Riverdale season 2, episode 17 recap: Conversion therapy can’t hold Cheryl down

Photo Credit: Riverdale/The CW, Katie Yu Image Acquired from CWTVPR
Photo Credit: Riverdale/The CW, Katie Yu Image Acquired from CWTVPR /

As Archie and the gang grapple with murders and mobsters, Veronica and Toni save Cheryl from conversion therapy. Did Riverdale get it right?

Did you ever think you would see the day that Riverdale would be tackling a botched murder cover-up, a pair of swindling mobsters, and a high stakes escape from conversion therapy? And to think the first season’s maple syrup drug fronts and incest was shocking. Nevertheless, Cheryl suffers the abuse of conversion therapy, but the teen thriller arrives at a positive resolution.

Elsewhere, Archie continues to bury himself deeper into the muck of the Lodge Industries mess. To secure his standing with Hiram, Archie goes to extreme (and illegal) measures. Speaking of illegal, the Coopers relive Chic’s bad deed when the dumped car resurfaces and raises quesitons. Let’s dig into the five most shocking developments from the latest jaw-dropping episode of Riverdale(Warning: It’s about to get real spoilery in here.)

1. Cheryl rises from the ashes ready to fight.

In last week’s recap, I refrained from referring to Cheryl’s “conversion” as conversion therapy. You never know what this show could be up to, and I didn’t want to assume anything. However, Penelope indeed sent Cheryl to conversion therapy at the Sisters of Quiet Mercy (which should probably be shut down at this point). Veronica and Toni mobilize to spring Cheryl free once they receive a call from Nana Rose. With Kevin’s help, they brave the secret tunnels, outrun truly creepy nuns, and recuse Cheryl from her torturous isolation.

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I couldn’t help but hear the melancholic melody of Madonna’s “What It Feels Like For A Girl” in my head while watching tears stream down Cheryl’s cheeks. We have never seen her so defeated, dejected, and defenseless. The world worried that Riverdale wouldn’t do the conversion therapy storyline justice, but the image of Cheryl and Toni kissing in front of the propagandizing video makes as loud a message for the LGBTQ+ community as any. For all the trauma Cheryl has been through, she finally receives a small but beautiful win. And she’s ready to burn the school down as Carrie!

2. Chic’s shtick reaches a boiling point.

As if tensions in the Cooper family weren’t running high enough, the car of the man Chic murdered was recovered from the swamp in which Bughead ditched it. Betty and Jughead don’t listen to FP’s insistence to keep quiet and press Kevin for questions about the car. While that’s a dead end, Chic invites Darla, the girlfriend of the dead, to the house. She extorts Alice out of $10K and tries to blackmail them out of their house, but Betty wisely calls the Serpents in for reinforcements. Here’s the nutshell: Chic’s time is up. Alice kicks him out. Have we seen the last of him?

Photo Credit: Riverdale/The CW, Diyah Pera Image Acquired from CWTVPR
Photo Credit: Riverdale/The CW, Diyah Pera Image Acquired from CWTVPR /

3. Riverdale’s political circus needs a ringleader.

The student council election holds a town hall moderated by Alice, and it does nothing more than highlight the problems and inconsistencies permeating each candidate. It’s Bughead vs. Varchie vs. Reggie and Josie, but none of them seem to be on the same page. Likewise, the mayoral race heats up with Fred officially announcing his candidacy. Of course, Hiram’s mob buddies trudge into town and raise the stakes in the Lodges’ plans. They want a cut, and if they don’t get it, there will be hell to pay.

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4. Breaking: Archie’s still a mess.

Speaking of that hell to pay, Archie decides to sign a check he can’t quite cash. He talks his way into Hiram’s meeting with the mobsters and bluffs his way through a threat. But when they won’t budge, Archie sends them a message from the “Dark Circle” (not this again…) via blown up car. Clearly, Archie didn’t catch Shameless last season; blowing up a car landed Ian in handcuffs. To add insult to injury, Archie missed his father’s announcement ceremony, and Mary rightfully questions his integrity. Molly Ringwald’s the only one with any sense in this town.

Photo Credit: Riverdale/The CW, Katie Yu Image Acquired from CWTVPR
Photo Credit: Riverdale/The CW, Katie Yu Image Acquired from CWTVPR /

5. What’s next for FP and Alice?

Is Alice about to warm up to her Southside roots (again)? In the closing moments of the episode, Alice thanks the Serpents for chasing Darla and her greedy friend out of town and winds up at FP’s door. The tension between these two has been simmering since the hint of their history in Season 1. Are they rekindling a past flame or starting something new? Perhaps, Alice will finally open up about Chic’s paternity. Look, we all know FP’s still in the running. Time will tell…

Next: Riverdale season 2, episode 16 recap: Betty catches bad men… Who’s next?

Odds & Ends:

  • In the grand scheme of Riverdale episodes, it’s crazy that an episode with a nun chase, a blown up car, and a pair of mobsters can be middling.
  • With any luck, Riverdale will continue to unpack what Cheryl has just gone through in upcoming episodes, especially the musical episodes.
  • Related: Cheryl’s “obsession” with Josie has come back to light, but let’s hope this (and that pig’s heart) gets cleared up without it damaging the progress.
  • Black Hood count: No name checks, but there was a visual callback when Archie finds Adams donning the black mask. Is this another red herring?

What did you think of the latest episode? Sound off in the comments!

Riverdale returns Wednesday, April 18 at 8/7c on The CW.