Riverdale Season 2 Review: 2.11: The Wrestler

This week on Riverdale season 2 got back to the basics of sports, music and town events. The temporary break from the serial killer plotline allowed the kids to have personal pursuits, which was a welcome change. But, this episode was still messy.

In the main plotline, the FBI agent encouraged Archie Andrews to become closer to Hiram Lodge. He attempted to win Hiram’s favor by going out for the wrestling team. This resulted in a scene where Hiram pinned him down while talking about “dominating” your opponent. I usually enjoy Riverdale‘s homoerotic overtones, but making it inter-generational was very uncomfortable.

Meanwhile, Jughead Jones found out that white settlers killed Native Americans, seemingly for the first time. There was no indication that he knew this is the history of almost every town in America. Fortunately, Toni Topaz was there to explain the white-washing of history. This moment and the moment in which she told Jughead that this wasn’t his story to tell actually felt smart and relevant. But, ultimately, Riverdale isn’t the right show for this storyline. Everything tied back to the silly turf war between the North and South Side, so it all felt trivialized despite a couple of attempts to avoid this.

The plot with Chic Smith went off the rails this week. Since his introduction, he’s all but said that he’s a sex worker with violent clientele. So, it was jarring and inexplicable when the reveal of him being a cam boy was treated like a dramatic turn worthy of being an act out. Betty Cooper seemed determined to use Chic to explore her “darkness” rather than focus on listening to him and becoming a true source of support. This led to him introducing her to the world of working as a cam performer. I’m not sure why he would do something so illegal and so detrimental to his livelihood. But, at least it will also be an uncomfortable plotline to watch.

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