'Riverdale' Season 4 Episode 12 Review: 'Men of Honor' is brilliant, partly outlandish but packs a good punch
This review contains spoilers for 'Riverdale' Episode 12: 'Men of Honor'
Mercifully, the storyline does justice to the episode title. Cutting straight to the chase— there are enough fistfights, a great comic character coming on screen, a wasted crossover that could very well have been removed from the storyline and the eternal Bret-Jug-Betty conundrum. And each of these plotlines sees the characters trying to be honorable. If this was an episode meant to honor the Late Luke Perry, then the writers have done a fitting job as it does so in a way that you cannot stop wishing that Fred Andrews— Riverdale's very own, should have still been out there.
Between mourning his dad, trying to be the role model son, doing something for the community and keeping the town scum-free by being a vigilante, Archie Andrews (KJ Apa) was the victim of multiple storylines and somewhere there, the lad got lost. There was no definitive plotline for the redhead and it seemed Season 4 was more of a Betty-Jug (Lili Reinhart and Cole Sprouse) show. 'Men of Honor', amidst the well-choreographed fight sequences, gives good ol' Arch a chance to channel his inner Fred.
Frank Andrews was a bailer. He always was. Despite the constant" you remind me of your dad" hark, the Ryan Robbins-essayed uncle was a mixed bag and was a mystery. That he left quite abruptly without any residual fallout is a mystery in itself. However, there's enough now to put him in the grey area where he's neither a hero nor a villain. If anything, he was a merc working for a military contractor firm (Is it that time where we say bejeezus!), but hey, considering this was a series that saw Betty diffuse a bomb with a bobby pin, just anything can happen. So we're letting go of the whole "merc" storyline there.
We can picture Molly Ringwald's Mary Andrews saying "I told you so" at this very moment. As for Arch, well, we don't know what's in store. Maybe some football and music?
Bringing back Ted as the punisher was a slick move. Adding him in with the Frank connection was seamless and lent more depth to the character despite the fact that we've seen the last of him. The Andrews taking him on was a sheer delight. The ka-blams, the biffs, the thuds and the Jason Statham-like knife throwing was truly well done.
Moving on, Lucy Hale is all set to make her debut as Katy Keene, another top character from the Archieverse. But why ruin her grand entrance in a less-than five-minute cameo and term it as a crossover? If this was to open Veronica's (Camila Mendes) eyes and show concern to Hiram Lodge, who's been a perpetual thorn in just about everyone's sides, it's a flat-out failure. Mark Consuelos' Hiram apparently has a neuro-whatzit disorder and while it's treatable, it's making him sick.
Ronnie and Katy have this conversation about the latter's mother suffering from ill-health and it may be the end of the road for her. And Hermoine Lodge (Marisol Nichols) tells Ronnie about her father's illness. The resulting move is that she goes from Luna to Lodge straight away. And let's take a moment here to see Hiram shedding tears of joy.
Reviewing a series like 'Riverdale' is a hard task, especially when you have outlandish plotlines with only specks of believability. But then, it's what made Riverdale the hit that it is. The Bret-Jug-Betty storyline has been happening for a good few episodes now and if anything, Jug might die and the dreaded flash-forward might be true after all. We could be wrong here, but it's safe to speculate that things don't look good for the former serpent king.
The 'Die Another Day' style fencing duel between Jug and Bret was cool, we wouldn't lie. That Bret took the round wasn't surprising. Then comes a 'Never Back Down' style scrimmage, except Jug's a one-punch man. He delivers a solid punch to Bret's jaw. Chess is the third and well Bret's goose is cooked until Jug lets him win and he still walks away with honor. And just so we all know, Donna might be the troublemaker here. Don't be surprised if Bret is just another insanely, spoilt, rich brat who had a Porsche for his 12th birthday and ends up with some silly end to his arc.
Getting Nick St. Clair back was a waste of time and can we get done with the tickle porn already?
Part-brilliant, part-outlandish, but packs a damn, good punch.
Watch 'Riverdale' Season 4 at 8 pm Wednesdays, on The CW.