Image: The CW

There was a moment during this week’s Riverdale when I had a shocking realization: Hiram Lodge is my favorite character on the show at the moment. And that kind of sucks.

Hiram is the father of Veronica Lodge, and he’s played by Mark Consuelos. In the current storyline, he’s being set up as the big bad guy because of some sinister underground business deals. It’s so bad that an FBI agent has secretly leveraged Archie, who is dating Veronica, to spy on him.

So last night’s episode put most of its focus on Archie trying to gain Mr. Lodge’s trust and approval. The cover story is it’s because he’s Veronica’s father. The reality is, it’s so he can get more information for the FBI. In this storyline, Hiram is by far the most interesting player. We know he’s a villain. We know why Archie is seeking his approval. And whether Hiram realizes it or not, he’s relishing the chess game between the two. He’s devious, he’s mean, he’s awesome.

When discussing this in Slack, fellow io9-er Charles Pulliam-Moore asked me “Are Archie and Hiram dating?” I didn’t immediately have an answer. I mean, no, they aren’t, but Archie courting Hiram is infinitely more interesting than anything else going on with the other main characters. And that unattainable, evil streak in Hiram is making him the best part of the show.

That’s also, partially, because Consuelos seems like he’s having so much damn fun playing this diabolical villain. He’s toying not just with Archie, but the whole town of Riverdale too. And everyone else, the characters and actors included, just feel like they’re over it. Veronica’s big storyline is she’s taking over the Pussycats? Betty makes the “shocking” discovery of her brother’s side business? Poor Jughead has what should be a fascinating storyline, of a literal genocide in the town’s history, but it’s made almost no impact.

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Then, over here, there’s an actor playing one of their parents who’s chewing on the scenery, fucking with our main character, and it’s great. It’s just disappointing that it’s the best thing on the show when the rest of the cast is so rich and wild. I have faith in Riverdale. It’s never been a serious show and the more ridiculous it gets, the better. But right now, all of its most outstanding craziness is focused in the wrong place, and I hope it hurries up and gets back to where it should be: With the kids.