Riverdale is doubling down on character development, reminding us that everybody is a giant weirdo. Here’s the Riverdale recap and review.
Let this Riverdale recap and review be a reminder to audiences (and writers alike). Somebody got murdered and the killer is still on the loose. What started as the driving premise to this show has evolved into a throw away plot device that lurks in the background. And I’m not mad about it, at all.
At this point, the whole “Who-killed-Jason-Blossom?” agenda item is a distraction from the good stuff. This week’s “The Lost Weekend” highlights what Riverdale does best: unveils what’s wrong (and therefore very right) with its characters.
The entry point to all this self-reflection and revelation is Jughead’s birthday. Of course Betty wants to throw him a party despite his (and everybody else’s) protests. Because Jughead is about as morose as a character can get and still wear a dumb hat, he’s a constant downer. The party gets the Cheryl Blossom treatment when she shows up with a zillion party-ready high schoolers and two kegs.
The party rages, and the kids in Riverdale finally do a healthy amount of letting loose, and Jughead just isn’t into it. Naturally, Betty scolds him for being so “doom and gloom” and having an actual human emotion. Even though we know Betty has her own share of demons, she still clings to that “best girlfriend ever” persona.
Betty and Jughead Soul Search
Betty’s performance forces Jughead to say some stuff out loud that was hard to hear. He tells Betty he’s “not wired to be normal,” and confesses to feeling like a “weirdo.” Of course we know he’s not really as messed up as he feels he is, but Jughead’s moment of vulnerability opens the door for everyone else to do a little soul searching.
Photo: The CW
Jughead slinks off to hide in the garage when his father arrives to offer him a birthday present (that we didn’t get to see him open). The bigger gift, however, comes later, after Jughead fistfights Chuck (I’ll circle back to him in a bit). F.P. encourages Jughead to make things right with Betty, and not to mess it up with her. This moment between them is almost as meaningful as Jughead’s earlier moment of honesty with Betty. He didn’t turn and run off in the dark. He went back and made up with Betty, which is not what anybody expected him to do.
They had a very sweet makeup scene at Pop’s – Jughead with his hat off and Betty proudly sporting her Jughead sweater. It was an acutely meta-moment that really flexes Riverdale’s winkiest moments. Much like Jughead, this show has layers.
We need to talk about Betty’s felony
This is when Betty, feeling encouraged by Jughead’s moment of clarity, confesses the “darkness” she feels inside. Hearing Chuck recount his harrowing tale of being drugged and held hostage by “dark Betty” is far more disturbing than I remember.
Why is no one talking more about the felony Betty committed? Sure, Chuck deserved it for sexually harrassing folks, but Betty held him hostage and basically tortured him. That feels far more significant than her fist-squeezing bit.
Really, Riverdale? Veronica and Archie? Do Better.
I though we were past the will they/won’t they between Archie and Veronica. Sadly, no.
Veronica fell victim to a perfect storm of parental manipulation, keg beer, and Archie’s abs, and all that self control and female friendship stuff went straight out the window.
Photo: The CW
Riverdale played coy with the whole thing, cutting from a steamy make-out sesh between Veronica and Archie to her sneaking down the stairs still wearing her nylons from the night before. In fact, both of them woke up fully clothed, in separate beds, so all Jughead’s promises of secrecy might be overkill.
Also: why is a pretty, young, high school student wearing nude nylons? Also, also why can’t they write Veronica a romance that is worthy of her.
MOLLY RINGWALD IS ON THE SCENE!!!
The show pulled her in in the very last moments, but her return promises some big stuff for Archie and Fred. I’m not crazy about them making Fred a married guy now, and I’m not really ‘shipping a Fred/Molly Ringwald romance. However, it’s a fun little nod to the show’s referential nature, and it could prove helpful in making me care about Archie a little more.
Photo: The CW
Check back here every Friday for my weekly dish on all things Riverdale.
Riverdale airs at 9/8c Thursdays on The CW.