‘Chapter Twenty-Six: The Tell-Tale Heart’ Review

Stop right there! If you’re not caught up yet, check out last episode’s recap here.

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Nothing to see here. (L-R: Mädchen Amick as Alice Cooper, Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper & Christian Sloan as Shady McDead — Picture Source: The CW/Netflix)

Just when I was about ready to give up on this season, they clap back with a doozy of a great episode with all the juicy bits of Season One I was longing for. Picking up exactly where we left off (where else?), Betty Cooper is reeling in shock as her mother Alice frantically cleans up the blood of a dead transient in their hallway, and her brother Chic sits numb and catatonic in the corner. Alice quickly explains (somewhat unconvincingly) that Chic did it to him out of self-defense when the man attacked her, before urging Betty to not get involved despite her feeble attempts to help, and begging her not to call the police because she doesn’t want to lose her son again. At the worst possible time, Betty starts to receive a phone call from her dad, and Alice directs her to answer it and act normal. Sort of succeeding at this, Betty learns that Hal is coming by to pick up some toiletries and offers again to help clean up the mess because they don’t have much time. Reluctantly, Alice agrees and directs her on what to do. Elsewhere, in Archie’s garage, FBI Special Agent Arthur Adams is growing frustrated with Archie Andrews and applying heavy pressure to try and get more information about what Arch night know about Papa Poutine’s mob-style execution. Archie maintains that Hiram Lodge was not involved, and lies when Adams asks about a potential capo — an assistant that does his dirty work — saying that he doesn’t know of any, despite André the butler-slash-driver always hovering around. In frustration, Adams kicks over a bass drum and high-hat, clearly no longer caring if Archie’s dad finds out about this arrangement (and spooking the Cooper women next door). Meanwhile, Hal Cooper comes home to a clean house — and his wife and daughter acting extremely suspicious. They claim the bleach smell is due to some spilled tomato soup, and while he doesn’t buy it he doesn’t push the matter and grabs his toiletries and leaves.

Later, Jughead Jones calls Betty (as she’s preparing to leave to dispose of the body) to tell her he had fun and that he loves her (!!!) but she’s too preoccupied with more pressing things and hastily brushes the call aside without reciprocating the sentiment, leaving him high and dry in his trailer. She and Alice drive the body, wrapped in a rug, to an old disused sewer pipe and drop the body off, hoping nobody is going to be looking for him. Meanwhile, Hal is at Thistlehouse, being comforted by a very touchy-feely Penelope Blossom over his concerns that his family was hiding something. Elsewhere, FP Jones comes home after banishing Tall Boy and announced his plan to sit down with Mayor McCoy and confront her about Hiram Lodge, showing her the statue’s severed head — but realizes the head is missing. In the head’s new home The Pembrooke, the Lodges declare war against the Southside Serpents. However, Veronica has a more peaceful solution to de-escalate the situation — she suggests they hold a parley to make peace with the gang. Back at the Cooper house, Alice and Betty are scrubbing fingerprints off anything the ragamuffin may have touched, but Betty is getting paranoid and taking it overboard. She finally passes out in bed, exhausted, but when she wakes up the next morning Alice and Chic are having a completely pleasant normal breakfast, as if nothing happened. Extremely paranoid and on-edge, Betty drops and shatters her bowl of cereal as someone knocks on the door. Approaching carefully (with a ton of well-directed tension), she opens the door and finds… Jughead Jones, here to walk her to school.

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NOT THE FRUITY MUNCH™. (Picture Source: The CW/Netflix)

As the two walk in the rain, Jughead is still off-put about last night and brings it up to a very tense Betty, who is completely lost in thought. Realizing that she had blown him off, she quickly reassured him that she had a really good time with him, her home life was just messy. Meanwhile, Archie Andrews and Ronnie walk to school, and she warns him about the possibility of an impending turf war between the Lodges and the Joneses. Jughead and Veronica later hash out the details of their family rendezvous in the student lounge, while Archie ignores the FBI’s calls — but this is interrupted by Kevin Keller busting in with dark news from his sheriff dad: another dead body has been found. Betty freaks out and digs her nails into her palms, but Kevin goes on to explain it was a motel execution — the death of Papa Poutine. Nonetheless, Betty runs to the bathroom and throws up everywhere. A concerned Cheryl Blossom witnesses the whole scene and offers to help clean up, but Betty coldly rejects her help before crying alone in the stall. Elsewhere, Veronica pulls Archie aside into the abandoned science classroom and lapses back into Season 1 Veronica, stressing about her dad’s shady dealings, but Archie reassures her that her dad is a good guy and likely wasn’t involved.

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And no Svenson to clean it up. (Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper — Picture Source: The CW/Netflix)

Later, in the mayor’s office, Mayor Sierra McCoy needs to fire her secretary because Jughead is confronting her once again regarding his south side beef. He points out that all three business closures — the Twilight Drive-In, Southside High and now Sunnyside Trailer Park — are all on government-owned land, meaning Sierra was behind the land sales, and he rightfully calls her out on accepting Lodge donations for land-related favours. Elsewhere, Archie sits with Special Agent Arthur Adams on a park bench (how could this guy look any more like a FBI detective?) and accepts an envelope of money for his informant work — and guilts him to confront Hiram about the Papa Poutine hit to see if he can get any information. Archie does so, but Hiram denies any involvement — instead suggesting it was one of his many enemies. However, Archie has another reason for visiting, and advises Mr. Lodge of Veronica’s worries, hoping he can bring her some peace of mind. As this goes down, Betty is sneaking through the brush back to the same abandoned storm drain where the body was left to make sure she’s not just going crazy. On the contrary, she finds the body right where they left him — and takes the ringing cell phone off the corpse before covering him back up. Rushing home (and avoiding family Clue night) she locks her bedroom door and immediately starts making meticulous calls of all the man’s phone contacts, texts and 47 missed calls.

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Just a couple of dicks in the woods. (L-R: KJ Apa as Archie Andrews & John Behlmann as Special Agent Arthur Adams — Picture Source: The CW/Netflix)

The next morning, Veronica is getting ready for school when her dad approaches her and advises her of his visit from Archie. Probably lying, he reassures her that he had nothing to do with Papa Poutine’s death. Meanwhile, Betty confronts Chic with the phone records and his own lies — the man wasn’t one of Chic’s clients, he was his drug dealer, and she questions what else he’s been dishonest about. Chic starts to pathetically pout and tear up at this accusation, and overprotective Alice drags Betty away to scold her for her carelessness as Chic, unseen to them, starts to smile menacingly. Elsewhere, Archie is playing fetch with his dog Vegas while telling Agent Adams that Hiram denied everything, and makes up thelie that Papa Poutine owed $86,000 (note: the cost of Fred Andrews’ medical bell) to Lenny Kowalski in gambling debt, so he probably killed him. As this is happening, the Lodges sit down with the Joneses in the trailer park to discuss peace terms. Hiram (LYINGLY) denies any involvement in the statue beheading or the trailer park foreclosure, but offers to pay the overdue rent of the south side residents of the park to keep it open. FP is about to shake on the deal, when Hiram asks Jughead to keep his name out of the exposé he’s writing in return — and they smugly refuse the offer instead. Meanwhile, Cheryl is practicing archery outside the manor when she spots Hal Cooper leaving her home. She confronts her courtesan mother over this, believing Betty’s stress-vomiting to be due to this affair, but Penelope drops the bombshell that Hal isn’t a john — they are in love, Alice Cooper be damned.

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Insert Katniss joke here. (Madelaine Petsch as Cheryl Blossom — Picture Source: The CW/Netflix)

Later, Veronica comes home to her parents arguing with Madame Mayor, and she storms out threatening to tell Jughead everything. Hermione and Hiram explain to their daughter that they had merely told her that they were going to unveil their plans for the Southside High land early, but she wanted to wait until after her re-election. In an effort to minimize any damage she could do to the Lodge name, they reveal that their capo André has been following her and knows about her affair with Sheriff Keller, and they plan to expose her and have her ejected from office in disgrace — much do Veronica’s discomfort. As Archie arrives home, however, he sees a more unsettling sight — Agent Adams fedora on his coffee table. Entering the kitchen, he finds Adams interrogating his dad, pretending to not know him. Meanwhile, Betty is in Pop Tate’s Chock’lit Shoppe calling every name she can find in the man’s contacts, pretending she found this phone and trying to find its owner, but getting hung up on every time. She starts to give up when she gets a very angry call from the man’s girlfriend, accusing her of being his mistress, and she quickly packs up and leaves the diner, shook and calling Jughead. He shows up and finds her upset on her front step, and she tells him everything about the shady man. Jug is freaked out, but no time to dwell on that — parking enforcement comes around the block complaining about the car that’s been parked there, and tells Jughead (who lies and says it’s his) that he’s got five minutes to move it or he gets a ticket.

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‘And then I dropped my Fruity Munch™ when you knocked…’ (L-R: Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper & Cole Sprouse as Jughead Jones — Picture Source: The CW/Netflix)

Arch is also panicking, as Fred tells him that the FBI is cracking down on illegal immigrants from Canada, and admits that he had looked the other way a few times over the years in regards to illegal workers. Archie later angrily confronts Adams over going after his father, but the special agent claps back that this was an intimidation tactic; he knows Archie was lying about Lenny and points out that Arch has been trying to protect Hiram and is therefore compromised, asking him to do the last thing he can: plant a bug in the Lodge study. Meanwhile, Cheryl confronts Hal when he’s leaving her house yet again and warns him to stay away from her mother before she tells his family. Elsewhere, Ronnie, back to not trusting her family, sits down with the mayor and warns her of her parents’ plans to reveal her affair, advising her to take control of the narrative before they get the chance. Elsewhere, at Sweetwater River, Jughead and Betty pull off a scene directly from Psycho — sinking the hotwired car into the lake (with a tense moment’s hesitation as it bobs above the surface before plunging below), with Bets throwing the transient’s phone in the deep after it. Later, as the Lodges watch it over television in horror, Mayor McCoy announces her resignation to spend more time with her family. Hiram later asks his daughter if she played any part in this, as it seemed Sierra was warned, and Veronica, mirroring her dad’s earlier lie, smugly tells him that she did not.

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You’d think the Lodges would have a bigger TV tbh. (L-R: Marisol Nichols as Hermione Lodge, Robin Givens as Mayor Sierra McCoy, Ashleigh Murray as Josie McCoy & Mark Consuelos as Hiram Lodge — Picture Source: The CW/Netflix)

Meanwhile, Cheryl approaches Betty at school after mulling it over, and decides to tell her about her dad — right as Betty gets a text from Chic that Hal showed up at the house while they were away. Betty rushes home to find her dad yelling at a thoroughly freaked-out and hurt-kitten verge-of-tears Chic, accusing him of turning tricks and asking the hard-hitting questions like ‘what happened to the rug’, ‘why does it smell like bleach’, and ‘who keeps stealing my shit’? Calling Hal out on his affair, Betty says that he just feels they’re hiding stuff because he is, asking him to leave. After he goes, she reminds a weepy Chic that she didn’t do that for him. Elsewhere, Archie watches his dad, stressed, pore over old files and documents, before taking the bug out of his drawer and thinking it over. He later sits down with Mr. Lodge (no!) and tells him the truth (NO!!!): the FBI has been trying to use him as a mole for the past few weeks, but he smashed the bug they gave him with a hammer and has only been feeding them misinformation. Giving Hiram the FBI agent’s name, he asks for help in getting his dad out of this jam. At the same time, Alice comes home from work and Betty tells her about Hal’s less-than-amicable visit home (sans the affair part), the car, and all her paranoia about potential loose ends. She urges her mom to get help with this situation — and she doesn’t mean the police. Knocking on his trailer door, FP opens up and admits Jug just told him everything and that he won’t let them make the same mistakes he made with Jason Blossom. Working alone, he buries the body for them, covering it in lye.

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TFW your crying face looks like a melting Dave Franco. (Hart Denton as Charles ‘Chic’ Smith/Cooper — Picture Source: The CW/Netflix)

Elsewhere, Archie answers a knock on the door and finds André, asking him to come for a drive to see ‘the boss’. However, he misses the turn the The Pembrooke, saying, somewhat menacingly, that the meeting is somewhere more scenic… and private. Meanwhile, Betty, Alice and Jughead wait on tenterhooks at Pop’s for news, and FP comes in and advises them it’s done. As Alice panics, FP secretly holds her hand and reminds her that Serpents take care of each other, and the four breathe a collective sigh of relief that it’s all over. At home, Chic is sitting by the fireplace in the dark, going through old family albums before slyly cutting Hal out of a family picture with a smirk. Finally, Archie comes to his destination: a rocky cliff overlooking Sweetwater River. André guides him to the edge to his boss — Hermione Lodge. Plot twist! Hermione sends André back to the car as she menacingly looks at the rocky rapids below, telling Archie about omertà — their code of silence; that no crime is worse than snitching. Archie tries to protest that he never would do anything to betray the Lodge family, and she states that she knows — admitting that Special Agent Adams does not exist, he was one of the Lodge family’s capos, hired, unbeknownst to Veronica, to see if Hiram and Hermione could trust Archie. This FBI nonsense was all a test — applying pressure, threatening his father — and Arch passed. Welcome to the family, Archie.

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God, this episode was so well-directed. (L-R: KJ Apa as Archie Andrews, Marisol Nichols as Hermione Lodge & Stephen Myers as André — Picture Source: The CW/Netflix)

Woah! Now that’s an episode! We may have to wait a few weeks, but check out new Riverdale every Wednesday on The CW, on The CW app, or internationally on Netflix every Thursday! Don’t forget to also check The Game of Nerds for all your fun fandom and Riverdale stuff!

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Author: Jordan

@jordanrolufs on Twitter!

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