Five Thoughts on Riverdale‘s “Fire in the Sky”

By | March 11th, 2021
Posted in Television | % Comments

Welcome back all you Riverdale fans!

What’s up River-bitches? The real HBIC is back in charge and it’s time for you all to get into shape. We’ve only got a few weeks until the mid-season finale & hiatus so get your theories out there, your cheer moves polished, and your checkbooks/venmo/apple pay primed for the inevitable Sexy Archie Fireman Calendar.

…You know, this would’ve worked better if Ken came back to write this one.

As always, spoilers ahead.

1. Because you’re a really big M.O.T.H.

So… I think I may have to take back this statement from last time:

At least when it comes to a mummified syrup corpse one

Turns out, Mothman corpses are not “sexy” nor do they look anything like what’s in that image above or even the weird Zorak looking version that was featured as a metal statue in the old man’s yard. Instead, it looks like something that fell out of a Victorian era morgue crossed with, well, a bog mummy. How do we know this? Because apparently Nana Rose was with Pop Tate way back in the day when Pop’s was visited by the Mothmen and then she found a mothman corpse and pretended to have it cremated to get the Mothmen off her back so she could instead preserve it in a barrel of maple syrup like it was a mosquito trapped in amber. She told Jughead & Tabitha this and then delivered the aforementioned barrel to Pop’s whereupon the two of them, like CHUMPS, took it out of the barrel in the back to look at it.

Horrifying, is what it is.

Clearly I can’t fault the production design for producing something that is exactly what it is supposed to be, which is, I must reiterate for posterity, the corpse of a potential alien-stroke-military-experiment-stroke-heretofore-unknown-creature which was mummified and preserved in a barrel of maple syrup for decades. However, I can fault the show for not giving us sexy Mothman.

It’s already Sexy Archie. Give us sexy Mothman you cowards.

2. Stop Trying to Make Fiat Happen, Ronnie. It’s Not Gonna Happen.

Of all the hairbrained schemes Ronnie has some up with in the last, oh, five seasons, printing money that only holds purchase in the non-existent town has to be the most hairbrained. Does it top starting a rum business out of a barely hidden speakeasy to compete with her father, who is a MAFIA BOSS with years of experience crushing his competitors, which she was still at least 3 years below drinking age? No because this one at least had a chance of working and seemed like a decent idea barring, you know, having no counterfeiting protection.

I mean, come on Ronnie, there’s a reason no one prints money on computer paper.

Anyway, it was fun while it lasted. I gotta give the writers kudos for this episode’s structure. Each of the five principle characters have something to do, a complete arc, and while Ronnie’s once again feels predictable, I actually thought it might last and the twist that Hiram didn’t mess with her scheme this time around was a good one. I just wish Ronnie could have a win that lasted longer than 10 minutes. Everyone else gets an ongoing thread. Why not her?

3. Playing with Fire Ft. John Cena

Archie’s PTSD hasn’t been explored too much this season thus far. I’m sure they’re shying away from it because past seasons have kinda already explored it, at least insofar as the trauma of his father being shot by the Black Hood and then his father, you know, actually dying was explored. Archie’s experience in the forever war we’re in hasn’t come up precisely because he doesn’t want to talk about it and is keeping distracted. It’s a good narrative decision to have the presentation reflect the inner state of the character and it puts Archie’s actions into perspective.

He’s not just fighting for the town because it’s what his father would do or because it’s right, motivations which are still there, but because he needs to feel like he’s fighting for something. This is a commentary reflected by his army subordinate who is suffering the triple threat of having no personal or governmental support system, physical reminders of the trauma of war, and the belief that what he fought for was meaningless.

Continued below

The scenes between Archie and Eric are powerful, even if the direction feels a little rushed. Apa can do better dramatics and I wonder if fighting to hold his accent back was a factor. Regardless, I hope Riverdale takes the time in future episodes to continue to address the difficulties veterans face in American society without glossing over the structural reasons we even have veterans to face difficulties.

4. Howdy Boys, It’s Cheryl

Much as I love broody Gothic Cheryl, watching her get dunked on for an entire episode was also very satisfying. Cheryl has been The Worst to her friends and ex since disappearing into her tragic exile, with only glimmers of the person she was growing into in the last season remaining. That’s what Toni tries to hold onto here when she allows Cheryl to compete to regain her HBIC spot and coach the Vixens, and then offers to co-coach with her. Masterful on Toni’s part to get Cheryl to come out of her haunted manor and into the real world and be with Toni in some way again without having to sacrifice something that’s important to her as well.

…Then Cheryl fucks it up by pulling a Cheryl and taking full control so Toni rips her a new one and calls her on her bullshit, to which Cheryl replies that she has never been so hurt whereupon Toni just walks away. Nice one Cheryl. If that was it, it’d have been fine but then.

But then.

Ms. Marble returns with the fake painting Cheryl gave her. *Mwah*. Cheryl deserves some blows to her ego after treating everyone who cares about her with such callous disregard and selfishness. She’ll get out of this somehow but in the meantime, I’ll savor the tension and drama.

5. TBT to TBK

Trash Bag Killer being called TBK is up there with Fizzle Rocks as the silliest thing Riverdale has tried to make sinister. I’m quite glad his name is sticking around, though I wonder why they’re putting such an emphasis on him. Is it just because he’s part of Betty’s now past? Or is it something more important? We’ll find out soon enough I’m sure as there’s a killer afoot in Riverdale…again.

Yes, it seems that Truck-Kun has crossed the ocean and is targeting down on their luck Riverdale-ians. In fact, Truck-Kun has been targeting these people for years and no one noticed. I guess that’s unsurprising as when Truck-Kun kills, the kill-ee is usually transported to another world, usually one full of buxom ladies (and sometimes men) and wish fulfilment, set in a nebulously medieval European/MMORPG setting. I fully expect Polly to show up in the next season of Sword Art Online or So I’m A Spider, So What? rather than as another body in Slaughter Swamp or whatever it’s called.

But it seems like Truck-Kun has gotten sloppy, or perhaps gone back to his roots, and is leaving bodies all around. Where will Truck-Kun strike next? Who will be his next victim? And will Betty be able to stop Truck-Kun or will her past with TBK stop her short?

That about does it for now! What did you think of my theories? Let me know in the comments and I’ll see you again next week for an Eyes Wide Shut party that will definitely not go far enough. Until then, stay syrupy y’all.

Best Line of the Night:

Chery: “As Elton John likes to say: ‘The Bitch is back in town.’”

//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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