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Another murder, another day at Riverdale

When I loaded up my Netflix account and saw ‘Riverdale‘ advertised with actors that looked vaguely like the characters from the comic book I would read in the grocery store as young kid, I had to laugh. What was going on. What is all of this? I guess I’ll watch this for shits and giggles. It’s a Friday night in Japan and I have nothing else better to do with my broke-ass time.

Oh. Well. That was unexpected.

If I had to describe Riverdale, it’s a guilty pleasure. Something that I would not openly admit to my friends and family that I actually enjoy watching every week with a glass of wine while sitting on my couch with my phone in hand, live blogging my reactions to every WTF-moment this show throws my way. It’s like some bizarre fanfiction come to life where Archie Andrews sleeps with his music teacher, Cheryl Blossom is the embodiment of every 00s Mean Girl ever to grace a screen, Veronica Lodge is a catchphrase away from writing a book on pop culture references, Jughead is the walking epitome of a Hot Topic T-shirt waiting to happen, and Betty Cooper is a ticking time bomb with a really sick family.

Also did I mention incest? Yeah, there’s that too.

Riverdale season 1 was a wild rollercoaster of over the top drama, incompetent parents, and Scooby Doo sleuthing. It was the pure definition of what a CW show can be when it’s at the top of it’s game. Needless to say, the hype from the first season only managed to turn this once small, unknown prime time soap opera into a new teen breakout sensation.

The burning question is does the second season premiere live up to the expectations set with the season one finale?

Well, it does. Season two immediately picks up where season one left off: Mr. Andrews is shot and Archie is rushing his father to the hospital. Immediately the stage is set — the gang may have solved the last murder that ripped the fabric of Riverdale, but another violent crime has happened and our gang is ready to act and save the day.

Because, God knows the law enforcement in Riverdale are about as competent as a Keystone Cop.

Most of the episode was revealed through trailers and cast interviews, so if anything the episode felt like a refresher course. It’s the day after and we’re all getting ready and readjusted for the next ride. But what makes this episode particularly gratifying is that Archie finally has his moment to shine. Even though I understand that Riverdale is not Archie, it’s sometimes hard for me to rationalize that Archie does not need to be the main focus of a show based off of a comic where he is the focus. There was a healthy dose of much needed character development that was lacking in season one. Where Archie almost came off as dense, oblivious, and bullheaded in season one — willing to dive head first into a life or death situation because he’s that Kind of Guy™ — we have a more subtle Archie struggling with the possible chance of losing his father. This gives KJ Apa an actual chance to stretch something that isn’t a shirtless body on screen. He can act if given the material and man was that refreshing to see.

It was nice to see Jughead be, well, Jughead on screen. After a season of frowning holes into walls and looking like he hasn’t slept in months, we have a guy who’s willing to crack a few jokes, eat a burger in the middle of a bloodied crime scene, shoot off some orders, and mack on his girl. The scene where he asks for a favor from the Southside Serpents gave me some serious Season 5 Breaking Bad vibes — I knew it wasn’t going to end well and it did not end well. While he won’t have to deal with him or his family being framed for murder, it looks like he will have to deal with living up to a legacy left by his father. The seed has already been planted at the diner with Betty and the showrunner has already stated that this episode will test the fan-favorite Bughead ship.

There were some things that were a bit awkward to watch. Veronica has always been an iffy character to me. She’s on screen, she definitely has a presence, but it seems a bit too much. It’s hard for me to sympathize with a character that’s seriously suffering from First World Problems™. She’s nice but her drama is about as superficial as Archie. This premiere has decided to remedy that issue by showing that Mama Lodge isn’t as nice and level headed as she seems. Yeah, she’ll cheat her way and forge signatures to get what she wants, but she wasn’t like the Blossoms — she wasn’t going to kill her daughter to keep the money train going.

Well, so much for that.

I think this show is struggling with Veronica. I find it hard to identify with her and sympathize with her plight. She’s just like on screen eye candy. The female Archie. Only there to be sexualized for no other reason other than to be sexualized. From the bed scene in the opening shot to the shower scene with Archie… I hope that this plotline brings more depth to her than catchphrases and sexy shots. If our resident cheesecake Archie Andrews can get some character depth, Veronica can get some too. Luckily, Papa Lodge looks like he’s going to be an interesting addition to the cast and hopefully he’ll ruffle some feathers.

Outside of the Keystone Cop handling of an attempted murder, the casual questioning of a minor without parental permission, Tyler Perry on OWN levels of insanity from Cheryl Blossom, and the much pleasing end to a disgusting predator by the name of Grundy, this season premiere was satisfying. I honestly can’t wait for next week.

Final Thoughts

  • Why do I have a feeling this Angel of Death is related to one of the families for some reason? Chic?
  • I am totally fine with Cheryl being a crazy vindictive character for the sake of kitsch drama. Riverdale must not take itself seriously and I need over the top.
  • Pearls in the shower. Veronica, what are you doing?
  • Alice is seriously the woman that just goes to events to start spilling tea and causing drama. I’m pretty sure she’d be the first to ask for the store manager and try to get a kid fired because her fries were cold
  • I mean I understand it’s only been 24 hours since Betty Saved the Day™, but I am amazed how Hermione goes from sweet innocent mom ‘I will cut you’.
  • Also Betty — you just were fighting for Southside Justice. What happened?
  • The shower scene was so ridiculous I laughed.

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