Reviews

RIVERDALE: “Pilot”

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“Our story is about a town – a small town, and the people who live in the town. From a distance, it presents itself like so many other small towns all over the world.”

So starts the series premiere of Riverdale. But buckle up, kids. This ain’t the Riverdale you grew up with. The CW’s freshman outing, based on the popular Archie comic series, has been described as somewhere in between “Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl.” In other words, we’ve got a pretty cast and a seemingly quaint and innocent town, but we’ve also got mystery, murder and whole lot of darkness under the surface. This show is basically MADE for us millennials (which is probably because it has a super awesome team of writers who are in touch with what high schools and colleges are actually like).

Anyway, the Riverdale story starts on the Fourth of July. That’s when siblings Jason and Cheryl Blossom drove out to the lake for an early morning boat ride. But that boat ride didn’t really go so well for Jason. Well, it didn’t go well for Cheryl, either, but at least Cheryl got out of it alive. Jason’s body was never found, and his death was ruled an accident (but we all know that’s not true).

Let’s meet Veronica, shall we? Veronica shows up with her mom, having moved here from New York for a new start. She’s basically the drop-dead amazing girl that transfers to your school and makes everyone run for the hills. She’s definitely made out to be Riverdale’s Regina George, but  — spoiler alert! — she’s actually really nice and wants to change herself. The *real* Regina George of Riverdale is Cheryl Blossom — if we didn’t know better, from her ‘tude, we’d never even know that her brother died over the summer. Which means she has something to do with it… right? Maybe? Probably. We’ll see.

Now, let’s meet Betty. She’s BFF with Archie, who just so happens to be super hot. (Like, we’re hashtagging #HotArchie like it’s no one’s business.) She’s also got an overprotective, cranky mom who refills her Adderall for her (I told you this wasn’t the Riverdale you grew up with). As for Archie? He wants to write songs and do music, not football. Veronica runs into Archie and Betty catching up from their summer vacations. Betty wants NOTHING to do with Veronica when it begins to look like she’s here to take Archie away, but she ends up befriending her during a school tour the next day, in spite of herself. Maybe she’s feeling empathetic because of what happened to Veronica’s dad… which everyone seems to know about except for us. (Look, there’s a LOT of stuff going on, okay?)

Anywho, Cheryl decides not to cancel the school dance in spite of the summer’s disturbing events (because why would she? She’s Cheryl). We learn at this point that #HotArchie actually had a pretty crazy summer too — he had an affair with Geraldine Grundy, the music teacher (or, at the very least, a one-night stand). Why is this a big deal? Because the night they got together was the Fourth of July. The day Jason died. They were busy swapping spit when they heard a gunshot, but they kept the secret to themselves for fear of being discovered. Meanwhile, Cheryl encroaches on lunch with the newly formed trio of Archie, Veronica and Betty, and asks them if they want to join cheerleading. Well, she asks Veronica if she wants to join cheerleading, and Veronica forces her to let Betty audition too. Which basically results in the best audition ever. Guys, we’re like, not even 40 minutes into the season premiere and we’ve already gotten our first girl-on-girl kiss. Archie approaches the girls post-performance, and when Veronica tries to push Betty into asking him to the dance, Betty asks him to go with BOTH of them.

Betty’s mom is not happy that her daughter’s just become a cheerleader, although her crankiness may also stem from the fact that Jason dated her sister, Polly, at one point. Except Polly had a nervous breakdown after dating him (we can see the issues there).

Anyway, Archie takes both his ladies to the dance, which really is just another excuse to ask the teacher about an independent study. We also find out that, basically, the whole writing songs thing was a way to keep him sane after what happened to Jason. She finally relents after some coaxing. On the friend front, things aren’t looking so hot, however, when Betty asks Archie if they can be together as more than BFF after a shared dance, and he’s not exactly receptive.

Things are about to get even worse, however. Because Regina George – we mean Cheryl – invites them to her afterparty, where she forces Veronica and Archie to play “Seven Minutes in Heaven.” While Veronica is kissing Archie, he admits that he has no feelings for Betty in THAT way. Betty leaves upset. Veronica goes home, and Archie goes after Betty, who comes out of her house in tears asking if he loves her.

As the hour ends, we finally find out who the narrator of our story has been: Jughead, who is writing a story about Jason’s death. And things are about to get MUCH more interesting… because Kevin and Moose go for a skinny-dipping break in the woods, and find… Jason’s body. He’s got a gunshot wound to the head.

Highlights:

  • JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS. That’s all. I can die happy now.
  • “You play football too? What don’t you do?” — Veronica’s response to learning that Archie’s hobby is basically the internet
  • “Cheryl Blossom truly is the anti-Christ.” Veronica is my new favorite.
  • There is absolutely significance to giving Archie Jason’s football number, right?
  • “I’m getting an Uber.”

We love this show.

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