REVIEW: ‘Riverdale’ Season 3, Episode 9 – ‘No Exit’

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Like a lot of the CW Network shows, Riverdale took a brief break over the winter holidays. The midseason finale left off with quite a shock as we saw Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos) meeting with The Gargoyle King himself. For months, there was much speculation that the Fizzle Rocks that Hiram was making were causing people to hallucinate and see The Gargoyle King. With such a strong cliffhanger, many fans of the show were eagerly waiting for this episode.

The episode picks up five weeks after Hiram took over Riverdale. Betty (Lili Reinhart) has been fostering the other kids she saved from the Sisters of Quiet Mercy asylum. She struggles to keep the kids from leaving and desperately looks for support. With Archie (K.J. Apa) still being a wanted man in Riverdale, he’s settled down in a cabin that’s presumably far away from his hometown. But after a major event happens that leaves him injured, Archie begins to reflect on his actions that led him to where he is now. Jughead (Cole Sprouse) and F.P. (Skeet Ulrich) are struggling to keep the Serpents in order. Veronica (Camila Mendes) and Reggie (Charles Melton) find ways to keep their speakeasy from being ruined by her father.

I’m not quite sure where this story is going. It had such potential to be something great, especially when Betty discovered that Hiram’s drugs were being tested on the kids in the asylum. But since it appears that The Gargoyle King is an actual person working with Hiram and him taking control over Riverdale, it’s hard to see where the story is going to go. I’m hopeful that it’ll begin to reveal itself, but it’s a bit of a mess right now. Hiram has become one of the best things about the show. I’ll be disappointed if all his plans end up without any real purpose.

Even though this show is inspired by the Archie Comics series, Archie has become one of the worst things about the show. I wouldn’t say K.J. doesn’t do a good job playing Archie, but his character seems to be making the same mistakes over and over. Also, without giving away spoilers, I can’t understand that Archie was injured so badly after having survived such dangerous experiences. This just seems like a pointless way for him to reflect through his past actions and the consequences they’ve had.

That being said, I really liked seeing Archie reflecting on his actions. It shows a bit of character development. The way that the show decided to handle this was excellent. One of the better things this season was the introduction of the Griffins and Gargoyles game. I’m glad that they found a way to incorporate this in Archie’s reflection.

Another low p, however, is the “shipping.” Does anyone remember when “shipping” wasn’t a thing that dominated shows? Well, I do. I’m not saying shipping characters is a bad thing, but to the point where it primarily dominates a show, it can get a bit irritating. It is a teen drama show, so it makes sense for shipping to be a dominant factor, but I’d just wish it wouldn’t be one of the biggest deciding factors of the show.

It’s sad to see characters like Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch), Toni (Vanessa Morgan), Josie (Ashleigh Murray), and Kevin (Casey Cott) being sidelined throughout this season. They’ve played such bigger parts during previous seasons and have become integral parts of the show. Toni and Cheryl had a fantastic segment together in an episode, but that’s the only stand-out moment from these two characters that I can think of this season. I hope they can be given bigger parts in the remaining 12 episodes of season three.

I can’t say I really enjoyed this episode. This has probably been one of the more weaker episodes of the entire show. Though season one had some questionable moments, it demonstrated that the show could deliver great storylines and fantastic elements of mystery. It’ll be interesting where the rest of the show goes from here.

Riverdale airs on the CW Network every Wednesday at 6 pm EST / 9 pm PST.

Final Rating: 5/10 Gargoyle Kings