Riverdale 109 – Le Grande Illusion

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Though I haven’t been writing about Riverdale, I’ve been watching all the episodes and though I did post on Facebook that I was on another hiatus till May, I’m gonna sneak in 15 minutes to discuss last night’s Riverdale.

AIN’T NO OTHER MAN BUT YOU| With Jason still being dead, the future of the Blossoms’ maple syrup empire lies in jeopardy. The board of the company comes to town to suss out how fast they can oust the Blossoms from their company. I’m assuming with all the red hair, that the other board members are extended family members. To boost the image of stability, the Blossoms court Archie (KJ Apa) with the promise of getting him into a prestigious music school to help them make their appearances to the board stronger and more stable. Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) is next in line as the heir apparent but after her breakdown at Jason’s funeral, no one has any confidence in her, thus enrolling Archie into the fold somehow adds credibility to Cheryl because she isn’t nuts! she has a quarterback escort! Of course nothing comes free with the Blossoms, and that one appearance at a company event leads to family dinners, expensive gifts and Cheryl taunting Valerie (of Josie and the Pussycats, guest star Hayley Law) that she will take Archie from her.

It’s all very creepy and weird that they use Archie as a Dead Jason substitute with Mother Blossom commenting that in the right light, Archie likes just like Dead Jason. Archie eventually uses his gigaho position to negotiate for Cliff Blossom to help out his dad (Fred Andrews played by Beverly Hills 90210 veteran Luke Perry #dylanandbrendaforever) and the struggling Andrews Construction. It all comes to a head when Cheryl eventually moves in on Archie and kisses him, which Archie takes a good 5 seconds to eventually reject. Archie decides he doesn’t want to be the Blossom’s quasi Dead Jason gigaho substitute and bounces, even though Cheryl tells him if he leaves, he leaves his opportunity to get into the music school behind too.

NO SCRUBS | Of course by the time Archie finally rebukes the Blossoms, Valerie is OVER IT. She is over him treating her like shit and doesn’t take his disrespect. Archieval is over. It’s not like ever knew ye anyway, as most of this relationship always happened offscreen. I will say though, I like that Valerie didn’t take that shit and stood up for her standards and self worth. Too often girls just accept the shit they are dealt and never really walk away. You go pussycat!

MADCHEN AMICK 4 LIFE| From episode two to present, Mama Coop (Madchen Amick) is by far one of the show’s MVPs. Arrestingly beautiful and blissfully nuts, Amick brings multiple layers to Alice Cooper, shades of crazy, fierce protectiveness of her daughters, independent and steadfast. Alice is another strong female character in Riverdale, shown in the previous episode where she separates from her husband after he scheduled an abortion appointment for their daughter and never told her; and in this one where she throws a brick at him when he refuses to help her bring their daughter back home. Last week’s episode where she breaks down over her elder daughter Polly (Tiera Skovbye) choosing to live with the insaneo creepo Blossoms was really well done. Amick is a veteran and knows exactly how to bring it.

This week, Alice is focused on writing an expose on the Blossoms as retribution for them taking Polly away from  her. Archiekins here finally has a purpose in the entire series thus far when he acts as the trojan horse in the Blossom household, feeding information back to the Coopers. Turns out that Polly is actully there to go undercover trying to solve Dead Jason’s murder herself. She’s pregnant with twins though so I’m assuming some hijnks ™ will take place when she is in her eighth month. Alice’s loser dope husband refuses to run the expose in their jointly owned newspaper and fires her. In a small consolation, she is later offered a spot at the Riverdale High school newspaper (lol) run by Jughead and Betty.

RONNIE’S REMORSE | In the seven episodes in between my last review and this one, I have to admit Veronica’s (Camila Mendes) character has been boring and has had no real development other than a reformed mean girl wanting to start over. This concept finally reaches a head when Veronica realizes what her privileged lifestyle really cost when classmate Ethel (played by Barb from Stranger Things) reads a super depressing poem in class. Ronnie, wanting to help, befriends her and invites her to a family dinner. At this dinner, we find out that Ethel’s parents have been fighting about money and Hermione (Veronica’s mother played by Marisol Nichols) pieces it out that Ethel’s father invested with Hiram (Veronica’s father currently in jail for embezzlement) and that’s why Ethel’s family is about to lose their home. Later when Ethel’s dad attempts suicide, Ronnie is devastated by the impact of the life she lived and shreds her pearls in tears with a cringey slow motion scene. Seeing the ramifications of her dad’s actions, Ronnie decides she will not lie when she has to testify and will fully testify against her father.

LOVE DOES COST A THING a.k.a. POOR HERMIONE | Hermione is also forced to come clean to Fred Andrews about her involvement in the SoDale construction and that her crooked husband is behind the development that Fred’s struggling construction company is depending on. Fred leverages this information and ends their relationship and negotiates a 20% stake in future of the development.

BUGHEAD 4 EVER | Throughout the course of the series, the Betty and Jughead relationship has moved to the front of the series. It doesn’t hurt that their actors Lili Reinhart and Cole Sprouse are dating IRL. It’s actually kind of hilarious and sad that their chemistry has eclipsed that of Betty and Archie making the showrunners change the course of the show and the iconic Betty-Archie-Veronica love triangle. The show will instead focus on a Jughead-Betty-Archie “friendship triangle”. In less than ten episodes, Cole Sprouse has inadvertently made himself the defacto male lead and relegated Archie to the B plot. Poor dat.

CHERYL | Cheryl does not take her rejection kindly and the episode ends with her crossing out Polly and Archie’s faces in red marker on a photograph from the event at the start of the episode. Everyone in this show is nuts.

WHO KILLED DEAD JASON | The season running mystery deepens when Archie (who has genuinely never ever been this useful in the entire series) overhears the Blossoms talking about how they were the ones that sold out Hiram Lodge and sent him to jail but despite that, they should have sent Hermione too as she is turning out to be more resourceful than they had realized. Archie relays this information to Bughead who then add Hiram Lodge to the murder board… if the Blossoms got Hiram arrested, could he have retaliated by killing their most prized possession, their son Dead Jason Blossom?

GRADE: A

NEXT: TEENS HAVING A PARTY EP!

It’s the rite of passage for every teen drama: the house party where shit goes down™

Let’s first laugh at this very badly executed stage punch

one more time

 

AND now the trailer with the episode description:

Riverdale 1×10 “The Lost Weekend”  – When Fred (Luke Perry) decides to finalize the divorce with Archie’s mother Mary (guest star Molly Ringwald), Archie (KJ Apa) hides his true feelings. Archie tries to win Valerie (guest star Hayley Law) back with a romantic evening, however, Betty (Lili Reinhart) hijacks his plans when she decides to throw Jughead (Cole Sprouse) a surprise birthday party. Once Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) learns of the party, she decides to make it interesting and things quickly get out of control. Meanwhile, Veronica (Camila Mendes) contemplates whether she should participate in the deposition to help get her Dad released. Madchen Amick and Marishol Nichols also star. Dawn Wilkinson directed the episode written by Britta Lundin & Brian E. Paterson (#110). Original airdate 4/13/2017.

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Riverdale: Chapter 2 – A Touch of Evil

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I steadfastly hated the pilot episode of this show. Did episode two change my mind? Read on.

PREVIOUSLY | Archie and Betty have the whitest of problems when he kisses Veronica after spending 7 minutes in a closet after Spin the Bottle. Veronica’s mom is broke af and hits up Luke Perry for a job, eventually working at Pop’s Chocklit Shoppe. We already foreshadow years of tumblr fights with the declaration and Archie and Betty are endgame. Incest Twin Jason is dead af and shot in the head, floats up on riverbank.

ARCHIE, THE DRIEST WHITE GUY OF ALL TIME | No offense to KJ Apa (Archie Andrews) but homeboy looks like Chuck Bass meets Dexter.

There are multiple shirtless shots which still can’t distract from this face. Anyway, Archie feels guilty about not reporting the gunshot that he and Grundy heard on the 4th of July. He tries to vent to Betty but she doesn’t want anything to do with him initially (because of his betrayal with Veronica) but later forgives him. Grundy is hesitant to report the gunshot because she doesn’t want them to go to jail or to lose her job for sleeping with a student. Grundy promises Archie she has real feelings for him.It’s Jughead who figures out that Archie is covering for Grundy and encourages him to come forward.

BETTY  AND VERONICA 4 EVA | Betty is one of two MVPs of this episode. Her mother, excellently played by Twin Peaks alum Madchen Amick is delightfully ruthless. Betty tries to play the complacent good girl and forgives Archie. (f-f-f-fashion note, I am loving Betty’s sweater in this scene)

Also seeking forgiveness? Veronica, who has dozens of yellow roses (for friendship!) cupcakes, blowouts and a day of mani/pedis to show her good faith for a quote “basic bitch move”. Betty relents until they’re all at lunch listening to Archie try to be Ed Sheeran with his guitar but Archie’s betrayal is too much for Betty and she runs off in tears.

This is further blown up in gym class during cheer leading rehearsal (because of course) when Ronnie bullshittingly says she only went in the closet with Archie to make sure no one else would kiss him (lol k) and then caps it off Regina George style with “It’s not my fault he doesn’t like you!” but immediately regrets it. “It’s just how it is, not everyone we like will like us back

Betty retaliates against Ronnie by taking Cheryl (and her fake lips) to all the activities Ronnie had planned for them earlier.

CHERYL AND HER FAKE LIPS | Jason’s death is classified as a homicide and his Kylie-Cheryl sister “has her suspicions #RiverdaleStrong“. The coroner (and Betty’s mom for some reason?) examine Jason’s body and then she pays him off for details for her article.

Cheryl shows up to Betty’s house asking about Betty’s sister, Polly, who went insane after her breakup with Fake Cheryl’s twin brother. Betty inquires about her curiosity to which Fake Cheryl epically replies: “Because you dumb cow, someone shot my brother and I think it was your crazy, tweaked out sister“. Betty snaps and tells her to GTFO with some serious crazy eyes.

This moment and the scene in the pilot where Betty has to dig her nails into her hands to the point of bleeding, hint at dear Ms. Cooper having some serious anger management issues and that there is way more than meets the eye. Cheryl’s bitchery leads to Betty and Ronnie reconciling.

Archie is given Dead Incest Twin Jason’s old football jersey number and seeing him wearing it at the game throws Fake Cheryl off the deep end who breaks down and sobs “He was supposed to come back” to Veronica.

JUGHEAD | Jughead is bullied by Reggie about Jason’s death. Archie steps in to defend him and gets in a fight resulting in a black eye.

Archie decides to come forward about what he knows and it leads to his reconciliation with Jughead. They’re cute, flirt and say they’ll discuss things over lots of hamburgers. I ship it!

WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS | The episode ends with Ronnie and Betty on a date pledging to never let a boy come between them again. On cue, Archie and Jughead walk in and Betty nods for them to come over. FRIENDS FOREVER guys! Ronnie and Jughead meet for the first time. It slow pans with everyone laughing and having fun while Jughead waxes philosophically in a voice-over.

The coroner’s report comes in just as Archie goes to Principal Weatherbee’s office to confess to hearing the gunshot. But he doesn’t have to, they already have a suspect. Archie follows them to class and the camera lingers on Jughead for a bit before Fake Cheryl stands up. “You’re here for me aren’t you? Because of the autopsy?” Even though they offer to not handcuff her in front of her classmates, Fake Cheryl doesn’t care, “it’s alright, they’ll find out soon enough anyway… that I’m guilty

Jughead’s voice-over tells us Jason’s autopsy brought a lot of things to light, namely that he hadn’t been killed on July 4th, in fact he died over a week later. So if Jason didn’t die on July 4th, when did he die? and who shot him?

Grade C

The dialogue is still cringey but Betty, Jughead and Madchen (Betty’s mom) are the standouts of the ep. Markedly better than the first episode. I’ll be tuning in to episode three. I’m on board… for now.

Speculations for further episodes: I don’t think Polly is in a mental institution because of her breakup with Jason, I think Betty hurt her. I also think Fake Cheryl was completely having sex with her twin brother and that they were adopted, he was off to find their real parents and was murdered by their adoptive parents, likely because they’re hiding some deep dark family secret.

NEXT:

Riverdale 1×03 “Body Double”  – After new information surrounding Jason’s death comes to light, Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) finds herself under a cloud of suspicion and forced to come clean about the last time she saw her brother. Meanwhile, Archie (KJ Apa) makes a tough decision that puts a major strain on his relationship with Miss Grundy (guest star Sarah Habel). Elsewhere, Betty (Lili Reinhart) decides to revive the school newspaper and asks for Jughead’s (Cole Sprouse) help in investigating Jason’s death, while Veronica (Camila Mendes) and Ethel (guest star Shannon Purser) work on exposing some of Riverdale High’s football players after rumors of a “shame book” begin to circulate. Finally, after getting grounded by his dad Fred (Luke Perry), Archie must figure out a way to make it to the Taste of Riverdale event where Josie (Ashleigh Murray) and the Pussycats will be performing a song he helped write. Lee Toland Kreiger directed the episode written by Yolonda E. Lawrence (#103.) Original airdate 2/9/2017

Riverdale – Pilot

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I was thoroughly bored by this entire pilot.

Betty is secretly in love with Archie Andrews, the football player. As she’s about to make her big move, in walks Veronica Lodge. The cinematography is purposely broody as it’s inspired by Twin Peaks. There is pandering faux lesbianism (so 2003), Betty’s addicted to Adderal, Veronica’s father is a deadbeat… I can’t even remember the rest. It’s reductive and I have a hard time believing either of these girls would like someone as dry and boring as Archie.

Archie writes songs and has a Pacey-like affair with his music teacher.

There’s a Kylie Jenner lookalike who may or may not have had an incestuous relationship with her dead brother whose body was never found.

Jughead and Archie have an unknown beef. Jughead is actually writing a book based on the disappearance of Cheryl’s brother who’s body turns up at the end of the ep while the oblig sassy gay character is going to the obligatory riverside locale to obligatory do some secret closet case action. It turns out he didn’t drown. He was shot and an arrest was made later in the week which is revealed in episode two.

Yawn. It all feels reductive and like a rethread of One Tree Hill, Dawson’s Creek, Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars. I’ll give this two more episodes before I give up. If this isn’t canceled in twelve episodes I’ll be really surprised.

Grade: F

Next:

Riverdale 1×02 “A Touch of Evil” – SECRETS UNRAVELED — As new details of Jason’s death begin to emerge, Archie (KJ Apa) pleads with Miss Grundy (guest star Sarah Habel) to come forward with what they heard at Sweetwater River. Betty (Lili Reinhart) makes an effort to mend her friendship with Archie but takes a different stance with Veronica (Camila Mendes), who is trying to make up for her actions. With rumors around her brother’s death running rampant, Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) deals with the pressure in true Queen Bee fashion, while tensions boil over when Jughead (Cole Sprouse) stumbles upon a secret Archie was hoping to keep hidden. Finally, plans for the annual fall pep rally move forward with a performance by Josie (Ashleigh Murray) and the Pussycats and a special appearance by Mayor McCoy (guest star Robin Givens.) Marisol Nichols, Madchen Amick and Luke Perry also star. Lee Toland Krieger directed the episode written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (#102.) Original airdate 2/2/2017