Review, Riverdale CW, television

REVIEW of RIVERDALE Ch.18, “When a Stranger Calls”

Somehow Riverdale did the impossible – they made sex, drugs and murder boring.


Grade: C+

The episode conveyed as if they had taken the A-plots from three separate episodes, edited them down to fit into forty-two minutes and hoped that no one would notice. So many of the scenes lacked context or buildup; they were all just heightened emotion, which, without context, just reads as campy. And it’s a shame because the most compelling (and I’m supposing actual) A-plot, Betty, was lost in the shuffle. And interesting potential plot points, like Alice going off the rails were completely truncated. The separate subplots of this episode – Jughead’s initiation, Veronica sinking into her family business, and Betty grappling with the Black Hood – could not have felt more distant from each other.

I truly feel like I’m missing something while watching this episode. The scenes followed each other sloppily. We barely saw Juggie’s initiation, we just heard about it after. Then suddenly Jughead is halfway through his initiation and Toni is in his trailer trying to warn him.

Out of nowhere, the Lodges are having cash-flow issues and it’s falling on Veronica’s shoulders to secure an investment from the visiting St. Clair’s. I was actually paying attention and have no idea who the St. Clair family is, except that they have the much-needed capital, and in a social climate of sexual predation, it’s weird that the St. Clair son, who is now a “music producer” (?), is flirting with Veronica, who is a sophomore. Weird and gross and weird and creepy.

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Review, Riverdale CW, television

REVIEW of RIVERDALE CH.17, “The Town That Dreaded Sundown”

For an episode so focused on the Black Hood and the Red Circle, its anticlimactic plot-points gave us all blue balls.


 Grade: B

Now that I’ve decided that Archie is an idiot, it’s literally the lens I see every action he makes through.

I understand for the show that Archie needs to go dark. And while there’s nothing hotter to me than an Archie on the Edge, I really don’t think that anything he does is going to draw the Black Hood out of the shadows. In fact, all he’s succeeded in doing in alienating Veronica, pissing off the Southside Serpent and threatening his academic standing at school. And rightly, he should not be bringing a gun to school. There are times when a show that is filmed months ago uncomfortably bumps against the real world, and that happened a few times with this: calling the Red Circle Neo-Nazis, as well as any mention of guns. Also the rampant scapegoating of an innocent group – a.k.a. the Southside Serpents (WHO ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE BLACK HOOD).

While there hasn’t been any good Cheryl Blossom content is now two episodes, this episode did a lot to progress the storylines of Veronica Lodge and Betty Cooper. Veronica has gone full Bonnie Parker and Betty is suddenly finding herself at the nexus of the Black Hood mystery.

I can’t really understand the motivation behind the Lodge family, and I’m sure it’s meant to be mysterious but it ends up feeling like lazy storytelling. So Hiram told Archie to form the Red Circle so that he had an excuse to make Veronica break up with him? And he’s evil…because he’s evil? Because he wants to buy up real estate? I don’t get why Hiram would target this bumblefuck town to funnel drugs through real estate? Go for the coasts; go for the big cities! I’m almost mad at his lack of clear ambition.

And Hermione? Now she’s evil too? Or is she just playing Hiram at his own game? Her little soliloquy about blind loyalty rang a little too “people in glass houses” for me; it’s almost as if she’s warning Veronica about Hermione herself. And possibly hinting, though Veronica won’t ever understand, that Hiram is evil and Hermione is keeping her enemy closest.

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Review, Riverdale CW, television

REVIEW of RIVERDALE CH.16, “The Watcher in the Woods”

Riverdale’s residents are playing with fire.


 Grade: A-

Before we get to the Kevin Keller of it all, let’s dive into this episode. Everyone in Riverdale seems to be entering dangerous territory: Archie’s deep in the Lodge lion’s den, Juggie is trying to navigate the gang-riddled waters of Southside High, Alice is facing a dangerous proposition and Kevin’s literally cruising in the woods.

At his new school, Jughead is at ground zero for gang violence and drugs (Jingle Jangle, which is such a stupid name that it veers out of stupid and into acceptable). Because he’s a better and more driven journalist than I’ll ever be (I spent my high school career stalking this one hot guy during free periods) he approaches his English teacher (after learning about Fahrenheit 451) to restart the Red and Black, Southside’s answer to the Blue and Gold.

Also at Southside, Jughead meets Toni Topaz, who I LITERALLY love already. She’s a Serpent as well (everyone cool is a Serpent, I want to be a Serpent). It seems that they’re positioning Toni as a way of complicating Bughead, but I would like to posit another theory. Allegedly Cheryl will be getting a love interest in Season Two. Could she be into Toni? The only man we know she’s had feelings for is her brother, and he’s dead, and also her brother and also dead. I don’t know which is a greater barrier for their love: honestly, it might be the dead thing.

Side note: Toni said, “Have fun in your safe space, snowflake,” to Jughead re the Red and Black. So Trump exists in the same space as Riverdale? Who did everyone in Riverdale vote for?
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Review, Riverdale CW, television

REVIEW of RIVERDALE CH.15, “Nighthawks”

The plot thickens.


Grade: B

Riverdale’s got its very own serial killer!

While the first three quarters of the episode were fraught with multiple storylines, the last fourth of the episode coalesced into something ooky-spooky: Riverdale, in addition to being swamped with corruption on every level, is also home to its very own serial killer.

It’s a smart move to extend beyond the very singular and impactful storyline of season one (the murder of Jason Blossom), but setting up all these pins that will eventually be knocked down is getting a little exhausting. There’s Archie needing stimulants to stay awake, Archie wanting a gun, Pop’s Chocklit Shoppe going under, FP Jones facing a twenty-year jail sentence, drugs, and the Lodges being shady (plus all the trappings of high school! How Cheryl can go back to the River Vixens is some mastery of compartmentalization).

As Archie fumbles to fix his dad breakfast (how terrible he is at this only tracks if you remember that he’s literally fifteen), we see him chugging down some energy drink. Whether it’s makeup or KJ Apa lost some weight in the break between filming, Archie is looking straight-up haggard this season. Or, as haggard as you can look when you have model-good looks – essentially he has some stubble and his eyebrows are currently the heaviest thing on his body.

And because Betty is a creep but they belong together, she noticed that Archie’s bedroom has been devoid of activity lately. Too bad she doesn’t have eyes on his shower, though. That place is bumpin’. So Veronica goes (even though Betty lives next door?) to check on him, where he answers the door shirtless for no reason. Thank you, CW. She tells him to go to therapy, but he’s content to badger Sheriff Keller, flood his dad with theories that place Archie at the center, and buy drugs from New Reggie (who was replaced from the previous actor. Both are hot).

Ronnie, in addition to saying things like “Park Avenue drama,” is embroiled in her own family drama. She’s refusing to forgive her recently released-from-prison father for…it’s unclear exactly what he did, but it was bad. And her mother is trying to gaslight her into them being the perfect little family again. A family where everyone seems to want to bang each other – no one calls someone “Daddy” that much in real life. Although Veronica bores me, her family drama is possibly heating up into something much more interesting.

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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.

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Source: The CW

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