Riverdale: My Kudos on a Season Well Done

Riverdale, I know sometimes I have been your biggest critic.  I love intricate stories told over multiple weeks (just look at some shows I previously recapped) but sometimes I’d get so frustrated because each of the four core characters would go in so many different directions, I had trouble following the story much less recapping it.  In the end, I figured out a way that worked and found meaning and purpose in the show.  I am also a fan of the mid-season finale and felt a little perturbed that I didn’t get that this year but I now understand why.  You had to have the continuity to grow the story for season three.


Okay, I’m a person who remembers some of the most absurd cults that every existed and the stories on the news (hence the often used term “kool-aid”), but I give you kudos and bow down for the cult of The Farm.  Never would I have suspected that it was really harvesting “body organs”.  The only thing I wish is that you had shown why?  Edgar was going after Betty’s brain.  Sure that would have killed Betty, but did he have a secret purpose for it. And, we know they didn’t ascend but couldn’t Kevin have been a little more forthcoming.  At least, it’s one gem to come next year (along with Edgar being a villain for a while longer).  So kudos to the writers, directors, producers and other set personnel who kept me tuning in week to week.

Acting — The Parents (who come first because I know their former work better!)

I’m going to do this right off the back.  Madchen Amick, I owe you an apology.  I thought your Alice Cooper was the worst mother on the show until this week when we learned the truth.  I couldn’t believe you would treat your daughter, Betty, so badly but you made up for it by being an informer for the FBI.  Your skill at performing Alice has always been high but you took it up a level last night.  You brought baby whatever to Cheryl to get them away from the craziness.  You warned Cheryl that mischief was afoot and saved Cheryl’s life.  You worry about Betty but had to keep the story going you needed to be with Polly.  Really, you needed to find out more for the FBI.  Kudos.

To Mark Consuelos, I didn’t think you had it in your many years ago when I researched and presented papers on the ABC daytime drama, All My Children.  You were always overlooked as that love sick boy running after Hayley.  You have shown me the depths of your acting skills and how cunning you can be.  You have made an absolute wonderfully evil Hiram Lodge that people tune in to see what he’ll do next.  Because of the nuances you bring to Hiram, I really can’t see how you could not make me hate you more.

To Skeet Ulrich.  Oh, I remember Jericho so well.  You were the reason I watched that show.  Kudos for taking a gang leader and turning him into a sheriff we can respect.  You see both sides because you have walked both side.  I can see you doing much more next season because you will have to step up your game.  You must now become the father figure that the show has lost with the death of Luke Perry.

To Luke Perry and his successor, Molly Ringwald,  To the family of Luke Perry, I must say I have always admired him.  He was one of the reasons that Beverly Hills 90210 was a success.  Luke never has received the credit he deserved as an actor but I will say upfront he is admired for his portrayal of Fred Andrews.  To Molly Ringwald, kudos for stepping in and filling the shoes of Luke during the last episodes.  While the script was originally written for Fred, your portrayal of Martha was truly inspirational and heartfelt.  I hope you return for an additional season.

To Nathalie Boltt, Marisol Nichols and Lochlyn Munro.  Thank you for adding your bit of villainy to Riverdale.  What would this story have been if not for the scheming of Penelope Blossom, the murderous bent of Hermione, or the Black Hood’s return?  All three needed a part in the second half of the season and you acted your hearts out!

Acting — the Core Four Plus Three

To K. J. Apa.  Welcome to the adult world Archie.  You brought Archie from a kid to a man this season.  While many of us got frustrated by the turn your story took, it was needed to mature your character.  You now think more of others and are protective of those around you.  That’s huge growth in three season and you have made a comic book character into a man.

To Camila Mendes. You have taken Veronica from a spoiled brat who looked up to her father to a smart lady who has a certain sense of business savvy.  The one area I hope they improve for you to seeing a broader picture.  Loved your spin on the character as owner of not only Pop Tate’s but a speakeasy who wasn’t afraid of hard work or tough knocks.

To Lili Reinhart.  You epitomize the role of Betty Cooper.  You show her as caring, spunky, and creative.  You are willing to investigate and take risks.  In your portrayal of Betty, you keep a good balance on all of this.  Many actresses would overplay the drama but you keep the character at a level that people could accept.  Keep it up Lili.  The mysteries are just starting.

To Cole Sprouse.  My real work is at a university.  Jughead would be accepted here in the English department without exception.  Your portrayal of a thinking gang leader to the spirit (and narrator) of the show is so vital to the storytelling.  I know things look bleak but I’m hoping it is just the writers’ way of teasing us.  We need the voice you give to Jughead and Riverdale as a whole.

To Madchen Amick.  All hail the newest “scream queen.”  I never thought I’d see someone who could bring the depth of scream queen to the role after Jamie Lee Curtis but you have.  You have a sense of vulnerability that makes Cheryl believable.  Also, the fact that you aren’t afraid to be who you are goes a long way in the Riverdale adventure.

To Vanessa Morgan.  I feel like you are a hidden treasure as Toni.  You bring a sense of courage and bravado that the show needs.  I can’t wait to see how you get Cheryl to give  up Jason’s body.

To Casey Cott.  Why did you get yourself wrapped up in a cult.  Oh, that’s right!  It’s how you were written.  Congratulations on a superb job at playing a zoned-out/zombie-like cult member.  Hope you wake up next season.

Again thanks to all involved with Riverdale.  You gave us a season to love you, hate you and took us on a roller coaster ride to the end.

Riverdale Recap: Jailhouse Rock and Prison and Ghoulish News

When last we left Riverdale, all seemed lost.  The good guy hunk, Archie Andrews, is headed to juvenile detention for a murder he didn’t commit.  Archie, as always in the ongoing saga, has taken the blame because he couldn’t prevent the death.  The villain of the piece, Hiram Lodge, has been behind the whole trial fiasco as punishment for his daughter’s disloyalty which now has set Veronica against dear old dad.  I don’t think I’d want Veronica Lodge out for blood, Hiram.  Betty Cooper has seen a ritual that looks like it belongs in a Halloween movie and not in Riverdale.  No wonder she had a seizure.  Jughead, on the other hand, has his hands full with the discovery in the woods of Dilton and Ben worshiping at the feet of a grotesque bone figure in a tree.  Do we now have our next mystery?  Does this seem even more complex than anything on Riverdale before?  Of course, but that’s why we watch!

With the advent of Twitter and social media, the jailing of Archie was only second to the “daggers” that Veronica Lodge launched visually at dear old dad, Hiram at the end of last week’s show.  Let’s face it, Jughead may have uncovered Riverdale’s newest mystery with the skeleton worship and the trees but Archie is the heart of show.  Anything touching him (and Veronica) will start Twitter twittering.  My thoughts;  the gargoyle mystery and the ritual Betty viewed were the stronger stories last week.  I’m betting that both have ties to the “farm.”  With Archie gone, and Jughead occupied, what will we do?  We’re sure to get some answers but new questions, and hopefully a freed Archie, by the end of the hour. Oh, and did I mention?  The Riverdale Vixens (with Cheryl, Veronica and Josie in the lead) have prepared a special performance for Archie and his pals.  Looks like the hour may get hot quickly.

It’s Jail Archie, not School

Let’s go with this for starters shall we?  It’s the less complicated storyline.  Maybe we won’t get lost in the pathos this way.  Archie is in jail when he should be starting his senior year.  After a humiliating introduction to prison life, the Warden wants to see Archie.  After telling him about the music room, Archie’s off to meet his cellmate, Mad Dog.   (Yes, I know, it’s an over used clique name but I didn’t name him).  In the prison yard, Archie tries to fit in with the Serpents but Joaquin is there and not having it.  To prove himself Archie must “rough up” (kill) a Ghoulie but this isn’t Archie’s way of doing things.  Of course, he’s found in the Music Room and beaten up for his shoes.  They don’t hit his face though.  We should have seen that one coming, right.  He IS the main character (although sometimes I think it is Jughead).

Mad Dog finally decides to give Archie advice which is to act like an animal.  After Ronnie gives him a new pair of shoes, Archie decides to try to find another way to survive his time in jail.  He goes into the yard and convinces the rest of the inmates to have a football game.  As they play, it looks like just another way for his enemies to inflict pain on our boy.  Suddenly, a surprise happens.  The Riverdale Vixens arrive for a performance.  What else can we expect?  This is, after all, Riverdale, and parents don’t keep up with what their kids do after school.  Anyhow, the inmates gather at the fence and watch the cheer to “Jailhouse Rock” and Mr. Lodge arrives.  He tells Veronica she will not be allowed to see Archie again.  He nods at the Warden who signals a guard.  We hear the cry of “riot,” and the guards attack.  Of course, our boy Archie gets blamed with starting it.  (Of course Hiram Lodge started it.  Why else would he have been there except to stir up trouble for our boy, Archie).   Of course, our boy Archie strikes back which leads the guards to beating him up.

A beaten Archie (in more ways that one) arrives back as his cell and sees that Mad Dog is missing.  He’s told that Mad Dog died in the riot he caused.  Later, the Warden visits and tells Archie that he will be taking Mad Dog’s place.  The question is:  as what.  I think the previews hint strongly at this, but that can wait.  On another note, Veronica has been forbidden to see him but he has a surprise visit from Monica Posh of Riverdale’s Innocence Project.  Of course we all know who it is.  It’s Ron in a blonde wig.  This is such an old gag that I’m surprised the show used it!

While We’re on the Subject of Ron . . .

Ron has been really worried about Archie.  While working at Pop’s (which she now owns), the “hot dads” come in to discuss the situation.  We don’t get to hear much of the discussion because Ron has to get to school where she approaches Mr. Weatherbee to become student president.  Unfortunately, Cheryl got there first and as vice-president has taken over the job.  When confronted by Ron, Cheryl points out that it was her place to step in and keep Archie’s seat warm.  The allegory to JFK’s assassination was strange.  I wouldn’t have thought that Cheryl would be such a student of history.  She tells Ron that Jackie didn’t take her husband’s place because it was Lyndon Johnson’s place.  Yeah, an obscured history reference but fitting.

Veronica seems to be at the detention center more than anywhere else.  After Archie loses his shoes, she brings more.  After talking to Cheryl at Pop’s, Veronica goes to her mother with the Innocence Project plan to free Archie.  While Hermione doesn’t want to be involved in the fight between Hiram and Ron, she does agree to write a letter.  Ron’s  there for the cheer and sees just what her dad is capable of doing to anyone he hates.  And, as mentioned above, she comes up with a way to see Archie even after daddy dear forbids it.  We all knew that the Warden was dirty.  What else would it be since Hiram can find all the dirty people and put them in power for his (Hiram’s) good.

Betty and Jughead’s New Mystery??

Okay, let’s get this over with quickly.  I didn’t like this plot last week, and I don’t buy what is being told now.  According to Alice and Polly, they had fired up the hibachi and Betty had a hallucination brought on by stress.  Betty only remembers waking up in the emergency room.  Of course Betty finds out later from a new girl named Evelyn (I’m betting she’s from the gang’s childhood) that she was at the house last night but it was for a cookout.  So which was it Alice?  Just the hibachi for two or a cookout, hmm?  Mom’s got some questions coming.

So, let’s get to the real meat of this story that is developing.  While Betty’s trying to be convinced that it was a hallucination, Jughead rings.  They meet and she learns that Dilton died and Ben is barely hanging on.  They visit the morgue and talk to the coroner who (surprise, surprise) allows them to view the body.  The good old doctor also informs them that Dilton drank a glass of cyanide.  I thought that only the cops should know this and maybe Dilton’s parents.  Why tell two teenagers who arrive asking questions?  When are junior sleuths/reporters given this news?  Jughead makes pictures of the ritual/markings on Dilton’s back.  The doctor makes the observation that this is the darkest thing he has seen.  It’s much worse that Jason Blossom’s death because Dilton’s was pure evil.  So now we know that evil is roaming the forest of Riverdale which means that Jughead and Betty have a new mystery to solve.  And I have to wonder if Hiram is involved somehow.

Jughead starts developing the marking pictures.  The good news is that room doesn’t burst into flames.  Betty meanwhile is trying to find out information about what Ben and Dilton were up to and finds some strange information about the ancient past.  Jug and Betty then head back to the hospital in hopes of seeing Ben.  His mother is there and tells them that Ben is stable but not awake.  Describing her son as a loner, we find out he changed after meeting Dilton during the summer.  As Jug finds a figurine made of twine like the gargoyle, the dirty sheriff shows up and tells them to leave.  It seems the murder scene has moved from the woods to the hospital room.  Is he involved?  If so, what does Mr. Dirty Sheriff know?  Of course the dirty sheriff calls Alice and she and FP are waiting when Betty and Jug return with a warning for them to drop this investigation.  That’s when Jug learns of the seizure and is worried about the stress that the investigation could put on Betty.

Jughead and Betty have talked to Ethel about this before.  She told them that she was Dilton’s girlfriend, but the description Ben’s mom gives also puts her as the likely person to have left the twine doll  in Ben’s hospital room.  Ethel admits that she left it as a talisman to protect Ben.  They push her for answers and learn that Ben is her boyfriend, not Dilton.  They have been meeting all summer at Dilton’s hidden bunker.  Jug and Betty make her promise to lead them to the bunker.  While claiming not to know how to get there, she does agree to meet them that night and take them there.  After Betty sneaks out of the house, the search is on.  Instead of finding Ethel, Jug and Betty find the gargoyle who chases they through the woods.  Of course, like very hero/heroine, they out run it.

Jughead digs out his map and manages to figure out where the bunker is.  As the explore it, they realize that Dilton was not only a survivalist but also into playing the game Gryphons and Gargoyles (think Dungeons and Dragons or Magic here folks).  They find all sorts of gaming equipment plus a picture of the Gargoyle King. What is a bunker without the explanation of what happened to the victim?  It seems they were playing a dare game of “Drink from the Cup.”  One cup has cyanide and the other doesn’t.  Under the bunker’s bed, they find a boy hiding and waiting for Dilton.  This new gamester has a hard time accepting Dilton’s death.  Guess who got the cyanide — Dilton.

Later, Jug and Betty confront Ethel about not meeting them and asks questions about the game.  Of course, she denies any participation but  suddenly Ethel goes into a seizure.  Ethel goes to the hospital with Jug and Betty in tow.  Adding to the confusion, we have Evelyn watching the scene in the distance.  Jug and Betty while waiting to hear about Ethel find Ben sitting in a window.  They sense he is planning to jump and Ben admits that he is joining Dilton.  He falls out the window as Jug and Betty watch!  We now know the mystery!  Is their a tie in to something else since everything seem archaic (as Betty puts it).

And in Other Developments

At school, Kevin tries to get close to Moose but Moose is scared.  His dad has just joined the faculty as head of the RROTC program.  (My question:  What does that first R stand for?  I thought it was the ROTC program.  That’s the name I’ve heard it called up until this incarnation.  After an encounter at Pop’s where Moose went with the RROTC buds and didn’t really talk to Kevin, Kevin takes a drastic step and joins the RROTC himself.

Meanwhile Hermione has called a parents’ meeting.  The hot dads are there with Cheryl’s brothel loving mom, Alice and Hiram.  Hermione tells them they must put their differences aside for their children.  She tells them an old problem may have arisen.  Suddenly, every parent in the room goes quiet.  What are they hiding?  What do they think could have happened to the boys? Does the game have a place in their past as well as the seizures that Betty and Ethel have had?  Hermione tells them they must work together because their kids are in danger.

Next week:  The gang become their parents as we revisit the parent’s youth on a death hunt.  Archie is the new boxer in jail and Cheryl role may become clearer? After all, this is Riverdale and who knows where things will go.  I guarantee, we will see more prison scenes, more troubled teens, and a trip into the parents’ past.