Riverdale review: Back to its old antics, and not in a good way


Riverdale breaks for two weeks on a bit of a mediocre note, leaving fans feeling a little lackluster. This is why we can’t have nice things.

Just when I think things are going really well, Riverdale breaks with an episode that left me jonesing for days gone by. I hate to sound like such an grouchy ex-boyfriend, but why are they doing this to me?

As always, I found a few Farm-related things to get excited about, with Chad Michael Murray carrying the entire episode for me, but as far as B and C plot lines go, I’m not mad, Riverdale. I’m just disappointed.

Here, I’ve ranked “Chapter Fifty-Two: The Master” on the head shake scale from least to most disappointing.

Edgar Evernever and his Farm secrets revealed — mild headshaking

As I’ve mentioned, the addition of Chad Michael Murray to the (as Cheryl succinctly describes it) “hot dads club,” is genius. His turn as Edgar Evernever marries the show’s multigenerational audiences better than both Molly Ringwald and Luke Perry (RIP) together. I’ve even gone so far to suspend my disbelief that a 38-year-old actor can play the father to a 25-year=old actress — it’s Hollywood people.

I love a fresh face, and if his multi-episode arc brings about some revelations to the Farm’s business, even better. I like his interactions with Cheryl and Betty, and even for a “yummy snack” he’s delivering just the right amount of sinister. He gets no head shakes, at all. I love all of this.

What I am feeling a little skeptical about is Betty’s discovery about why both Cheryl and Alice are so committed to this cult. They see dead people. For Cheryl, it’s her “dearly departed” twin Jason, and for Alice it’s her long dead son, Charles. According to both women, they get to visit with their lost loved ones, and not like in a seance, as Betty first thinks.

Here’s where the head shaking started for me. What is Riverdale up to, with this? Are they suggesting these folks aren’t dead? That they have to power to transverse the afterlife to bring them here? That this is just another elaborate scam, meant to dupe it’s hopefuls? What are we working with here? Does Riverdale have the juice to take this storyline to a successful end? I’m doubtful, hence the head shaking.

Jughead as Riverdale’s cleaner — a handful of head shakes

I’ve made no secret about my affection for Gladys Jones. And I guess I’m much more of a fan of the whole parental squad on this show than I am of the wanna-be Scooby gang. This whole bit with Jughead trying to sabotage his mother’s drug business is only the latest nudge toward total and utter incredulity about the teen’s saving the day.

Do I want Riverdale to just lean all the way into it’s criminal elements, no. Well, maybe. but I certainly wish they would stop pitting these “children” against their parents. It smacks of fan-disservice and I feel a little cheated that almost immediately upon Gladys’ arrival and reconciliation with FP, we’re positioned to hate her. I’ve never rooted so hard for a character with a face tattoo, and I want the writers to give me time to breathe.

Instead, they send Jughead and his serpents into a drug den, The Wire-style, to clean up his mother’s ugly drug business, and then they send him out a two story window … unscathed.

I’m no stranger to the logic of this show, and I know I have to look the other way at times, but come on, Riverdale. If you’re going to pretend to up the stakes, the least you can do is act like there are actual stakes to be had. Jughead didn’t even sprain an ankle in his scuffle with Kurtz. What’s up with that?

The dissolution of the Lodge family — all the head shakes. All. Of. Them. Forever.

Here’s where things go off the rails for me. Since when are we supposed to believe that Veronica is so invested in her parents marriage? Hermione and Hiram have been (quite literally) trying to murder each other for almost the entire season, and now she wants them to be a family? Go home, Riverdale, you’re drunk.

Veronica goes so far as to send her mother some dead fish  — as a message about Hermione possibly sleeping with them, I’ll assume–  and Hiram figures it out. Because … duh. His answer, naturally, is to enlist a priest to annul their marriage so Hermione can still receive his protection from her enemies.

That’s not how it works. That’s not how any of this works. 

Are we supposed to understand that Hiram is a good guy, now? He’s interested in saving his family? That the entire first half of this season and last season didn’t exist? Surely, Riverdale doesn’t want us to mourn with Veronica over her parents doing what seems to be the logical thing. Right? RIGHT?!

Archie as a gym owner and head of the brute squad — head shakes plus a little head hanging

This is barely worth mentioning, but now that Archie owns his own gym — gifted by Hiram — apparently he’s in the business of saving folks. After the inexplicable pardon by the governor, Archie offers his gym to the wayward boys of L&L, but only after he enlists them to crack some skulls along side Jug’s Serpents. It’s all too much to process when you consider these folks were stressing about the SAT a mere three episodes ago.

But Mad Dog saw an opportunity, and ran for the Northside hills when Ellio offered him a way out. I can’t say I blame him. Riverdale is doing too much, even for what it is, and this two week break will be good for all of us.

More. Edgar Evernever has arrived and Riverdale will never be the same. light

Leave your reactions in the comments below, and let me know if I’m being too hard on our beloved Riverdale.