This episode of Riverdale promises to be the most Mark Consuelos heavy we’ve had in the series so far. That’s true right from the start as we get a Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos) workout video. Being a crime boss isn’t all expensive suits and threatening state officials. It’s also heavy reps for big gainz.
Tonight’s episode title is a play on Citizen Kane, but the episode feels more like Riverdale‘s version of The Godfather: Part II, giving us Hiram’s rise from lowly shoeshine boy to local underworld Kingpin. It also promises to be a Reggie and Hiram centric one, showing the two characters’ mirroring paths at similar points in their lives.
Reggie (Charles Melton) brings Hiram a suitcase full of cash to pay off Reggie’s dad’s debt to him. Reggie would like to still stay in Hiram’s employ though. He has ideas that he wants to share. Hiram promises him a privileged place if he can acquire Hiram a ghost gun.
Back at his father’s car lot, Reggie is a good, though kind of gross, salesman. He convinces his dad to buy his son a fancy sports car on the promise of all the action his son will get in it.
When Reggie surprises his dad with the news that his debt is paid off, he’s confused as to why Reggie would want to still work for Hiram. He even meets with Hiram about it and gets dangerously close to saying something that will land him in the hospital or worse.
Reggie gets Hiram his gun, further proving his value to Hiram. He then confronts his dad about seeing Hiram. This is Reggie’s bridge too far. He stuck with his dad after his years of abuse, but this is it. He walks out on his dad, quitting the car business too.
We flashback to NYC 1988. Hiram’s dad, also played by Consuelos, is a shoe shiner. A businessman who forgot his wallet pays in palladium instead. He tells Hiram’s father, there are “..untapped veins of it in a small Rockland County town called Riverdale,” and “You head north to Riverdale, you might just change your life.”
Hiram’s father takes that advice and moves the family to an apartment in Riverdale. He gets a job at a mine that collapses 6 months later, and the mine gets shut down. He decides to stay in Riverdale though. Hiram’s mom waits tables at Pop’s. Hiram’s dad goes back to shoeshining. Hiram, then known as Jaime, helps out. He gets a huge tip from a local gangster and quickly goes to work for him, despite his dad warning him against it.
Young Hermione (Camila Mendes) rebuffs Jaime because her mom won’t allow it. She doesn’t want her daughter dating a shoeshiner. This is all it takes for Jaime to head to the gangster’s hangout for a job, which apparently is right by the train tracks, as trains seem to be constantly rolling by behind the windows.
Jaime’s first job is to make a delivery. I feel like I’m watching story mode in GTA. Jaime’s a glorified drug runner at this point. He gets some bigotry thrown at him on his first day by the drug dealer he’s delivering to. When he mentions this to Vito, Vito tells him to keep his cool and not take things like that personally. Jaime is quickly hooked by the money in the job, making more in one week than he could shining shoes for two months. This episode should have been called “A Riverdale Tale.“
Jaime tells his dad he’s a delivery boy for the Italian restaurant. Not exactly lying. Jaime’s new money gives him new confidence. He asks out Hermione again and gets a yes this time. When Jaime tells Hermione about his new job, she’s intrigued. A young Pop takes their order. She’s hooked by his dreams of a penthouse in Manhattan. This is broken up by Jaime getting arrested on their date for drug trafficking. Whoops.
At the police station, Hiram doesn’t talk.
Hermione visits Vito, who bails Jaime out of jail. He’s impressed that Jaime didn’t talk. Vito promotes him from delivery to collections. Vito tells Jaime not to let Hermione get away. Jaime gets a nice bonus from Vito, a new car. It’s impressive enough to get a second date. He tells Hermione he wants to change his name to Hiram Lott, because he’s going to have a lot in life. Ugh. Hermione suggests Lodge instead. Ha, Hermione just created her own new last name as well.
In class, when Hiram announces his new name, he gets heckled by Reggie’s dad. Hiram gets the last word in later though.
Hiram’s parents confront him about a call they received from school about him changing his name and beating up two students. Hiram’s lost to his parents. No matter what his dad says, Hiram doesn’t hear him. They’re both ashamed of the other. You can see the moment his dad, Javier’s heart breaks when Hiram says “being your son is embarrassing.”
Javier goes to see Vito. Javier threatens to call the police and tell them everything he knows about his business if he doesn’t stay away from his son. Oh boy, Hiram is about to lose his dad. At Pop’s the next day, right after Javier tells Pop it’s going to be a good day, he’s gunned down in a drive-by. Hiram identifies his body in the morgue.
Marisol Nichols returns to Riverdale to play Apolonia Gomez, Hermione’s mom, and makes an appearance at the funeral.
Vito also attends Javier’s funeral. Vito tells Hiram that he’s free to be the man he was always destined to be. Hiram thanks him but you can see in his eyes that Vito’s days are numbered.
Hiram’s mom begs him to get out of the gangster life. Hiram goes looking for Vito, but he’s not at the restaurant. He takes out Vito’s three capos as a train rumbles by. Geez, Hiram, that was a lot of bullets. Maybe hit the range for some shooting practice.
Vito skipped town and never returned. Hiram announces himself to be the new Vito and quickly seizes power. He was Riverdale‘s new crime boss before he even finished high school. Suddenly, he’s the guy giving giant tips for shoe shines.
Marisol Nichols also plays Hermione as we see the start of Hiram’s family in a flashback to Veronica’s birth. She wants to move out of Riverdale to NYC. Hiram agrees. In the present, Reggie asks what brought Hiram back to Riverdale. One word: palladium. He tells Reggie all about building a prison on top of the vein he found, but that one was small. He wants the one under the Blossom Maple Grove. He’s obsessed. Reggie calls him unstoppable.
Hiram wants to visit an old friend in a nursing home nearby. Who? Vito.
Hiram greets Vito in his nursing home room. It’s a short visit that ends with a pillow and a silenced pistol over Vito’s face.
On the drive home, Hiram lets Reggie go. Reggie protests, but Hiram tells him if he could go back to a few more years of shining shoes with his dad, he’d go back to that in a heartbeat. Hiram is giving him an out and wants him to take it. Reggie returns to Mantle Motors to find his dad still there late at night. His dad apologizes to Reggie for all the years of abuse and wants to start over. Reggie says his timing is good, but if dad is serious, he needs to let Reggie run with his ideas.
Hiram watches Hermione on Real Housewives. She asks Veronica about her dad and Hiram perks up. Hermione says, “He’s never satisfied by what he has. He’ll never be happy.” Just like Hamilton! Veronica says he should have retired 7 years ago, and wonders aloud if he was really sick during Riverdale season 4. Hiram mutes the TV. A call from Hermosa confirms that she’s the one who tipped off Hiram about Vito.
I honestly thought Reggie was going to kill Hiram this episode after the setup we got of Hiram killing Vito and his men. Happy to see Reggie get out of the gangster life. Hopefully, it sticks.