Riverdale review: Four goodbyes, an armed robbery, and a cult


Riverdale says goodbye to four characters and still delivers on a much deserved action-packed episode. You can’t look away from this week’s offering.

Riverdale says four goodbyes this week, and the saddest of all is Luke Perry as Fred Andrews. Although producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa announced this week on Twitter that this would be Perry’s last appearance, we don’t have a lot of information about how the writers will handle his departing.

While that goodbye is still impending, this week’s “Chapter Fifty-Four: Fear the Reaper” says a pretty final (well, final by Riverdale standards) to three other characters.

Gladys steps down as Riverdale’s reigning drug queen

Although watching Luke Perry’s final moments on screen was torture, I also have to say I’m pretty bummed to see Gina Gershon move on as well. Her turn as Gladys has been fun and gritty and really brought the pulpy icing on the noir cake.

In an episode heavily influenced by Tarentino’s biggest ’90s film classics, Gladys really delivers. Her scenes with Kurtz couldn’t have been better as she tortures him to get info on Jellybean. However, her fight with the Kill Bill-ish, one-eyed Penny Peabody was the absolute best Riverdale has ever given us in the way of homage. Gladys and Penny go at each other with sais as their weapon of choice and I, quite literally, couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. Gladys cements herself in the Riverdale hall of fame as the one, true, lady badass.

We’re forced to say goodbye to her, even if it’s temporarily (contract pending) after her criminal enterprises come to light during the very high stakes game of G&G. At least we got to see the Jones perform an armed robbery, Pulp Fiction-style, as a family. Still in their (very recognizable) street clothes, Pop wasn’t having any of it. FP takes a graze from Pop’s shotgun – the last person within the city limits to arm himself – and leaves Jughead to sort out the mess. Which he did, of course.

Poor FP and Jughead. They had high hopes for Gladys, but she just couldn’t perform the June Cleaver trope they hoped. I guess a Serpent can’t really change her sliver.

Hal Cooper meets his doom via prison transport van

Betty has been playing Clarice to her father’s Hannibal Lecture for a few episodes now, and these visits have, inexplicably, softened her to her serial killer dad. He demands to be transferred to a less gloomy prison and Betty agrees. She enlists Veronica, and I once again need to say this for the writers and folks in the audience, Veronica is a teenager and decidedly not a lawyer or any sort of Riverdale authority. Apparently everyone has completely forgotten.

Hal is riled at the news that Alice intends to marry the increasingly unsettling Edgar Evernever, and incensed that the cult leader plans to adopt Juniper and Dagwood. This becomes even more emergent when we learn that Evelyn is not, in fact, his daughter, but his 26-year-old wife who has been pretending to be a high schooler to recruit kids. I have to hand it to the writers’ cheeky nod to the increasingly gross trend of casting twenty-something actors to play teenage characters. I see you, Riverdale.

Nonetheless, this emboldens them both to do something, and Betty goes to both Hiram Lodge and Penelope Blossom to help with her father’s request. This casts a pretty big shadow of doubt on Hal’s untimely end. Perhaps we will a Hal/Penelope/Edgar showdown after all.  It won’t be a small feat if that angry mob of white-clad believers chasing Betty through the streets is any indication. Scary stuff, even by Riverdale’s standards.

Josie gets the hell out of this town

I’m the first to say that Josie is one of the  more under-utilized characters. So, I’m happy that she gets to head over to another CW vehicle for the Katy Keene pilot. If the show doesn’t get picked up, it’s likely that Ashleigh Murray will be back in the town with pep. If not, she’s could launch a solid career as a lounge singer, if that cover of Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black” at the Bonne Nuit is any indication.

Although her departure doesn’t further any real plot movement, she and Archie share a sweet goodbye at the end of the episode. If nothing else, we get a distraction from the very tired efforts to make Archie boxing’s “Riverdale Reaper.” I guess everybody, including the writers, forgot that there was a past serial killer with this very name.

Finally, some stray thoughts

Thank the Riverdale gods we didn’t have to sit through another Archie/courtroom drama. There’s just not enough there. Even when his gym, the cleverly named El Royale, gets raided, it still felt very low stakes.

We got another steam room scene between Elio and Hiram. I’m not mad at it. In fact, any time we can get a shirtless Mark Consuelos twirling his villain’s mustache, is fine with me. He might not be the power player of the cast, but he’s no slouch to look at.

We just didn’t get enough Cheryl and Toni this week. However, as a double-crossing double agent, Toni had the line of the week. As she and Betty try to break into The Farm to steal the remaining twin from Edgar she says, “It takes a village to mercy-kidnap a child.” Well, played.

Veronica drops a bit of dialogue herself that has me trying to sort out the show’s IRL timeline. She tells Archie she will “dog walk” Elio, and this is a verbatim reference to Cardi B’s threat to Tomi Lahren on Twitter from earlier this year. I like when they break the fourth, pop culture wall

Next. How Shrill takes on toxic relationships (because we’ve ALL been there). dark

There’s only three episodes left until the season finale, and I’ve got my hopes way up for the May sweeps series of episode. We have to offer an official goodbye to Fred Andrews, we must dispense of Edgar Evernever, and the Gargoyle King (oh, remember that’s still a thing) must be revealed.

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