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Everything’s Riverdale: S2E8 House of the Devil

Love! Sex! Death! Car dealerships! Amateur porn!

Everything’s Riverdale!

(But hold the worm)

YOUR PALS

 

Margaret Howard believes that her father was driven mad by the mystery of the Devil’s House, dragging himself back there there “day and night for hours,” scratching and searching for that one clue that might yet make sense of it all.

Sheriff Howard returned to the Devil’s House every year. Every year. Day and night. Hours and hours. That one elusive detail forever out of his grasp.

Veronica finds it in exactly one minute and fifty-nine seconds. In the dark. Without her Sleuthing Cloak. She used counting.   

I am being unfair, of course. Sheriff Howard did know there was a third Conway child. It’s just that, unlike Veronica, he never thought to ask that child what happened.  

Sheriff Keller can rest easy, knowing that history will not remember him as Riverdale’s most useless lawman.

Portugal. The Man perform ‘Feel it Still’ over a scene in this episode. But which scene? Let me just look it up on the Riverdale Wiki. Ah. Here it is. “SCENE: Jughead narrates as Archie and Veronica have sex.

Jughead narrates as Archie and Veronica have sex. What a way to behave! Even if he is pledged to write every day, the subject matter was left open. This is a striking choice for him (How was the data even gathered?) and it’s a striking choice for the show, as to have a series of saucy scenes narrated by a third character, to make a third character dramatically present in those moments, is no small thing. Archie and Veronica having a lot of sex becomes nowhere near as interesting as why and what Jughead is thinking about Archie and Veronica having a lot of sex. What mystery is he trying to solve today?

Betty is not having a lot of sex. “PG-13 grope sessions” with Jughead, very possibly, but not a lot of sex. This, the episode makes abundantly clear, is very much on her mind. Kevin may have been spot on when he told her that she has the privilege of being free to explore her “BDSM sexuality” but such explorations are evidently not happening at her pace.    

Byrdie informs Betty that becoming “serpent adjacent” will involve a public display of sexuality.

Toni supposes that this will put her off.   

Children Waiting For The Day They Feel Good are evoked as Betty begins her verse. Archie and Veronica’s disastrous attempt at a duet, a shared romantic moment, has collapsed and Betty has taken to the stage to complete the song, get her kit off, and touch herself up a bit. Once again, a third party has been introduced into Archie and Veronica’s intimacy.

People run in circles. Betty is trying to work out how she stands in relation to sexuality; She knows she’s waiting to enter a sexual world and needing to know how she wants that world to work. Jughead is trying to work out how he stands in relation to sexuality; Does he want to enter a sexual world? Both are trying to solve their mysteries by juxtaposing themselves with Archie and Veronica’s straight, vanilla rumpo and romance, by imagining themselves as third persons in that relationship. Bless their clueless hearts.

Veronica asks “So… you want us to be you guys?” Oh, Ronnie. It’s so much more complicated than that.

The Penultimate Lyric of Mad World is “Enlarge your world,” an imperative which suggests the gloom of the prior verses is escapable by putting yourself outside their limits. All our little lost lambs need do to beat the devil, to be able to look in the mirror, is make it to the end of the song.

The Devil has so far this season been identified with Hiram, Penny, Dilton and the Black Hood. They’ve all been the devil, or been said to resemble him, for at least one scene. Meanwhile, the Reaper has been imagined to worship him, and we’re heading towards an adaptation of a comic in which his occasional wife is a major character. ‘The Devil’ as a symbol has roamed freely around Riverdale, laying his hat in everyone’s hallways. Now he finally has an address of his own.

The Conways are a hard done by family. First they’re murdered, then the Devil takes their house. I wonder by what process the house came to be thought of as evil, given that it was a threat external to the house that killed them. Murder and evil did not, in any account we’ve heard so far, gestate and develop within the house; Murder just walked in out of the woods.  

The Conways could equally be a loose reference to J.B. Priestly or to the ill-fated Conway family from super-racist Top Notch Comics story ‘Dick Storm in India.’ Therein lies the duality of this show.

Dick Storm.

Sweet Pea performs this week’s most exemplary off-screen 180, having gone from being in favour of mortar attacks to being in favour of seeking rapprochement with the Mayor.

Hermione is far more relaxed nowadays. The Lodges started this season suspicious of each other being supervillains and stressed about being trapped into supervillainous lives. After their righteous vengeance on Nick St Clair, the family appear temporarily united around the idea that supervillainy has its virtues.

Cheryl’s story right now is about a lot of things, but a biggie is how she stands in relation to ideas of female solidarity. Everyone kicking the shit out of Nick St Clair was a joyous and cathartic moment and the week it aired was one in which a lot of us were in the mood to see a group of young, would-be celebrities beat a rapist mogul to a bloody pulp in a hotel room. The trouble for Cheryl is that that moment, a huge moment in her life, was made possible by the Pussycats’ “women help women” ethos and that’s not an ethos to which she feels she can connect.

Jason remains the only person with whom Cheryl feels any solidarity, and her “me and my dead brother against the world” worldview can’t permit any of this “women help women” business. So feeling beholden to that ethos for her rescue is an unimaginable crisis for Cheryl’s mental functioning, and she’s found herself in a position where she either has to rethink the whole way she sees the world or violently alter reality to allow “me and my dead brother against the world” to remain tenable.

Cheryl is violently altering reality. Veronica, Josie, Melody and Valerie did not come to her aid. Josie did. Josie saved her. Cheryl has reduced an instance of collective female action to an idea she finds more manageable and containable; Josie saved her. The whole event has been condensed down into the person of Josie. Now all Cheryl need do is violently alter Josie’s reality, so she too can be managed and contained.   

Hiram is such a plausible father for Veronica. His flustered “That’s my preference” line is a wonderfully Veronica-ish line with wonderfully Veronica-ish delivery. Benefiting from being a Season Two introduction, he’s what a TV dad looks like when you have an established character to create a dad for.  

André is trained in the martial arts.

The Red Death shows up in ONE Edgar Allan Poe story, Jugs! Why’re you talking like it’s Poe’s Team Rocket? I think he’s got confused because that story was published as both ‘The Mask of the Red Death’ and ‘The Masque of the Red Death.’ Assuming these to be separate stories, the Mighty Serpent Prince has imagined an entire series of “Oh no! It’s the Red Death!” misadventures round Prince Prospero’s gaff.   

Freddy Krueger is the horror icon that Jughead finds Tony Todd most reminiscent of.

Svenson may have been a red herring in last episode’s mystery, but with a quick tweak of the Conway story then he can be repurposed into relevance here.

The Reaper was both a preacher and a con man. For anyone unconvinced by the ‘PUNISH SIN!’ motivation espoused by the Black Hood, then it’s interesting to see the figure he mirrors established as those two particular things.

“A Group of Men” killed the Reaper. Veronica takes Svenson’s approval of their actions as a sign that he’s the Black Hood. The idea that a member of this retributive posse might be the Black Hood does not seem to have yet been considered. They’re obviously the Secret Origin of something though, aren’t they? Maybe, in their role as community protectors, we’re looking at the first Serpents.   

The Serpents are very strict about their induction programme. There’s all sorts of things you have to do – shouty ceremonies, getting tattoos, being punched, pole dancing, dog sitting, etc – the formality and ritualisation of which suggests that when you join the Serpents you’re making a lifelong commitment. Seems not though. If at any point you want out you can just say you’re retiring and get a preppy looking teenager to hire a karaoke machine. It seems that’s an option that’s available.     

Josie is either being paid to escort Reggie or Reggie’s dad. It is unclear.

The Serpents very keen on ‘Mad World,’ very disappointed when not sung through.

Penny has taken over Clifford Blossom’s operation. Which we know wasn’t the distribution of Jingle Jangle, a substance we haven’t heard of since the Sugarman died. Real drugs are in resurgence and fantasy drugs are on the wane. This better not stop us getting Jingles the Elf in the Christmas episode.

Archie stepped outside of Riverdale’s storyspace last episode and glimpsed the Archie multiverse. He’s having a hard time reacclimatising. All he wants to talk about is love, in an episode that wants to talk about not talking about love, and he acts throughout like he’s the one with the least personal interest in the Black Hood. His life won’t quite let him back in.  

FP’s smirk regarding how sexually frustrated he may, or may not, have been in prison would be the finest moment this episode. Were it not for the same character’s choice to use a daintily extended pinky to illustrate recovery from alcohol. The whole “respectable people don’t have problems” lie that Alice pretends to live by gets destroyed with a single digit parody of gentility.   

Alice should get a slow motion entrance every episode.

The Serpents are remarkably gracious in responding to Alice with “Hey look! It’s Alice! From back in the day!” rather than “Hey look! It’s Alice! Who constantly publishes articles about how we’re the greatest menace since Spider-Man!”

Familiar Faces, Worn-out Places, Worn-out Faces appear.

The Penultimate Lyric of ‘Mad World’ does not appear.

Preview: Jughead: The Hunger #2

JUGHEAD: THE HUNGER #2

Script: Frank Tieri
Art: Pat and Tim Kennedy, Joe Eisma, Bob Smith, Matt Herms, Jack Morelli
Cover: Adam Gorham
Variant Cover: T. Rex
Final Order Cut-Off: 11/20
On Sale Date: 12/13
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.

NEW ONGOING SERIES! As Jughead’s life as a fugitive grows deadlier, Betty and Archie close in—and they’re not alone. Betty’s werewolf hunter relatives’ ruthlessness may spell the end for good ol’ Jug!

Preview: The Archies #3

THE ARCHIES #3

Script: Alex Segura and Matt Rosenberg
Art: Joe Eisma, Matt Herms, Jack Morelli
Cover: Greg Smallwood
Variant Cover: Jamie McKelvie
On Sale Date: 12/13
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.

NEW ONGOING SERIES! FEATURING INTERNATIONALLY BESTSELLING ARTIST CHVRCHES! As The Archies face a rocky start to their first-ever tour, they find unexpected drama among the members! Can Betty and Archie reconcile their artistic differences? Can real-life indie pop trio CHVRCHES provide the guidance they need to weather the storm?

Archie Reveals Dick Tracy’s Early Days Starting April 2018

Buckle up for a high-stakes crime adventure as co-writers Alex Segura and Michael Moreci along with artist Thomas Pitilli, colorist Dee Cunniffen and letterer Jack Morelli bring Dick Tracy back to comic books in April 2018! The first issue features variant covers by Francesco Francavilla, Kyle Baker, Cat Staggs, and Michael Walsh.

The earliest investigations of one of pop culture’s most iconic detectives will be explored in the new ongoing series that promises to blend the classic Dick Tracy style that readers know and love with a modern and dark noir feel.

The first arc goes back to square one and explores the early days of Dick Tracy’s time in The City, soon after the second World War.

Dick Tracy’s new adventures begin April 11, 2018 when the world famous detective investigates a deadly shooting that bears the fingerprints of a menacing killer known only as Flattop. Are you ready to join Dick Tracy on his newest case?

Early Preview: Cosmo #1

COSMO #1

Script: Ian Flynn
Art: Tracy Yardley, Matt Herms, Jack Morelli
Cover: Tracy Yardley
Variant Covers: Derek Charm, Erin Hunting, Ryan Jampole, Vincent Lovallo
On Sale Date: 1/3
32-page, full color comic
$2.99 U.S.

NEW ONGOING SERIES! “Space Aces” – Part One: Get ready for out of this world fun in the ALL-NEW sci-fi adventure series COSMO! Join Cosmo and his Martian crew as they find adventure and dangers in the deepest corners of space! Their latest mission turns into a much larger adventure when they stumble upon their most unique specimen yet: A panicked human!


And the preorder info below!

Vampironica’s out for blood as a new Archie Horror series launches this March

Greg and Megan Smallwood are bringing a new terror to the streets of Riverdale as Veronica Lodge is bitten by a centuries-old vampire in a new Archie Horror series launching this March – Vampironica.

After being turned, will Veronica’s new-found thirst for blood turn Riverdale into a haven for the undead or will she put an end to the vampire threat herself? The team of Greg (co-writer, artist) and Megan Smallwood (co-writer) and letterer Jack Morelli are set to turn Riverdale red in the latest twisted take on the classic Archie Comics characters.

The new series will explore how Veronica adapts to her new place as one of Riverdale’s freshest members of the undead while drawing influence from classic horror films.

Vampironica #1 launches in comic shops and on digital platforms March 14, 2018 and features variant covers by Francesco Francavilla, Audrey Mok, Djibril Morrissette-Phan, and Marguerite Sauvage.

Preview: B&V Friends Winter Annual #257

B&V FRIENDS WINTER ANNUAL #257

Script: Dan Parent
Art: Jeff Shultz, Bob Smith, Glenn Whitmore, Jack Morelli
Cover: Bill Galvan, Rosario “Tito” Pena
On Sale Date: 12/6
192-page, full color comic
$6.99 U.S.

In the BRAND NEW lead story “Girls On Tour,” Mr. Lodge gives Betty, Veronica, Ginger and Nancy a winter tour of the Lodge Estate—but no one could predict all of the chilly calamities that ensue!

Preview: Harley & Ivy Meet Betty & Veronica #3

Harley & Ivy Meet Betty & Veronica #3

(W) Paul Dini, Marc Andreyko (A) Laura Braga, Adriana Melo (CA) Sandy Jarrell
RATED T
In Shops: Dec 06, 2017
SRP: $3.99

Betty and Veronica wake up in a place that seems nice-but something isn’t quite right. Maybe it’s the super-villain costumes they’re wearing. Or maybe it’s the henchmen chasing them and shouting about motorcycles and plants! Meanwhile, Riverdale doesn’t know what to do with certain members of the cheerleading squad. Co-published with Archie Comics.

Review: The Mighty Crusaders #1

“Back in the Saddle.” The mightiest team of superheroes are back! A throw-down with a prehistoric terror in the heart of Washington D.C. sets the stage for the dramatic return of a wayward hero! Meanwhile, half a world away, a sinister plan begins to awaken an ancient evil!

The Mighty Crusaders are back and with it Dark Circle Comics, the superhero line from Archie Comics. Written by Ian Flynn the issue is in a way a reboot, a continuation, and a fresh start. The Mighty Crusaders #1 has a tough task in that it needs to introduce this team to new readers, get them excited, and then honor what’s come before. It does an excellent job in balancing all of that and more so in a first issue that when it gets rolling is really good.

The issue kicks off with a battle that feels like most of the typical battles out there and actually stumbles a bit. But, when things get going after and things calm down, the series begins to get really interesting. Flynn focuses on the characters and their personalities and specifically how do you lead all of them. That is actually the fresh aspect of it all and if the series focuses on the personalities more than the action we’ve got a series that will stand out from the pack.

The art by Kelsey Shannon is good. There’s a kids aspect to it but as it gets going like the story, the art finds a groove and depicts everything in a way that’s again interesting. The characters each have a very distinct style and the way the settings are included, the package is entertaining.

The issue is a slow start. It takes a bit to get going, but when it does, it does so in a way that’s unexpected. Instead of using action to distract and entertain, we’re instead treated to the characters themselves and their struggle working together. Through the dialogue things are set up in a way that make them stand out and be intriguing. This will be an interesting one to watch going forward and see if it pays off in its promise.

Story: Ian Flynn Art: Kelsey Shannon
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

Archie Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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