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RIVERDALE Recap: Chapter Five – Heart of Darkness

RIVERDALE Recap: Chapter Five – Heart of Darkness

Editor’s Note: This recap contains spoilers for Riverdale’s fifth episode, “Heart of Darkness.” Only read on if you’ve watched (or want to be spoiled on) Riverdale’s latest episode!

At one point during the fifth episode of of Riverdale, Veronica Lodge called Cheryl Blossom’s life a “Gothic nightmare.” That about summed up the entire episode; one big Gothic nightmare. We’ve compared this show to Twin Peaks in the past, but this week Riverdale went full Crimson Peak as we glimpsed into the world of the Blossom family. We all knew it would be creepy, we just didn’t know it would be that creepy.

The bulk of the episode took place in the Blossom family mansion. Jason’s funeral was seriously messing with Cheryl’s brain. She was weird before, but this episode was a whole new level of nutso. Her family said she couldn’t even participate in the ceremony, which lead to Cheryl lashing out the only way she knew how: by inviting Veronica over for a sleepover.

Yes, a sleepover. Not a fun, girly sleepover – which is what Veronica had expected – but a strange, formal dinner party in which the Blossom parents showed their monstrous side as they poked at Cheryl’s grieving and made fun of Veronica’s incarcerated father. It was all very bizarre and sinister.

Riverdale -- "Chapter Five: Heart of Darkness" -- Image Number: RVD105b_0330.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Camila Mendes as Veronica Lodge, KJ Apa as Archie Andrews, and Hayley Law as Valerie -- Photo: Diyah Pera /The CW -- © 2017 The CW Network. All Rights Reserved

When you add in the scary grandmother who lurks like a ghost in the background, it became clear that the Blossoms are essentially cartoon characters. Riverdale‘s characters are often complex and well-rounded; in a few episodes they have managed to become rich living entities. But not the Blossoms. They are just horror movie props. Sinister to the core and seriously demented.

Cheryl ended up defying her parents, wore a white dress to Jason’s funeral, and hijacked the whole event. Madelaine Petsch was stunning and the absolute standout of the whole episode. We’re hoping that Mrs. Blossom’s line about sending Cheryl off to a “boarding school in Europe” was just an empty threat because we need Madelaine Petsch in our life each week.

Veronica also showcased what a nuanced character she is by becoming Cheryl’s only real friend. She comforted her, despite the fact that Cheryl was a cruel witch to the Lodge family in nearly every episode prior. Veronica’s sympathy and respect for Cheryl provided some real emotional weight to an otherwise silly storyline.

As strange as all the Blossom family stuff was this episode, nothing quite topped the reveal that great grandfather Blossom had murdered great grandfather Cooper over a maple syrup fortune. Cheryl’s great grandfather killed Betty’s great grandfather. Over maple syrup. Yeah.

Riverdale -- "Chapter Five: Heart of Darkness" -- Photo: The CW -- © 2017 The CW Network. All Rights Reserved

Outside of the Gothic horror show, we watched as Archie crumbled under the pressure of his constant juggling act. Trying to be captain of the football team and a dedicated singer/songwriter proved to be too much. Both areas of his life started to suffer and Archie was forced to make a hard choice.

The episode seemed to set up Archie’s choice as football. Whenever this episode was not in the Blossom manor, it was on the football field. The fact that a new music mentor – this douchebag from New York – told Archie that he wasn’t good enough to hack it as a professional musician seemed to further cement the deal. Archie would be captain of the football team; it’s what made the most sense.

Only, when the time came and he was offered the captain position, he turned it down. The kid is dedicated to his craft and that craft is music. He won’t let some douchebag from New York tell him what he can and can’t do. He’s still gonna play football, but Archie’s calling is music and that’s the dream he’s gonna chase.

We also get our “shirtless Archie” quota in this episode. Kj Apa obviously worked hard for those abs, so they deserve some screen time. The dude is ripped, for sure. Even when things are dark and Gothic, Riverdale remembers that sex factor is a key selling point of the show. All these attractive people are constantly stripping their clothes off, which nobody is complaining about, we’re sure.

Riverdale -- "Chapter Five: Heart of Darkness" -- Image Number: RVD105b_0340.jpg -- Pictured: Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper -- Photo: Diyah Pera /The CW -- © 2017 The CW Network. All Rights Reserved

Elsewhere, Betty and Jughead begin to suspect that Betty’s parents might be involved in Jason’s murder. They discover that Jason and Polly (Betty’s institutionalized sister) were married and that the Cooper’s knew about it. They couldn’t very well let their daughter marry the offspring of the man who murdered their kin over maple syrup, now could they? Surely that is motivation for murder, right?

Betty’s drive to uncover the truth about Jason’s murder is now directly tied to her strained relationship with her parents. Her investigations have merged and the story of her sister’s mental collapse and Jason’s death are now one tangled web. Jughead’s proclamation that they have to go talk to Polly was this week’s second big “holy crap!” moment. The first was the whole maple syrup murder thing. Murder and maple syrup! You are too good, Riverdale.

There are a lot of storylines weaved throughout Riverdale. Keeping track of all the characters and their ties to each other can be a dizzying task. That’s the fun of the show though, trying to sort through all the wreckage and mayhem.

What did you think of Riverdale so far? Are the Blossoms the creepiest family on TV? Let us know in the comments below!

Images: The CW

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