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Riverdale Season 4 Episode 18 Review: Lynchian

Betty’s walk down memory lane is a recipe for romantic disaster. But, it’s the perfect spark for teen drama!

With each new diary session on Riverdale Season 4 Episode 18, the pre-series crush spiraled deeper and deeper down the hole. Everything that built up before Riverdale has come to this moment.

These reunited feelings are the turning point for the #Barchie plotline. Did they live up to expectation, or did it fail before it ever began?

As with most recent Riverdale plots, the rise of Barchie ended in a quick flicker before the series could dive deep into the layers of their characters. The two-chapter arc failed to answer the big burning question: Are Betty and Archie endgame or simply a pre-series crush?

From the events that led to their current decision, “Chapter Seventy-Five: Lynchian” didn’t solve either point.

Throughout much of the chapter, both Betty and Archie stood at a crossroads about what to do about their feelings. They had kissed, had secret meet-ups, and held hands while acknowledging that they felt strong feelings for each other, but they didn’t want to hurt Veronica and Jughead.

The overlining point was that they loved Jughead/Veronica and didn’t want to lose either. What Riverdale left ambiguous, however, was if Archie and Betty were in love with each other or not.

The decision was one of stopping themselves from doing something that would complicate things further.

Riverdale tried to justify the decision of Betty ending things abruptly by including the scene of Cheryl, and the line of Betty talking about feeling comfortable with Archie. These pieces didn’t fully work long-term.

What Cheryl said about the situation made sense; people do fall in love with the idea of a person and the feeling of love. Also, there is a safe comfortability that people cling to when the unknown is present. (Just think about the many relationships that last due to “comfort.”)

Betty: I think a part of me has been in love with Archie for 10 years, Cheryl.
Cheryl: False. You’ve been in love with the idea of Archie. The idea of the perfect romance. That wasn’t real, that was fantasy. In this town of nightmares, you and Jughead found each other. That’s real. That’s maybe even, dare I say, endgame? Who knows?

The problem with this, however, is that we’re on Riverdale Season 4.

Betty and Archie have been dating Jughead and Veronica for the last four years. The pair would’ve gotten over any lingering emotions by now, especially being in the midst of endgame love like they had been doing. The sudden swell of passion Betty and Archie fell into shouldn’t have happened since this was something they moved past ages ago.

Riverdale toyed with the idea of Barchie over the years, like with a random kiss or a lingering look. It’s always been subtle nods that leaves the potential out there. Betty keeping the one diary from burning up and Archie getting the motivation for his future fall in line; it’s prepping if the ‘ship gets revisited.

This move still leaves a door open in the future. It’s great for soapy plots, but it’s annoying for #Varchie, #Bughead, and Barchie fans out there who get their hopes up one way or the other.

I wish Betty and Archie would’ve had more time to process their baggage beyond two chapters to make a decision.

The stylistic decision to have flashbacks as Betty reminisced through her diaries was a beautiful choice.

Each scene brought us back to the moment and feeling that Betty experienced as she shared her life with Archie. Before he became a complicated mess, you could tell why she fell in love with him. Archie was the perfect boy-next-door she spent her life with, so Cheryl had a point about the image Betty built up in her head.

I’m glad that Riverdale included the most significant times that shaped the pairing, like when Betty first knew she loved Archie, their “proposal,” and when they hung out.

These scenes provided the needed depth as to why the pair were so mixed up in the emotions. However, the flashbacks would’ve been better to have during Riverdale Season 1 when the show played with the love triangle plot.

Just think about how dramatic those early love triangle (a square with Jughead?) would’ve been knowing Betty’s past!

As complicated and toxic the father/daughter relationship is between Hiram and Veronica, there is no denying that they love each other. A competitive and unhealthy love, but still love.

Part of the reason Hiram went to confront the Malloys was that they threatened his daughter. No one messes with his Miha, and even if they’re estranged, Hiram will (somewhat) go out of his way to protect Veronica’s honor.

Though, the biggest reason Hiram fell into this mess was due to his toxic masculinity to reclaim HIS honor.

Veronica: What happened when you spared that Malloy troll, you said it revealed that you were weak. But I think it did the exact opposite. It took strength for you to not go back to your old habits and I’m proud of you for it.
[Flash of Hiram killing the Malloy leader]
Veronica: It showed me that you have finally and truly turned over a new leaf.
Hiram: I have, Miha. And might I add, it’s a pleasure doing business with you again.

Let’s all be on the same page here: if Veronica hadn’t implied Hiram’s weakness, he wouldn’t have jumped at the chance to throw some fists and shoot some bullets.

Hiram was disrespected in his confrontation against the Malloys, and no one gets the upper hand against him. Hiram doesn’t get mad. He gets even — and then some.

If Veronica ever finds out about the murder, this will put an end to any reconciliation between them. They’ve gone through the wringer to get back to liking each other; she won’t forgive another murder.

Are you happy to see the tickle video storyline end?

One of Riverdale’s most absurd plots finally ended in one quick swoop. So, thank you, Reggie, for escalating things to the point of no return for Kevin and Fang’s little side-project!

Though, you have to admire Reggie’s thirst for ambition and wealth. He saw an opportunity to make a business venture, and he jumped in with both feet to get everything off the ground fast.

In a mere day, he got the entire football team, and the River Vixens looped into a profitable deal. And, he found an underhanded and selfish solution to the Terry problem that was so “Reggie.”

Granted, this was all over tickle videos, but Reggie should consider sales or a business course at whatever community college he’s attending.

Terry’s threats to Kevin in the diner is one of the more intense scenes that Riverdale has done. Sure, there have been outlandish fights, mob threats, and serial killers before on Riverdale, but this moment felt grounded and realistic.

All Terry had was two goons with the ability to break Kevin’s hands if Kevin disagreed. Thanks to the close-up camera angles and finger sounds, each phase of the torture heightened the tension.

You could feel the pain as the goons pulled the fingers back sharply!

Terry: You’ve been a naughty boy, Kevin.
Kevin: Terry?
Terry: You lied to me. You weren’t getting out of the tickle business; you were setting up your own shop.
Kevin: We don’t want to make trouble.
Terry: You already did.

Plus, the scene was about Kevin on the receiving end of the threats. Kevin isn’t typically involved in the dangerous plots, so it took us as viewers out of our comfort zone.

Terry’s threats worked in this scene, but his threats when the Bulldogs arrived was laughably soap opera villain. Unless he comes back in the future, that line meant nothing. And, odds are Riverdale won’t be returning to this plot ever again, which now makes Terry even more of a non-threat.

The hunt for the VHS recorder brought back the perfect red-herring of Ethel Muggs.

Did anyone else miss her? She’s so spectacularly weird and mischievous.

I’m just trying to keep my head down and make it out of Riverdale in one piece. I didn’t make any tape.

Ethel

Ethel would’ve been too obvious of a culprit. After everything that happened with The Gargoyle King, her crush on Jughead, and her role in the A/V Club, she fit too many of the boxes. Plus, it’s Ethel Muggs. (Need I say more?)

It’s a classic Riverdale fake-out that leads everyone to the correct path. Thankfully, the answer was creepier and weirder than taking the easy path.

Firstly, a bustling VHS video store in the middle of nowhere is an anomaly in itself.

Let alone, the store owner gave off MAJOR eerie vibes that made me wonder if he was creepy, mysterious, or both. He would be a good character on Twin Peaks.

His Scarlett Suite, on the other hand, created many new questions for this VHS mystery.

Like, what other videos did he have stored in the back? Did he keep a record of whom sold him the tapes? And, if Mr. Honey was a patron of the Scarlett Suite, what kinky stuff was he into?

“Chapter Seventy-Five: Lynchian” alluded to Mr. Honey watching the tickle video, but with the site just launching, he had to have watched previous ones. Also, did he know about Jason’s murder tape and Betty/Jughead’s tape?

Mr. Honey is a stoic well of secrets. (It’s always the creepy quiet ones that you suspect of being sketchy that have a dark side to them.)

Last Thoughts From Sweetwater River:

  • Cheryl and Veronica’s business partnership was sweet while it lasted, but Cheryl is making the right decision to leave before it gets complicated. The Malloys will strike again.
     
  • The mask videos are becoming targeted and cruel. Someone might have a hitlist they’re going through.
     
  • If Ethel loves Friday the 13th so much, she should buy her own copy. It’ll probably come in a collector’s set with the rest of the series.
     
  • Betty’s last diary will be important somehow in the future. Riverdale is making a note about saving one.
     
  • Jughead and Charles should team up more. The pair barely explore their sibling connection; they’ve mostly stayed out of each other’s way, except for the odd investigation.

Now, over to you, Riverdale fans!

What did you think of “Chapter Seventy-Five: Lynchian”?

Is this truly the end of Betty and Archie? Will Fangs and Kevin’s relationship survive outside of Riverdale? What secrets is Mr. Honey hiding?

If you missed the latest episode of Riverdale, you can watch Riverdale online via TV Fanatic. Come back here and share your thoughts in the comments below.

Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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