Warning: This recap of the “Chapter Twenty-Six: The Tell-Tale Heart” episode of Riverdale contains spoilers.
Where do you dispose of your corpses? Everyone’s different, with different circumstances and economic backgrounds, and we’re all on different journeys just in general. But everyone has at least one body to get rid of at some point, so where do you dump your corpses? A quarry? The local bog? Perhaps in the hellmouth you accidentally opened while saging your home? I don’t ask this question to generate a discussion, I am looking for IDEAS and SUGGESTIONS. I am in a bit of a pickle, to be quite honest. Oh heck, maybe I’ll just take a page from Riverdale and go for a traditional shallow-grave-in-a-forest. That should do it, right? Man, I’m in trouble.
“Chapter Twenty-Six: The Tell-Tale Heart” was somehow both packed with tension and also pleasant in its simplicity: There have been murders, and characters would like to get away with these murders! Paging Viola Davis, JK. But seriously, don’t page her, she does not appreciate it. This was a fun and stressful episode, directed with aplomb by television legend Julie Plec, who once politely tolerated my writing recaps of her series The Vampire Diaries for eight years. Much like that show, this episode was somehow heartfelt yet breakneck-paced. Let’s talk about it!
We began with an image straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting, particularly from his later, less popular “murder” period.
As we saw in last week’s cliffhanger, Betty had arrived home to find her mother ruining all the linens!
She and Chic had murdered a man, and while this episode offered hilariously little explanation for that act, it didn’t matter! There was a corpse to be disposed of, and Alice Cooper had NO interest in involving the police. And since Chic was just sort of a quivering mess in the corner, Betty had to step up and help fix the situation.
This included dealing with her father, who was en route to come pick up his toiletries (lube) and clothing (condoms). They needed to get rid of this corpse, all its spilled blood, and bleach the **ck out of that hardwood before anyone was the wiser! Well, it was at least more entertaining than a game of Clue.
Before we knew it, Alice had brought Betty to her favorite hiding place as a child, which would have been a touching mother-daughter moment if it didn’t involve corpse disposal in a spooky drainpipe like something out of It. Alice truly is a weirdo — always has been.
So yeah, it had been a long night for the Coopers, and Betty looked flat-out bedraggled the next day. She kind of held it together and managed not to immediately spill the beans to Jughead, but when reports surfaced that a corpse had been discovered in the area, Betty felt very triggered!
As it turned out, the corpse was Papa Poutine, the OTHER brutal murder in Riverdale last night. But still, Betty was feeling pretty guilty for having tried to dispose of a strange man’s corpse for no reason. Even Cheryl felt bad for her!
For his part, Chic refused to own up to what exactly had gone on or who the guy was, other than a drug dealer who had meant Chic harm. Fair enough? But it was simply rude that Chic had refused to help dispose of the dude’s body. Like, help out with some chores, you know?
Familial distrust ended up being a recurring theme this week, as Veronica straight-up asked her father if he’d ordered the hit on Papa Poutine and he denied it. Veronica did not seem very convinced! Meanwhile, Archie was still out doing those tasks for the FBI agent, but I honestly can’t be bothered to care about it at all (especially after what we learn later). Anyway, everyone assumed Hiram Lodge had killed Papa Poutine, but he was denying it. Agree to disagree, I guess!
Here was a shocker: Alice’s dad is doing sex with Cheryl’s mom! Because why not? They’re both single and — oh wait. I guess Alice’s dad is not single. OK this qualifies as a bona fide scandal, everybody!
Cheryl was outside doing archery by herself (what a life!) when she saw Alice’s dad leaving her home looking all freshly sexed, so she knew something was up. And when she confronted her mother about turning tricks among the local DILF population, her mom owned up to it. But she insisted she wasn’t charging him a dime.
Yep, Ms. Blossom was catching FEELINGS for this galoot. Like any rational person, Cheryl immediately reflex-gagged and ran out of the room. In my opinion this affair is going to cause drama between the Coopers and Blossoms, and you can quote me on that.
At some point Betty HAD TO tell Jughead, and I loved how shocked and repulsed he was by the news that she had dumped a corpse for some reason. He gasped and dry heaved a lil. But he himself had been up to all kinds of illegal shenanigans lately, so he agreed to help her dispose of the victim’s car, which had been conspicuously parked in front of Betty’s home for days. And you know what, the task didn’t look THAT unpleasant.
As far as dates go, you could do worse than teaming up with your crush to push a car into a swamp. In fact, I’ve had more than one solid relationship start that way. Anyway, I guess in Riverdale it’s super easy to dispose of bodies and cars, so I’m sure these kids are going to get away with everything and there will be no further complications, not even from the angry woman claiming to be the victim’s girlfriend who called his phone while Betty was holding onto it. That’ll probably be fine, too.
At some point the mayor and the Lodges started fighting about whatever — property rights probably. The Lodges decided they were going to shame her by revealing her affair with
the Black Hood Sheriff Keller. But sensing she could intervene and make things slightly better, Veronica tipped the mayor off to this, and the mayor decided to resign her office with dignity. (Which, uh, that’s not great!) She’s going to become a private citizen again and more notably, a LAWYER. See you in court, you outrageously bone-structured Mafia family!
Cheryl’s weekly moment of humanity came when she surmised that Betty’s bad state of mind was somehow related to her father’s sleeping around. So she did what any concerned friend would do and told her EVERYTHING. Their parents were boning, and it was time Betty knew. But since Betty basically hates her father, she immediately used this affair as ammo to get him to leave their house and leave Chic alone. Good riddance, honestly. Ms. Blossom, he’s all yours.
After weeks of a go-nowhere infiltration, Agent Andrews gave Archie a doozy of a mission: plant a bug in Hiram Lodge’s office! But Archie was conflicted about this. Like, he’d even flat-out asked Hiram if he’d ordered a hit on Papa Poutine, and the man denied it. Wasn’t that enough? Evidently no. According to the agent it was bug o’clock. WHAT would Archie do?
Because Betty was losing her mind with guilt and it appeared that their body disposal was probably not as foolproof as they’d hoped, Betty and Alice decided to go to a local expert on corpse disposal. …
Skeet Ulrich! True, his terrible corpse disposal skills sparked the entirety of Season 1’s main storyline, but he wasn’t going to make the same mistake again, you know? This time he was going to dig a shallow grave and cover the body in lye. That oughta do it! (Also it apparently smelled terrible, and when he arrived at Pop’s everyone spat out their grilled cheese.) Also, are Skeet Ulrich and Alice Cooper a thing now? They held hands and everything. I’m down.
I loved when, after Mr. Cooper had fled the, uh, coop-er, Chic took a family photo out of the album and snipped the man out. Except, hey, snip Polly out while you’re at it? She kinda sucked. I like the trio of Alice, Betty, and Chic … just a chill psycho trying to raise her plucky sex worker children. Consider this family UPGRADED.
The episode’s final revelation was that the FBI agent hassling Archie these past few weeks had been a FAKE AGENT hired by the Lodges to test Archie’s loyalty. And when Archie came clean to Hiram that he’d been ordered to plant a bug, Archie passed the test. But what did this mean? Was he officially in the mob now? And would Veronica be cool with everything? Who even knows. As long as it leads to more wrestling matches between Archie and Hiram, I’m good with whatever!
“Chapter Twenty-Six: The Tell-Tale Heart” was a fleet, tense, and weird episode. I really enjoyed it, particularly the underexplained murder element. It was Riverdale admitting that maybe the whys of a murder aren’t nearly as entertaining as the aftermath. And again, it’s only a matter of time before this murder causes problems for everyone, so fingers crossed they’re fun ones! Fun problems! Like corpse disposal! (Honestly, tips & advice appreciated.)
Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on the CW.