After months away, we’re finally back: CW’s dedication to over the top soap opera nonsense: Riverdale.
Previously on Riverdale:
A comic company decides to make an adaptation of their biggest series by simultaneously being just like and nothing like it what so eve- err, I mean: the people of Riverdale are left in quite the devastating places after the case of the murder of Jason Blossom is solved. Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead, and so many more are left irreversibly changed.
So, how does the premiere of season 2 go? Let’s find out. Warning, we’re gonna talk some spoilers.
1. Remember: Archie Was The Wholesome Comic
One can make the argument that Riverdale fits as an adaptation in the same way that the Young Justice cartoon fits as an adaptation: it takes, at best, the framework and makes its own thing with a tone completely different from the source material.
Because, let me ask you: would you go into an adaptation of “Archie” with a panicking Archie Andrews tearing through the streets, driving his gunshot wounded father to the hospital? Because that’s how we open the season up. And credit where it’s due, it’s a well shot sequence of Archie trying to be terrified and able to drive while also trying to help keep his dad from bleeding out.
Also, throughout this episode, we get scenes inside the comatose Fred Andrew’s mind. It’s very reminiscent of Tony Soprano’s time in a coma. We see Fred at Archie’s graduation, his wedding, e.t.c.. But the reality continuously bleeds through as the Black Hooded man keeps appearing.
2. Friends Forever
What happens outside of Fred’s mind is also pretty interesting too. This episode was dealing with the fallout with the shooting and setting up the season’s threads. So lots of interactions between the core four dealing with the events. KJ Apa is on point trying to process the rage, fear and guilt over the events Archie has gone through. There’s a more subtle conflict brewing between Archie and Jughead, the latter fearing that one of the Southside Serpents. Similarly, the conflict that is brewing between Archie and Veronica, which we’ll discuss later on. Like the death of Jason Blossom, more tragedy serves as the catalyst for the real interesting interactions and character beats. Speaking of!
3. Haha Cheryl You’re Scaring Me
Cheryl Blossom is… putting this very lightly… not in a good place. Not only did she have the trauma of losing her twin brother, but then learning it was her father that done the deed, then having her mother kill her father. Well, the result is a Cheryl Blossom that has gone completely sideways. After Cheryl burns the Blossom Estate down, Mama Blossom has suffered burns that leave her incredibly vulnerable and in the hospital. It is clear that Cheryl has had enough and is not going to be pushed around by the remnants of her family. And my God, all the credit to Madelaine Petsch, who gave the strongest performance of the episode. She so easily swings from concerned friend when learning about Mr. Andrews into “Oh Dear God, Are Going To Kill Me” territory.
4. Be Careful, Juggie
We touched on this before, but Jughead is getting pulled into the life of his father and the Southside Serpents. Having lived among them, he knows they aren’t evil, but it’s kind of hard to do so when they bring a potential suspect in the shooting to his father’s trailer to question. And it’s not the nice kind of questioning either. It’s the kind that involves bludgeoning and pain. To put it simply, Juggie may be opening a hornets nest that he won’t be able to escape.
5. You’re a Lodge Before Anything Else
Throughout season one, has been less of a man and more of a presence. The unseen specter threading through the plotlines, controlling without having to be near anyone. Now it’s time for him to finally come face to face with Riverdale. Hiram, played by Mark Consuelos, is only in one scene (but not the final scene) and he makes quite the scene, channeling charisma with subtle fury. Someone who knows exactly what to say and when to say it as he sizes you up.
As for the final scene of the episode, I won’t spoil here, but it was quite the shocking, yet brief, return of someone.
Welcome Back, Riverdale. You were missed.