After an uneven first few episodes, Riverdale offers an entertaining and chilling season conclusion.
I didn’t actually think I would be that interested in Riverdale, a mature CW adaptation of the popular Archie comics I read as a child. I never really watched shows that featured twenty-something-year-olds trying to pass off as high school students while navigating the complicated world of romance and class warfare. But after a few episodes and serious character development, I was suddenly hooked. I wanted to find out who killed Jason Blossom, a recurring character from the Archie comics, and what secrets lay buried in the Twin Peaksesque town of Riverdale, where everyone seemed to have a secret.
No longer was I bored with Archie Andrews, the show’s lead who was just too good at every activity he participated in, whether that was music or football. Suddenly, Archie and his friends were involved in the murder mystery and the secrets of their various family pasts came to light. Incest, murder, and drugs further separated the show from it’s family friendly comic book roots, and it was riveting. The characters became two dimensional, instead of tired high school cliches which are often staples in teen dramas. We watched as Archie transformed from a boring clueless jock into a kindhearted boy determined to support his friends and father, whether that meant punching through the ice of a frozen river to save a drowning victim, or trying to jump in front of a bullet meant for another character.
Another strong performances came from Lili Reinhart, who plays Betty Cooper, a flawed young woman disgusted with her family’s lies. Over the course of thirteen episodes, viewers watched as Betty slowly transformed from a love struck girl-next-door into a confident and capable young woman who calls out the town of Riverdale for its deceit and refusal to accept that not everything is perfect.
I highly recommend the show. It’s twisted and dark, while meta and humorous. The filmography is gorgeous, and Riverdale is the picture perfect small town full of mysteries, some of which were solved by the finale, while others promise an exciting continuation for the next season. The show did have some issues, like pacing, under-utilizing the highly promising Josie and her band of Pussycats, and cliched characters like the jock and girl next-door, but by the season finale, Riverdale more or less made up for it’s shortcomings by delivering a disturbing and entertaining conclusion for it freshman year.