The fine line between a creepy and appealing to teens is best exemplified in the opening scenes of episode two of the Archie comic adaptation Riverdale. Still reeling from the discovery that classmates on one half of The Shining twins, Jason Blossom was killed a shirtless Archie tosses and turns in bed dealing with a moral quandary.
Things are still tense with his former friend Betty as she deals with his rejection of her undying love, Archie still needs her friendship choosing to ignore her feelings and give her the elusive 3 am ‘U up?’ text.
Before we have time to wrestle with the fact that Archie Andrews might be a fuckboi he’s running shirtless too his teacher-girlfriend’s house in order to force her into confessing that they heard the 6 am gunshot when they were together over July 4th.
I’m still not exactly sure what we’re supposed to make of the Mrs Grundy/Archie storyline, her manipulation of Archie is masked under cardigans and large glasses. At least when Jughead discovers his secret he can be a voice of reason to an Archie whom seems to be pin balling around the town without much direction.
The Betty and Veronica storyline was the most satisfying of the whole episode. With Betty still hurt by Veronica’s closet-monster betrayal she befriends Cheryl and rebuffs all of Veronica’s attempts to bridge the gap. Ultimately the two girls reunite, stronger together than apart.
Lili Reinhart remains a standout for me, the nice girl character can very quickly descend into the one dimension category but Betty manages to keep a very complex character just under the surface of her.
The ‘Cheryl and Jason’ of it all is the creepiest part of Riverdale so far. From the way, the boat incident was shot to Cheryl’s switching up emotions she definitely sprinkles in the weird. There’s a lot to Riverdale that looks to be a baby Twin Peaks (and I’m not just talking about Mächen Amick) but whereas Peaks dived headfirst into the surreal Riverdale is taking its sweet time.
A few moments in Riverdale feel creepy, with the bloated corpse of Jason and the dark autopsy room (is that up to health code?) But I have to admit the overall tone of the pep rally was delightfully weird. The way it was shot, the blue tone of the colour scheme, the mist on the field and the overall strangeness of a girl hosting a prep rally a few days after the bloated corpse of her twin is found.
Also there were more than a few references to the witch and the magic of it all in the whole episode, foreshadowing for the eventual Sabrina Spellman? Or just planting the seeds of magical surrealism?
The episode ends with Cheryl being arrested in science and saying ‘He was supposed to come back’ suggesting a timeline within Riverdale that we’re no longer aware of.
The second episode of the Archie adaptation leaves us with more than a few questions, why did Betty’s sister and Jason break up? Where did Jason go after the Fourth of July weekend? Which haircare products does Cheryl use? What was the gunshot Archie heard?
I love a good murder mystery and I can’t help but give Riverdale a chance.