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Riverdale's Marisol Nichols: Hermione Is Doing Whatever She Has to Do to Survive

Plus, what to expect from Andy Cohen's cameo!

Megan Vick

The Lodges are up to no good onRiverdale, but exactly how bad are they?

The beginning of Season 2 made a lot of people think that Hiram (Mark Consuelos) was the source of all evil when it comes to Riverdale's mafia family, but ever since it was revealed that Hermione (Marisol Nichols) hired a fake FBI agent to test Archie's (KJ Apa) loyalty, it's made us wonder who exactly is pulling the strings in the Lodge household. Now, Hermione has moved into the front lines as the city's new mayoral candidate, defending Hiram's plan to bring a for-profit prison to Riverdale and build it on the bones of South Side High. A civil war is brewing and Hermione is standing right in the center of the action.

TV Guide spoke to Marisol Nichols about that prison drama, Hermione's evolution into a mob queen this season and, of course, how Andy Cohen fits into her grand plan.

Marisol Nichols, Riverdale​

Marisol Nichols, Riverdale

Katie Yu, Katie Yu/The CW

How are the Lodges dealing with the fact their prison plan is leaked at the start of this episode?
Marisol Nichols: It's definitely a problem just because the Lodges, especially Hiram, get their strength from secrecy, from mystery and from keeping everyone guessing and not letting everyone know what's in the [Lodges'] hands. The fact that the information is leaked out, it changes everything. There's another force to deal with the repercussions before they've put certain chess pieces in place.

At the beginning of this season it seemed like Hermione was kind of threatened by Hiram being there, but she's evolved into this mob queen now that we're halfway through the season. Can you talk about that transition and how Hermione has gotten stronger with Hiram in the picture?
Nichols: First season, she got to change her life and ignore and pretend that none of the things that she did in New York ever happened. She got to be the mom and the person she thought she wanted to be. With Hiram back, there's no getting out of it. She's married to Hiram Lodge. She's had to do certain things to survive that marriage over the years. With him back in Riverdale, it's no different. I think her motivation at the beginning of the season was more to keep Veronica the hell away from her father because of how dangerous he is. [Veronica] is old enough now to not buy a bunch of stories that Hiram might have sold her in the past about what their business is. As the season has gone on, she's had to more and more become the Hermione that she didn't want to be, but has to be to survive -- tough, strong, unbending and relentless as well.

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In the teaser for this episode, we see that Veronica is getting a lot of the backlash for a lot of the things that Hermione and Hiram are doing. Does Hermione have any regrets about the fact that Veronica is going through this hard time?
Nichols: Hermione always wants to protect Veronica from any of the backlash, knowing that anything they do, Veronica is going to take the brunt of it, just like any mother out there. Unfortunately, by bringing her into the fold, it was sort of the lesser of two evils. [Hermione's] justification for it is that bringing Veronica into the family business at least gives her something that she can somewhat control and be part of instead of just being on the receiving end of their mess. Honestly, after a while it gets hard to lie over and over and over again. It's just easier to go, "Look, here's the deal. This is what I know. This is what your father is willing to tell you. Can you somewhat deal with this?" I think it's just another angle of Hermione trying to protect Veronica and herself and her family, for that matter.

Hermione was against bringing Archie into things from the get-go and even tried to set him up. Have her doubts about him been put to rest or does she still have reservations about him?
Nichols: She is 100 percent against [bringing him in]! This is the son of the man she was with prior to Hiram. It was this long [ago] boyfriend that she would have ended up with. Bringing Archie into the fold, she's not on board with it at all. She almost has no choice because if she's going to protest too much, that's going to bring up the whole Fred thing and once Hiram gets on a train it's like, okay how best can Hermione navigate that train that Hiram is running at full force? She always has her own plans and her own strategy but unfortunately, Hiram is still calling the shots. She has to deal with it in her own way. The FBI agent was her idea, things like that, but perhaps hoping that Archie would fail that test so that he could get out of it so we'd no longer bring him into the fold. Unfortunately, he passes with flying colors.

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Andy Cohen is making an appearance in this episode. What can we expect from his arrival in Riverdale?
Nichols: How much fun is that?! I love that! Having Andy come to Riverdale is really fun. [Hermione and Andy] know each other. I think I can tease that from sort of a Housewives background... Andy was really fun to work with and it was really fun to have him there. It was our first person coming into Riverdale playing themselves. I hope that we can actually bring more personalities like that on the show. I think it's fun.

Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.

(Full disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS, one of The CW's parent companies)