anyone even knows about them, but they do seem awfully close after their kiss last episode. While I’m not sold on Jarchie, if that’s even the correct ship name, I’m not going to object to seeing more Josie. I also really like how she’s supportive of some of his choices, but isn’t afraid to call him out on the ones she doesn’t agree with. Plus, there’s the added bonus that her parents don’t run a giant drug ring and aren’t trying to kill him. We are all very much aware these two will never be endgame, especially with Ashleigh Murray having signed on to the Katy Keene spinoff pilot set several years in the future, but I do like the pairing so far. Josie really helps in keeping Archie grounded, and this relationship is sort of a fresh start for both of them. So I guess if I had to choose, I’d say I’m optimistically onboard, but don’t hold me to that.

Elsewhere, Gladys’ return causes conflict for the Joneses and Lodges in varying degrees. To start, her and Jellybean’s return causes some growing pains, from FP sleeping on the couch to him being thrown when he finds out Gladys lets Jellybean drink coffee. It’s a small, potentially throwaway, scene in the episode, but it really does speak to how Gladys’ return throws everything into whack. Jughead and FP have adapted to being on their own, having moved on in their own way, yet now have to readjust. While Jughead only really has to deal with having a mother again, things are a little more complicated for FP. It’s been a while since we’ve seen FP and Alice on screen together, but the general presumption is they’re still together. So what does Gladys, who is still FP’s wife, returning mean for the couple: Presumably nothing good, despite the husband and wife never having discussed getting back together. Of course, these complications don’t even compare to the mayhem that will ensue when Jughead and FP learn Gladys’ true intentions upon coming home. I can’t imagine that learning Gladys intends to be the next Hiram Lodge, so to speak, would go over that well. Speaking of Hiram, it’s about time that Riverdale finally introduced a formidable foe for him. I didn’t really expect it to be Gladys, but I’m really looking forward to their inevitable showdown and the new dynamics in Riverdale. Of course, it’ll also be interesting to see how the Lodges, as a whole, are affected by Gladys’s homecoming. Remember, Hiram has no idea Hermione tried to sell his drug enterprise to Gladys or that Veronica burned the drugs and equipment and is now indebted to the Jones matriarch in more ways than one. So we’ll see the start of how that game of cat and mouse plays out this episode, with the added danger that Gladys could reveal Hermione and Veronica’s scheming to Hiram at any time. I can’t really say more than that, but per the episode synopsis, Gladys’ homecoming “throws a wrench” into Veronica’s attempt to steer Hiram away from the drug business. Viewers will just have to tune in tonight to see how that all shakes out and what, if any, sort of secrets are revealed and to whom.

Additionally, Betty grows concerned when Alice decides to take her commitment to the Farm to the next level, and essentially becomes fully indoctrinated into the cult. I can’t reveal the nature of what happens, but it does offer viewers a small window into what the Farm is really like. So far, viewers, like Betty, haven’t been privy to what really goes at the Farm. In fact, we’ve never even been there, if my memory serves correctly. All we’ve seen is some circle sharing at the Cooper household and the not-so-real backyard ritual in the season premiere. This storyline has been slowly ramping up during the first half of the season, and with the casting announcement of Edgar Evernever, it seems like viewers are finally going to get to see the inner workings of the cult firsthand. At this point, I’m more curious about the Farm than I am about the true identity of the Gargoyle King. Of course, knowing this show, there’s a pretty good chance the two are connected. Meanwhile, Cheryl’s attempt to send the Serpents a message causes tension between her and Toni, which brings about some of the first conflict the couple faces. Yes, I’m aware the pair have had some challenges, namely in the form of Penelope, but the duo has been pretty solid up to this point. Even their spat in the last episode was wrapped up pretty neatly by the end of the episode. Part of this is, of course, due to their limited screen time, but it seems the honeymoon period may be over. And before all the Choni shippers jump to the comments and ask if they’re breaking up, please know I am not at all implying or even directly stating that. All I am saying is that the pair is finally faced with some issues that they’ll have to sort out, just like couples in real life do. In fact, these challenges, along with the formation of the Pretty Poisons, probably means Cheryl and Toni will be getting more screen time, so fans should be thankful for that, as the pair has been sidelined for most of season three.

Remember to tune in tonight for a new episode of Riverdale, airing at 8 p.m. on The CW.

So hit the comments to let me know your thoughts. What is Archie’s rash decision? Do you ship Archie with Josie yet? What do you think of Gladys' homecoming? Are you excited to finally learn more about the Farm?