Oh how I’m going to miss writing reviews for this show, it leaves a chill running up and down my spine, like my entire body was thrust intoice water … I suppose I could just light a fire to warm up? <nudge, nudge, wink, wink> Riverdale ended its thirteen episode first season tonight and it ended with a bang. No, really. Quite literally a bang. A bang that left one of my favourite characters, and who I still believe to be the only truly good person in Riverdale, lying on the floor of Pop’s bleeding to death. And then … credits. But naturally a lot of things happened before that point so let’s jump in and take a look at this first season finale. Be warned, there are spoilers ahead!
The Sweet Hereafter may be one of the most depressing books I’ve ever read. Fortunately, while some elements crossed over with tonight’s episode, the show was far from depressing. It tied up a few loose ends, treated us to a few more juicy secrets (something Riverdale does not lack in), and steamed up the windows a little with some inevitable pairings.
Cliff Blossom’s motive for killing Jason was explained away in the first minute of the episode. Jason discovered that maple syrup wasn’t the Blossom’s main commodity so Cliff killed him to keep him quiet. Case closed, all wrapped up in a pretty bow topped with a strange-looking redheaded toupee. Let’s move on to something more interesting.
Chery’s character arc this season has been a series of ups and downs, marked with the occasional moments of bitchy wonder. I’m not going to lie, I love that character and I love Madelaine Petsch’s portrayal. Maybe her story in this final episode was a little too obvious and her final cry for help in the form of a text to Ronnie’s phone was a little too convenient, but to finally tie up her emotional journey was a reason to celebrate. And how better to celebrate than setting a mansion on fire? Cheryl’s failed suicide attempt and subsequent rescue by Archie (by the way, Arch, ever considered using your feet to stomp through the ice rather than punching it? Just a suggestion for next time …) gives us that balance I mentioned back in the episode when the Blossoms were courting Archie to join them. Having lost her brother, Cheryl needs a sense of moral balance that she’s unable to reach on her own. Once again, Archie provides the required counterweight, saves her life, and Ronnie’s good heartedness ignites some inspiration in our favourite Blossom and she torches Thornhill in order to start fresh. Here’s hoping Granny Blossom made it out okay.
The town hates FP, though I’m not sure why anymore. He didn’t kill Jason, maybe they just need someone to hate? I’m assuming we won’t be getting Skeet Ulrich back for season 2, which is a shame because he’s been spellbinding this whole time. Upon being offered a plea deal to turn in some serpents, he turns it down, even if it means Jughead has to move to the wrong side of the tracks. There are some nice father and son moments though ultimately we don’t get to a see a final resolution to the Jones’ family issues. Here’s hoping we haven’t seen the last of old FP.
Archie has been hailed numerous times this season as an idiot. While he doesn’t display anything close to genius in this episode, his true colors shine through in the form of his love for his friends. Sure, we’re going to be watching that Betty, Archie, Veronica love triangle play out time and time again, but our fave redhead’s (second fave really, Cheryl is #1) penchant for going above and beyond for his friends despite difficult circumstances is admirable. He tries to keep Jughead from being fostered and switching schools, he saves Cheryl’s life, he cares about Betty’s feelings enough to (finally) be honest with her, he puts his sentiments out there in the form of a song. And if there’s one thing Riverdale needs, it’s a central emotional character for the force of good. He truly is Archie Andrews.
I have a bit more of a hard time buying ‘Bughead’ as a thing. Betty is too girl next door, and Jughead is too awkwardly different. This is clearly displayed when Jug goes to the new school and while we momentarily think he’s in for a rough time, he actually fits in perfectly. This relationship is doomed. When they’re about to get it on, their encounter is interrupted by the serpents who want Jughead to be one of them and he happily agrees. This is who Jughead is in this world, a world that Betty will have a hard time occupying and you can see the distaste on her face at the end when he dons the serpent’s jacket. This all comes after Betty’s rousing speech about choosing to make Riverdale a better place, a point that, for all his insight, Jughead may have completely missed. By the time Jughead realizes he’s not actually that person and it’s not really his world, it’ll be too late for Bughead.
And finally, though early on I really thought I couldn’t, I can actually get behind the Varchie scenario, and I’m glad they didn’t bother dragging the sexual attention out forever. Will Archie always be with Veronica? Hell no. But it was a nice ending for them relationship-wise. However, nothing puts a damper on a fun-filled late night coitus-filled liaison like your dad getting shot.
Which brings us to season 2. Is Fred dead? Probably not, it’d be a weird way for the show to go. Was the shooting intentional? It appears so. Was Hiram Lodge behind it? I’m going to place my bet now and say no. I think it was Hermione and the attack was meant to be a warning to Fred to back down but things got lost in the heat of the moment. Will we see Hiram Lodge in Season 2? Almost certainly! Will he like Archie? Not a chance in hell. Will Jughead remain a serpent? Probably not, and it’ll cause mass conflict. Will we see Betty’s long lost brother? This little factoid was almost buried to the point that I wouldn’t have given it a second thought had Betty not spelled it out to Archie and Ronnie. I’m assuming the eldest Cooper sibling will pop up at some point. Finally, will we get to see a certain teenage witch in season 2? Rumors suggest that it’s a distinct possibility …
Many thanks to everyone who has been reading and sharing these reviews. Particular thanks to the writers and producers of Riverdale who brought this show to life and to the actors, KJ Apa, Lili Reinhart, Camila Mendes, Cole Sprouse, Madelaine Petsch, and Casey Scott for embodying these characters that I’ve loved since I was a pre-tween.
Roll on season 2 …
STRAY THOUGHTS OF AWESOMENESS …
- Valerie kept her cool, despite her past with Archie she seemed calm and aloof to her former squeeze and his new girl sharing stage time. Good for her. However, I still think she’s boring.
- Ah the famous old Alice Cooper “I have a secret, I’m not going to tell you, fine I’ll tell you,” trick.
- Yay! The return of zombie Jason!
- Not one hilarious Kevin Keller quip this week! Missed opportunity, Riverdale!
- It may have got him shot, but Fred standing up to Hermione was a boss move.
- Betty’s speech was good, but it lacked a solid conclusion. I think that’s why it took the clapping a while to get started. No one knew she’d finished.
- Congrats Archie! You wrote and played a song that didn’t make people want to staple their genitalia to something solid.
- HOTDOG! Finally!