The CW’s Riverdale is a show that really shouldn’t work. A ‘dark’ adaptation of the Archie comic universe, Riverdale is what happens when you take what is fairly wholesome source material and twist it into a murder mystery, throwing in sex, drugs, gangs, and a lot of awkward red hair-dye while you’re at it. The result is a cross between Gossip Girl and Twin Peaks… with the scale tipping heavily in favor of Gossip Girl.
If you’re not too familiar with the show, check out Mary’s blog post from a few months back about why Riverdale — and the Archie universe in general — deserves your time. Then, come right back here and join Mary and Kelli for their first ever WEEKLY RECAP of RIVERDALE! (Yes, we are actually doing this. Sorry.)
This week marked the premiere of Riverdale’s second season, which promises to be, as Chris Harrison of the Bachelor franchise would say, the most DRAMATIC season yet. We’ve got gunshot wounds! We’ve got a pointless flash forward framing device! We’ve got sexy blood showers! And that’s only in the first ten minutes.
It goes without saying that there WILL be spoilers after the cut.
Mary: So we picked up right where we left off—papa Fred Andrews being rushed to the hospital. *gasp*
Kelli: With another incredible narration from Jughead.
Mary: Jughead is the Carrie Bradshaw of Riverdale.
Kelli: He is.
Kelli: So — Archie has no driver's license. Which, aren't they supposed to be 15? Would he at least SORT OF know how to drive?
Mary: Also, are we really supposed to believe he’s 15? Because KJ Apa looks about 30.
Kelli: I mean yeah. We should just get that out of the way now — none of these people look even remotely close to the age they're supposed to be.
Mary: But in classic CW fashion, we just roll with it.
Kelli: TBH, it wouldn't be a real teen drama if they did look their ages.
Mary: True true.
Mary: Most of the episode takes place in the hospital with the crew waiting for Fred to wake up or die. And that got old kind of fast. But so much drama was happening in and around the hospital lobby!
Kelli: There’s a montage, once Archie gets to the hospital, of everyone receiving the phone call about Fred. And my favorite thing is that they cut each scene right before their reactions. You know, so that they wouldn't have to do that difficult acting.
Mary: I did think that KJ Apa was struggling to emote through the whole episode.
Kelli: You know - I think he did a pretty good job, considering how awkward the quippy writing can be in actually emotional situations.
Mary: I just see Archie as a weak link so I’m biased against him.
Kelli: Archie is a weak character. But I think KJ is doing what he can.
Mary: He’s trying! Hahaha.
Kelli: Anyway - Jughead gets the call. He goes outside and lifts a tarp off of a motorcycle which looks like it's been out of use for like 20 years. Even though his dad like... JUST went to jail. Like he was using that motorcycle two weeks ago. He then proceeds to get on it and just... ride it? Without any practice? At all?
Mary: All bad boys can intuitively ride motorcycles, right?
Kelli: Like there is no way a kid like Jughead who has never played a sport in his life would be coordinated enough to just get on a motorcycle and ride it off into the distance without tipping it the fuck over.
Mary: This is very true. Also how did he have a helmet pre-graffitied with his crown motif?
Kelli: OMG I didn't even notice that. Maybe he did know how to ride it and we just had no idea. But Betty seems pretty surprised to see him on it, so who knows
Mary: I want to hate jughead and Betty together but I just can’t. *sigh*
Kelli: Nah, they are the heart of the show TBH.
Mary: Also everyone’s parents go to the hospital for some reason. Including Hermione Lodge who maybe put a hit out on Fred?
Kelli: There is a reason: It's because Alice Cooper is a fucking control freak.
Mary: ALICE COOPER
Mary: IS BANANAS
Kelli: AND HER NAME IS ALICE COOPER
Mary: She has my favorite quote of the show—“If that beanie wearing cad defiled you...”
Kelli: OH MY GOD
Kelli: I actually love her interactions with Betty. I think she's a fantastic villain.
Mary: She is actually insane. And there’s a fan theory that maybe she’s a witch. A literal witch.
Kelli: OMG. PLEASE.
Mary: We can link to the article, because it’s an amazing theory.
Kelli: I need to read that.
Kelli: Okay, so back to the waiting room: While Archie is doing something, IDK what, Betty is like, "Veronica, u have to be a good girlfriend.” And Veronica is like, "I'm really good at being rich but not good at emotions."
Mary: I get that. I get it Veronica. Not the being rich part, but you know. The other part.
Kelli: I have to just quickly talk about how this whole episode would have been like porn to me as a teenager. Because there is nothing I loved more than SAD BOYS.
Kelli: was* but also is. Let's be real
Mary: Oh yes, there’s something weirdly attractive about sad boys in dramas like this. Maybe it’s the human instinct to nurture.
Kelli: I think so. And to see someone in a vulnerable position and feel like you can somehow make it better.
Mary: But Archie went from sad to mad really quickly.
Kelli: Yes, he did
Mary: When he goes home to change, Veronica hops in the shower with him. To comfort him.
With her body.
Kelli: I was watching it with my roommate, and she was like, "This is how Veronica knows how to comfort her boyfriend."
Mary: Right?? And then Archie gets mad and tells her to leave.
Kelli: Well what happens is, she goes through Fred's bag of things and Archie is like, WHERE'S MY DAD'S WALLET? And Veronica is like 'uh... IDK?" And Archie is like wHY DID YOU TOUCH THE BAG OMG UGH YOU CAN'T DO ANYTHING RIGHT (this is after they walk a dog and he literally treats her like she cannot hold a leash without help). Which leads to one of my fave moments in the episode.
Kelli: Veronica goes "You really want me to go?" And immediately Archie is like "I DO, YEAH." Like, 'I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR YOU TO LEAVE. JESUS.' Then she starts walking away, pauses, and turns back, and is like, "Nope, I'm your girlfriend, sorry I'm not leaving"
Kelli: And then she sexily holds Archie while he sexily cries.
Mary: Sexy crying hahaha.
Kelli: I literally would have COME if I was a teenager.
Mary: This whole scene blew my mind because it’s so un-teenager like. Emily and I just watched a couple of episodes of My So Called Life, which is PAINFULLY realistic. So seeing a supposed 15-year-old strip down and hop in the shower and make mature emotional decisions WITH CONFIDENCE was so strange. Like, I don’t act like that NOW.
Kelli: HAHA I know. Veronica is kind of amazing. But it's true that most of the teenagers on this show have an unrealistic level of emotional intelligence.
Mary: Very true. But it’s TV, and bonkers TV at that, so it’s still fun and removed from reality in a fun way.
Kelli: But also, I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing, because if teenagers are watching it maybe it's instructive in some ways.
Mary: That’s true, it could be.
Kelli: Like, I think this show is really sex positive, which is great.
Mary: It is!
Kelli: At no point do any of the teenagers think like, “Wow I shouldn't have had sex with that person!" unless it's because their actions were hurting someone else. There's not all the shame that often comes with stuff like that.
Mary: Exactly. But it’s also not overdone—sex isn’t necessarily the main focus of the show. It’s just part of life.
Mary: Up until this point in the episode, I have to admit I was bored. There was lots of waiting room chat and meetings with a doctor wearing an early 1900s surgical shirt.
Mary: Emily said, about the doctor’s uniform, “that is a sex outfit.”
Kelli: How did I not notice that?
Mary: Kelli. How?! It was so bad.
Kelli: I know so little about doctors that I was probably like, "yep, that seems about right."
Mary: We also see jughead and Betty going to Pops, right? They take a little mission out of the waiting room to go search for Fred’s precious wallet.
Kelli: This is after Jughead has gone to talk to the Serpents to feel out what they know about the situation.
Mary: HOW COULD I FORGET THAT. We get the line, “serpents don’t wear masks.”
Kelli: YES. OMG. I WROTE THAT IN MY NOTES.
Mary: So tough.
Mary: I want that background guy who said that line to come back later. Because he seems cool.
Kelli: Hopefully he will now that Jughead is in a gang.
Kelli: So, before Betty and Jughead do their side mission - back at the hospital, Kevin is finally there, and he's like "OMG BETTY DID U AND JUGHEAD HAVE SEX TELL ME EVERYTHING"
Kelli: And it's like. Kevin. There is a dude on his deathbed. Priorities.
Mary: Kevin is a bit of a stereotype, but still.
Kelli: I still love him. The thing about Kevin that isn't stereotypical is his relationship with his father, which I love.
Mary: Definitely! His father is very supportive of him.
Kelli: Yeah! Even though his dad is also like a typical ~cop~ character
Mary: Mary: Also, Betty is jonesing to give those deets.
Kelli: I know, lol. Anyway, before he can get too much information, guess who shows up?
Kelli: WALKS INTO THE HOSPITAL WITH HER MOTHER ON A STRETCHER, COVERED IN 3RD DEGREE BURNS
Kelli: AND AS SHE TURNS THE CORNER
Kelli: SHE LITERALLY GIVES THE MOST INSANE HAIRFLIP I HAVE EVER SEEN
Kelli: I actually screamed.
Mary: And her outfit!!! The Verge said it looked like a 1990s figure skating outfit. But I loved it.
Kelli: OMG. It was exquisite.
Mary: Cheryl is a manipulative goddess.
Kelli: Anyway, everyone goes up to Cheryl and she's like "Oh, didn't u hear? There was a fire. Mommy is burned."
Mary: She said mommy so many times.
Kelli: I know.
Mary: It’s important to note that Cheryl is acting real chill. Despite this fire.
Kelli: Yeah. She goes on with her mom and everyone looks around at each other like 'did that just happen'
Mary: And it had!
Kelli: And I think this is the point at which Veronica and Archie show up again. Veronica is like "Betty and Jughead, go check for the wallet." And Jughead is like IT WAS PREMEDITATED. And Betty is like "chill tho juggy" and then he makes her ride a motorcycle.
Mary: That was cute.
Kelli: Everything they do is cute. I hate it. But it works somehow.
Mary: When they get to Pop’s we actually get to hear from Pop, which is unusual and welcome.
Kelli: Right? Like have we ever heard his voice?
Mary: My roommate has a theory that Pop has been in Riverdale forever, siphoning the youth and beauty out of the town via milkshakes and burgers. But that’s neither here nor there.
Kelli: SO MANY GOOD THEORIES.
Mary: I mean, he’s had this diner since all the parents were teenagers. And he’s still fine.
Kelli: It's true. And you can't really tell how old he is.
Mary: So he’s mopping up blood, and Betty and Jughead were surprisingly willing to just hop over it and inspect the booth Archie and his dad had been in.
Kelli: I mean they already hugged Archie with the blood all over his shirt so at this point, what does it matter.
Kelli: So Pop tells them that he's seen many thieves and thugs in his day, and he says that this man definitely wasn't a thief. He then compares the man in the mask to the angel of death. To which Jughead responds, "Geez Pop, lighten up"
Mary: OF ALL PEOPLE TO SAY THAT
Mary: Jughead is never light. He is constantly writing edgelord musings.
Kelli: Okay Jughead so you're the only one who's allowed to be melodramatic?
Kelli: RIVERDALE... IS A TOWN.... FULL... OF SECRETS
Mary: They act like it’s inner city Chicago.
Kelli: I KNOW.
Mary: With gangs and murder.
Kelli: Last season at one point Jughead was like, "Relax, Kevin. This isn't the Wire."
Mary: Hahahaha. But it is. A little.
Kelli: Anyway, they find out that the robber didn't take any money. Which basically just means he was there to shoot Fred.
Mary: *dramatic music*
Kelli: Meanwhile, cut to Veronica and Hermione praying. Veronica asks Hermione if she knows who put a hit out on Fred, and Hermione is like "stop accusing your father of things!" and Veronica is like "I’m accusing YOU."
Mary: HE IS LITERALLY A CRIMINAL HERMIONE. And has done stuff like that in the past.
Kelli: Hermione is also insane, in her own special way. Basically the adults on this show are all fucked up except Fred.
Mary: I’m interested in how they are attempting to make the lodge family ultra Hispanic but not at the same time.
Kelli: I know, it's confusing.
Mary: Hermione calls Veronica “mija” and they seem to be Catholic. Hermione was praying in Spanish.
Kelli: I get the impression that Hermione probably grew up very Catholic and not as well off as she is now? But Hiram got rich and so she sort of assimilated into the New York elite life or whatever - which is very white. So it seems like she's held onto certain things, but at other times is definitely doing her best to make everyone forget she isn't white?
Mary: Yes yes. I agree.
Kelli: But obviously, she reacts as though she is shocked by this accusation. But she leans in close to Veronica and whispers in her ear, "I should slap you, but I'm not a violent person."
Kelli: And I was like sHIIIIIIIIITTTTTTT
Mary: I don’t get how the parents let their kids talk to them like that though. All the kids are so sassy.
Kelli: That's true. But the parents are all insane.
Mary: EVERYONE is insane. Honestly the Serpents seem the most normal to me.
Kelli: Right? Lol
Kelli: So, still at Pop's, Jughead and Betty eat burgers and Jughead is like "Being close to the Serpents means being close to my dad," and Betty is like, "they murder people but okay"
Mary: “I’ll support you!”
Mary: “If you need to explore I’ll support you!”
Mary: How do you explore a gang?
Kelli: And then he tells her he's gonna keep living at the trailer.
Mary: Which is fine. I mean it makes sense.
Kelli: And just like show up at his foster family's when he has to? Which seems like it probably wouldn't work but cool.
Mary: It may come back up later.
Kelli: It better, because otherwise that would be a gaping plot hole.
Mary: Well, this show isn’t really too sorry about plot holes, hahahaha.
Kelli: So, Jughead, Betty, and Pop come back to the hospital with burgers for everyone just as Archie is having a tender moment with Veronica. And throughout the whole episode he's been like, not quite telling everyone everything that happened. So they all go back to Archie's to eat,
and Archie is like, “I have to tell you guys something but I'm SO ASHAMED." And they're like, “What is it archie! We'll support you!” And he's like "When the robber held me at gunpoint... I just closed my eyes... AND I DIDN'T DO ANYTHING! I HATE MYSELF”
Mary: I groaned out loud.
Kelli: And they're like..... wat.
Mary: And Archie vows to never be a coward again!
Kelli: Only when it comes to women!
Mary: Although being scared when held at gunpoint isn’t really...IDK, I’d be scared. Who wouldn’t be?
Kelli: Right? Like if you tried to do something you might get yourself and other people hurt. He did exactly what you're supposed to do in that situation. He's 15 years old, he's not a cop.
Kelli: Anyway, he's worried that because the wallet is gone, the robber now has all of his dad's information and will be able to come back and find him whenever he wants, for murder purposes.
Mary: People lose their wallets all the time. And they could always be used for murder. But yes Archie is going to protect his dad now.
Kelli: Yes def.
Kelli: So Archie comes back to the hospital to check on his dad again, and who's in the room but CHERYL
Kelli: Which, actually, we should probably talk about the other scene with Cheryl in the hospital. Mary: Ah yes. She tells her mom that from now on she’s running the show. And she also announces to her mom that she’s lied to everyone and said that the fire was an accident and her mom heroically tried to save her. And while she’s making this speech she is CUTTING OFF HER MOMS OXYGEN.
Kelli: Just squeezing the tube between her perfectly manicured fingers.
Kelli: So anyway, when Archie gets back to the hospital, he sees through the window that Cheryl is literally leaning over Fred and kissing him on the forehead, in a sequence that is truly terrifying beyond all description.
Mary: It is really scary. It is like
Mary: A PROLONGED forehead kiss.
Kelli: And she leaves the hugest lipstick mark on his head. Which really just looks like blood. And at this point in my notes I wrote, "I'm pretty sure Cheryl might actually be Pennywise the clown."
Mary: BAAHAHAHAHAHA. She may be.
Kelli: That's my fan theory. Cheryl is Pennywise. We can see how this plays out over the course of the season.
Kelli: Anyway, the whole time she's in the room Archie is just like, "what the fuck is going on dude.” And finally she leaves and he sits down to talk to his dad.
Kelli: Throughout this whole episode there has been a very boring framing device where Fred, in his ~death coma slumber~, keeps imagining future moments: graduation, Archie's proposal to Veronica, etc. But all of these moments are undercut with the implication that he's dead so he isn't there to experience them. And at a certain point I was just like oh my GOD I get it. Fred is the only decent adult and as a consequence is also the most boring character on this show.
Kelli: So, in his final dream sequence, it's Archie and Veronica's wedding (which, ew, they're like 19 in it)
Mary: Yeah they are babies.
Kelli: Also Jughead is a groomsman but still wearing his beanie.
Mary: He never takes it off you know.
Kelli: NOT EVEN FOR SEX.
Kelli: So then, at the wedding, the robber comes down the aisle pointing the gun at Archie, and Fred heroically jumps in front of Archie to take the bullet. At which point he wakes up IRL.
Mary: Yes. And everyone is so amazed that Fred woke up.
Kelli: Yes. We had no idea. We def thought he would die.
Mary: Even though he didn’t seem too bad off tbh.
Kelli: So, everyone goes home. Jughead returns home to find the Serpents with a dude in the trailer who they tortured. This guy is bleeding out in a chair, and the Serpents are like, "So we tortured him and turns out he didn't do it! Lol.” And Jughead is like WHY DID YOU BRING HIM HERE THEN???? And they're like "so that you can see we loyal."
Mary: TO PROVE OUR LOYALTY. They’re great.
Kelli: And they're like YOU'RE A SERPENT NOW SORRY IT HAPPENED.
Kelli: Meanwhile, VERONICA comes home.
Mary: Ah yes. And at home is Papa Lodge. Looking like a mob boss.
Kelli: THE INFAMOUS PAPA LODGE. He's all shadowy, so you can't really tell if he's hot, but he seems kind of hot? Really I just wish he was played by Oscar Isaac.
Mary: OMG I SAID THAT.
Mary: I said he looks related to Oscar Isaac. They could be bros.
Kelli: Also it's a role he has played, basically.
Kelli: But anyway, my fave part is Hiram goes, "I can't believe u drank my Cristal. So disrespectful."
Mary: I mean. He ain’t wrong.
Kelli: He ain't. I'm looking forward to seeing more of him.
Mary: Me too. He seems eeeeevil.
Kelli: I'm into it. Come at me, Papa Lodge.
Mary: Aw yeah.
Kelli: So, last thing before the crazy ending: Archie's mom comes back. And Jughead's narration comes in to inform us that Archie's TRUE VIGIL HAS BEGUN. Which apparently is just Archie sitting by the door with a baseball bat. I feel like Vegas the dog could do more damage.
Mary: And like. He gotta sleep tho.
Kelli: How much do you wanna bet we get a scene of him waking up in that chair next episode?
Mary: For sure.
Kelli: Okay. Final scene. Why don't you take it away.
Mary: So, Jughead has a nice voiceover as usual, informing us that MURDER IS AFOOT IN THE NEXT TOWN OVER. In Greendale. And we see who else but Ms. Grundy, out there preying on a young piano student. After her student finishes up his lesson they kiss a bit and he leaves. But then, horror movie style, A MURDERER APPEARS IN THE SAME OUTFIT AS THE GUY WHO SHOT FRED
Mary: AND KILLS GRUNDY
Mary: The end.
Kelli: BUM BUM. BUM BUM BUMMMMMMM
Mary: It’s insane. It makes no sense.
Kelli: Can I just say. I'm so glad Grundy is dead.
Mary: Me too. She was awful. Literally a child predator who slept with her 15 year old student.
Kelli: And a bad actress, also. But yeah, my roommate and I were lying there like "is Miss Grundy going to die? OHMYGOD YESSSSS"
Mary: Yessssss. It was satisfying.
Kelli: It was like watching GOT, basically.
Mary: Yes, it made up for an otherwise somewhat slow episode
Kelli: Yes. Did you have any other thoughts or comments? I wrote down here that Archie's shirts fit him perfectly.
Mary: They do, it’s true. My takeaway is that I still love Jughead.
Kelli: Like, I am more of a Cole Sprouse type of girl, but damn if KJ Apa doesn't have a great body.
Mary: His fake red hair tho.
Mary: Jenni says that the young people are souls in Hell, trapped and cursed to relive the mistakes of their parents.
Kelli: I'm into that.
Mary: Jenni has good theories.
Mary: I do want them to lean into the spooky side because Sabrina the Teenage Witch is getting a reboot. And so much of the Archie universe is spoopy.
Kelli: Oh my god, yes. I'm really looking forward to Sabrina.
Mary: Me too!
Kelli: Also, I want more Pussycats. Hoping Josie gets more to do this season.
Kelli: Do we have predictions?
Kelli: My roommate is pretty convinced the killer is Betty's dad.
Mary: Oooooh, yes! Maybe Hal did it!
Kelli: During the wedding sequence if you look at his body, it def looks like him.
Mary: Oh yeah. This is a real possibility.
Kelli: Well thank you for doing this with me!
Mary: Aw yeah! You know I am always down to talk about Riverdale.
Kelli: UNTIL NEXT TIME.
--Kelli & Mary
About the Blog
The authors of this blog are four women with opinions about pop culture. That's all you really need to know.