"Chapter Two: A Touch Of Evil"
I have not made it a secret that I don't like the relationship between Archie and Ms. Grundy. Apart from being offensive to the original character, it's creepy in every possible way. It's inappropriate, utterly disturbing, and a technical case of statutory rape, given that Ms. Grundy is an adult. If you believe that the characters are meant to be fifteen and that the relationship started when Archie was potentially fourteen, it's even ickier. Finally, seriously, Archie?! You run over to Ms. Grundy's house in the middle of the night, not wearing a shirt, wanting to talk about the night of the murder. Totally not suspicious or weird, dude.
Sorry to say, I'm also not a fan of Kevin. Aside from being a living example of the "gay best friend" stereotype, he's also incredibly unlikable. Call me crazy, but I can't find myself rooting for a character who knows that sexuality is fluid, but believes that Moose should "stick to what he knows" and stay in the closet. On the opposite side, I still like Cheryl. Sure, she's an awful person, but she's actually meant to be awful.
To be entirely honest, the dynamic between Betty, Veronica, and Cheryl is one of the saving graces of the show. Seeing Betty and Veronica be friends and then snipe at each other right after actually felt like the comics. Cheryl's meddling makes it more interesting. She goes from being nice to Betty to actively insulting her and accusing her sister of murder. (For the record, I still think Cheryl is the murderer. I know she actively admitting to being guilty in the episode, but there could be something more to it than that.) The other saving grace would be Jughead's opening and closing monologues.
Finally, I don't think that the scene where Reggie was bullying Jughead was supposed to make me laugh, but I'm taking it as a positive anyway. Hearing Reggie use the Suicide Squad movie as an insult and Jughead outright mentioning necrophilia made up for the lackluster teen dialogue in the beginning of the episode. It sounds so absurd coming out of their mouths. If only it wasn't followed up by the single most disturbing version of "Sugar, Sugar" that I've ever heard. Some things are not meant to be turned into modern-day pop songs. This is my favorite version, by the way.
"Chapter Three: Body Double"
Back in my review of the first episode, I speculated that Cheryl and Jason might have made some plans to run away together and leave Riverdale. This plan would involve a potential faked suicide pact and that Cheryl backed out of it, actually killed Jason, and left. As it turns out, Jason really did want to leave Riverdale and he was planning on faking an accident to jump-start his plan. I am Nostradamus!
I also like the intersectionality and feminist themes in this episode. We specifically had scenes with Betty defending Ethel from the insidiousness of the football team's playbook, along with Josie's descriptions of what she and her mother have to deal with. She tells Archie about his privilege after he tries to work with them. Unfortunately, this came at the expense of one of Archie Comics' few African-American characters, Chuck Clayton. Four months ago, I wrote an article for Critical Writ on some characters that I hoped to see in the "New Riverdale" universe and on Riverdale. One such character was Chuck Clayton, as he is an interesting and well-developed character in the universe.
As I said, he's an amateur cartoonist and a football star, providing for an interesting character and potential conflicts. Heck, a story arc about a conflicted artist would be a great fit for Riverdale! Should he stick with being an athlete or showcase his true ambitions? Unfortunately, he simply appears as an abuser and shamer of women. In my personal opinion, this is even more of a disservice to the character than to not include him in the series at all. As cruious as it was to see an Archie Comics version of Sweet/Vicious, I would have preferred that it was not at the expense of a character of color. Hey, Reggie's always been a jerk in the comics, why not replace Chuck with him in the script? Here's hoping that Chuck can somehow be redeemed in future episodes.
|I'm disappointed, too.|
"Chapter Four: The Last Picture Show"
Unfortunately, the other plot points in the episode don't give me too much to hope for. I just can't bring myself to care about Alice Cooper. She's a horrible person. Can't there be at least one happy family in town? Admittedly, she did find a gun in Betty's room and that's kind of a major issue, but she still did some unethical actions of her own.
On the plus side, Jughead's plot was fairly interesting. I liked seeing his campaign to save the drive-in movie theater. After all, they're cool and he has a vested interest in the building. I'm not quite sure how I feel about him actually living there, along with the final scene's revelation about his father. I hope that the Southside Serpents/election arc doesn't take away focus from the murder mystery storyline. As much as I've been bashing Riverdale, I really do want to enjoy it. After all, I like the comics and I like murder mysteries. It's just that for every fascinating plot point, two more pop up that I don't care for. I hope next week's episode will be better.
Riverdale airs on Thursdays on the CW. You can also watch select episodes on the CW website and app.
Zachary Krishef is an evil genius. Do not question his knowledge of Saturday Night Live trivia or Harry Potter books.