The CW’s Riverdale is relishing in its mysteries and its darker spin on the brightly colored comic book world of Archie Andrews and friends, and this week’s episode didn’t give us a lot of forward momentum, plot-wise, at least not until the final moments, but it did give us a slightly clearer picture of our core cast of characters. Thankfully after the rift that occurred between Archie, Betty and Veronica in the first episode, Betty disobeyed her overbearing mother and decided to forgive and forget (as best she could) and restore the friendships. She’s known Archie forever, so how could she never see him again? The question is does Archie truly see her only as a best friend, or is he just not ready to but a romantic label on their relationship? Because he sure does send her some mixed signals.
It really wasn’t clear in the first episode the relationship between Reggie Mantle and Archie, but it became clear in this episode that there is no love lost between the two of them. Reggie is a bully, plain and simple, picking on Jughead but giving his friend Moose a pass for being alone with Kevin Keller by the river. Moose has not been very discreet about his desire to explore his sexuality with Kevin, but somehow Reggie ignores that and just hates on Jughead for being a weird outsider.
And what of Jughead and Archie? In the comics they are best buds, but as suspected in the first episode, there is a rift between them and the fact that Jughead spied Archie and Miss Grundy in a somewhat compromising position only made that rift grow. And when Archie confided in Jughead that he and Miss Grundy had been alone by the river that morning when Jason Blossom was shot, Jughead insisted that Archie had to tell Principal Weatherbee the truth. But Miss Grundy told Archie that if the truth came out, they could both possibly go to jail, but with the pressure of the secret weighing on him, Archie finally decides he has to come clean.
Except … just before he gets the chance, the principal and the police enter the classroom. Interestingly, the camera first focused on Jughead, making us believe that perhaps he had something to do with Jason’s murder, but the focus quickly shifted to Archie and his lab partner Cheryl Blossom. Suddenly Cheryl blurts out that they’re there for her because of something found in her brothers autopsy, even offering to be placed in handcuffs. The revelation lifted that weight from Archie’s shoulders, to be sure, but is it as simple as all this? Of course we all suspected Cheryl was the killer, but it’s only the second episode. There has to be more to this, and what of Betty’s mother paying a visit to the morgue for a closer look at Jason’s body? Could she have planted something to point a finger at Cheryl as part of her vendetta against the Blooms for her older daughter’s condition?
It’s a fascinating turn of events so early in the series, so hopefully things will get weirder as we go along. At least by the end of the episode, friendships between Archie, Jughead, Betty and Veronica seem to be on the mend as they share a booth at Pop’s. The only egregious sin the show committed this week was assigning the iconic song “Sugar, Sugar” by The Archies to Josie and the Pussycats. Perhaps it was a little too poppy for the brooding Archie, but it was a little too soon to be introducing that song into the mix and giving it to a different group.
One other thing to take note of, particularly for movie fans, are the episode titles. Of the two episodes aired, and the third to come, each “chapter” takes its title from a movie. Chapter 1 was titled “The River’s Edge,” the story of local teens finding the dead body of a local girl by the river. The episode bears some striking comparisons to the movie plot. Chapter 2 is titled “A Touch of Evil,” taken from the classic film noir. There’s not much to parallel the two plotlines, but the movie does end with a confession and an attempt to frame someone — perhaps like Betty’s mother has done with Cheryl. Chapter 3 is titled “Body Double” from the 1984 Brian DePalma thriller in which a man watches his neighbor each night dance around and then witnesses her murder, only to learn that who he was watching was a double and that he was set up to witness the real woman’s murder. Could this be a clever attempt to alert us that what we think we know at this point is completely wrong? It will certainly be interesting to see if the remainder of the episodes follow suit with this method of titling.
A quick Wiki search does indeed indicate the movie titles will continue with Chapter 4’s “The Last Picture Show” and Chapter 5’s “Heart of Darkness” titles. Might be a good time to check out Netflix or Amazon to spot the connections!
What do you think of Riverdale? Did Cheryl kill her brother or has Betty’s mother framed the girl? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.