Pep Talk: Riverdale Episode 406, "Hereditary"

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Riverdale 406 Hereditary

I know this show is only an hour long -- technically less than that when you subtract the advertisements -- but it feels like the writers squeezed half-a-season's worth of content into "Hereditary," with each character's arc deserving of at least a couple of episodes.

Archie (KJ APA) is determined to help clean up the town -- or at least clean out Dodger from having kids do his dirty deeds for him. To do that, he has to compete with Dodger for the kids. Dodger provides video games and free food, which Archie can pull off with Veronica's help. When Dodger starts to feel the pinch on his work force, he comes calling at the community center, and let's it drop that he knows Archie is the one running around in a mask, vigilante style, cleaning up the alleys from small-time crooks. Fearing for his family now that his identity is out there, Archie runs home to warn his mom (MOLLY RINGWALD), just in time for the front of his house to get shot up. Having no other options, Archie turns to the one man whose help he had spurned earlier in the episode: Hiram Lodge (MARK CONSUELOS).

Yes, Hiram is out of jail, thanks to his other daughter, Hermosa (MISHEL PRADA), doing some private investigation work and uncovering that the federal prosecutors had conspired with Veronica (CAMILA MENDES) to cook the books at Pop's for falsified evidence. His release from prison coincides with that of his wife, Hermione (MARISOL NICHOLS), and the two work out a reconciliation -- much to Veronica's dismay.

Betty (LILI REINHART) finds even more reason to distrust her half-brother Charles (WYATT NASH), who is too secretive for her liking. So she goes to the one person who knew Charles years ago -- Chic (HART DENTON), to get the "true story" about what happened when they shared a room in the past, a room that became the scene of a murder, according to Chic. Confronted with this information, Charles returns to the Cooper household with a revelation of his own. He, too, has visited Chic, and knows the story of the man that was killed in the Cooper kitchen, and where the body is buried. But he wants to help. So, with the assistance of Sheriff Jones (SKEET ULRICH), the find the body and move it to a better location. However, we later learn that Charles had an ulterior motive for helping them move the body, and that some of his past relationships aren't that much in the past.

While not investigating Charles, Betty is helping Jughead (COLE SPROUSE) with a theory of his own. At Stonewall Prep, where Jug now attends an advanced writing seminar, he has met the author of the original Baxter Brothers mystery novels that were so influential to him as a kid. And it turns out the author knew Jug's grandfather, the first Forsythe P. Jones. Through literary analysis, Jughead makes a determination: the writer of the first Baxter Brothers book is not the same writer who did the second through fifth novels. And when Betty helps Jughead find some older literary magazines at Riverdale High that his grandfather had worked on, they find stories with the same character names as those found in the Baxter Brothers novels -- published years before the books saw print. Armed with this knowledge, Jughead forces a confrontation, getting only Mr. Chipping (SAM WITWER) to believe him -- which unfortunately means it's doomsday for Chipping!

The most bizarre chapter of this episode, of course, happens at the Blossom estate, where Cheryl (MADELAINE PETSCH) has been staying home from school because she doesn't trust the infant twins at home alone with Nana Rose, because of the spirit of her dead triplet brother, Julian, who is apparently inhabiting the form of a creepy doll. Although the doll pales in comparison to the creepy fact of Cheryl keeping the corpse of her other dead triplet brother, Jason, sitting around in the family's underground chapel -- a chapel the rest of the family would now like to visit when the come to the estate to tell Cheryl they plan to sell the maple syrup business. And strange as it sounds, the most unbelievable fact of the night is that one of the twins swallowed a ping-pong ball while Cheryl went to school, and was rushed to the hospital for a tracheotomy. One wonders how wheelchair-bound Nana Rose reacted quickly enough to chase the not-quite-two-year-olds around the manor, let alone got to the phone quickly enough to call emergency services -- or what she was doing playing ping-pong in the first place.

But when one of Cheryl's uncles does finally get to the chapel, he is (appropriately enough) aghast at what he finds, and is determined to have Cheryl committed (again). But Toni (VANESSA MORGAN) assists Cheryl in bludgeoning him in the head. We don't know if he's alive or dead, but we do know Cheryl's aunt comes looking for him the next day and they play dumb.

It's the weirdest, most twisted season of RIVERDALE yet.

Grade: 
4.0 / 5.0