"Riverdale" Series Talkback (Spoilers)

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Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
Jan 19, 2004
Framingham, MA
No threads for this? I just binged the first season on Netflix. Here are my reviews:

Riverdale "Chapter One: The River's Edge"

This show has a irresistible concept: Archie Comics meets Twin Peaks. Genius.

And it is a LOT like Twin Peaks. A LOT. Not in the supernatural stuff, but Twin Peaks wasn't supernatural to start off with either. But there is a definitely '50's Teen Angel heartthrob vibe going throughout the entire series. I don't really have too many snap judgments about the characters besides Archie himself. I do admittedly love Kevin, who loves closet cases, and Veronica loves him for being gay, and wants him to be her new best friend. But I think the character that I really wound up thinking poorly of is Archie himself. I get he's a teenager, but he treats the women in his life like garbage.

Let's start with Miss Grundy. I should not feel bad for Miss Grundy. She is a literal statutory rapist, and SHE should be the one I hate for what happened. I should resent the fact that she doesn't want to do her job with Archie for a mistake SHE made. But Archie is making her feel incredibly uncomfortable, and as a man putting expectations on a woman, I am appalled I am on her side. I should not be Team Child Rapist under any circumstance, but I weirdly am.

The second horrible thing he did was tell Betty that he's not good enough for her. That's Archie punching her in the face one last time this evening. He's blaming his stupid hang-ups about the two of them entirely on her. You can SAY you just aren't into her, Archie. She DID ask. An honest response is totally fair game. Making her feel like it's her fault is literally the most jerkish way he could have handled that.

So far, so good. It's produced by Berlanti, who has a knack for producing amazing Pilots, and lousy seasons and series. We'll see how this goes, but I was impressed for the first go round. ****1/2.

Riverdale "Chapter Two: Touch Of Evil"

And just like that I do a total turnaround on Miss Grundy. Her manipulations of Archie struck me as outright sinister.

Speaking of which, I thought Cheryl was a sociopath BEFORE she was led away in handcuffs. Her scene with Betty horrified me, especially considering what she confessed to later. She cray.

I love Josie and the Pussycat's version of "Sugar, Sugar". A little more teenage cheerleader twerking than I am comfortable with, but the song itself was cute.

Good episode. ****.

Riverdale "Chapter Three: Body Double"

There it is! There is the subpar Bertlantiverse I am used to! Wow, that was some heavy duty portentous and lame nonsense right there. It's episode three, and the show is already a parody of itself.

I didn't know what to make of the racial messages of the episode. A black man menacing and sexually harassing white girls is bad enough, but when they chain him up to torment him, I'm like "Is there not a single person of color on the writing staff who could have like maybe second-guessed this?" But the thing that gets me is that the episode does the pretty cool scene of Josie checking Archie's white privilege at the door with her real experiences as a black woman in a conservative, mostly white town. Maybe the show thinks it can get away with Chuck's behavior and comeuppance because they did that, but I don't think a white producer should be allowed to do bad racial messages provided they use good ones for cover. That strikes me as wrong, and the precise reason Quentin Tarantino sucks and is a total wannabe.

I would have liked the message of female empowerment, except, Jeez, it's misplaced. Basically the show is saying it's wrong for these girls to be slut-shamed. But the show went out of its way to say nothing actually happened. Basically it's taking the position it's only wrong to slut-shame women if they aren't actually sluts. And it should be wrong to do that, period. And if the show is going out of its way to say the victims are "innocent", it's validating the shaming on a very real level.

I also would probably appreciate a moral about not shaming women for their bodies if the show didn't use the episode to totally exploit its half-nude teenage actresses. It's ick that CW shows do that at all, but it's especially ick to do that in an episode with this precise premise.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but Mrs. Cooper is an absolutely despicable person. I like Mr. Andrews. But he is the only adult who isn't actually worse than their kids. These parents are outright appalling. I thought Arthur Weasley and Lucius Malfoy were bad role models. These adults are just plain crazy.

The moment of Jughead saying this was the worst thing that ever happened in the town and that Riverdale would never be the same again was a clever meta moment about the Archie franchise itself.

I found Cheryl walking back her confession at the beginning of the episode as anti-climatic as Coop forgetting who killed Laura Palmer in Episode 3 of Twin Peaks.

That went South FAST. Even Arrow took at least half a season to start sucking. Bad sign to happen to this show in Episode 3. *.

Riverdale "Chapter Four: The Last Picture Show"

I don't get why Archie's father isn't madder at Miss Grundy than he is. NO dad should ever be that chill, even if he's played by Luke Perry.

For the record, because Miss Grundy had a gun and a fake I.D. in her car, an abusive ex is the first place my mind went. It's weird it never occurred to Betty or Veronica.

Also for the record, as crazy as Betty's mother is, her flipping out over finding the gun in the dresser, and then reading her diary was the correct reaction.

I loved the Sheriff telling Kevin not to go around cruising. He asks if there are any nice gay guys in the town, and Kevin says "I am." Deep.

I still can't believe that they haven't changed any of the goofy names from the comics. Jughead, Moose, and Miss Grundy are bad enough. But Smithers? Really? Sheesh.

Decent episode. ***1/2.

Riverdale "Chapter Five: Heart Of Darkness"

Nana Blossom is scary.

I liked Archie deferring the captaincy to Reggie. That was cool. What I don't get is why the coach didn't retire the number himself. That should have been a no-brainer.

I love Val's father's utter lack of pretention regarding how sloppy Archie is with his music. While I maybe would not have been that harsh on the songs themselves in his position, he's right that Archie should have been writing them down all along, and that him doing so in one night made them sloppy. He doesn't teach performance, but craft. And I like the idea that if Archie wants his father to take his music seriously, he's going to have to take it seriously himself. And maybe not play football after he's injured his playing hand.

The fashions on this show continue to confound me. Forget Jughead wearing his wool cap indoors at a funeral for a moment. Why does Veronica wear a pearl necklace to a sleepover?

I liked this one. ***1/2.

Riverdale "Chapter Six: Faster, Pussycats! Kill! Kill!"

I was kind of hoping they'd do like they did with Mr. Andrews and Mrs. Cooper and cast a former teen drama star as Polly. But instead of going two generations back like 90210 or Twin Peaks, have it be one generation back like maybe from Veronica Mars or Gossip Girl.

Josie's father is a d-word.

I kind of 'ship Archie and Val now.

Speaking of unlikely 'ships, I was all smiles when Jughead kissed Betty. Even better was the fact that she seemed to dig it.

Good episode. ****.

Riverdale "Chapter Seven: In A Lonely Place"

I like that Jughead went home with his dad at the end. He didn't ultimately stay, but I like that because it wasn't the best thing for Jughead in that moment, and I think he knew that. But it was the best thing for his dad.

I also like Cheryl ultimately deciding to protect Polly at the end. I don't think she knew she was going to do that until she felt her stomach.

It's fun that Veronica and her mother treat each other horribly as a way of negotiating and ultimately making peace. I think that's how high-maintenance women do it anyways.

I also liked Veronica turning things around with the bouncer at the club, and getting his to accept cash simply because raising a fuss would highlight underage drinking and the mayor's daughter. Funny.

I thought the trap Alice sprung at the press conference was absolutely brilliant. I hate that woman but she sure knows how to get ahead of a narrative.

Alice Cooper is almost as funny of a name as Jellybean Jones. She's ten and listens to Pink Floyd on vinyl. She's already plenty cool enough.

Ooh! Jason's jacket! More questions raised by the end there.

The dream at the beginning of the Archie gang in their comics outfits was so funny.

Excellent episode. ****1/2.

Riverdale "Chapter Eight: The Outsiders"

I will never get used to the idea of Madchen Amick as a grandmother.

They didn't actually use the word "abortion" but it is very clear why Alice threw her husband out of their house.

I thought Archie was totally wrong to be mad at Jughead for not telling him his father was serpent. It's his dad. He was ashamed. Even Betty wasn't ultimately mad. It was hard enough without Archie making him feel like a liar for it.

I don't think Mr. Jones has to do with Fred's current business woes, or the threats his workers have received. But I did think he was either involved in Jason's death, or knew who the culprit was and was protecting them. He is NOT a good guy, no matter if he and Fred made peace or not. And by the end of the season I was right.

Archie and Jughead calling each other brothers was corny, but made slightly less corny by at least Jughead realizing how cliched the allegory actually was.

Gettin' good. But I think Polly is in for an upcoming world of hurt. ****.

Riverdale "Chapter Nine: La Grande Illusion"

Holy poop! Cheryl is crazy!

I think Jughead telling Betty she is holding her family together is outright terrible advice. That puts an unrealistic expectation on her. Maybe he thought he was helping, but now if the family DOES fall apart she'll think it's her fault.

Love Val dumping Archie. I love that Archie's "What would you do?" hypothetical blew up in his face so spectacularly. He thinks he's smartly raising an ethical question, but instead he's giving her a no-brainer in the opposite direction.

Like Ethel being forgiving of Veronica. I kind of like that the show is square enough NOT to have her father successfully commit suicide, or Veronica NOT to have bullied a former classmate to death. This show is still Archie deep down, and uses a MUCH lighter touch than the Arrowverse ever did.

I admire Mrs. Lodge for coming clean to Fred, but I also don't blame him for dumping her for it. Lot of righteous dumping going on in the episode.

Pretty good. But Archie is a moron. ***1/2.

Riverdale "Chapter Ten: The Lost Weekend"

I love Jughead and how uncomfortable he is. And his father convinces him to go back inside because Betty needs him. Him kissing her hands struck me as an incredibly sweet gesture. I'm glad they didn't break up. I agree with Jughead that they are probably on a clock, especially if Archie changes his mind. But I love them together.

Good on Val for not giving Archie a second chance. After tonight, he didn't deserve one.

I am a little bit surprised Cheryl wanted the game of Secrets and Lies. Simply because I would have guessed twincest too. Her obsession with her brother is outright weird. That is not the right game for someone like her to be playing. Now people are less going to remember Archie slept with a teacher, and more that she may have killed her brother because he rejected her advances. As far as murder theories go, her crazy behavior makes it totally plausible.

I love Jughead's dad beating the tar out of Chuck. That guy had that coming. When Mr. Jones yells the party is over and everyone should go home, I instantly realized something amazing that I didn't before: He's an adult, so he technically has authority over the kids. Which is kind of amazing to realize when he gets everybody to leave simply because he says so.

FP's right. Madchen Amick is still hot.

I loved this episode. ****.

Riverdale "Chapter Eleven: To Riverdale And Back Again"

In the long run, Jughead and Betty will be grateful Veronica and Archie searched FP's trailer, but lord that IS the long run. I would not forgive them at anytime in the immediate future. I might if I were Jughead. Not if I were Betty. Because their betrayal wasn't just to Jughead. It was done in such a manner that it made Betty look culpable for it. Honestly, it was not her fault at all. She actually tried to protect Jughead and FP. But lord, were I Jughead I wouldn't see it that way in a million years. And whether Jughead can forgive Archie and Veronica (and my gut says he can) he will never get back to where he was with Betty. Simply because those two screwed him over so. He might forgive her. They got back together by the end of the season. But deep down I don't think he'll ever really trust her again. And that is what the totally betrayed look in her eyes said when she saw Veronica talking to her mother. She knew then and there that her supposed friend just destroyed the love of her life.

And I love that she outright says she loves Jughead. I don't even know if she realized it until she said it, but it's clear at this point her being a little uncomfortable putting a label on their relationship is past tense. And that's what makes what Archie and Veronica did so horrible. Again, it probably helped in the long run. But it didn't help Bughead, which is like the weirdest fan-name for a 'ship ever.

I liked Cheryl's story about flushing the ring. I knew she didn't actually do it (where would the fun be in THAT?) but I liked the lie because it would satisfy her parents. It would actually the smart thing to do which is why they believe her. Except she's holding onto for another unknown reason.

That roomful of wigs was creepy.

I liked Mary telling Alice her headgames wouldn't work on her. Who Fred spends his time with is his business. Can I just reiterate how much I dislike Alice? Aside from the sinister reasons she set up the dinner, the personal and hurtful questions she asked FP were as horrible and rude as anything said by a member of the Blossom clan. I have a really hard time accepting Betty came out of a person this mean-spirited. Yes, it's been hinted that Betty has dark thoughts and crazy impulses. But that is a far cry from being manipulative and cruel. That goes for Polly too. I'm trying to understand how Betty came out of such a sociopath.

Such a huge episode. ****.

Riverdale "Chapter Twelve: Anatomy Of A Murder"

The mystery resolution was a bit underwhelming simply because Clifford was always the prime suspect in my mind. The show is again channeling Twin Peaks into making the guy who acts the craziest and most guilty the actual killer. But one of Twin Peaks' biggest strengths to me (and I know David Lynch would disagree) is that the good thing about the mystery being solved is that it pretty much explains a great deal of the varying characters' weird behaviors in hindsight. It was always Leland, and there was never any other answer. And kills me that Twin Peaks was considered such the mysterious show it was. The resolution to Who Killed Laura Palmer turned out in hindsight to be a no-brainer.

I expect the same feeling if and when I rewatch season one of this show. I'll be like "That explains a LOT" once I see how he's grooming Archie, or hiding the wigs from Polly. His craziness infests the season and we only realize the full level of crazy after the fact.

Once again the Berlantiverse has zero idea how the law actually works. Mary says because Archie broke into the trailer illegally that what he saw is inadmissible in a court of law. Are ALL Berlantiverse writers this stupid? Of course it can. Because Archie is not a cop or an FBI agent. If he took his licks for the crime he committed, his testimony would definitely be allowed in a court of law simply because he's a civilian, and doesn't actually need a warrant. How many Law and Order episodes have we seen the day accidentally being saved by a civilian sticking their nose where it didn't belong, and being willing to testify to that fact? I almost forgive Arrow and The Flash for how badly they bungle their courtroom drama because they are superhero shows. Riverdale is an actual murder mystery. There is NO excuse to get that specific detail wrong. NONE.

I was more than a little annoyed that Kevin decried the Scooby Gang for dragging Joaquin into it. How does Kevin think everyone ELSE feels? Everyone else is in the mess, whether they want to be or not. With the possible exception of Archie himself, who always seems to make himself "Mess Adjacent". But Archie always knows the wrong crowd to hang out with.

As for the "incest" thing I was a little amused and annoyed they thought that was an actual scandal. Third Cousins? So what? That's not even Deep South. That's Buckingham Palace. And it's not like either Polly or Jason were even aware they were distantly related while it was happening. Third cousins isn't even incest in my book. I bet half of the wizards in the Harry Potter Universe would be dismayed to find out this is actually a scandal here. There is probably a reason Molly and Arthur Weasley BOTH have red hair after all.

But why don't the Coopers? If red hair is SUCH a strong Blossom family trait, it doesn't matter if the Coopers changed their names. They should be redheaded stepchildren anyways.

I love how the moment of the gang watching the murder on the computer screen was boarded. The girls start to cry (which makes about as much sense as Donna Hayward sobbing in the Road House on the night of Maddie Ferguson's murder). But it totally plays, as does Betty getting up to make a phone call. Who is she calling and why? And until they cut to Cheryl we don't actually know because the show was clever enough not to show us what the kids saw right away. But the show replays the scene and we are able to match up the kids' reactions to what they are actually seeing.

You know, when Jughead calls Betty Nancy Drew, he's not underselling that notion. Truthfully, were I Jughead, I'd simply be mad she's man-handling another dude, but considering the stakes, that may have been neither here nor there.

I will confess to be disappointed by the reveal. But like Twin Peaks, I expect it will fully hold up in hindsight. ****1/2.

Riverdale "Chapter Thirteen: The Sweet Hereafter"

Archie banging Veronica! Gamechanger!

I will always find it weird that Jughead Jones is more cut and physically fit than Archie Andrews. Always.

I can't believe Mayor McCoy is trying to take co-credit for solving the mystery. She truly IS a politician, isn't she?

I like that when describing his foster family Jughead wryly says, "They're nice." Which is like the most backhanded compliment from him ever. Which is why it's fabulous.

I do not feel the least bit sorry for Mrs. Blossom. She was just as responsible for the toxicity in that house as her husband was. She should feel very lucky Cheryl didn't lock her in the house when she burnt it down.

Speaking of going for the softer twist, I was a little bit disappointed Alice didn't get an abortion after all. That would have been a groundbreaking moment for network television. Instead the adopted brother means there's a new season 2 episode to look forward to.

Although the surprise relative I really want? Jughead's evil twin. Don't laugh. You know you want that too.

I love Fred using Betty's speech as an excuse to stick it to Hermione and not be bought out. If Fred survives the cliffhanger, next season should be fun.

Good finale made up entirely of wrap-up, but were I the show, I would have done like Veronica Mars and solved the mystery here too. Again this show is more Twin Peaks, but the truth is, Lynch never WANTED to solve the mystery at ALL, so maybe solving it early wasn't the way to go here. ****1/2.

Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
Jan 19, 2004
Framingham, MA
Riverdale "Chapter Fourteen: A Kiss Before Dying"

Miss Grundy hasn't changed a bit. And now she's dead.

I love Cheryl tormenting her mother so. Cheryl may be a sociopath but her mother is the one person who actually deserves it.

I love that Veronica refuses to leave when Archie wants her to. She IS the best girlfriend ever. And she's not his whore.

Good premiere. ****.

Riverdale "Chapter Fifteen: Nighthawks"

Wow, this is a very violent season. That ending shocked me.

I knew Jughead was asking for trouble for going for help from the Snake Charmer. We'll see how bad this gets.

Remember when Cheryl called her mother "Mommy Dearest" in the last episode? Her showing her that footage in this episode is why.

Did Reggie change actors? Weird that the character is a drug dealer in this continuity.

Were I Hermione I would not have covered for Hiram about the letter for a second.

More set-up than anything, but GOOD set-up.

Riverdale "Chapter Sixteen: The Watcher In The Woods"

That was pretty good. I don't have much sympathy for Kevin's plight. Because it isn't an orientation issue. It's a safety issue. If there is a serial killer on the loose, the correct answer is simply getting a dirty magazine and a bottle of lotion. He says there are no other options. That is a lie. He could just cool it for awhile. Not everybody has constant sex in their lives. It's okay to go without for a period.

Hiram continues to creep me out.

I didn't much like Archie's video at the end but I imagine it will lead to interesting places.

More set-up, but like the previous episode, not terrible. ***1/2.

Riverdale "Chapter Seventeen: The Town That Dreaded Sundown"

First off, the show wants me to be horrified and take seriously the fact that Archie pulled a gun on a Serpent. And I do. That WAS horrific. What is left unsaid is that the Serpent pulling the switchblade on him was also a huge level of suck. And honestly? Until he did that, his anger at Archie tagging his part of the town with graffiti is actually righteous. He is right to be offended by Archie doing that, especially if the Southsiders are getting the blame for this.

And they shouldn't. As the letter to Betty demonstrates, the Black Hood was almost certainly a Northsider (and it was: Hal). I am especially angry at Alice's fearmongering at the town meeting, considering everybody else there might wind up blaming her own daughter for starting this, and will definitely blame her later on for it being Hal. But what truly disgusted me was her idea to close Southside High. What kind of sick ghoulish parent wants to shut down a school? She can wail at Betty at the beginning that she just wants to keep her and Polly safe. But the truth is it seems like all of the other people and kids in the town are collateral damage to that. And that's why she strikes me as a total sociopath.

This episode was not great, and I honestly feel the show is going to suffer for 22 episode seasons. Last season's mystery with 13 episodes was a lot tighter than this. **1/2.

Riverdale "Chapter Eighteen: When A Stranger Calls"

My early guess for the Hood was Hal. (Spoiler alert: Called it right early all the way back here). Simply because the Hood is so personally invested in hurting Betty. I also don't think killing Polly would be beyond him.

For the record, Archie is the worst friend ever to Betty AND Jughead. Betty specifically told him he didn't have to cruel. And yet, because he cheesed Archie off for an unrelated reason, he was. It's a bit infuriating to be honest.

Loved Veronica and the Pussycats wailing on Nick. That felt as good watching it as it probably felt good for them doing it.

Love Alice's Shelley Johnson mugshot. And that dress and power walk at the end says Madchen Amick's still got it.

Frustrating episode. ***.

Riverdale "Chapter Nineteen: Death Proof"

Did not expect the Sugarman to be the teacher, but that was a good resolution, even if it makes little sense in hindsight. Maybe he wanted Jughead NOT to join a gang because he feared he'd find out the truth.

For the record, Archie's plan sucked, which is why Archie sucks. He should have run that by a few people first. And the fact that he thinks it's the right solution with no second guessing, shows that he is again a terrible friend. And the biggest reason I hate the plan is because we were denied an actual boss car race scene because of it. Archie (and the show) is no fun.

It frustrates me how hard Southside was hit this episode, when the drugs and roofies were pretty much due to Nick. I would have thought a lot of less Cheryl's mother if she hadn't burned that dirty check. Yeah, she took another one later on. But this right here was the correct moment to do it.

I would not have recommended Veronica telling her father the truth, but him still doing business with those enabling monsters forced her hand. For the record, Cheryl is right: If Veronica has such a problem with Nick SHE can tell her story in court. It is not entirely Cheryl's responsibility, and she shouldn't be making her feel like it is.

Josie's heart seemed to drop about McCoy's disappointment in her using drugs. I think the mayor took it as a bit of a personal betrayal. And I don't blame her.

I love Veronica seriously asking Betty for the insane explanation. Which is why I love Veronica. She'll believe and accept the insane explanation when others wouldn't in her place.

This was pretty good. ****.

Riverdale "Chapter Twenty: Tales From The Darkside"

It's weird Josie fell into the same musical shortcut trap with Cheryl that Archie did. And Val was disgusted with her for the same reason. The weird thing is Archie is naive and stupid, and could be forgiven if Val felt the need to. Josie has no excuse. And the idea that Cheryl is writing the notes and sent the pig's heart? There is no excuse for Josie falling for this.

If the Black Hood turns out to be the janitor we met this episode I'm throwing something at my TV. (UPDATE: My TV has a spot on it).

Fun role for Tony Todd. He's always good for giving me the willies.

I had no idea the sheriff was that cut. To be honest, I don't think he's a bad person for the affair. Simply because his first thought upon Betty's accusation was to protect Kevin. In the Sheriff's mind, Betty totally betrayed his son by breaking into their house. And the fact that that's the thing he's worried about says that he's a good guy.

For the record, upon getting the alibis in writing, Betty should have simply dropped it. What are alibis good for if not eliminating suspects? I had suspected the Sheriff earlier in the season. But as far as I'm concerned, the alibis mean it isn't him. And it was crazy for me to even entertain the notion that his whereabouts would have been unaccounted for when Fred Andrews was shot in broad daylight. I don't think the alibi for the attack on Moose and Midge is air-tight (he could have changed the police logs for the part of town he was in), and similarly, we are only guessing at Miss Grundy's time of death. But Fred Andrews being shot was a huge town crisis. It's crazy to imagine nobody knowing where the Sheriff was when it went down. He'd be the first person with an alibi were he innocent. And yup, he has one. Betty needed to move the frak on.

I resented the scene of Josie's throat being cut. Because the show is ALWAYS doing fake-outs like that. Which means when the real violence occurs, it doesn't land properly if I cannot tell if what I am seeing is real. This is a real problem for ALL of television, but the truth is the Berlanti shows engage it in MUCH more often than any other current franchise. And it hurts each and every show's credibility, up and down the line. It is bad television. Period. I write. And I will never, EVER do a fake-out dream sequence for this exact reason.

The format was interesting but I couldn't tell what movie they were paying homage to. For the record, there are a LOT more homages to the 1950's this season (including the Lollipop ring tone) than there were in Season 1. I had expected the series to lean heavily into that sort of Rebel Without A Cause era of storytelling, and after the Pilot it didn't. Except Season 2 IS again, from the covers of classic songs, to the fact that the females dress like Nightclub Sirens. It all evokes a tone of yesterday, which is the great thing about a murder mystery. The problem is that a serial killer is a much less associated with the 50's than it is the 80's and 90's. And while I felt Jason's murder last season was more of the ageless type of thing you could see on Peyton Place, it sort of turned into a typical teen drama from Episode 2 on. This season has been a lot moodier and Noir since any episode in Season 1 besides the actual Pilot.

This was entertaining either way. ****.

Riverdale "Chapter Twenty-One: House Of The Devil"

Wow, I cannot overstate how much I hated that. Not just for wrecking Bughead. That's Teen Soap 101 to blow up the 'ships every other week. But once I saw the Janitor in the recap I was like "This is gonna suck."

And that Serpent Dance the producers forced Betty's actress to do was absolutely sick. Why am I expected to be aroused by a character who's supposed to be like 16 years old? And this is why The CW sucks, and The WB has always sucked.

Veronica couldn't explain to Archie she couldn't say those words because she's never heard her parents say them? Wouldn't that be like enough for any man? It sure as heck would be for me. And this is coming from a person who believes telling people you love them is no big deal. But if Veronica had THAT specific hang-up for that specific reason, I'd totally get it.

Seriously lame episode. Is that a dorsal fin I see in the water? Why do my waterskis seem to be arching upwards? 0.

Riverdale "Chapter Twenty-Two: Silent Night, Deadly Night"

In which my TV has another spot on it from where I threw my slipper.

Last year took the best possible suspect and made him guilty, and this year seemed to initially take the worst. I was very unhappy the killer is the random janitor they introduced in Episode 7. I had hoped it was Hal simply because it would have made all of the personal things the Black Hood did to Betty that much worse.

And it WAS Hal after all later on. But this episode made me very angry when I first saw it..

I love Jughead not backing down from FP. He was right that they were in this together. FP thinking he and the Serpents were not powerful enough to take on Penny is FP not giving himself, Jug, or their friends enough credit. I love that Jughead didn't back down.

I also loved that Veronica's line in the sand was paying Fred's hospital bill. That was cool.

Nana Rose continues to creep me out.

Terrible mystery resolution (or was it?) but truthfully, the rest of the episode wasn't terrible. ***1/2.

Riverdale "Chapter Twenty-Three: The Blackboard Jungle"

Creepy episode and ending.

I think Toni is right that a dress code is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. It seemed to me that Jughead was actually making a mountain out of a molehill. But he IS an iconoclast.

For the record, Archie sucks. If he were truly a good guy, he'd tell Veronica about the FBI guy. And the reason he doesn't is because he selfishly wants his dad protected. But the thing is, Fred is innocent. And Archie has to know that. So nothing bad will happen to him whether Archie betrays Veronica or not. And he had the perfect opportunity to come clean with that at the end. Which is something that infuriates me. It's totally lucky the FBI guy turned out to be a fake.

That ending gave me goosebumps. I knew the Black Hood thing wasn't over, and I hoped that my original guess of Hal was correct. It was! ****.

Riverdale "Chapter Twenty-Four: The Wrestler"

My initial guess of who beheaded the statue: Bart Simpson.

I think the series is trying to make me hate Hiram Lodge so much that I'll think Archie supposedly working for the fake FBI is righteous. But as long as he is keeping it from Veronica, it truly isn't. It's weird that the show expects me to think differently. This is not a moral gray area at all.

I love Toni reaming Jughead for his article. In fairness, Jughead apologized to the grandfather, and tried to make things right, but Toni was right that it wasn't his story to tell.

For the record Graham Greene is 66 years old, and doesn't look much older than that. He is far too young to believably play The Oldest Living Serpent. But there's not a ton of famous Indian actors his age anyways, and even if the show is whitewashing the rest of the serpent's actors by not hiring Native Americans for the most part, that was a crucial role to keep authentic.

I think Mrs. Blossom is enjoying herself simply because it upsets Cheryl. And considering the psychological tortures Cheryl made her suffer while she was convalescing, I see why she'd enjoy that.

I absolutely love how proud Kevin is of owning Archie in wrestling. I kind of am too, especially when Kevin say Andrews has the body of a 70's porn star. For the record, I dispute this notion. "In-shape" people such as porn stars from 40 years ago looked a LOT different than in-shape people today. Quagmire once opined on Family Guy that back then nobody had any muscle tone, and that was while watching Charles In Charge from the 1980's. People were even doughier than that in the Me decade. People did NOT have the specific training regimens available to them to make their body looks as toned and attractive as they do now. Back then, the guys with muscles were weight-lifters in magazines, who looked like pin-up freaks instead of the roman God superheroes today's generation of male actors work themselves into. Granted, I have not actually SEEN a 70's porno, so Kevin maybe knows something I don't. But it strikes me the writer of the episode never saw a 70's porno either. I sincerely doubt they were as cut as Archie. Very much so.

Do you know who was considered in shape 40 years ago? Richard Simmons. Yeah, Kevin is out of his mind.

Chick teaching Betty to webcam is super creepy and I can't believe the producers thought that was an appropriate turn. The show sort of gets off putting the Archie characters in inappropriate situations, but in Season 1, they never really crossed the line. Between this and the Snakedance I think they are starting to. Which is a shame. The show was a lot more enjoyable when it wasn't this precisely twisted. **1/2.

Riverdale "Chapter Twenty-Five: The Wicked And The Divine"

Bughead forever!

Archie DOES know it's a crime to lie to the FBI, right? This is why he never should have gotten involved. Fred may not be on the hook for anything, but Archie sure would be if this was real. It is a good thing in hindsight the FBI agent was fake. Archie could go to jail otherwise.

Shelly Johnson cleanin' up blood! Again! The Universe feels SO right just now.

When what Jughead did to Penny is described as "mutilation", I am disgusted with him. As long as it was implied, it was scary, but you didn't have to think about how horrible it was. Once it's confirmed by Penny, you realize Jughead is violent and dangerous. Jughead's only saving grace to me is immediately admitting it to Betty. If he hadn't that would suggest to me she should fear him. I don't think Jughead a bad or abusive guy in general. But the fact that he DID commit that specific act against a woman, no matter how despicable she was, is troubling.

Tallboy is SO stupid. Betty hits upon the right answer immediately: Find the head, and find out who did it. If Tallboy knew exactly that Betty and Jughead are Nancy Drew and Fred from Scooby Doo, he'd be more careful.

And weirdly, this version of Jughead is Fred instead of Shaggy, and he's probably the only version of Jughead who is.

It's weird Betty kept the kiss with Archie from Jughead. He would have forgiven her immediately in that moment as he was also admitting a transgression. I think the reason she didn't admit it is because it meant something to her, so she has a LOT more to feel guilty about. And unfortunately I imagine Jughead is insightful enough to guess that.

Veronica's confession to the Monsignor ending with his prescribing simple Hail Marys was like the most disturbing thing ever. This is clearly not new for this guy, which should totally concern Veronica.

Great episode. ****.

Riverdale "Chapter Twenty-Six: The Tell-Tale Heart"

It's weird, there is not an actual murder mystery going on (that we know of), and the show is currently more exciting than it's ever been. Did not expect the twist that the FBI agent was a Xanatos Gambit on behalf of the Lodges. I love that notion. SO much.

I also love FP and Jughead stepping up and helping Alice in her hour of need.

I understand why Mayor McCoy is trying to hide her affair with the Sheriff. What I don't get is why Hal would care what Alice thinks. They have been practically estranged on and off since the series started, and as far as I'm concerned, while he is living outside of that house they should be considered "on-break". He has nothing to hide or feel guilty for as long as they are separated. Or at least he wouldn't if he didn't feel the need the hide it. That's the thing I don't understand. By not wanting to tell Alice he's making something that isn't actually bad, BAD. And that's something of his own doing.

Then again, as the Black Hood, one of his specific crusades is against adultery, so maybe THAT'S why he doesn't want it known. But if he feels strongly enough about the subject to murder people over it, maybe he should keep it in his pants in the first place.

Cheryl keeps being confused over whether she's a sociopath, or a worthwhile human being. With Clifford gone, her sociopathic tendencies seem to fall further and further into the background as the season goes on. I'm not completely sure what to make of it. But yeah, the fact that she told Betty is a good thing.

When the tale of Chick "Smith" is ultimately told, I want it for the record, that Betty was the one who located him, and convinced her mother to make contact. Everything that's happened since then is actually on Betty. Which is probably why she's throwing up in public toilets. You got a little puke on your collar there, Betty.

Good stuff. ****1/2.

Riverdale "Chapter Twenty-Seven: The Hills Have Eyes"

For the record, Veronica's idea to kiss Jughead was stupid. Because neither she nor Jughead were aware of the level of intimacy of Betty and Archie's actual kiss. And while it is true it probably meant more between the two of them than Veronica kissing Jughead, the truth is the kiss was innocent and chaste. Veronica is sloppily making out with a shirtless Jughead in a hot tub in their bathing suits. That is NOT evening the score. If anything, it tilted things so that Archie and Betty now have the high ground. Although maybe only Betty and Archie can recognize that.

The end with the guys invading the cabin felt like a last minute twist to give the episode more juice. And it didn't work because it felt tacked on.

Cheryl as a lesbian doesn't exactly make sense for how pious she is about everybody else's sexuality. That being said, I like it simply because it means her relationship with Jason was probably chaste. I actually strongly suspected incest for most of Season 1, and the notion of Heather existing makes that unlikely.

Speaking of which, isn't Mrs. Blossom the worst? She's turned into a hooker, oh, I'm sorry, a COURTESAN, and she had the nerve to lecture Cheryl about "deviancies" back in the day? She sucks.

I think the show does not need 22 episodes per season. Because now we get filler like this week. **1/2.

Riverdale "Chapter Twenty-Eight: There Will Be Blood"

Clifford's twin Claudius was a fun twist. Although the stuff with the Lodges is getting tiresome. It was good to see Smithers again, but as far as evil plans go, building a private prison, while definitely a topical hot-button issue, is not the grand evil scheme I had been hoping from Hiram. It doesn't strike me as a unambiguously evil idea so it makes no sense that he is hiding it as if he's building concentration camps instead. It's unethical, to be sure, and won't be good for the town. But it also doesn't strike me as something that will actually destroy Riverdale. Which is what I was hoping the stakes would actually be.

God bless Kevin for bowing out when he did. I disagree that Chick seems like a good person. But on the other hand if Kevin kept doing that, it would mean that Kevin isn't either. Very cool line in the sand for our Kevin.

The Lesbos Island stuff was funny. Clifford's twin may be evil, but I doubt he's as evil as Clifford or Penelope herself.

I wish that were better. ***.

Riverdale "Chapter Twenty-Nine: Primary Colors"

To be honest, the only reason I feel the slightest bit of sympathy for Cheryl is because she was sent to a gay conversion center. If she had just been sent to a regular nuthouse, I wouldn't think less of Penelope at ALL. She was terrorizing her earlier in the year, and set her and her house on-fire. She's nucking futz. Except Penelope thinks the one normal thing about her is the bad thing. Which is the reason Penelope is so horrible. Cheryl is by most metrics a sociopath. Her mother is trying to stomp out the small part of her that isn't.

I love the idea of Jughead and Fred running for school President and Mayor respectively against Veronica and Hermione. Veronica has turned into quite an unlikable character. It would be very satisfying to see Betty and Jughead smoosh her and Reggie in that election.

For the record, I love the evil team-up between Josie and Ethel. Really, at this point Veronica needs to understand that the only friend she has left is actually Archie. And he's not going to be there for her indefinitely at this rate. It disgusts me he hasn't turned on her yet.

Speaking of which, just based on this episode I no longer think Archie is naive or well-intentioned. He's simply gullible and weak.

Chick's alternate crime theory would not be the least bit credible with the Sheriff, but I think Betty was freaked out because Chick was actually crazy enough to think it would be. And a person who is crazy enough to believe he would be taken seriously in that precise moment is somebody super dangerous, and that Betty can no longer live with. And it's crazy her mother is still enabling that.

And don't forget: Betty brought that into their house. This is entirely on her.

I'm loving FP's stuff with Jughead. Him and his son have truly bonded upon Jughead fixing the mess with Penelope. Now they are going to be working together. Hiram has much to fear.

Speaking of which, I love the fury with which Mary defended Fred to Archie. I was like "Mary is my favorite divorced Mom EVER!" I don't think Archie can quite appreciate how awesome his mother is for that. There are very few exes who would stand up for their former partners and show the loyalty and solidarity to Fred she just did. She is amazing and knocks my socks off.

Cool stuff this episode. ****1/2.

Riverdale "Chapter Thirty: The Noose Tightens"

That kiss at the end between Cheryl and Toni was right out of the end of "But I'm A Cheerleader".

I'm glad Alice kicked Chick out but I'd have been shocked if that was the end of the story. I didn't expect that psychopath to give up that easily.

And it's like, by the end of the episode, Alice understands why Betty wants to get the tattoo. And I love the reason Betty went back into the house is because she called for back-up. That was awesome.

Good for Josie for bailing because Cheryl has been stalking her. Cheryl saying Riverdale was going to burn at the end says she is about as much of a pure innocent victim as Carrie White wound up being. Which is to say none at all.

Good episode. ****.

Riverdale "Chapter: Thirty-One: A Night To Remember"

Ugh. Musical episodes. Kill me now.

The cliffhanger was fun though (Madchen Amick returning to her scream queen roots), and I actually liked the stuff between Archie and Fred (mostly because there was no singing). I love Fred saying him quitting a job over a disagreement is not how he rolled, and Archie actually buying the iconic jalopy. That car is a total mess. I can't believe Archie spent money on it. If anything, the dump should have paid him to haul it away.

Musical episodes almost always suck. Only two exceptions in my mind were Buffy and Xena. Riverdale's musical episode is unusually sucky, even for the trope. Out of all the musical episodes I have ever seen, only Once Upon A Time's was worse. *.

Riverdale "Chapter Thirty-Two: Prisoners"

Hal was always my number 1 suspect. My rule for the beginning of the season was that if the Black Hood was the janitor, it was a bad show. If it was Hal, it was a good one. Little early in my predictions, but I think we are looking at a good show.

Hal is the ONLY person who could have possibly known about who Chick killed. Besides LP, who made a lousy suspect for other reasons. But Hal has those dead green eyes. It's not been lost on me.

There is something wrong with your Archie Comics continuity when you have Betty Cooper feeding drifters to serial killers.

For the record, I seriously doubt the brother is actually dead. There was no body, and Riverdale is a soap that traffics in people coming back from the dead (see Claudius / Clifford). No body means it isn't over.

What happened to Nick was predictable, but what I like is that Nick was too dumb to think so. It was actually the only answer there was. And he actually thinks Veronica's going to let him touch her. For the record, sociopaths tend to have a reputation for being cunning and manipulative. But Nick is one of those sociopaths who reminds me of real-world people in the news who are actually incredibly thick.

I was on the fence about Sheriff Keller. Here was my initial opinion: On the one hand, none of this is normal, or actually his fault. He's a Sheriff of a small town. Jason Blossom's murder and then the Black Hood are not things he should ever be having to deal with in a sane and fair world. I think he'd gotten an unfair rap because he's expected to turn instantly from Andy Taylor to Sherlock Holmes, which is a completely unreasonable expectation. On the other hand, if he DID step down, he'd maybe get replaced by someone from out of town who WOULD be able to catch the culprit without the aid of meddling kids. My heart says "Fire him until this is over, and hire him back when things quiet down," but I didn't know how actually feasible that idea truly was. And as the season ended, we realized we would have been better off with Keller after all, simply because he wasn't dirty. There are worse things to be than a Sheriff bad at solving murders. Like one who secretly enables and covers them up.

This was a great episode. ****1/2.

Riverdale "Chapter Thirty-Three: Shadow Of A Doubt"

That was great. Reggie is in SO much trouble! As is Hiram. Hiram's machinations have gotten outright sloppy. Not only can Reggie testify that Hiram was the guy who told him to do it, but Archie also knows that Hiram is paying the Black Circle. And since he was, that was a pretty ballsy thing for Hermione to bring up in the debate against Fred. Speaking of not knowing what your own house is doing. And if she is, she's crazy if she think Fred won't find out about it.

I initially thought the second masked hooded shooter was Chick, given an actual second chance by Hal. Frankly, I think that would have been a better idea than later learning on it was Tallboy.

When Betty says what she did to Chick makes her a murderer, she is not underselling that idea. And the show wouldn't do that to her. Which is the other reason I though Chick is still alive and the decoy to give Hal a public alibi. And while he didn't turn out to be the decoy, I'm still pretty sure he's alive.

I pretty much guessed this entire mystery ahead of time. But that doesn't make it a bad mystery. It makes it a fair one. Maybe one easier to solve than most. But it will hold up in hindsight which is something the best mysteries do.

Great ending too. I loved this episode. *****.

Riverdale "Chapter Thirty-Four: Judgment Night"

Holy poop! They coulda titled that episode "When It Rains..." and it would land equally well.

God, I freaking love Alice browbeating Hal into making a sloppy mistake. And you know what? Truth. Hal is the suckiest serial killer ever. The number of people who have survived an unfriendly encounter with him is ridiculously high by ANY serial killer's standards. At first I thought that was because the show was gutless, but maybe it was actually so Alice could deliver her epic "The Reason You Suck" speech here. I would have loved to hear Shelly say something similar to Leo Johnson in Season 1 of Twin Peaks.

And suddenly, all of my sympathy for what Jughead did to Penny is melted away. If anything, he didn't go far enough. She is a monster.

Speaking of, Hiram's House Of Cards is ridiculously shaky. Can you believe his October surprise? He couldn't think of anything better than throwing his wife under the bus like that? It's not like Fred was a lock to win the election (and he didn't). He has made some publicly unpopular moves. That is NOT a specific reason to not only destroy Fred's life, but Hermione's too.

And does Hiram honestly think Reggie and Archie never talk to each other and compare notes? It doesn't strike him as legitimately irresponsible to egg on Reggie in the blatant way he did? Like Hal, Hiram is ultimately an underwhelming villain. In Hal's defense, he JUST became a serial killer last year in middle-age. It makes sense he sucks at this. But Hiram has supposedly been built up as this show's version of David Xanatos. Xanatos would NEVER be this sloppy, and have that many people in on his evil plans. It's like "Gosh that prison has to be top-secret! But orchestrating the attempted murder of a teenager and a riot and gang war? I'mma tellin' EV'RYBUDDAH!"

For the record, I'm the nitpicky Gargoyles fan who believes Xanatos is MUCH less smart and successful than advertised. And he would still eat Hiram's lunch. No doubt. And Owen wouldn't get his dumb self killed protecting Fox and the baby. Hiram is the worst version of evil mobster businessman you could ever envision.

Honestly, the Big Dude telegraphed his own death by Inigo Montoyoing his revenge monologue to Hermione and Veronica. That is the specific speech you are supposed to give when you have a gun to your enemy's temple, and them at your mercy. And not a second before.

I love Cheryl as the bow and arrow wielding wildcard. The way she randomly pops up to offer information or protection is VERY Ruby from Once Upon A Time. She is even all dressed in red.

Whole buncha dumb criminals. I'm just glad Fred was smart enough to wear Kevlar.

Hugely, ridiculously entertaining episode. A show with this specific premise should NEVER be this good and awesome. And it almost annoys me that it is. Riverdale was NOT the Berlantiverse show I was rooting for as the underdog. And crazily somehow that was a better penultimate episode of the season than Arrow of Flash ever gave us. What is wrong with the Universe and Archie Comics? Good God, man. *****.

Riverdale "Chapter-Thirty Five: Brave New World"

Hiram is SO stupid! Before he had an empty threat from an actually dimwitted teenager that had a theory he'd never be able to prove. Now he just made sure that every single one of the Mystery Gang is invested in proving it. He would have fallen off the radar otherwise. Which by the way, is still not credible. Hiram won the season simply so he could be the Big Bad of the next. His actual plans suck.

But I like GET it. His actor played it like he was actually afraid of Archie for the very first time.

Here's a very weird thing to me. While it is true that the Serpents are a greaser old timey gang out of the 1950's, the truth of the matter is, Riverdale is a show that glamorizes teenagers joining gangs, and believing they are a good thing and actual families. Let me ask you a question: Do you think The CW would promote this viewpoint at ALL if Jughead and his friends weren't white? Toni's biracial, but despite the fact that there is supposed to be some Indian heritage involved, the Serpents are white, which is why The CW allows the producers the disturbing moral they do here. All I remember is that twenty years ago Chris Elliot's sitcom "Get A Life" was nearly canceled by Fox when his character joined a jokey teenage gang. They gave David Mirkin pages of notes that there is NOTHING funny about gangs, and nobody should ever glamourize them, even though Mirkin's gang were pretty much all Fonzies.

But back in the day a gang of Fonzies would be controversial. It amazes me that this show can get away with that moral at all. More-so because I actually believe it is a bad and harmful one. I didn't like Sons Of Anarchy either, but the horrible things that happened in that show were the polar opposite of glamorization. Here everybody gets a hug and a jacket at the end, which is kind of disturbing.

Tallboy being the second Hood was the only part of the mystery I got wrong. Simply because it didn't matter if it was Tallboy. He was a random guy who didn't even appear in the episodes he had the hood on. A better resolution would have been Chick taken under Hal's wing. But that would NOT have given Archie a personal reason to start a vendetta against Hiram. But he would have been a personal choice for an entirely different reason. If not for Archie, then for Betty.

Here's an opinion. Hiram threatening to take away Veronica's trust fund in exchange for the sale of Pop's was ill-advised because it was probably the thing that convinced her to do it. If THAT'S what Hiram's line in the sand is Veronica is like "Eff him!" and is MORE willing to cut out that abusive relationship. What's ironic is that Hiram cutting out Veronica is NOT in his best interest. She actually knows where the bodies are buried. And he frames her boyfriend for good measure? I resent that our heroes have to go up against somebody this stupid next year. I especially resent that because it's television, (and Berlanti specifically) this unworthy punk will undoubtedly wind up giving them a run for their money anyways.

I don't much like Betty, but her actress did a very interesting thing during her performance when she visited her father. It was a totally corny and badly written moment (not uncommon in this show) but her actress sort of pulled it off. But when she describes that the evil is over and has no power on her, she plays the moment as if a psychological weight has been lifted from her the moment the words escape her lips. I imagine there would be actresses who would play that moment better. Either more subtly, or more dramatically. But Betty's actress played it broadly enough so you simply understood exactly what was going on. A better actress might have made you wonder what exactly she was thinking, but I love performances where you get entirely in a character's headspace without them actually saying what they are thinking. This was a very good example of that. Definitely broader than a better actress would do. But there are worse actresses who wouldn't be able to pull it off at all, which is something.

For the record, I think Mrs. Blossom's actress is far too old and faded to be playing a trick. Supposedly she attracts rich, fancy types, but those are actually the kinds of guys who go from the young, buxom hotties. She supposedly attracts the precise type of man who would cheat on her with their secretary in a heartbeat.

Here is a sad fact about Archie: He has no-one to blame but himself for trusting Hiram. It was clear Hiram was a sleazy, disloyal criminal from the get-go, but Archie kept giving him the benefit of the doubt simply because his daughter happens to be cool. And the truth is Archie is a poor judge of character, who has no business solving mysteries. It was fitting that the only Black Hood he unmasked was a faker.

I'd say this was a disappointment, but season 1's finale was mainly wrap-up too. I'll give it points for being better than that. ****1/2.

Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
Jan 19, 2004
Framingham, MA
Riverdale “Chapter 36: Labor Day”

This is the first time I’ve watched the show over the air on a weekly basis after binging the first two seasons. As such this review will be a little more in-depth than usual for me.

Two things I want to state from the outset:

1. I absolutely hated the episode.

2. The fact that this episode sucked almost certainly IS not a harbinger for the rest of the season. I will not hold this episode sucking against the season at all. It’s done sucky episodes in the past. It’s just unfortunate it’s the first back. I expect things to go easier in the weeks ahead.

Why did the episode suck? Because it’s a Berlantiverse show, and it was in a courtroom. That is ALL the reason I needed to be screaming at my TV in spittle-flecked rage while throwing food at it. And the second I saw the courtroom stuff was gonna be an entire episode thing, I gave it up for a lost cause immediately. I’ve been through this horrowshow with The Flash and Arrow. Berlanti did not write the episode (the show creator did) but it is classic Bertlantiverse in that the episode did no research whatsoever. It is embarrassing how bad things got here.

First off, in her closing statement the prosecutor actually says in the front of the jury, “Who actually knows the truth?” Seriously? Do you what that is? Reasonable doubt. No prosecutor anywhere would ever utter that statement under any circumstances. It invites conjecture, and a prosecutors job is making sure the jury sees the evidence as facts. I was SO P.O.ed.

But of course, we’re just getting warmed up. Archie’s mom is his lawyer? Doesn’t the judge think there is a conflict of interest there? Seriously? The worst thing is that was the most believable thing of all the eff-ups.

And lemme see if I get this straight. Archie is not merely on trial for murder, but first degree murder. Aside from there being no evidence whatsoever that the murder was premeditated, which is Archie’s main defense. He didn’t know the victim, and had nothing to gain by killing him. But aside from that, he spent the summer outside of prison hanging out with his friends? Forget the fact that this potential first degree murderer isn’t in prison and unable to make bail. He isn’t confined to his house with a freaking ankle bracelet? Do you know why they bother doing that? Precisely because of FP’s offer to smuggle Archie across the Canadian border. Funnily enough, ACTUAL murderers do not have a code of honor about that sort of thing and that’s why they stay locked up. That sort of thing is not considered by society as a moral test each murderer has to decide for themselves. And the show is crazy for trying to get me to see THAT particular instance of horrendous writing as some sort of personal growth for Good Ol’ Honest Archie. Um, no. That’s not how the legal system works especially under these specific circumstances. Basically Archie goes to prison because he chooses to. Which is utter, embarrassingly badly written b.s..

The last thing I found maddening was Fred yelling, “This isn’t over!” after Archie’s guilty plea. Roberto Aguirre-Sarcasa has NEVER seen an episode of Law and Order before? A guilty plea means it IS over. That is why people are so reluctant to plead that in the first place. You cannot appeal a guilty plea. You are stuck. That is actually the entire point of it.

Funnily enough, I don’t blame Archie for taking the plea for the reason he did. He thought a lot more about that murder over the summer than I did, but the truth is he was complicit, even if he didn’t pull the trigger. He knew it was going to happen. and walked away, and never looked back. That is the definition of manslaughter in my book. It might even count as second degree murder, so two years in juvie seems more than fair to me.

I don’t know why Hiram rubs Veronica’s face in all of his evil. He is SO freaking blatant, and frankly careless, that I consider him a MUCH less effective Big Bad than he actually should be. Somebody this obvious and stupid should not be owning the heroes the way he is. I actually think a lot less of them simply because he is so openly awful and gets away with it.

Archie getting the Serpent tattoo in case he went to prison struck me as smart and stupid at the same time. First off, I am amazed how easily Archie and Betty were allowed to get inked with the Serpent tattoo, considering the entire rigmarole Jughead had to jump through to get his. The second thing that concerned me is that while FP is right that the tattoo will offer protection, it is also a target for the Serpents’ enemies in prison, such as the Ghoulies. And protection is not the only thing attached to the tattoo. Expectations will be as well. Who is to say the Serpents won’t force Archie to either beat up or kill somebody they want hurt simply because he is not in the position to say no to them? This is admittedly not as bad a plot point as the courtroom stuff. But I think the writers didn’t think it through. I might have thought differently if Archie landed in adult prison, and they explored the scenario I described during upcoming episode, but the juvie thing means it’s just as bad an idea as it is a good one.

Oh my God! The babies and the fire! Betty is Mother in “mother!” and the Farm cultists are Him’s houseguests! I have a hard time believing this show is awesome enough to do a deliberate nod to that polarizing movie, but that was the first thing I thought of.

I love that Cheryl rides along as Robin Hood with the Serpents. As long as she never misses, I will allow the notion of her being used as a Wildcard in this fashion. The second she does, it’s time to retire the whole gimmick.

My least favorite thing about the episode that didn’t take place in a courtroom was the show slow-motioning the kids stripping off their clothes before they jumped into the water. I was like “Wow, Hollywood sucks for young people.” You get the wrong agent, and KJ Apa is doing porn. This was pretty much one step above from that. I don’t know how the producers sleep at night.

I love Veronica refusing to let Archie break up with her because it says she’s the one who calls the shots in their relationship. He’s not even ALLOWED to dump her.

First impressions of the jalopy: It’s too comic book-accurate. If that specific car can drive, it is automatically an antique, and super expensive, just by virtue of being fixed up. No WAY four kids would be allowed to take something that old on a joyride. It belongs in a museum.

This episode pushed all of my wrong buttons, and leads me again to believe that not only should Greg Berlanti not be in charge of the franchises he runs as long as he is so sloppy and does no research whatsoever, that obviously goes for people he hires to run shows for him like Aguirre-Sarcasa. It is staggering to me the amount of utter storytelling incompetence the studio lets Berlanti repeatedly get away with. He is not a King showmaker. He’s a three of diamonds at best.

Lousy episode. 0.

Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
Jan 19, 2004
Framingham, MA
Riverdale "Chapter Thirty-Seven: "Fortune And Men's Eyes"

Last week I was all "Well just because the premiere sucked, doesn't mean the rest of the season will." Shows what I know. Yeah, it's only episode 2, but this episode was major garbage, without having to do courtroom scenes. I cannot overstate how stupid this episode is. This episode is what would happen of SNL or MADTV parodied this show. Let us itemize the suck.

Veronica disguise is ludicrous. It's bad enough she think a wig and sunglasses will work on guards she's met before and have been told to keep her out. What kills me is that it DOES work. It's about as ridiculous as the Twelfth Doctor dressing as a custodian and being surprised Clara recognizes him: "What you saw through my brilliant disguise?" Idiocy.

Also, who thought it was an appropriate idea to bring female cheerleaders outside the juvie prison to rile up the male inmates? Even worse was the idea of the football game in the first place. I'm not saying I disagreed with Archie's notion that prisoners should not be defined by what the outside thinks of them and comport themselves with a bit of personal dignity. I DO think that. But it's ludicrous he wins anybody over with that argument, much less everybody. A football game strikes me as the least credible peacemaking idea between gangs I've ever seen. This show has zero cred.

Veronica or any of the other cheerleaders didn't think to bring out their phones and capture footage of the fact that the guards stormed the field and attacked the prisoners? They had a pretty decent length of time between realizing what was going to happen, and it actually happening. Nobody thinks to catch that brutality and put it on the internet? How is a totally inadequate and stupid villain like Hiram Lodge getting away with what he is? It sounds to me like only because the heroes are actually dumber than he is.

The Gargoyle King had a decent spooky potential for a mystery, especially since the seizures thing could potentially tie it into the Farm. But then it's revealed at the end to be a "I Know What You Did Last Summer" thing, where all the adults are guilty of some unknown crime. I realize the tagline for Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me was "In a town like Twin Peaks, no-one is innocent" but that was literally untrue. There were plenty of innocent people in Twin Peaks. Carl Rodd and Pete Martell dispute that notion. The idea that ALL of the adults on this show somehow were friends as kids and all got mixed up in this is even less plausible than you think, simply because none of the actors seem to actually be the same age. Robin Givens and Skeet Ulrich are literally a generation apart as far as teen idols are concerned. And we're supposed to believe Hiram and Hermione used to hang out with FP and Alice? And Fred too? Why have the adults never acted like they had this deep friendship or connection before this episode? Answer: Bad writing.

I'm sick of scenes in the girls' locker room with the young actresses in nothing but their bras. I like fanservice as much as anyone, but these are supposed to be teenagers, They are the wrong sorts of characters to be constantly objectified.

Lousy episode. And I predict a lousy season. *.


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Feb 7, 2002
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Wow! I didn't know there was a forum for this show. I've been watching it but wasn't able to comment on it until now. I'll have to keep that in mind.
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Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
Jan 19, 2004
Framingham, MA
Riverdale "Chapter Thirty-Eight: As Above, So Below"

Mostly bored by that, which is better than the last two weeks, where I was mostly annoyed by that.

I'm impressed Kevin knows how to dial a rotary phone.

Telling everyone your worst secrets on your first day? Yeah, The Farm is a cult. Big time. The only reason Alice believes those secrets won't be used against her is because she's stupid. There is no other reason to learn them except for leverage.

Speaking of which, how stupid is Veronica for not checking the painting for a bug or a camera? A villain as dumb as Hiram is only winning because the heroes are stupider than he is.

I like that Archie satisfied the bloodthirsty warden simply because he knows how to and is willing to take a punch. That's a valuable skill for a boxer, and to be blunt, the major reason the good ones all seem to wind up brain-damaged.

Archie wants to escape juvie? Great plan there, Scofield. What then? Does he want to spend the rest of his life on the run from the law? He's not thinking this through. His best shot is his friends proving Hiram framed him. And considering they seem to have forgotten all about that, he's admittedly in bad shape.

When Reggie was talking about the jinglejangle on the South Side with the Serpents and the Ghoulies, that specific language reminded me that the show is ridiculous.

Speaking of which, why is Veronica wearing Eff-Me pumps to a dirt trailer park? Girl doesn't have a pair of knockaround sneakers like a real person does?

Ethel is what would happen if Barb from Stranger Things were unloved and starved for attention. I know which one of them actually belongs in The Upsidedown. And it's not Barb.

This was dumb, but it wasn't quite the hot mess of the first two weeks. ***.

Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
Jan 19, 2004
Framingham, MA
Riverdale "Chapter Forty: "The Midnight Club"

Oh, for crying out loud. What am I supposed to do with that?

I could go on about how stupid and juvenile and badly written this is, but I kind of need to express how I viewed the episode better than just saying that. I got Netflix recently. I have never seen Fuller House, but after this episode I have a morbid curiosity about it. Because I'm betting it is exactly the same vibe. To the letter. The series wants us to squee at the cast dressed up in and 80's clothes, the main title switching to something retro for an episode, and Anthony Michael Hall playing the principle from The Breakfast Club. The episode CLEARLY wants me to enjoy this. Why? Why would I? I imagine the same thing happens on Fuller House every other week. I imagine there are a ton of episodes where Dave Coulier pops up in "Surprise" midway, and I'm betting the studio audience goes nuts and raises the roof. And that would raise the same question for me: Why? Why would anyone WANT to see and enjoy a surprise appearance by Dave Coulier? How does that actually appeal to anyone? Who is this for exactly?

There have been Berlanti shows that are dumb fun, like Legends of Tomorrow. But this isn't a guilty pleasure. It's a shameful cringe-fest. And the cringiest thing of all is that the episode obvious poured its heart and soul into things to come up with THAT. SO embarrassing.

Trying to pin a D&D knockoff as something ritualistic is quite rich considering over in Greendale Sabrina Spellman's virginity is pledged to the Dark Lord Satan. Let's remember what franchise we are, and get some perspective, people.

How is it Reggie is Hiram? That doesn't even make any sense.

For the record, and this should probably go without saying, but Camila Mendes is more of a ringer for a young Madchen Amick, than Lili Reinhart could EVER hope to be. It's almost pathetic that nobody on the show realized that ahead of time, and plowed ahead with the episode anyways.

My IQ dropped 30 points just by watching that. 0.

Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
Jan 19, 2004
Framingham, MA
Riverdale “Chapter Forty: The Great Escape”

How do I put this delicately? I am concerned.

Which perhaps may be the biggest understatement I have ever made in one of these pretentious reviews. Season 1 of Riverdale was fun. The very definition of a guilty pleasure. This current season is all guilt, no pleasure. I feel a certain, weird kind of shame that I just watched something that terrible. Honestly, I don’t watch terrible television as a rule. Generally speaking, if I’m reviewing a show at all, that means I like it on some level. I literally do not review every single TV show like a TV critic does. I review the shows I watch as a fan. And to be blunt, I have seen some episodes of Power Rangers and the 2012 version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles this stupid and badly written. But those are the only two shows I watch off the top of my head that I can think of that are as bad as this. And at least those are kids shows. The sophomoric writing, and badly constructed plot twists, and frankly, some genuine bad acting on the part of Cole Sprouse, makes me, as I said, concerned.

Why? There are a ton of crappy TV shows! Why does this bother me?

It’s the pedigree. It’s Berlanti. I watch a LOT of Berlanti shows. If Riverdale can go this badly off the rails, so can Arrow. So can Supergirl. So can Black Lightning. And I was already on thin ice with those three shows. But it shows that the producer has spread himself so thin that quality literally doesn’t matter. It is a non-factor in these shows, and I didn’t quite want to admit that to myself until I saw this.

I’m speaking in generalities here, which makes me sound like a loon, and I’m betting anyone reading this review thinks my voice sounds exactly like Comic Book Guy, so I’ll briefly review what is wrong with the actual episode. And there was so much wrong, I might not have gotten to it all. One of the reasons I knew I was not going to like writing this review is that it would have to be long to talk about all of my complaints. And as the episode went on, and got worse and worse, and had more things I’d have to comment on, I found the notion of writing this all a bit daunting. But God help me, I’ll try to be as brief as possible.

I think the first thing I need to call b.s. on is the radio announcement about Archie. The announcer describes Archie as a “Convicted Murderer”. He’s not. Aside from escaping from juvie rather than an adult prison, Archie was never convicted of anything. He took a plea. And the specific plea he took was for “manslaughter”. The announcer on the radio is actually slandering Archie by calling him a convicted murderer. He was convicted of no such thing. And this goes back to all the Berlanti courtroom stuff sucking.

Cole Sprouse’s performance was also surprisingly terrible. What shocks me is that I almost cannot fault the actor. Nobody, not even Ian McKellan, could deliver the crazy lines he was forced to deliver and sound even slightly credible. He’s supposed to be sounding a bit paranoid and off his rocker. Instead I think he sounds like a lame loser. I never thought of Jughead like that until this season. But he talks like a loser with no real friends or social skills. And Cole Sprouse does not sound like he’s delivering epic madness. He’s delivering epic lameness.

I also just want to smack whoever wrote the episode for sheer stupidity. It’s just nonstop inanity. Archie’s grand escape plan was to make a break for it while he was being watched in a crowded stadium with all of the guards present? And Veronica and her friends did nothing to disguise the fact that they threw smoke bombs into the pool? What is to stop her from being arrested for harboring a fugitive? Everybody actually knows it’s her. And I just about lost it that when all of those guards had their guns trained on Betty, she puts a can of mace up to the warden’s face, and he says to fall back. In real life, this is the point with Betty gets shot repeatedly and there is no more Betty. Prison guards do not just fall back as a group from a girl with a can of mace. It’s utter lunacy to believe I would ever accept that.

Of course the fact that she’s pretty and white offers her SOME protection. But not enough for the officers to actually fall back. And if they were using rubber bullets they’d be even MORE inclined to shoot her.

I find the idea that the Warden was involved in the game was far too pat. I’m glad he’s probably not the Gargoyle King, but it’s dumb enough he’s referring to Archie as a Paladin in the first place.

Was there anything I liked? I liked the Warden’s Last Supper scene with Archie just because you could start to tell he was a little bit bonkers even then. I did not like much of anything in the episode. But in an episode notable for lousy performances by not otherwise terrible actors, I felt the warden’s madness crescendoed properly throughout the entire episode. But that’s pretty much the only thing I liked.

This was REALLY bad. And it probably sounds like I’m a troll with all of the negative reviews I’ve been posting. But all of those reviews have been for Berlanti stuff. And they seemed to all go downhill almost all at once. If I really don’t want to be a troll wherever I post these reviews, I need to stop watching this show and the Arrowverse. And I’m at the point where I’m getting tempted. Berlanti has a TON of shows I watch. If I stopped watching them, I’d have a ton of extra free time on my hands. Berlanti seems to think that since we see these shows for free, quality is not an issue. Well, that only works if you believe your time is worth nothing. And after all of this mediocrity spread through all of these shows, I’m starting to realize I could probably cut back on my TV watching by several hours a week and not actually miss anything good. Will I have the guts to actually do that, or am I like every other internet troll everywhere, and all talk about that sort of thing? We’ll see. But I’m honestly not sure anymore. Which shocks me a little. 0.

Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
Jan 19, 2004
Framingham, MA
Riverdale “Chapter Forty-One: Manhunter”

I’ve been grousing all season about the show, but do you know what? That did not actually suck. I was entertained. Mostly appalled at the ending with Jughead leaving Betty without telling her, and her winding up in the nuthouse.

Seriously. Is there an award for worst fictional mother? Because I think Alice Cooper may bypass Luanne Cartman, Norma Bates, and Lois Griffin. I mean she sends Betty to the same institution that abused her other daughter. And Polly probably okayed this too. Eff her too.

I cannot believe Jughead left when he did and didn’t say goodbye. I suppose he and Archie will have a road adventure next week, and when Jughead calls to check in and finds out where Alice put her they’ll race home to save her. Jeez, what it takes for those kids to experience even SLIGHT normalcy.

For the record? Archie leaving town? Smart play. After all that town put him through, screw them. I don’t actually want him to leave. But it was the right move that he did whether I liked it or not.

That last shot of all of the paintings in the nuthouse of the Gargoyles King was this show actually being good again. It’s been awhile but I seem to recall several last closing shots in the first two seasons as awesome as that when I binged it over the season. Granted, they didn’t make as much of an impression as cliffhangers because I could immediately watch the next episode, but this felt absolutely right.

Really good week. ****.

Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
Jan 19, 2004
Framingham, MA
Riverdale “Chapter Forty-Two: The Man In Black”

That was some hardcore ridiculousness. But I’m not feeling charitable enough to do an in-depth review. I’m afraid I’ll blow a gasket.

Any other show I watched that delivered that specific episode would get a 0 for a grade. Except Riverdale has been HORRID this season, and I always grade on a curve. Compared to everything else, it’s worth a star and half. *1/2.

Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
Jan 19, 2004
Framingham, MA
Riverdale "Chapter Forty-Three: Outbreak"

I don't like doing this. Writing negative review after negative review for this show. A lot of internet critics feed on hating various shows, and seem to get off on telling everyone how much their fandoms currently suck. Not me. That's not why I review stuff. I try to be fair. The truth is I watch this show because I actually DID like the first two seasons. Which makes how terrible this season is a bit surprising to me. I think I may have said it before, but this season is like if SNL did a parody of the show, and made fun of its worst excesses. Except they are totally serious. And yeah, I can't bring myself to do an in-depth review tonight, and maybe not for awhile. If I were more comfortable slamming various TV shows I could have a field day. But I don't watch this show because I want it to suck. I watch it because I want it to be good. I'm tuning out of this review now, just because I don't feel I have anything of real value left to say. Sorry about that. *.

Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
Jan 19, 2004
Framingham, MA
Riverdale "Chapter Forty-Four: No Exit"

I'm getting there. I'm close to dropping this show after this season. Dropping an Arrowverse show is easier said than done because of the crossovers, but this has no overt ties to Sabrina, and I wouldn't miss anything if I just up and quit. And as long as the show is delivering THAT on a weekly basis, there is no need for me to watch this.

Where to begin? Let's start with the overwrought and painful Archie stuff. And the fact that we didn't even get to see the stupid bear. I know this show is probably made on the cheap, but that's super cheap, especially for Berlanti. It's unacceptable.

Betty is an idiot too. Why would she take those kids to Alice's house knowing her monster of a mother is known to give up children to orphanages and the Farm at the slightest inconvenience to herself? Alice should be in jail, not only for this, but for putting Betty and Polly into cults too. It's disgusting the show is acting like this is business as usual.

And an anonymous donor posted bail for the Sisters? Not in a million years would that be acceptable considering what they were charged with. The idea that the guy they were testifying against could secretly post their bail is absolutely ludicrous.

Fangs is also an idiot. Jughead was VERY clear for him not to discuss the free pass he gave him, probably for the exact reason it was turned against him by Cheryl. A third chance is much more than he deserved.

I'm sick of this show. After this season, I am out. *.

Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
Jan 19, 2004
Framingham, MA
Riverdale "Chapter Forty-Five: The Stranger"

That was pretty good. I'm not actually picky. Normally for something I watch to get a passing grade from me means it has to pass the threshold of "Totally not terrible". It says something bad about this show that the rest of the season has not been passing that easy metric.

Random thoughts:

Unfortunately Alice giving away Betty's inheritance is plausible. Kids have almost zero rights regarding financial matters. What isn't plausible is Betty still staying in that toxic house. She couldn't crash with Jughead or Archie? There is no guarantee Alice won't just lock her up again. Honestly, at this point the best thing for Alice is if she were arrested and put in jail. It's being appalling Hal is actually Betty's healthy parent.

Apparently Penelope sent fan letters to Jeffrey Dahmer as a girl. To the surprise of absolutely no-one.

I am not really invested in who shot Hiram. Simply because they were doing us all a favor. Next time, aim better.

Archie doesn't really think he can come back to school after six months in jail and on the run and graduate with his friends, does he? Archie is a very stupid boy. I could actually buy him making up the work if he had returned right after he got out of juvie for three months. But he was gone an additional three. Archie is dumb.

Veronica believing Archie shot Hiram is why Archie acting so distant has been a mistake. I don't think he did it. But the problem is it's plausible. And if it is, Veronica needs to lose him.

Say what you will about that jerk, it was kind of cool of him to not blame either Veronica or Reggie for hooking up while he was gone. When he told Veronica she didn't do anything wrong he had it exactly right.

Here's a question: Who pays for that bathroom mirror at school Archie destroyed? In my day, kids got suspended for destroying school property like that. Or is the show saying Archie is a punk and someone who would refuse to own up to something like that? Either way, I remain unimpressed.

I am not as happy about FP being sheriff as the Serpents are. Because it's Hermione's idea. While it is true she is not as bad as her husband, they share the same goals. That tells me FP stepped into something he shouldn't have. We'll see.

A root beer float is considered Archie brooding? This is like the lamest franchise ever.

Tallboy being the Gargoyle King was underwhelming, but I actually imagine there is more to the story than that. If not, I'll be disgusted, but they can't just have built up the Big Bad of the season to get accidentally killed off this easily could they? I hope not, but this is not a show that has filled me with confidence in the past.

Positive impression this week. ****.
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Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
Jan 19, 2004
Framingham, MA
Riverdale "Chapter Forty-Six: The Red Dahlia"

The noirish stuff was over-the-top ridiculous and Cole Sprouse delivered an outright bad performance, but I won't deny I had fun.

The one weak link was Archie. I wanted to just smack that kid for attacking his foreman boss. Screw him.

Here is why I think Penelope and Betty's stalemate is a lot more flexible than Jughead and Hermione's: I don't think Hal actually killed Chick. If Hal isn't completely stupid, was would have kept that kid alive in his back pocket for a rainy day. It's even possible Penelope knows this and is simply lying to Betty to keep the stalemate. I'm thinking Chick is not only alive, but at some point this season Hal is going to tell Betty that.

Dumbest moment on the show is the idea that the brothel isn't locked. Sex clubs are the precise things that are locked with passwords. The most generous ones employ bouncers instead.

Speaking of hired goons, I love Veronica telling Hiram's bodyguards they were "mobsplaining" to her. That's my new favorite word of the day.

So not only is Hermione a first degree murderer, but the audience witnessed her do it. We have yet to even see Hiram kill somebody himself on-screen. Nice mayoring there, Hermione.

I don't think it's really cool that Veronica doesn't actually want to know who shot her father, but I think it IS really cool that Jughead offered to tell her, even with what Hermione had over his father. And the thing Jughead did in the episode that I like is that he and his father got ahead of the narrative, which is what all smart people need to do. FP is a lot safer if he shores up his flank immediately.

Nice episode there, but Archie sucks. But hey, it's Riverdale. ****.

Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
Jan 19, 2004
Framingham, MA
Riverdale "Chapter Forth-Seven: Bizarrodale"

Too much sex. Normally it's not a problem, but I want to watch Archie Comics, not porn.

The adults in this town are failing those kids miserably. Moose's dad is messed up.

Good for this show spelling out to the kids in the audience why outing somebody is wrong, and the negative consequences that could follow. We live in an era where everyone on TV is happy and welcoming of gay couples. In the real world, not every gay kid is facing that scenario.

I suspect Jughead is going to go ape-poopy when he learns what his mother has been into. I'm already disgusted she's using Jellybean the way she is.

Not terrible, which is pretty much my metric of success for this specific show. ***1/2.

Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
Jan 19, 2004
Framingham, MA
Riverdale "Chapter Forty-Eight: Requiem For A Welterweight"

When Hiram says the truth always outs in the end he doesn't realize he's indicting himself. Not a very self-aware villain is our Hiram.

Jughead calling the Pretty Poisons Cheryl's vanity project is actually pretty apt. It may not be what Tony wants to hear, but it's true.

I love Josie using the frame that Archie is worth more than $5000. I'm not sure I agree, but it's a good frame.

Mrs. Jones has Veronica over a barrel. She's right too. Jughead won't kill her if he learns the truth. The same can't be said for Hiram about Hermione.

If Betty really wants to scare Kevin off the Farm, she doesn't need online testimonials. She just needs to say what that organization did to her, including having her mother send her to the homophobic Sisters of Quiet Mercy. Betty's personal testimony that her mother forged her father's signature for them to steal Betty's college money is damning enough.

During the baptism speech I wondered what Madchen Amick must think about having to be in a show with that bad of dialogue. It's certainly a far cry from Twin Peaks.

For the record, it would have been better for Betty had Alice actually died. Saving her mother's life was not actually in her best interest.

All right week. ***1/2.
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