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 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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REVIEW of RIVERDALE EP. 13, “The Sweet Hereafter”

Better the sweet hereafter than this awful limbo. 


Grade: A-

Giving this episode a high grade because yes it was good but it wasn’t as good as last week. In a similar way to Game of Thrones, the penultimate episode is the most dramatic and the finale serves more to tie up loose ends and set up new storylines.

So what are the storylines being set up for Riverdale Season Two? Well mama, read to find out!

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Source: The CW // I didn’t even know t-shirts could fit that well.

In the aftermath of Clifford Blossom’s suicide, Chief Keller (who is…hot. Have we talked about what a DILF he is?) discovered parcels of heroin packed inside the maple syrup barrels. It seems that the Blossom family business smuggled heroin from Canada into the U.S. Are we not even making our own heroin anymore? What has happened to American manufacturing?!

FP Jones is still in jail for being an accomplice in Jason’s murder and is being pressured into giving any information on Blossom’s heroin distribution. Because, obviously, in the town of Riverdale, only one group can be responsible for drugs—and that’s the Serpents. FP maintains that the Serpents don’t deal in harder drugs, and he refuses to be a snitch even when Keller offers him a plea deal. Damn, son.

To recover and save face from the fact that a pillar of the community murdered his own son and smuggled heroin into the town, Mayor McCoy is throwing all her efforts into the 75th anniversary of Riverdale, the Jubilee, and using it to highlight some of Riverdale’s best and (pardon the irony) brightest—Archie and Betty. Betty, who has psychotic breaks, and Archie, who fucked a teacher. Apparently that ranks higher on the list of Do’s than wearing a beanie, or being Latina. Betty is frustrated. How can Riverdale move forward, she wants to know, if they refuse to acknowledge the past?

Some people in town can’t imagine moving forward. Penelope Blossom is distraught and broken over the loss of her son and husband, and utters, “Maybe your father had the right idea. Better the sweet hereafter than this awful limbo.” The notion of the future, and coming to terms with it, plays heavily into this finale. It makes sense—when all energy is focused on solving something from the past, you are forced to live in the past. And when that’s over, all that energy might cause you to tumble over from the sheer momentum.

Archie and Veronica move forward into their future. Jughead has to switch schools and leans into his Serpent legacy. But Betty refuses to move forward without acknowledge the past—the mayor and the town won’t even talk about how Clifford Blossom did anything; it’s all about the Serpents. So she takes to the true hero of this season—journalism—to write about Riverdale’s need to forgo convenient amnesia. It ends with someone scrawling “Serpent Slut” and hanging a Betty voodoo doll from her locker—but the truth is rarely without cost.

This episode serves to end the awful limbo that this season has been trapped in, by going back to the beginning. Archie and Veronica solidify the passion they felt at first sight. Betty leans into the mantle of journalism her parents had laid out. Alice reveals that she, like Polly, had gone through the cycle of teenage pregnancy—one that ended with a baby boy given up for adoption. Veronica says what we’re all thinking, that that kid must be a 20-something “blonde Adonis” by now. And Cheryl—Cheryl ends this season where she first began.

On Sweetwater River.

After a farewell text to the girls, Cheryl made the journey to the frozen surface of the river. As the gang raced through snow to her, she flung her fists against the ice over and over and over. Her red hair was the only color on the bleached-white landscape. And as she heard the voices of the Sleuthsters, she rose and turned to them just as the ice gave way beneath her feet.

Underwater, she saw a vision of Jason—the bullet-piereced corpse of her brother—and it all became clear. She could go into his embrace and die, or she could finally let him go. And above her, another Hot Redhead shatters bones and sprayed blood as he slammed against the ice. Archie broke it open and dragged the languid body of Cheryl Blossom out. And when she coughed up water, she was halfway towards rebirth.

The other half came later, as she dredged her house in gasoline and set it ablaze. The last chill left her body as she watches Thorn Hill engulf itself in flames.

That entire sequence was probably the best of the entire season, and I still get chills thinking about it.

To move forward, you have to do two things. One, you have to decide to move forward, like Cheryl did. You have to choose life. And two, you have to accept the past.

Betty—after another one of Archie’s “songs”—said as much. “Veronica Lodge is Riverdale. Archie Andrews is Riverdale. But FP Jones is also Riverdale. We banish the truth when it’s too ugly. The truth that Clifford Blossom was also Riverdale. If we don’t face the reality of who and what we are…then what happened to Jason could happen again, or, God forbid, something even worse.”

And as the flames consume Thorn Hill, and Veronica and Archie, and Betty and Jughead “consummate” their relationships, everything seems, for once in Riverdale, seared clean. But when an armed robbery in Pop’s ends in Archie cradling his bleeding father, that cleansing has not scoured every evil from Riverdale.

Riverdale’s Gilded Age of Innocence has been shattered, marked by an “act of violence that was anything but random.”


So that’s it for my recaps. I can’t say I’m not glad that it’s over. Mama’s tired. But hopefully we’ll meet again—when we meet Betty’s hot brother, and Veronica probably DILFy father, and the probably sexy possible-murderer of Fred Andrews, and every other slutty villain in the greater Riverdale-Southside area!

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REVIEW of RIVERDALE EP. 5, “Heart of Darkness”

Grade: B

Out of all the horrors incurred upon Jason Blossom—shot in the face, forced to wear white, having creepy-as-fuck parents, bound and tortured for a week—perhaps the greatest one is the sickly-sweet nickname that Cheryl has for him: “JJ.”

Jason Blossom, whose previous acting credits include being a beautiful mannequin and “playing” “football,” is most definitely not a “JJ.”

This episode was all about the Blossoms—Penelope, Clifford and Cheryl (and also Grandmama Blossom)—living on the creepy Thornhill estate, the “house that all the kids avoid” (according to Jughead). The Thornhill estate includes: one massive mansion, an enjoined cemetery, and creepy-beautiful flowers that have flourished from soil nutrient-rich from decaying Blossom carcasses. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, Blossom to blossom—haven’t we all heard that before? And even though the body of Jason is being laid to rest in the ground this episode, the questions surrounding his death are scraping their way to the surface.

After waking from a nightmare where—I swear to God—I thought Cheryl was going to climb into Jason’s coffin, Cheryl finds her mother staring at her. Cheryl has taken to sleeping on Jason’s bed to get inspiration for her memorial speech. Well, not too fast, because Cheryl won’t be speaking at Jason’s memorial, according to Penelope.

However, with the help of Veronica—who we’re calling “Ronnie” now? Unclear—“Hermes” Lodge, Cheryl gets her groove back. She invites Veronica over for a “sleepover” the night before the memorial—a sleepover that Veronica soon finds involves no one else but a dinner with the Blossoms where Mr. Blossom makes cruel digs over Hiram Lodge’s imprisonment. Sounds like a dinner at my house. But when Veronica finds out that Cheryl has been banned from speaking at the memorial, she resolves to help Cheryl. Any way she can.

“Heart of Darkness” saw the return of Shirtless Archie. He’s beating up a punching bag (is it redundant to say “punching a punching bag”?) in his room. He wants to get football captain, because getting captain gets him a scholarship, which gets him into college, which gets him into studying music. Has he thought of YouTube tutorials? One taught me how to knit, so I’m sure one could teach him about song-writing. Archie and Reggie square off to see who will be the captain. Spoiler alert: Archie gets it because despite being wildly sleep-deprived and under-qualified and young, the hot white guy always gets it. He’ll turn it down for music so that Reggie can have it—but Archie gets it first.

But because Riverdale is cruel, while we do have Shirtless Archie, we also have “Brooding Weirdly” Archie, and “Archie Together with Val of the Pussycats” Archie. Val gives Archie the connection to a new music tutor—Richie from HBO’s Looking—who, like everyone else, treats Archie so mean about his music. Archie is a gorgeous, strong-jawed musical athlete—HOLLYWOOD WILL SNATCH HIM UP. WHY IS NO ONE REALIZING THIS? DID NONE OF YOU WATCH GLEE?

Archie’s main task of the week is to write music, you know, while Veronica helps Cheryl get over the death of her brother, and Jughead and Betty try to solve Jason’s murder. Because you don’t always get the same as your friends.

Remember last week when I said that the tacit connections between Jason and Archie are becoming obvious to me? Well I was sort of right all along. Archie reveals—to Music Teacher Richie—that he began writing songs over the summer, and the first one was about Jason.

Side bar—wouldn’t it be amazing if Archie turned out to be bisexual and previously dated Jason?

But because we live in a gross world, I doubt that’ll happen, so Archie is just a murder-obsessed freakazoid. It’s like how Hayden Christensen played Anakin Skywalker and you forgive the fact that he’s an egomaniacal killer because he’s gorgeous. Hot people get an unnecessary amount of passes—and I know this because if I didn’t look the way I do, I would’ve been citizen-arrested by now.

The second instance is at the memorial. Archie has been wearing Jason’s number (oh that too) but retires it into the care of Mrs. Blossom. Penelope, who has been literally a monster, falters at the sight of Archie in his letterman jacket and red hair. She reaches up and caresses his face.

“You’re so much like him.”

That one small moment humanizes Penelope as more than a heartless bitch. She’s a woman who lost her son horribly, whose daughter lied to her, whose husband has an unfortunate haircut. There’s only so much one woman can take.

In the Adventures of Betty and Jughead (and I guess Kevin), they’re working on replicating Chief Keller’s “murder board.” Betty is going on a “date” with Trav, who was friends with Jason. Kevin wants to know if it’s more than a date—because gay people just exist to ask their straight friends about dating!!

Petty B and Juggie decide that during the memorial, they’ll sneak into Jason’s room for clues. Because the dead may tell no tales, but their browser histories do. Mine doesn’t, because I use Incognito, but the main search engine in this town is something called “Sleuthster” so all bets are off. They learn from Trav that Jason was selling off his possessions before he disappeared, and he was also selling drugs. The plot thickens.

MEMORIAL. Cheryl shows up in a STUNNING WHITE DRESS—the same one she was in when she last saw Jason. Archie is wearing a letterman’s jacket because he has no respect for fashion rules. Betty and Juggie sneak upstairs where they loudly open drawers until the Blossom Grandmama reveals herself from the shadow.

She mistakes Betty for Polly and drops the major bomb that Jason and Polly were engaged. But Jason and Polly got into a fight, Polly tried to kill herself and was carted off to an asylum. It’s revealed that Hal Cooper—Betty’s dad and someone who I have NEVER seen before—knew all this. Hal’s anger over the Blossom family turns out to be incredibly deep-rooted. Generations ago, Great-Grandfather Blossom and Great-Grandfather Cooper were in the maple business together. Blossom didn’t want to share his profits so he murdered Cooper—duh. Murdered over maple. It’s a blood (maple) feud that tried to keep Jason and Polly apart.

In not even a B-plot (maybe a lowercase “c”) Fred Andrews flirts with Hermione Lodge, who shuts it down until the South Side Serpents threaten her with a live snake and Fred comes to her rescue.

Overall, the Sleuthsters determine that Hal Cooper is the one who stole the murder board from the Keller’s house. And now Hal is a suspect in Jason’s murder, with motives old and new.

Maybe this call is coming from inside the house.

And in the last moments, the Sleuthsters realize that they need to talk to Polly. YES. FINALLY.

NEXT WEEK: Faster, Pussycats! Kill! Kill!

 

STRAY OBSERVATIONS:

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Source: CW//RICHIE

  • The characters pronounce Music Teacher’s name—Mr. Castillo—with such a forced foreignness, it’s bizarre.
  • This dialogue: VAL: “I heard Ms. Grundy used to tutor you.” VERONICA: “Understatement of the year.”
  • How many different-colored veils does Cheryl own?
  • Why are we not surprised that Archie has a punching bag in his room?
  • “She’s sick, and Jason made her sick.”
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REVIEW of RIVERDALE EP. 4, “The Last Picture Show”

Grade: B (good, but filler)

The town of Riverdale unfolds with every episode, the corners of the map stretching farther and farther, wider and wider. This is the first week where the drama took place almost entirely outside of the high school, and just that shifted the entire tone. In a lot of ways, the episode was just like the drive-in movie, the last one before the theater shuts down. You’re watching the drama, and even when the tension gets racheted up, you feel largely cossetted and safe. You know that what you’re watching won’t leave the screen, but you can’t shake the feeling of melancholy with the knowledge that as every second slips by, the movie is getting closer and closer to the end.

Side bar: The tone of each episode oscillates wildly. So while I enjoyed this episode, it was a total filler episode after last week’s LITERAL INSANITY. #StickyMaple

Rewatching last week’s promo for this episode, the CW definitely fucks with your head. They made it seem like Grundy was a psycho-killer, who killed the real Geraldine Grundy and took on her life like a snake slithering back into a dry, papery shedded husk. But tonight the drama was minimal—especially compared to episode three, the fourth episode was decidedly placid. The tension was eerie and achey. Within the span of hours, multiple main characters found out about the relationship between Archie and Ms. Grundy.

At the end of last episode, Dilton Doiley told Jughead and Betty that he had spotted Ms. Grundy’s car on the banks of Sweetwater River the day Jason Blossom was supposedly killed (we know now that Jason died almost a week later). Betty knows that Archie was also at the river’s edge that day, and quickly puts together the obvious. I mean, she didn’t witness the two idiots making out in band room like Jughead did, but she’s not dim.

But once Betty knows, the entire cast of characters glossed over the whole “statutory rape” aspect of Ms. Grundy and Archie’s relationship real quick, if you ask me. Like, I don’t mean to cause drama, but if it had been Mr. Grundy and Archina, I’m betting Grundy would be hogtied in someone’s car trunk by this point. But that’s just my opinion.

Because Archie is actually maybe an idiot, Betty takes it upon herself to dig into Ms. Grundy’s past. She finds that there is no trace of her from beyond a year ago—the only Geraldine Grundy she found was an elderly woman who had died previously. SpOoKy. And using journalism as a cover for a probing investigation—jorunalism is really given a bad rep in this show, no thanks to the fucking Cooper family—Betty discovers something quite…interesting.

Jason Blossom was a private student of Ms. Grundy’s last year. That Jason Blossom.

The episode strengthened the tacit parallels between Archie and Jason, something I no longer think is coincidence. It happens first when Grundy drops the knowledge that Jason was a past student of hers, the overarching question of, “What kind of relationship was it?” And later, Betty and Mrs. Cooper are at odds in Betty’s bubblegum-fantasy room when Betty makes her mother say her name.

“Elizabeth Cooper,” says Mrs. Cooper, in the only real emotion I’ve seen on her face.

“Not Polly Cooper. And Archie is not Jason.” But the parallelisms are already in place: the world sees these two redheaded boys (one decidedly brawnier and hotter than the other: spoiler, it’s not the one in white kid gloves) as mirrors of each other.

I always begin every episode thinking Betty is so cool and fun, and end every episode thinking she should be committed. This episode was the rare exception, but I’m not holding my breath. Whether she’s breaking into Ms. Grundy’s car and finding her real ID (Jennifer Gibson) AND A GUN or trying to get Archie to see that Grundy is, like, definitely a child predator, Betty was MVP this episode.

An example of this would be this small exchange when Betty is trying to convince Archie to open his eyes. She has found the gun and the real ID.

BETTY: You didn’t ask anything about her name? Where she had been before this? Why not?

ARCHIE (in his head): Um she’s a teacher sleeping with a student; kind of assumed it was obvious she’s a creep.

ARCHIE (out loud): She’s not doing anything wrong.

In the B-plot, essentially every parent in Riverdale is the absolute worst. Veronica, shoved to the backseat this episode, witnesses her mother do some shady dealings with Riverdale’s local gang—the South Side Serpents. Just a comment, but even the gangs in this town sound like something out of West Side Story.

Hermione Lodge tries to convince her daughter that everything is fine, but after a shady dealing with the mayor—Josie’s mom—we learn that from jail, Mr. Lodge has been paying the South Side Serpents to terrorize the drive-in theater, depreciate its value, and then snap it up for real estate development. Remember this—I can’t even do math without a calculator.

Side bar: When someone says “When have I ever lied to you” when assuring someone they’re telling the truth, you can almost be certain that they are lying to you right now, and probably every other moment of your life.

In fact, all the parents are the worst tonight. The Serpent who was threatening Hermione is Jughead’s dad. Josie’s mom is engaged in backdoor deals. Alice Cooper finds Grundy’s gun hidden in Betty’s room and characterizes it as “just for starters” as wrong. JUST FOR STARTERS. And my favorite (sarcasm) gay (only gay) on the show—Kevin Keller—finally gets a storyline (making out with a gang member). And guess what, it’s about dudes. Kevin asks for the truck and his dad, Chief Keller, is like “please no more cruising.” If my dad had found me cruising guys in the woods and later I asked for the truck, he would be like, “What truck” because we don’t own a truck. But then he would break my legs. Who are these parents?!

Finally, Alice Cooper tells Archie’s dad that Grundy is sleeping with his son. They go to the school—WHERE ARCHIE HAS JUST GIVEN GRUNDY A GIFT—and confront her. Alice says the magic words, “Child predator”—the ones that no one has thought to say before this—and is just about to ruin both Grundy and Archie when Betty steps in.

Side bar: What is with the victim-blaming on Riverdale? First Grundy says that if they come clean, Archie will get expelled? And now Mrs. Cooper is blaming Archie for sleeping with a predator? Guys, let’s have some chill.

Betty threatens that she’s pretend she made the whole thing up and confirm everyone’s worst fears—that Betty is crazy like Polly, and Alice drove her to it. thankfully, the small part of Alice Cooper that is still human recognizes her daughter’s resolve, and settles for just driving Grundy out of town.

BETTY ROCKS.

This episode was largely a stand-alone—it hardly dealt with the murder. But to keep the thread strong, the last scenes of the episode are the Kellers’ arriving back home from the movie to a door slightly ajar. Papa Keller’s murder collage for Jason Blossom has been ripped down, and the mystery of Jason’s killer continues. Overall this episode was a yaas.

NEXT WEEK: The funeral of Jason Blossom, redhead at large.

STRAY OBSERVATIONS

  • Archie wasn’t shirtless at all. And we had to see him crying. Double boner killer.
  • Presented without comment: Jellybean Jones.
  • Not thinking ahead is kind of what fucks over every statutory rapist in the end—when it comes down to the brass tacks. Also the whole “fucking an underage kid” thing. Who am I to judge? Love is love. Except when it’s, you know, not.
  • This time I’m on Betty’s side. “I’ll prove that crazy runs in the family.” UM HENNY U ALREADY DID THAT LAST WEEK.
  • Kevin makes eye contact with a gay snake, AND a homosexual South Side Serpent (self-five).
  • ARE. A. CHILD. PREDATOR. JENNIFER. And stop wearing those Lolita heart-sunglasses, dick.
  • Mrs Cooper says CHILD PREDATOR: but then she’s a freak about Archie. For one second I was on your side, Alice!!! Fuckk
  • I thought that either the SSS was stabbing Kevin or fucking him, and I can’t decide which I would rather see less. Of course, the serpent’s name is Joaquin, because why not.
  • Jughead is homeless!!!!
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REVIEW of RIVERDALE EP. 3, “Body Double”

Grade: A

The second episode of any series typically has a dip. The first episode sets up all the drama, and the second episode catches people up and fills in background. So the third episode of Riverdale, with the background of episode two’s “A Touch of Evil,” is able to forage onto new ground.

Betty resurrects the school newspaper because, when in doubt and your idyllic town has recently had a horrific murder, high school journalism is the answer. But given the fact that Betty’s mother, Alice Cooper, runs the Riverdale Register and printed all the leaked details of Jason’s autopsy and a front-page story with the headline “Cheryl: Guilty as Sin,” maybe some new journalism is healthy.

Like I predicted last week—Cheryl didn’t kill Jason. She’s “guilty” of lying to the police—aren’t we all?—and says that Jason wanted to get out of Riverdale so the twins faked his death. They heard the gunshot together in their summer whites and it wasn’t until Kevin found Jason’s body a week later that Cheryl realized Jason was dead. She tells Chief Keller about the gunshot—a fact which Archie laters corroborates when he comes clean (minus the fact that he’s in a statutory rape situation with Ms. Grundy; so “kinda clean”).

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Source: The CW//Pointless, gratuitous shot of Archie, included because I am part of the problem.

The autopsy proved that Jason died July 11, and his body showed signs of freezer-burn, rope ties and—probably—torture. I mean, he ended up getting shot in the face, so I feel like it’s not out of line to assume that he was at least tortured before his untimely demise. So if Cheryl and Jason heard the gunshot together, then it was unconnected to them—at this point at least.

We are re-introduced to Dilton Doiley, the scout leader who found a soaked—chic—Cheryl on the side of the river. Through the magic of Jughead’s manipulation and sloppy stealing of a sundae, one of Dilton’s scouts reveals that Dilton shot the gun (and I guess he’ll lose his scout-ness if that came to light). So if Dilton shot the gun, and Jason escaped—we lose all sense of the timeline and any leads. Intrigue. Interestingly, the murder, and Archie, are kind of the B-plot this episode, with the juicy meat going to Betty and Veronica tackling slut-shaming. Essentially, Archie is grounded, Ms. Grundy calls off their lessons, and Archie turns to Josie for some music help.

Three episodes in, and Riverdale is slowly unveiling their people of color. The mayor is Josie’s mom; the all-star football guy is black; Dilton is played by an actor of Asian descent. And when Archie stops in on the Pussycats’ practice, Josie gives him a lesson in race relations. He can’t write in their voice because they are “divas of color.” And while things are changing in Riverdale, they’re not changing that fast.

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Source: The CW// Chuck Clayton, who is hot, but mean

“We have to claw our way into the same rooms that you can just waltz into,” says Josie to Archie, who—to his credit—seems willing to admit that. Yay for some semblance of Riverdale becoming more woke. That, combined with the slut-shaming, makes this the most political and issue-driven episode yet, and I’m here for it. I’m not here for Cheryl kind of slut-shaming the girls, but I think that’s less of Cheryl being a slut-shamer and more of her just being sort of a dick.

Veronica goes on a date with Chuck Clayton, the all-star son of the football coach. Later he spreads a vicious rumor around school about her, and labels her a “Sticky Maple.” What a Sticky Maple is, they never actually get around to. So Riverdale, tho.

After finding out that A) this has happened to multiple girls before and B) there’s some sort of tallying playbook that the football team has, Veronica goes full-scorched earth. This episode reinforces the tropes of the traditional Archie comics—something they’ve been subverting so far. Veronica is the bad-ass, dark-sided one, and Betty is just trying to seek justice for these women.

#JusticeForEthel

The gang—Kevin (who started out the season with a bang (almost literally) but has kind of faded into the background for me), Veronica (in the cape), Betty, Barb from Stranger Things, and Cheryl (in thigh-highs)—sneak into school with annoyingly bright flashlights and find the burn book. In a twist, Polly—the insane sister of Betty—is in the book with Jason Blossom. Betty, in an Una Thurman Pulp Fiction black wig, and Veronica lure Chuck the fuck to a second location with the promise of a hot tub, get him liquored up and handcuff him into the hot tub before starting to record. He admits that he made up the rumor, and it seems like “Okay, that’s it.”

But it’s not it for Betty. Ever since she saw Polly’s name in the book, the mad glint has been back in her eyes. She turns up the heat, uses a high-heeled pump on Chuck’s head to waterboard him, and demands justice for Polly. But the thing is—in that moment, she is Polly, and she’s talking to Jason. It is, as Veronica later worriedly points out, very “Dr. Jekyll, Mistress Hyde.” Betty was almost normal the entire episode but this opens up a whole new book of questions. Is she having dissociative breaks? Who is Polly?

I can’t shake the feeling that Betty and Polly are linked to Jason’s disappearance and murder. And even though Betty later brushed off her little incident, the black wig is stashed in her locker—Polly is there, somewhere.

In the end, Dilton begs Betty and Jughead not to reveal that he’s the one to shoot the gun and offers up something in exchange: he saw Ms. Grundy’s car on the banks of the river, the tidbit that Archie purposefully left out. And as the closing scene—Archie and Ms. Grundy making out IN THE BAND ROOM OF THE HIGH SCHOOL—and the promo for next week indicate, we’re soon going to learn a lot more about who Ms. Grundy is.

And more importantly, who Ms. Grundy isn’t.

 

STRAY OBSERVATIONS

  • Is this the town in fucking Footloose? This town has seen a murder and Archie’s dad is demonizing him for “writing songs”?
  • Veronica’s date characterizes her as a “former It-girl from New York”—is the only TV in this town “Gossip Girl?” Why are they all making the same references?
  • I love how Kevin Keller exists in a permanent state of surprise:
    • “You’re going on a date with the son of the football coach?!”
    • “Where did you get those thigh-high boots?!”
  • “I will cut the brakes on his souped-up phallic machine”—VERONICA IS GOING SCORCHED EARTH
  • CHUCK STOP LICKING YOUR LIPS
  • Theory: Cheryl is into Archie because he kinda looks like Jason
  • “Frida Shallow”
  • There’s the recurring motif of smudged, almost bloody red lipstick on Betty. Am I the only one noticing this?
  • MRS. COOPER GETS HIT IN THE FACE BY CHERYL’S MOM

#JusticeForEthel

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