Riverdale Season 1 Episode 10 – TV Review
The very episode after I complained about Riverdale not having enough stupid, fluffy teen stuff, and they have a party episode.
With a dance battle.
And multiple Archie shirtless scenes.
TL;DR It’s Jughead’s birthday, and Betty’s insistence on throwing him a party causes drama; between Betty and Jughead, and Jughead and Skeet, and Archie and Valerie, and Skeet and Alice; Cheryl teams up with Black Jock to cause even more drama, mainly for Veronica and Betty; Fred brings his estranged wife home; Veronica decides to play nice with the lawyers.
To protect Hermione. Because Veronica and Hermione are the ultimate mother-daughter duo, baby.
So thank the lords of teen shows, because it’s time for a motherfuckin’ party episode. It’s Jughead’s birthday, and despite his sullen protests, Betty insists on throwing him a tasteful soiree. Jughead is opposed to a party because his crappy home life never had space for birthday celebrations. However, Cheryl, fresh on her warpath following her upset last episode, proposes an Enemy Mine with a returning Black Jock, and they gate crash the party with literally an entire teen rager party entourage. This leads to Jughead blowing up at Betty, not least of all because she also invited Skeet to the party. Veronica is also thrown for a loop when she connects the dots between Skeet, her mum having paid off the Serpents, and Jughead. Things come to a head when Cheryl and Black Jock harangue the party guests into a game that is essentially an excuse to hurl insults at each other. Black Jock brings up Betty’s dark side of insanity, drugging, and assault, while Cheryl pounces on Veronica with a “your daddy undermined my daddy” routine. Yada yada yada, Jughead ends up fighting for Betty’s honour, the party disperses, and Jughead realises what a douche he’s been. Later, Veronica, having received literal threats from her father that would imperil Hermione, decides to give a positive statement to protect her mother. Meanwhile, Archie mopes about Fred’s quest to finalise his divorce. He gets too drunk at the party and offends Valerie, and then has sex with Veronica (Veronica seems chill, though). And Fred turns up at the door with his mum at the end, and she’s Molly fucking Ringwald. Meanwhile, Black Jock and Ethel are still giving off conspiratorial vibes. And Alice and Skeet have an encounter that reveals Alice used to be a South Side girl, herself.
Hello, new ship.
I mean, this episode is exactly what I was asking for last week. How can I complain?
Oh, you know me. We’ll figure something out.
Why I hate this episode:
My continuing criticism about the adults still being the real major characters of Riverdale remains. This episode, Archie, Jughead, and Veronica’s subplots are all largely motivated by their parents’ actions. The only protagonist who isn’t is Betty, and her purpose this episode is simply to facilitate the mechanics (that is, the party) of getting the other characters together. Whose show is this, CW? The kids on the posters, or their more dimensional, interesting parents?
Jughead’s conflict this episode leans a little too much on teen angst to work. Riverdale has shown itself to be consistently smarter than this. I expect more.
My theory about the football team sexual playbook thing is still yet to be proven true, despite Ethel and Black Jock not only being in this episode, but speaking to each other in this episode. When the scandal is brought up to Black Jock, he doesn’t make any move to refute it. But those “hints”in Episode 3 were far too huge to be accidental. Come on, show.
Valerie overreacts like a jerk at the party. Archie, who’s only a little tipsy, tries pouring his heart out to her, and she gives him about half a second before throwing a fucking drink in his face. And then she acts all triumphant about it. Nah, babe. Cunt move. Archie can do better. And he does. Thanks, Veronica.
Oh, and I hope Cheryl has more up her sleeve than weaseling her way into a party and failing in a dance battle. She needs to ask herself: what would Blair Waldorf do?
But it’s not all bad:
That dance battle, though. Veronica challenges her choreography for the Vixens, which leads into a dance-off. I’m not sure why the vote was necessary, given that they both go full stripper for their very similar routines, but let it be known that I will not refuse a dance battle.
Cheryl also fires her minions afterwards because they don’t vote for her. Yes. Isolate yourself. Let your hate fire grow.
Points to Cheryl for her “game” at the party, which is little more than an excuse to harass Veronica about her parents’ underhanded land deals. In front of everyone. Yikes. This scene also includes an interjection from the Scoutmaster, whose revelation about Grundy’s presence at the river on 4 July leads to Cheryl (again, in front of everyone) connecting the paedophilia dots to Archie. Riverdale’s characters really do just come out and tell each other what they think. Wow.
I’m glad for Black Jock’s pressing of the Dark Betty point. I was afraid that plotline had faded away after being diluted by Polly’s similar psychosis. But it’s back, bitches. And Betty is as wacky as ever when trying to deny it. She eventually lets Jughead in on her concerns after he’s made his own gesture to her. I want to know more.
The playbook fabrication is yet to be addressed, but when Black Jock first returns to school, he has a private, offscreen conversation with Ethel. He claims he’s apologising when Betty demands to know what he’s doing, but his and Ethel’s emotional reactions suggest otherwise. I’m not wrong about this! I refuse to be wrong about this.
Joaquin shows up to remind us he’s still here, and to rekindle the murder mystery fires surrounding Skeet. Joaquin informs Skeet about Veronica’s theory that Hiram could have been involved in Jason’s murder, and this is not comforting news for Skeet.
Their meeting is witnessed by a nosy Alice, who confronts Skeet near the end of the episode and tells him to slink back to the South Side. Which, according to his reply, is where she’s from. With Alice now single and hot, and Skeet hot and also single, I’m keen for this to happen. Aren’t you?
Speaking of Hiram, he literally sends Veronica a letter to threaten to throw Hermione under the legal bus if Veronica doesn’t play Darling Daughter in her statement for the case. Veronica wrestles with the possibility her mum isn’t so innocent, after all. But she ultimately decides to have faith in her mum, and abides by Hiram’s demands in order to protect her. So she is a darling daughter. But to the parent who deserves it.
Veronica finds evidence that the Blossoms had been paying suspicious monthly instalments to Lodge Industries for the past seventy-five years, and they stopped only recently. Veronica theorises that Mr Blossom got Hiram arrested to get out of it. Seems solid.
The theme of parents continues with Archie, who is uneasy with Fred’s determination to close the book on his marriage, now two years into a separation. He drunk calls Fred from the party, and this is evidently enough to motivate Fred to bring her back home.I’m no raving Breakfast Club fan, but I can appreciate a little Molly Ringwald when I see it. Bravo, casting department.
I liked that Veronica and Archie’s post-party hook up isn’t some melodramatic land mine. She just gets up in the morning, smiles to herself, and even has a pleasant conversation with Jughead on the way out. No walk of shame here, girl.
Oh, and that’s because bagging Archie Andrews is nothing to be ashamed of.