Riverdale Season 1 Episode 8 – TV Review
It’s a shame Riverdale decided that the teens were going to be the (supposed) main characters, because their parents have way more fun.
And way more to actually do.
TL;DR Archie, Betty, and Veronica continue to take a back seat to the adults of Riverdale; a baby shower brings Polly closer to her mum, but she chooses Mrs Blossom for some reason; Fred’s construction job is impeded by thugs; Archie recklessly goes after the Serpents, but it’s not them; Jughead has to reveal his dad is a dirty gangster; but Skeet ends up coming to Fred’s aid.
Rift? What rift?
So we’ll get Polly out of the way first. She gives the Sheriff her statement: Jason had made a deal with the South Side Serpents to transport drugs for some quick cash to fund his and Polly’s elopement. This explains the bricks of drugs in his car. To cheer Polly up and mend some bridges, Veronica offers to host a baby shower for her. Alice attends with the hope of reconnecting with her daughter, but she can’t keep her claws away when Mrs Blossom is around. And offering Polly a palatial pregnancy stay at Thornhill. Alice eventually kicks her turd husband out after she discovers he tried to pressure Polly into an abortion, and to prepare for Polly’s homecoming, but Polly ends up surprisingly choosing to stay with the Blossoms. For the baby’s sake. Meanwhile, Fred’s construction crew is bought out from under him by Mr Blossom, who is bitter about losing the bid for the land (the Blossoms used to own it or something). Archie rallies his school friends to help, but then the site is sabotaged by some ruffians (Moose is also injured). Archie assumes it was the South Side Serpents, and leads a hot-headed mission to confront them, but Skeet is forced to intervene to stop him from getting hurt, thus revealing himself as a Serpent. Archie then gets weirdly mad at Jughead for concealing this information, and Betty (now officially with Jughead) is not much support, either. Rude. But things end up okay, and Skeet, having confirmed that it wasn’t the Serpents, assembles some of his men to help Fred with the construction project. Aww. Meanwhile, it appears the ruffians were instead sent by Hermione’s husband, likely as retribution for her tryst with Fred (but who told him?). Meanwhile, Cheryl is mostly sidelined again. Boo. And to close out the episode, we learn that Kevin’s Serpent boyfriend (they have also become official) is dating Kevin on orders from the Serpents to stay close to the Sheriff’s investigation into Jason’s murder.
But, as this is a soap opera, he is now developing real feelings for Kevin. Natch.
I should be madder at Riverdale for repeatedly relegating our three leads to secondary character status (or, in Archie’s case, wasting screen time with being a dumbass). But I’m not. Because the adult drama is just so damn juicy.
That bitch off is brief, but God, it’s good.
Why I hate this episode:
Polly’s defection to the Blossom side is intended to be a surprise bait-and-switch, but that doesn’t stop it from not making a lot of sense. Mrs Blossom plays the “we have money” card, but it’s not like this is news to Polly. So why did she let Alice go through the grovelling and husband-kicking-out if she was just going to rock up at Thornhill, anyway? Rude.
Speaking of rudeness, fucking Archie is a dick to Jughead. I’m hesitant to use a tumblr buzzword, but Archie is really showing his privilege. He can’t comprehend that maybe Jughead would be ashamed that his dad is a gang member, in addition to being an alcoholic deadbeat thief. It’s not Archie’s surprise at the revelation that bothers me. It’s his fury at Jughead, potent enough to disrupt the baby shower and embarrass Jughead, that bothers me. Don’t be a cunt, cunt.
Betty’s not much help, either. She doesn’t outright judge Jughead, but she does little to empathise with him. Which is curious, considering how fucked up her own family is.
And to finish the rudeness round up, Jughead also gets to play as he sincerely questions his father about murdering Jason. So rude, dude.
I’m hoping this episode was Polly’s time to shine and now she’ll fade away, because I’m simply not interested in her. The only thing that could make her compelling is if she brought some of her crazy back out. But hey, that’s supposed to be Betty’s thing, isn’t it? Back off, Polly.
All that poor Veronica gets to do this episode is sit around and offer her mum’s hotel room for the baby shower. Give the girl something to do, Riverdale.
Riverdale can barely muster the energy to shrug its shoulders about Archie and Valerie’s relationship, which is apparently still happening. She gets, like, one line just to remind us she’s here. It won’t last, so I’m not invested.
Oh, and Cheryl continues to be her mum’s little cheerleader in public. Girl, no. You deserve better.
But it’s not all bad:
Cheryl looks great, as per usual. And in a quick early scene we see her wearing a shirt that says “Bitchy.” I’m in.
And if Cheryl is going to be following somebody around, it might as well be the human prickly pear, Mrs Blossom. The only Riverdale adult who can hold a candle to her open hostility is Alice Cooper.
Which makes their mini showdown at the baby shower so delightful. It’s short, it doesn’t feature any physical contact, but there’s more venom in that room than in the snake tanks at the Serpents’ bar. Let’s hope for future escalations.
Speaking of Alice Cooper, she continues to prove what an asset she is to this show. It’s divine watching her scratch at her enemies, but her moment of truth this episode comes when she redirects that rage at her husband. When Polly tells her that he tried to force her to abort her baby, Alice becomes furious. And we learn why: he tried to do the same thing to her. He’s not a great guy.
This time, though, his motivation is more than “I don’t want to be a father right out of high school.” No, he’s purely motivated by hatred for the Blossoms. I think he’s being a little bratty about it, but he gets full marks for commitment to the bit.
Alice isn’t having that shit, though, and kicks him the fuck out of the house so that she can have her daughter back. Public opinion be damned. It’s crushing when Polly does not come.
Mr Blossom seems to be cut from the same cloth as Papa B, as he moans to Fred about his anger over the purchase of the old drive-in land. The Blossoms used to own it, and Mr Blossom had intended to buy it. Riverdale has a lot of history, and all of it is so painful. Cool.
Hermione brings some joy to the adult Riverdale cast this episode. She’s the one who convinces Alice to attend the baby shower, reminder her that they both had kids young, and it worked out okay.
There’s also this darling little moment when Kevin, as part of Archie’s makeshift construction crew, compliments her on her shoes (Kevin is quite fetching, himself, in his little tradie outfit). Riverdale doesn’t skimp on the details.
The Jason mystery gets some much needed clarification this episode. Polly confirms that they were going to fund their running away with money Jason would earn for transporting drugs for the Serpents. Skeet explains that when Jason didn’t deliver, they assumed he’d cut and run. Of course, when his body was discovered, they knew otherwise.
Or did they? In addition to encouraging Kevin’s boyfriend to keep boyfriend-ing, Skeet also gives him Jason’s jacket to stash away for “insurance.” It’s implied these orders are coming from somebody above Skeet. Ooh.
Skeet’s hero moment at the end, where he and his men come to work for Fred, doesn’t make any sense considering what happened last episode. But it was still nice.
Skeet also takes this moment to quietly tell Hermione that the thugs who sabotaged Fred’s site were likely sent by her husband. Because of her romance with Fred. Salacious.
Alice grimaces at the mention of being a grandmother.
Polly chooses the Blossoms, but it’s clear she doesn’t like them. So she isn’t totally insane.
Oh, and Veronica gets ditched plot-wise, but she remains an enthusiastic supporting character.