Review, Riverdale CW, television

REVIEW of RIVERDALE Ch. 14, “A Kiss Before Dying”

Who is the green-eyed man?

Grade: A(yyyyyyyyy)+

And we’re back! After what feels like the blink of an eye but was actually five months, we’re back in the town of Riverdale. So let’s sip some milkshakes, shake the dust off our pearls and GET BACK TO IT.

Overall, the premiere of season two was BEAUTIFULLY-SHOT (ouch, no pun intended) and brought the drama. It felt a little messy and unfocused, as well as advancing storylines like Juggie’s in a forced way, but it accomplished what all premieres should accomplish – it made me desperate to watch the rest of the season.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. At the end of last season, Archie was clutching his bleeding father to his chest after a lone gunman stormed Pop’s Diner and shot Fred.

Now, Archie is driving like a maniac – he does not have his license, because he is so young (if the show’s absence has made you forget the pure ickiness of Ms. Grundy and Archie) – through the streets of Riverdale while Fred Andrews is turning the inside of their car – and then the hospital steps, hallway and everything else – into a Jackson Pollock painting. A hospital, by the way, whose ‘50s décor did not inspire confidence.

Screen Shot 2017-10-12 at 5.02.48 PM

Source: The CW

While Archie is literally trying to save his father’s life, Betty and Veronica ARE BEING TERRIBLE. Betty is drinking orange juice – too high in sugar – and telling her mother that she and Juggie almost had sex but were interrupted by the Southside Serpents (Betty, your mom has a gun and threw a brick through a plate-glass window; maybe tread lightly). Veronica has popped open the Cristal set aside for her father’s imminent arrival to make a mimosa. The kids in the town of Riverdale are OUT OF CONTROL. If someone doesn’t slap Veronica, I swear to god. I have never talked to any adult the way that these kids talk to theirs. And I understand, the adults in this town are not making the right decisions, but learn some respect!

It feels like most of the episode takes place over, like, a twelve-hour period. You’ve gotten Fred fever-dreaming his son’s life – all the big moments ruined by the Green-Eyed Man – whilst in surgery; you’ve got Archie and Veronica heading back to the house to walk Vegas (still the best name for a dog) and get out of his blood-stained clothes; and you’ve got Betty and Jug trying to recollect Fred’s missing wallet, the wallet with everything in it.

It’s clear that the wallet is going to play a major role in the next few episodes because Archie pointedly tells them that everything his father held dear was in that wallet…but like how much fits in a wallet? I can barely get my library card in. However, it was pointed out by my friend while discussing it that he probably meant their home address, if the gunman wants to come back to finish the job.

While Juggie and Betty are getting the wallet (and stopping for a burger mere feet away from the massive lake of blood left behind by Fred) Veronica is being a Good Girlfriend™. When she’s not saying, “No! I won’t leave you in your time of need!” she’s slipping out of her tweed (but keeping on her pearls) to join Archie in the shower while he’s washing the caked-on blood of his father off his body. Look, I’m not super great at relationships, but this seems like an icky time to get sexy.

Veronica really annoyed me this season; maybe it’s because Archie was overwrought with such pain (brought to life by AMAZING acting from K.J. Apa) that her “New York Rich Girl” arrogance felt totally juvenile. Archie’s dad is dying and you’re eating a croissant from “Bean and Beluga” (which, albeit, was my favorite line of the episode). And thinking that your mom hired the killer is kind of just a way to make a tragedy not about you about you. Hermione didn’t hire the killer, but she could cut off your supply of Birkins.

Speaking of cutting off supply, the most excellent (but too short) part of the episode, besides the superb acting from K.J. Apa (Bae-J. Apa), was Queen of White Dresses, Lady of the Lake, Red Lipstick Mogul – Cheryl Blossom. Because while Fred Andrews is having his blood-splattered Henley cut off him, Cheryl is in the hospital with her mother, Penelope.

Apparently after Cheryl put on her one-woman pyrotechnics show, Penelope pulled a “Girl on Fire” moment to go back and collect their hideous family portrait. There are things worth saving, and a painting you commissioned is not worth it. Go for the diamonds, honey. Go for your stock portfolio! In the process, Penelope got third-degree burns, which Cheryl conveniently uses while spinning her version of the truth – a breeze knocked a wayward candle into a curtain, causing the house to alight and Penelope to get those burns while saving Cheryl. This is highly believable because you know they would have tacky taste in curtains. Well-played, Cher.

This side-plot also brought us the only scene to pack some heat (excuse the pun) in a small moment between Cheryl and Penelope. Cheryl pinches Penelope’s breathing tube and tells her the new lay of the land. “If you breathe, it’s because I give you air,” she says. “If you drink water, it’s because I poured the cup. And if you move, it’s quietly and with my blessing.” After years of emotional abuse, Cheryl is using the chaos of her family to make moves. In the immortal (and yet not, because he’s dead) words of Petyr Baelish: “Chaos isn’t a well. It’s a ladder.” Cheryl is using that chaos to shimmy up to the top. And if Penelope ever steps out of line, the truth behind that night will come out. YES CHERYL.

Between Cheryl and Archie, I’m tired of the hot redheads pulling all the weight! We can’t be expected to do everything.

The entire episode, it’s clear that Archie is holding something back from his retelling of what happened. First with the rest of the Sleuthsters, then with Sheriff Keller. And when it does come to light, that Archie froze in trauma when the gunman turned his weapon onto Archie, it’s almost so underwhelming that the implications are forgotten. Archie is so wracked with guilt that he froze (a totally regular response), but we have to wonder? Why did the gunman not shoot Archie? What stopped him, or what scared him away?

And while Fred recuperates in the family home, tended to by Mrs. Andrews, Archie sets up shop in their entryway, sitting on an old trunk and tapping a baseball bat against the ground. But fear not, Bae-J, because, as Juggie tells us, the Green-Eyed Man was across Sweetwater River in Greendale, where Ms. Grundy had her Lolita-glasses set on a new boytoy. After reminding us that she’s a fucking creep, the Green-Eyed Man comes up behind her and kills her, slicing her throat with the bow of her cello.

And I had to wonder, as Ms. Grundy’s feet flopped out of her kitten-heeled Mary-Jane’s, “Why is everyone circling Archie circling the drain?”

Until next week!


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