On tonight's Riverdale, one thing became clear: Hiram Lodge is one bad, confusing dude.
The filthy rich baddie earned the new name of "The Man in Black" in the latest episode as we learned about some new stuff he's been up to. Archie and Jughead ended up taking refuge on a farm, and surprise surprise, the girls who lived there sold them out to Hiram as payment for their father and brother's debts. Betty was trapped with the Sisters of Quiet Mercy and realized Hiram was known as "The Man in Black" who delivered fizzle rocks to use as an experiment on the residents. And back at home, Veronica moved herself into her club in anger at, you know, the fact that her father got her boyfriend imprisoned, tried to get him killed, and has now driven him to leave town and break up with her.
Veronica was doing her best on her own, running the Bonne Nuit and working at Pop's, but she did require some help from her dad when he learned that her casino night, an attempt at drumming up business for her speakeasy, was in danger. Veronica had enlisted the help of rich guy and casino heir Elio, but thanks to Hiram, she knew he was going to cheat, and she could cheat right back.
Thanks to that hot tip, the night was a win, and Veronica had started thinking that "deep deep down," maybe her dad's not quite so bad. That's when she learned that Sheriff Minetta was dead, decapitated and dismembered, just after she had compiled the evidence needed to put him away. Needless to say, this father-daughter relationship is complicated.
"I think Veronica, you know, she has a lot of resentment for her dad and a lot of anger towards him, but she also recognizes that she shares some similarities with him, and they respect each other," Camila Mendes tells E! News. "Veronica learns from her father and even though she doesn't always agree with the way he does things, I think she respects his determination."
V was pretty quick to take her dad's advice to stack the deck in her own favor on casino night, and Mendes says that's part of what she's learning from him.
"I think Veronica is just kind of growing up and realizing that sometime she's has to bend the rules a little bit to move forward, and I think she's just trying to take that and make it something legitimate and good, that has good intentions," she says.
Regardless of what Veronica may or may not be learning from her dad, you can't deny that something has to be done about the guy. Mendes says Veronica won't have any "moral debate" if it comes down to destroying him, because Veronica has essentially removed herself from the family.
"It's almost like she disowned her parents, you know I think she's taking her identity into her own hands and separating herself from who they are as people," she says.
"I think if anything, it's just the courage to do it, because she fears him," she further explains. "She fears what he might do and if she actively fights against him, there are going to be consequences."
Tonight, Archie was practically ready to get rid of Hiram completely, but stopped himself because of Veronica. Mendes says she thinks the show could "definitely go that far," and that she wouldn't put it past Veronica, Archie, or the show to put Hiram in the ground...even if she's already begged showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa to not let that happen.
"I was like, I swear to God, if you kill Hiram, I'm going to be really mad at you," she tells us. "I don't want to lose Mark. I really don't. I don't want him to die and I don't think he will, because I think for all the bad that Hiram does, I think there's good in him...I think he just doesn't necessarily have the moral conscience to like, do good in every situation. He definitely leans more towards bad, but he loves his family and prioritizes family deeply, and I think he'll do anything for Veronica, specifically."
So what are a bunch of teens to do at this point about this guy who appears to control absolutely everything and seems hell bent on specifically destroying those teenagers? So far, it kind of seems like there's nothing they can do. It may just take Veronica's complete betrayal to make that happen, and Veronica isn't there yet (nor is Mendes).
As for Hiram himself, Mark Consuelos confirmed that his love for Veronica is his best quality...and therefore also most likely his weakness:
"He really really cares about his daughter. He has a very strange way of going about it but he really cares about her. I think you'll see along the way that he is trying to set her up to succeed even though it looks like it might be for failure but he's getting her to prove herself in many way and I think he realizes that, whether she likes it or not, she's very much like him. And yeah, so there's that. He also has really good suits."
Let's just hope Veronica gets that courage before Betty ends up losing her mind for good!
(Side note: can we talk about how good Lili Reinhart was tonight as Betty encountered the Gargoyle King at the convent? More of that inner monologue, please!)
Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on the CW.