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Who Is He?
Hiram Lodge is the overall main antagonist of the CW series Riverdale. He is the mayor of Riverdale, the husband of Hermione Lodge, and the father of Veronica Lodge. In season 4, it is revealed that he has an illegitimate daughter called Hermosa. Throughout the series, he makes numerous attempts to acquire full control over Riverdale and stoops as low as wasting his resources on trying to hunt down a teenager, and fighting with his own daughter over a rum business among other things.
Why Doesn’t He Qualify
While he spent the first three seasons subverting basically any redeeming traits he had, the most recent season gave him new redeeming qualities that he has yet to subvert and likely won’t at any time.
To start off, he genuinely mourns Fred’s death, and he appears to be moved by the obituary written by Jughead and even pays for Fred’s funeral. Despite still being on rocky terms with Archie, he has the decency to honor Fred whilst working out at Archie’s gym.
It is also revealed that he has an illegitimate daughter called Hermosa, whom he is implied to care for. According to her, Hiram genuinely loved her mother and took care of her until she died from undisclosed causes.
The season attempts to give Hiram more backstory by revealing that he once bore the name Jaime Luna, but everyone hated anyone with that name, so he changed his name to Hiram Lodge. This angered his father and caused him to beat Hiram. This rarely justifies Hiram’s actions, but it is still worth mentioning because it paints him in a more sympathetic light that wasn’t seen before.
Now, with regards to his relationship with Veronica, it is outright stated in this season that he only views Veronica as an extension of himself. That statement would have made FAR more sense in the previous seasons, but in this season, his relationship with Veronica actually becomes more and more ambiguous. When he is not fighting with her over rum, he goes greater lengths to protect her (as evidenced by him personally murdering Jinx Malloy for threatening her and participating in intimidating Mr. Honey into reopening prom). He expresses a wish to see her get along with Hermosa.
Redeeming qualities aside, the show has been suffering from an unsettling case of skewered morality. Characters with glaringly obvious flaws (in other words, all of the main characters) are seen as heroes yet characters like Mr. Honey who do nothing besides being particularly strict and disciplined are seen as villains. Other moral inconsistencies include Cheryl trying to comfort her mother after being threatened by the Malloys yet completely forgetting that her mother spent her entire life abusing her, and Hiram himself being welcomed by the other parents into celebrating the reopening of prom all while nobody is acknowledging how little he deserves this. Point is, the morality is skewered to the point where most of his crimes no longer stand out as much as they used to.