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Koete

Riverdale

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Agreed. I will admit though, I'm having fun seeing how much more crazy Betty's mom can get. The point a couple of weeks ago when she started laughing about the idea of her husband committing murder was classic.

It has occurred to me though: Jughead is actually more of a suspect than I had thought. I doubt that the entire first season is about how Jughead got away with murder (though that would be fun) but it would be interesting.

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No, Polly did it. She's faking her surprise at Jason's death. Betty didn't even say anything when she began crying and knew he had been murdered. She didn't ask how or why or who.

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It sure as hell looked like it.

I feel like I'll have a time for detailed thoughts on the first season of Riverdale at a later time but, for the moment, some quick thoughts.

  • Almost all of the cast was strong the entire season. There were moments with Archie that made me groan on a regular basis. 13 episodes in and he's still the least interesting person here. While the show never really seemed to realize this, they spent so much time with anyone else that it evened out pretty nicely.
  • I like that they wrapped up the mystery in episode 12, allowing us 13 to have the aftermath. It makes sense that Riverdale would try to cover up it's dirty secrets and it's kind of eerie how the entire town just decides to go along with it.
  • I love how someone in the writer's room realized that everything about the Archie/Miss Grundy subplot was skeevy and they barely mentioned it again, save for the party scene a bit later on in the season. It just got grosser as it went on and I was glad it ended when it ended.
  • I'm kind of sad that Crazy Alice Cooper didn't continue all season.
  • Archie is a fuckwit. Seriously, he spurns Betty for Miss Grundy, then he jumps to Valerie but treats her like rebound, moves to Veronica who sleeps with after nearly breaking up with her so he can try to get together with Betty. Seriously, I was kind of hoping Archie would jump in front of the bullet meant for his father this episode.

Finally, a couple of hopes for next season

  • Luke Perry dies, causing Molly Ringwald to return to the series as a regular. She can take Luke Perry's romance subplot also.
  • For the inevitable Halloween episode, either stick to the promise of Afterlife With Archie or bring in Sabrina for an episode.
  • If Betty does go in search of her brother, may he be something totally insane. Hell, maybe he's Miss Grundy. That'll only make everything more weird than it already was.
  • Less Jughead voiceovers.
  • Less Archie.
  • An actual subplot for Josie and the Pussycats outside of, "This is our song of the episode."
  • I haven't seen yet if the show was picked up for a full 22 episode for Season 2 or just 13. I really hope the latter because, honestly, I dread to find out what happens if the drag everything out over an additional 9 episodes.

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I gotta say that the last few weeks of episodes turned me around to the show. I still don't think it's..."good"...the scenes of genuine drama and character development tend to last 30 seconds before cutting to the next scene like a soap opera. For a while the show was more "Parentsdale" more'n Riverdale. But the last 4 or 5 eps really highlighted the cast, with the standouts far and away being Cole Sprouse and Camilla Mendes. Luke Perry was alright, but was really one-note throughout the entire season. I hated most of the other parents. I found Betty's parents to be ridiculous and Cheryl's parents to be totally unbelievably camp.

But pretty much the rest of the cast I enjoyed. I liked Cheryl's weird mix between mean girl bullying, and maniacal, incestual stepford sister. Kevin Kellar got better as the season went on, but that was more due to the writing maturing. I can't repeat it enough how godawfully he started off in the show. I liked Josie and Valerie. Betty was good. I liked Archie even though he was a bit player in his own TV show. None of his subplots ever matched the weight of Jughead nearly getting arrested or Betty having a "Big Bad Harv" persona. He was pretty much a slut from the beginning, but I gotta say I LOVED the big scene at the end when he saves Cheryl. That's the best scene in the show, and probably the best Archie-related scene I've ever seen from the franchise.

I'll say though that I HATED the resolution to the Jason Blossom murder. Because I was batting for Polly for almost the entire time. I thought it was blindingly obvious. She just guessed that Jason died without Betty saying a word, never asking how he died. She was barely shown as a character and more as a prop. Plus it would add to Betty's psychodrama. Making it one of the one-dimensional, evil parents does nothing to add to the story except to make the Blossoms one-dimensionally evil. And apparently, the ideas for the killer came down to FP, Hiram Lodge, Betty's dad or Cheryl's dad, meaning it was never going to be one of the kids that did it. I thought that was one of the lamest resolutions to a murder mystery I've ever seen. 

But overall I enjoy the show, but mainly for the LULZ of seeing the Archie gang go through all these wacky dark soap opera plots. 

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 Overall, I cannot say I was bored.  Finished stronger than it started and I'll be along for the second season.  I will echo Will in that I hope it stays at 13 episodes.

Couple things:

Archie is horrible.  Just horrible.  I get that Archie/Betty is the endgame, but it is way too soon to cause problems with Veronica.  Let things breathe a little.

I was looking forward to seeing what this show could be without a murder mystery.  The tensions of Jughead being a Serpent.  The love square.  Cheryl doing something interesting for a change.  Luke Perry V Daddy Lodge.  The obvious Pussycats charity concert to saves Pops from evil Texan oil tycoons with stereotypical oversized hats.  But alas another murder.

A murder, mind you, that I am not convinced will be a murder.  He could live.  Or coma. 

Oh, and that is totally Betty's brother that shot Luke Perry.

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Archie is horrible.  Just horrible.  I get that Archie/Betty is the endgame, but it is way too soon to cause problems with Veronica.  Let things breathe a little.

The Betty/Archie/Veronica triangle is one that's only resolved in the Life With Archie series that portrays binary futures where he marries either Betty or Veronica. But traditionally it's never ended with him choosing Betty over Ronnie, even if she's a likely endgamer. Trust me, this time next season he'll be with Betty, and they'll go back and forth as long as the show lasts. 

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Three episodes into this season and I have yet to post anything about it. What the hell, Will?

Overall, it took an episode or two for me to get into this season. Like, it felt like they took a few episodes to really get back to what made the first season strong: A Weird Heightened Reality that made you ask, "Am I seriously watching this?" It's back to that and I'm totally enjoying it.

Spoiler

 

The Good

  • Archie isn't useless anymore. This was one of my main complaints about the first season: It never felt like Archie did anything. Making him part of the central plot doesn't suck. Good for him.
  • Kevin was another character I could give or take in the first season. He's definitely improved. His entire going off on Betty in last night's episode? Totally believable. Was he being an idiot, going out cruising for sex while a killer is out and about? Oh, fuck yes! Should Betty have approached it in a way that wasn't kind of slut shaming? Definitely!
  • Crazy Alice Cooper has given way to Relentlessly Smug Alice Cooper. It makes her more interesting at least.
  • Hiram Lodge is just... holy fuck! We had the crazy Blossoms last season but they were so overly evil that you could never take them seriously. Hiram though? Anytime he does anything, you almost have to take him seriously.
  • Betty and Veronica continue to be the best developed characters. I feel like Betty could run for Mayor next season and win. Veronica's parental struggles are making for some seriously good TV.
  • Did Riverdale just teach kids about Redlining? I mean, seriously, the difference between Riverdale High and Southside High is insane. Like, Jesus Christ, for being a quiet town, Southside is every inner city high school stereotype. Like, I was half expecting someone to start a knife fight in the middle of the cafeteria. Shades of Class of 1984.

The Bad

  • New Reggie is alright though a completely different character than Old Reggie.
  • So, Josie and the Pussycats are still just there if they ever are.
  • Jesus Fuck, the Jughead voiceovers are never going to end, are they?
  • I really don't care about The Black Hood. Until he kills someone of consequence, he's just kind of there. He's like the anti-Killer Bob.
  • Mrs. Lodge has went from being Riverdale's best parent to its worst in like three episodes. Seriously, mothers should never taunt their daughters for stealing the attention of their father. That's just creepy as all hell.

The Weird

  • On one hand, they finally fucking admitted to Miss Grundy being a sexual predator. Good. Then she gets killed by the killer and you still barely have Archie touch on it? Why?
  • How are Moose and Midge still alive? Moose should at least be paralyzed, if not dead.
  • Is Archie's Vigilante Gang somehow the most hilarious dumb thing this show has ever done? Like, seriously, the video he shoots with all the red masked, shirtless guys isn't so much threatening as a set-up for a Sean Cody scene.
  • It was snowing a few episodes ago. It's somehow all melted and warm enough for Kevin to go jogging in a tank-top and football is still going on? What is time? How does it work?

Predictions going forward: Daddy Cooper is going to die. Moose and Kevin start secret dating. Archie shoots someone, teaching everyone a very important lesson why you shouldn't give an idiot who knows nothing about firearms a loaded gun.

 

 

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I don't know.  The season has felt flat.  And watching the third episode, it kinda struck me as to why.  There are So. Many. Characters.  And it seems like they are adding more people like Moose & Reggie.  And Daddy Lodge.

And in response:

Spoiler

If anyone is going to die, I'm gonna go with Sheriff Keller.  Seems like his death would further both Kevin's & Archie's storylines.

I got the the impression that Moose & Kevin are already doing the 'friends with benefits' thing.

And yes, Archie shoots someone.  While he is high on the Jingle Jangle.  And that someone will be Hermione , when Archie tries to shoot Hiram.

And the killer is, fully investing in the stupid train, Archie's biological dad come back to help his son live a more pure life.

 

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This third episode was so-so, but so far I'm digging this season just about as much as I dug the show by the end of the last season. I like that there's more of an Archie-ness to the plots, however twisted. Like in the first ep, Archie's big secret is that he was scared! In the second episode, the gang try to save Pop's Chok'Lit Shop. In the third ep, Archie meets his girlfriend's dad. There's a digest cover quality to them that keeps the franchise grounded, but the show still does some hilarious shit like have Veronica and her mother have this unbelievably intense scene in a church, or Archie threaten the bad guy by forming the Mad Monk society. There's stuff here or there where I think the show is still trying too hard, like having Jughead get jumped, or basically every franchise character who's not the main 5 kids and Luke Perry be camp supervillains, but with some of the characters like Reggie or Moose it's toned down. The girls are still the best characters, and while the show portrays gang violence and drug use, they're using Archie Comics elements by naming the drug after a song by The Archies, or having the Ghoulies be named after a spin-off of the Sabrina the Teenage Witch cartoon from the 60s. 

I'm finding enjoyment between the balance of the pure WTFery of the episodes with the Archie signifiers. In the season premiere, Josie and the Pussycats literally walked onto screen, in step, and said "The Pussycats will donate one of our nine lives to help your dad out Archie!" That's...amazing.

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Non-spoilery thoughts: This was another solid episode. I can't think of a single plot thread or sub-plot that was actually wasted. Well, except how the Kevin stuff from last week got handwaved but besides that.

Spoiler

The Good

  • The Archie stuff continues to be interesting which is a far cry from last season when I couldn't give two shits about Archie. Mind you, it's looking at a train you know is going to crash but that doesn't change the fact that I don't hate him right now.
  • I like the Mystery Solving Club of Betty, Topaz, and Jughead. Is it bad that I want the Betty jealousy thing to turn into Topaz having a thing for Betty?
  • The 4th act. Holy Christ, yes! The editing between Relentlessly Smug Alice Cooper and Luke Perry arguing and the fight that was like something out of The Outsiders was perfect. Like, this is the first time that I felt like something in Riverdale was visually appealing since the Pilot.
  • Veronica is still the best character and sometimes the most logical. Mind you, when your boyfriend asks you to go out by yourself to retrieve something from an empty building while a killer is on the loose, maybe don't?

The Bad

  • I know it's going to pay off but The Lodges plotting in the middle of the auditorium was kind of bad. Like, this is soap opera levels of scheming.
  • Relentlessly Smug Alice Cooper is calling for the closing of Southside High. Right... she does know then that any school board in the state would make Riverdale High take the displaced students? Don't get me wrong: there's no reason for there to even be two high schools in a town that is supposedly this small but it still raises the question of how dumb Relentlessly Smug Alice Cooper is.
  • The handwaving of Kevin and Betty's falling out was still kind of dumb. Normal for high school students but since when did Riverdale do normal?

The Weird

  • Cheryl was in the background all episode. Also, another episode without The Pussycats.
  • The fact that this town sees a video of a teenage boy inciting violence and they thing to make copies to share after the original is taken down is insane.
  • I love how even when Archie is part of the main plot and he thinks the killer is all about him, its still actually all about Betty instead?
  • Luke Perry really needs to send his son to a therapist but, knowing Riverdale, the therapist would try to seduce him/be the killer.

And my current pick for who The Black Hood is: The killer knows Betty well and is male. That leaves two people I think: Hal Cooper and Alice Cooper's long-lost son. Hal would explain the Killer's reluctance to shoot Archie and, while kind of obvious, it also is the most logical. Long-Lost Son also makes sense. He finds out he's adopted and he's Alice's son which means that he's probably as insane as everyone else he shares a gene pool with. He becomes obsessed with his sister, stalking her to find out every detail and, upon hearing her speech, his twisted mind decides to kill everyone making Riverdale bad to please her. In both cases, it also explains why Polly was never a target and why, when sent off on her own, she doesn't get killed en route.

 

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Overall, this might have been the strongest episode of the season so far. There were points I could feel actual tension and dread.

Spoiler

 

The Good

  • Holy fuck, the editing of THAT sequence. First off, whoever decided to give Josie and the Pussycats "Out Tonight" from Rent deserves a medal. Then just the editing: Between Jughead's gang initiation, the party, and Veronica and Josie and Pussycats racing to prevent Cheryl's rape. Holy fuck, by the way, with how prescient that entire plotline was. Also kind of fulfilling seeing The Pussycats beat the fuck out of the would-be rapist.
  • Betty's descent is particularly interesting. The last season and some basically spelled out that Betty was the most competent person in all of Riverdale and now, she's suffering for it. I mean, think about it: she believes the crazy guy on her phone and is so convinced that she can save everyone that she's willing to go to an abandoned house  in the hopes that she can. Then she names off Cheryl's attempted rapist as the next target.
  • Archie continues to not suck. Like, I am seriously glad that all that Red Circle stuff is currently done.

The Bad

  • I honestly can't think of anything.

The Weird

  • As much as I've been enjoying Relentlessly Smug Alice Cooper, the return of Crazy Alice Cooper, complete with Snake Necklace, is the most beautiful thing ever!
  • Lodge practically isn't even hiding that he's planning to bulldoze the Southside anymore, is he?

Current Working Theory: I'm starting to think it's Sheriff Keller. It's someone Betty knows and how easy would it be to lie and say that Betty's note's handwriting is different from Crazy Alice Cooper's?  That's one way of looking at it. The other is that Betty's Black Hood is a copycat. That it's someone obsessed with her and the real one is still out there, ready to kill again.

 

 

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I agree that this was a stressful and intense episode.

Spoiler

Some parts I still just can't take seriously, like most of Jughead's gang initiation. The scene of Veronica and the Pussycats beating the shit out of that guy who tried rape Cheryl was the best scene since Archie saved Cheryl last season. That was completely effective.

 

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I'm gonna double down on my too many characters comment.  Yeah, they focus on the Core 4, but everyone else is barely there.

 

Spoiler

Betty is fucking stupid.  Just tell the cops already.  Fine the first time.  Fucking stupid every time after that.

I'm not feeling this season at all.  Yeah, the first season had the murder mystery to solve.  But it also had the high school shit of football team, dating and parent drama.  This season has none of that.  It has just turned into a weak, way too serious bad horror drama.  Don't know if I'll stay around for that show.

 

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I agree that the Black Hood plot is taking itself WAY too serious to really be as effective as the show wants it to be. Last season was a whodunit concerning the death of a character close to a lot of the characters. This season it's some random serial killer tormenting Betty over how "sinful" Riverdale is, the exact same plot is happening in Gotham right now, only with Professor Pyg. Roberto Aguirre-Sacsa said in my SDCC interview that they're committed to keeping the show crime-heavy, but I really think the weirdness of the characters and the tone make it watchable. Next season they'll be fighting ISIS or something

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