Previously on Riverdale, “Body Double”
The most recent two episodes of Riverdale have been largely disappointing, and it lies totally on the teen drama aspects of the show. With its promise of something edgier and darker, Riverdale seemed prepared to flip the teen tropes, and our expectations, on their heads. And while the subject matter has been more mature than anything you’d find in the comic books, they’re still dealt with in juvenile and senseless ways; the show can do better.
One storyline that had that potential was Archie’s sexual relationship with his music teacher, Ms. Grundy. It’s gross and illegal. Even though Jughead – and this week, Betty – warned Archie of all the ways it was wrong and could go wrong, Archie wasn’t thinking with the head that holds his brain. Understandable, I guess; he’s a young man ruled by hormones and probably thinks he’s in love. When Mrs. Cooper finds out about the affair from reading Betty’s diary (and finding Ms. Grundy’s gun in Betty’s dresser), the show missed another opportunity to live up to its promise. After some threats and compromise, Ms. Grundy agrees to leave town if Mrs. Cooper and Mr. Andrews won’t report her. A deal is struck and the statutory rapist leaves town after eye-seducing some hot guys on the street. The end.
This – like the brag book last week – is a plot that’s been done to death, but it would have been refreshing if Riverdale had handled it seriously. Would they have done the same if the teacher had been male and the student had been Betty? The whole thing stinks of the wink-wink nudge-nudge treatment young boys get in real life after being sexually taken advantage of by an adult female teacher.
Less annoying are the double-dealings between Riverdale’s mayor, Sierra McCoy (Robin Givens), and Hermione Lodge. Lodge’s incarcerated husband paid a local gang to make the town’s beloved drive-in theater highly undesirable. With some help from the mayor, this allowed him to purchase the land super cheap in an anonymous purchase. So, even behind bars Hiram Lodge is making moves. Hermione’s role as the go-between comes to Veronica’s attention, and she’s forced to admit the entire deal to her daughter.
Sadder than the town saying goodbye to one of its landmarks is Jughead saying goodbye to the place he’d been calling home. That’s right. Everyone’s favorite budding novelist is homeless. Seeing as how his father (Skeet Ulrich) is the head of the gang, it’s safe to say Jughead doesn’t have a stable family environment.
Where are Josie and the Pussycats? Are we only going to see them in episodes where they manage to write in a musical performance? And I love that Sheriff Keller (Martin Cummins) is so supportive of his gay son, but can we give Kevin (Casey Cott) a real relationship with someone who isn’t in the closet, forcing all of their interactions to take place in secret and dangerous places?
"The Last Picture Show"
Archie Andrews (KJ Apa), Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart), Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes), Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse), Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch), Reggie Mantle (Ross Butler), and Moose Mason (Cody Kearsley).