For anyone who doesn’t know, Riverdale is based off the characters created in Archie Comics. It takes place in the city of Riverdale, and of course features Archie and company. I’m going to be honest, when I first heard about this show, I wasn’t exactly clamoring for it. I didn’t really see the need for this show, but I genuinely like what the CW is doing with their shows right now, especially The 100, so I figured I would give it a shot. After finishing watching the series premiere, titled “The River’s Edge”, I was pleasantly surprised by what I had just watched.
The episode begins with a scene showing Jason and Cheryl Blossom spending some sibling bonding time with each other the previous summer. You hear Archie’s voice talking about how Jason ended up supposedly drowning that day but that the body was never found. Much of the first season will obviously revolve around this mystery. Moving on, I want to say that I think Betty and Veronica are very well cast. Lili Reinhart plays Betty, while Camila Mendes brings life to Veronica. Both of these actresses did a very solid job in this premiere episode, making me thoroughly like both of them for different reasons. Betty, of course, is the all American girl next door. She gets good grades, she’s nice to everyone, and she’s just an all around likable person. That’s what I expected from Betty, and that’s what I wanted from her so I was happy. The surprise for me came with how they portrayed Veronica’s character. The writers easily could have made her just a straight up bitch, but they wisely decided not to go that route. Instead, they make Veronica just as likable as Betty, just for different reasons. Yes, Veronica definitely still has that edge to her, but she actually seems to be a good person. The episode also does a good job of explaining this to the viewer, as it gives us a scene with Veronica explaining to Betty how she used to be an ice queen and a total bitch, but that the arrest of her father made her want to be a better person. Veronica’s father was arrested and is on trial for fraud and embezzlement at the time of this episode, and her mother and her had to deal with a lot of people saying horrible things about her and her family.
K.J. Apa, who plays Archie, did a fine job in the premiere. I wasn’t as big on his performance as the two I just talked about, but he wasn’t bad by any means. Since this is a spoiler review, I won’t spend the entire thing explaining things you already saw if you are reading this review. One scene I really liked involving Archie was the scene between him and his father after his father catches him in a lie. Luke Perry, who plays Archie’s father, is quite good in this scene. I am glad they didn’t have him go the asshole route when Archie tells him he doesn’t want to work with his father or play football. The writers could have done that cliché, but I like it much better that they had him be supportive of Archie, but at the same time disappointed and hurt that Archie felt he had to lie to him about it.
Cole Sprouse, from Suite Life of Zach and Cody fame, plays Jughead in the show. I can’t say that I am a huge fan of his portrayal yet, but to be fair he didn’t really come in until near the end of the episode, so he didn’t have much screen time. Hopefully we will get more of his character in the second episode, so we can really get a feel for how he is going to be portrayed.
Alright, so one of the issues I had with the premiere had to do with Archie and Ms. Grundy, a teacher at the high school. The episode reveals that they had a little romance during the summer. That’s not the part I take issue with though, it’s cliché, but oh well. The part I had trouble with is when it flashes back and shows them together by the river during the summer and shows that they heard a gunshot the morning that Jason Blossom “drowned”. However, the episode tries to explain that they didn’t go to the cops because they couldn’t reveal that they were together. I’m sorry, but no, that doesn’t fly. There is no reason why they would have had to go to the cops together. Why the hell couldn’t just one of them gone to the cops, told them what they heard, and said they were at the river by themselves? There is no reason they would have had to admit they were together at the time. I know that wouldn’t serve the mystery they are trying to weave here, but it doesn’t stop it from being a glaring hole in the logic of Archie and Ms. Grundy.
I am genuinely curious as to who killed Jason. It’s obvious that his sister Cheryl is the easy answer, as it seems she was the last one with him, and she doesn’t exactly seem heartfelt in her mourning for him. However, I don’t think it was her, simply because that would be too easy, and kind of anti-climactic if it turned out that way. Now let’s talk about some of my favorite scenes from the episode.
- The introduction of Josie and the Pussycats was a fun little scene. It’s cool that they are going to be a part of this show, and will hopefully have more fun scenes throughout the season
- I loved seeing Betty stand up to her mom about being on the cheerleading squad. It was a nice little moment of moxie from the usually timid character
- I think my favorite scene of the pilot was Veronica standing up for Betty at the cheerleader tryouts and completely shutting Cheryl down. That was a great scene, and you could see glimpses of Veronica’s old self in her intimidation of Cheryl. Loved it.
Overall, Riverdale was a pleasant surprise for me, and I liked it quite a bit more than I thought I would. I am now looking forward to the next episode to see what happens now that Jason’s body has been found.