Riverdale Season 1 Episode 11 – TV Review
It only dawned on me this week that Riverdale is doing a thirteen episode season.
Which means we’re almost at the end.
Good God, don’t leave us, Riverdale. Don’t leave us with PLL.
TL;DR Betty withdraws from the Jason murder investigation team out of loyalty to Jughead (Skeet is the suspect dujour); Archie and Veronica take her place and find nada; Jughead explodes on everyone when he finds out; but Skeet is arrested later when evidence (planted?) is found; Archie’s mum is cool and gets to see Archie sing at the homecoming dance; Cheryl’s allegiances remain mysterious.
What’s stronger: her hatred for Polly; or her fear that her parents could have killed Jason?
So Jesus Christ, there’s a lot going on in Riverdale (again, compare to the empty void of PLL). We’ll start with our Core Four, as Betty finds Alice’s intentions to go in on Skeet as Jason’s prime murder suspect objectionable because Jughead doesn’t think he did it, so Betty stands by her man and believes it, too. Veronica, however, is not as optimistic, and wants more than anything to know if her father was involved, and must get to the bottom of things. She convinces Archie to join her, and before the homecoming dance, while Skeet is distracted by a dinner ruse set up by Alice, they ransack his trailer. They come up empty and report the essentially happy news to Betty when she confronts them, but Jughead also gets in on the conversation, and is none too impressed that Veronica and Archie would snoop through his dad’s things. And that Betty knew what Alice was up to and didn’t say anything. And this isn’t just a for-the-episode spat. This fight hurts. But when Skeet is suddenly arrested to close out the episode, Veronica and Archie know something’s up because the murder gun wasn’t there only hours before. Hmm. Meanwhile, Archie’s mum, Molly Ringwald, is only in town to be cordial. She deftly parries Alice’s attempts to sneer at her about Fred and Hermione’s tryst. You know, because she’s a fucking adult and Fred’s a fucking adult and they can do what they want. Teen soaps need more parents like Molly. But she does implore Archie to move away with her considering Riverdale is now a murder town (fair point). Meanwhile, Archie and Veronica perform at the dance, and it goes well. And over at Thornhill, Polly gets caught sneaking around by Mrs Blossom. She tricks Cheryl into continuing to sneak, and they find the ring Jason used to propose to Polly in Mrs Blossom’s jewellery. The ring last seen with Jason before he disappeared. Oh, shit. The Blossoms explain Jason threw it at them after an argument shortly before, and Cheryl calms them by saying she flushed it down the toilet in case anyone gets the wrong idea. But it looks like Cheryl already had said idea, as it’s revealed she secretly kept it.
So she isn’t selling out. Expose the truth, Cheryl.
After the return of Pretty Little Liars, and having endured all the episodes of Netflix’s pathetic 13 Reasons Why, I need to keep reiterating how much better Riverdale is than its teen soap contemporaries.
Every episode (except one), I am constantly thinking to myself how good Riverdale is. And it didn’t have to be. An edgy for the sake of being edgy Archie comics adaptation on the CW didn’t have to be good.
But goddamn, it is. It is this good.
Why I hate this episode:
My only fear is that, with a mere two episodes to go, Jason’s murderer will not be revealed by the season’s conclusion. Luckily, it has already been renewed. But if Riverdale never intended to complete its mystery, that would be very disappointing. Especially for a show that has defied the pitfalls of its genre time and again. Come on, Riverdale. Just do it Veronica Mars style: complete the main mystery, but carefully weave in another one for the second season. And then die gracefully and don’t get fucked by executive meddling in Season 3. There’s your plan.
Most of Kevin’s scenes this episode oddly don’t feature any lines for him. Only at the end is he thrown a bone by being the one to notice his dad, the Sheriff, at the dance and reporting news of Skeet’s arrest to the Scooby Gang. Don’t waste your gays, Riverdale. Be better than TVD.
I’m also sure now that the football team sex playbook thing isn’t going to come full circle, as I had predicted. All those weird hints were for nothing. The final two episodes surely won’t waste time with something like that. Unless it comes back next season?
Oh, and Cheryl gets lost in the mix at the dance. All she does is pout about Polly being unable to join her, and, presumably, brooding over the ring secret. Cheryl needs to strut her queen bee shit some more.
But it’s not all bad:
Oh yeah, Cheryl had originally planned to bring Polly as her date to the dance. The rightful homecoming king and queen should have been Jason and Polly, so Cheryl was determined to do her best to fulfill that, and would campaign to be co-queen with Polly. I would have loved to see that.
The reason Polly is unable to come to the dance is because Mrs Blossom drugs her into unconsciousness in retaliation for the further snooping. Typical mother-in-law stuff. You know.
I appreciate that the Blossoms’ story isn’t implausible. Maybe Jason did throw the ring at them in an angry fit? And after Skeet’s arrest, we see Mr Blossom comforting a hysterical Mrs Blossom who wants to see Skeet pay for what he did. So it’s fair to assume that Mrs Blossom, at least, isn’t Jason’s killer. Which means Mr Blossom still could be. Or, maybe she is Jason’s killer, and she wants to keep up appearances to Mr Blossom? So much intrigue. And here’s Cheryl, without an ally in the world, with what could be the smoking gun of a ring in her hand. Divine.
Speaking of smoking guns, the gun that’s found in Skeet’s trailer wasn’t there before, bitches. But will Archie and Veronica be brave enough to come forward to refute it? Riverdale’s track record of characters actually talking to each other and doing things gives me hope that they will. Jughead’s dad is on the line, after all.
The shining gem of the episode, among many other sparklers, is the confrontation in the hallway at the dance. First, Betty gets up on Archie and Veronica for going behind her back to help Alice. But it’s when Jughead enters that Riverdale shows off its ability to have character interactions with consequences. Sure, Betty didn’t go through Skeet’s trailer. But she didn’t do anything to actively stop Alice. Jughead rightly puts all three of our iconic trio down.
But it’s Betty he curses most of all. Throughout the episode, Jughead had been considering Skeet’s offer to move back with his mum and sister. Jughead earns himself the episode’s best line with this revelation to Betty, and to the audience: “To think I was gonna pass on moving to Toledo with my family for you.” Rough night, Betty.
Archie and Veronica don’t get as much emotional work to do this episode, but their presence is valuable. Veronica’s subplot entails her dogged resolution to discover whether or not her father could be a (via contract) murderer. Picking up yet more “characters actually talking to each other” points, she airs her concerns to Hermione, who confirms she will leave Hiram if it’s true.
Archie, meanwhile, is dealing with Molly’s return, and a lighter subplot involving his music being too depressing to play at the homecoming dance. The solution is for Veronica to offer to sing with him, and for them to cover Kids In America. My Clueless sense tingled.
Alice is her usual, cuntish self. But in a quest for justice. Her unsubtle sniping at Skeet over their sham dinner is fabulous. And Skeet eventually drops the pretense and tells her to stop jerking him around. The only damper is that Betty invites Papa B to the dinner to piss off Alice. He wasn’t needed.
Molly handles Fred and Hermione’s (now over. Or is it!?) relationship maturely.
We find out that Mr Blossom actually wears a wig, and has a wall of wigs. I suspect this is just to make Thornhill even weirder, but I’m down with it.
Kevin brings Joaquin as his date to the dance. Aww.
Oh, and everyone’s dance outfits are fucking perfect. Archie’s got a red dinner jacket; Betty’s silver dress is girl next door realness; Veronica’s black sequin fantasy couldn’t be more on brand; and Cheryl, praise be, has a thigh slit red dress couture dream wrapped around her body. Even Riverdale’s fashion is better than PLL, which has a main character who’s a fashion designer.