Riverdale review: Everyone goes crazy with very little payoff for viewers


Riverdale features a lot of crazy, but very little payoff. Buckle up, Riverdale fans, it’s going to get ugly before it gets better.

It’s safe to say that last night’s Riverdale was a bit maddening, and so this Riverdale review might get a little angry. Don’t mind me; I’m just salty about my favorite show not being its best self. Not only do the characters go crazy, but it seems like the writers are just trying to troll us at this point.

In a season that is far too long to support some of its plotlines, “Chapter Fifty-Three: Jawbreaker” doesn’t give us much hope for a quick resolution.

Betty starts to turn

In perhaps the most notable moments from the episode, Betty and Alice shine. It’s hard to say anything bad about Lili Reinhart and Madchen Amick, because they are doing all the heavy lifting this week. In a fun and unexpected turn, Betty actually kidnaps her mother and holds her hostage in the bunker in an attempt to de-program her from The Farm’s teaching. Bold move, for sure.

We see glimmers of the dark Betty we once knew (and hoped to see again) as she threatens Evelyn’s life with a face that wouldn’t melt butter. She’s cold and calculated, and I got excited for a glimmer of a second. However, all of that seemed pretty pointless, after all, since we learn that The Farm isn’t really all that malicious (except for maybe a few hallucinogens, here and there). Betty even turns Alice right back over to Evelyn’s open arms. What’s even the point, y’all?

Her visits to Hal seem bonkers in themselves, and you have to wonder where these writers are taking us. The more Betty convenes with her serial killer father, the more I think that there’s some kind of evil alliance in the works. Surely these writers can’t expect us to believe Betty (dark or otherwise) has the power to overturn a mass murderer’s conviction simply because he requests, “I want to come home.” It’s all completely nuts.

Drugs are bad

Speaking of nuts, the new strain of Fizzle Rocks has hit the streets of Riverdale and it’s turning its users into zombies, foaming at the mouth. If the writers don’t take this opportunity to introduce us to Afterlife with Archie, what even is this life? The drug zombies have superhuman strength and lose all their humanity, as evidenced by their eerie bluish skin, glowing eyes, and propensity for violent self-harm. Creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa knows what he’s doing with the nods to the horror genre, and these scenes unnerved me for sure.

What I find less compelling, however, is how ill-equipped the Jones men are to handle actual crime. This is highly unfortunate since FP is the literal law in the town. Deputizing his high school son should have been the tipoff that he might not know best, but Riverdale isn’t known for its sound logic. As FP and Jughead run around town, stopping by the Maple Club twice, it becomes clear they are out of their depths. Never once did it occur to Jughead to mention that his mom, FP’s wife for heaven’s sake, is the town drug queen.

In fact, the writers don’t address it at all in the entire episode. That’s just bananas, folks. Instead of aligning with his dad, the sheriff, to stop the drug madness, they bear down on Kurtz. When they finally hem this guy up for questioning, he reveals that Jelly Bean is the one they’re after.

Wait … what?

This complicates matters even further, as it suggests that Gladys is probably not behind all this Gargoyle King stuff. We didn’t even get to see Gina Gershon’s face this week, so we’re faced with another red herring. I swear, sometimes I believe that Riverdale is just a reboot of the old Scooby-Doo series.

Don’t forget Archie is still on this show too

Meanwhile, on his own planet, Archie owns a gym and now has a little boxing gang. Oh, and don’t forget Baby Teeth was in this little clique, as well. I hate to speak ill of the dead, folks, but come on. The writers are just trying to get us riled up here about a character that has uttered less than ten lines. We don’t care about Baby Teeth, and to try and wedge in a plotline that suggests the other characters care about him is downright absurd.

Archie is so far removed from the main narratives that he is basically acting in his own spinoff. When the writers have him do his best Dallas Winston impression (from The Outsiders) I’m physically wincing. Archie declares, “Tomorrow when we fight, we fight for him, for Baby Teeth” with so much cheese, I could have spread it on my cracker.

Still sad about Luke Perry

I’ll never stop being sad about Luke Perry. Every time I see Fred Andrews on screen, I tear up. It’s even sadder to know that this is probably his last appearance on the show. Here’s to hoping that the Riverdale writers send his character out on the best note possible: A note that will do him justice.

light. Related Story. Riverdale review: Back to its old antics, and not in a good way

Leave your reactions in the comments below, and let me know where you think our beloved Riverdale is headed.