Five Thoughts on Riverdale‘s “Blue Collar”

By | May 30th, 2022
Posted in Television | % Comments

Welcome back all you Riverdale fans! I’ve been working on the railroad, all the live-long day. I’ve been working on the railroad, just to pass the time away. Can’t you hear the whistle blowing, rise up so early in the morn; can’t you hear the captain shouting, “Get back to work or a foot won’t be the only thing you’ll lose.”

And as always, spoilers ahead.

1. Workers of Riverdale, Unite

I’m glad Archie has found his place as an agitator alongside Tabitha. While I wish she was doing a bit more to be noticeably at the forefront, it’s true that Archie has a deeper connection to the people currently in the town than she does and is thus better equipped to connect with them. Archie is the face of the resistance while Tabitha is the brains and the coordinator. He can stand up to Percival more openly and by episode’s end, has thrown a major monkey wrench in his operations.

That’s right; the union boys are back and voted to strike after someone lost a foot and then Percival didn’t give two shits about him. Oh and he forced them to rent their equipment from him, paid less than he promised, and gave no benefits. He really is a smorgasbord of terrible corporate practices.

Is it enough to stop things significantly? If U.S. history is anything to go by…no. He’ll likely hire desperate out of towners at half the rate and with even fewer protections and double down on his attack on the workers. He’ll pit the two groups against each other. Although this is Riverdale so he might just resurrect the Ghoulies and pay them in jingle jangle and the feet of his enemies.

2. The Darkness by Betty Cooper


Look. If I had written this thought at the halfway point of “Blue Collar,” it would’ve just been a string of expletives and the written equivalent of me throwing my hands in the air in exasperation. Charles is back, Betty talks about “the darkness” inside her and her mom and Charles, and Betty continues to act as if nothing is wrong between her and her mom. OK, that’s not quite fair but after what was a pretty “final” storming out, her scenes don’t really seem all that different from before.

However! However. Betty ends the episode in a stronger place and her choice to save Charles ends up being a good example of her putting her money where her mouth is, morals wise. It also has her seeming to be moving on from the past. Furthermore, this stupid “I have darkness in me and it’s literally going to kill me and it’s because I beaned a cat that one time after being emotionally manipulated and abused by my serial killer father” explanation is being thrown by the wayside. Good riddance.

Now, I’ve thought this before so I’m not getting my hopes up. It might stick or it might be leading to another ridiculous twist that’s not very fun. I mean, just look at Alice’s actions this week. No growth. No interesting developments. Just more of the same. What a waste of Mädchen Amick and what a disservice to the character.

3. Brass Knuckle Baby

Let’s fucking go Toni! Punch that Kevin in the face. He’s been nothing but a troublesome narc all season. He’s gonna learn what it means to mess with a bunch of serpents.

…OK. Let me walk that back a little because Kevin doesn’t really deserve that level of fury from me. From Toni & Fangs? Yeah. 100%. And Fangs deserves his fair share of telling off . But I know and you know much of this is Percival’s doing, playing up Kevin’s insecurities, isolating him, and then using that to further drag him over to his side and making it all a self-fulfilling prophecy. You want to see him get free and it looks like Moose was starting to get through but then it all crashes down around him, he steals a pacifier, and then Moose inexplicably joins Kevin on the “let’s threaten Archie” meeting that caps off the episode.

This is all drama I like to see and everything surrounding Kevin, Fangs, and Toni has been pretty solid – Riverdale’s penchant for chopping everything into 30 second scenes, notwithstanding. Toni & Fangs wrestle with whether to sanitize their past to placate a system that sees them as alien by default, Kevin refuses to confront his reasons for being so dead-set on torching his entire friendship network, and then we watch as the consequences spiral out of their actions. We’re moving forward with it and that’s ultimately what makes it work so well.

Continued below

4. Roses and Lavender and Heather

It’s still not quite there yet but Heather and Cheryl’s plot actually felt like it contained two characters instead of whatever is it we got last time. Their sneaking into Percival’s shop together was charming and the conversations they had were the right balance of mundane and charged. Was I baffled by Cheryl’s inability to notice how much Heather wants to bang her? Yes. Very much so.

It is inexplicable, mostly because there are no other characters she actually interacts with in a meaningful way to gauge whether she is oblivious or in denial. My read is the latter but the show really does not give an inch beyond the former. Whatever. I’m just glad we can move on and give Heather some more characteristics as she’s folded into the show.

5. I Can Hear The Multiverse And It Sounds Like My Angry Grandma

I dunno about you all but I got a real kick out of seeing Percival all dressed up as season 1 Jughead as he approached the spooky door, propping it open with a newspaper he, I guess, mentally brought in? Does it feel consistent? Ehhh who cares? It’s not like Riverdale has had a consistent logic behind it before. What I DO care about is how much of a stinker Reggie is, how deeply unsettling that Reggie Dummy was, and how Jughead seems to be able to hear not just everyone around him but also GHOSTS!

OK. Maybe not ghosts but he does hear the voices of Rivervale. If this means we get to hear that narrator Jughead again, and maybe Mr. Cypher, I am very excited. I’ve been wondering how Rivervale would play into things since they’ve been teasing it all season long and it looks like we might be getting answers soon.

We’ll also get answers as to whether or not Betty’s gonna cheat on Arch with Agent Drake and whether or not Cereal Con is gonna work the way she hopes it does. I bet it’ll just attract some creep with teeth for eyes.

That about does it for now! What did you all think of the episode? Did you know the original version of “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” was a minstrel song and that the verses about Dinah were from a DIFFERENT, racist 19th century song? I didn’t and I shouldn’t have been shocked but woof, not what I was hoping to find when looking to confirm the lyrics. Anyway, I’ll see you all in two week – they’re taking next week off for some reason – for the final six episodes of the season. Until then, keep holding your breath. The spooky book demands it.

Best Gag of the Night:

A taped note on Jughead’s mental door that basically says “No Percival’s Allowed.”

//TAGS | Riverdale

Elias Rosner

Elias is a lover of stories who, when he isn't writing reviews for Mulitversity, is hiding in the stacks of his library. Co-host of Make Mine Multiversity, a Marvel podcast, after winning the no-prize from the former hosts, co-editor of The Webcomics Weekly, and writer of the Worthy column, he can be found on Twitter (for mostly comics stuff) here and has finally updated his profile photo again.


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