Alright Riverdale, good job, you officially have me pulled into your web of secrets and drama. The pilot episode grabbed my attention and had me optimistic, but I wasn’t quite sold yet. Then along came episode two, titled “A Touch of Evil” and by the end of the episode, any sort of resistance on my part was futile. I’m liking the mystery element of course, and the overall style of the show is a plus as well, but at the end of the day what has me hooked on this show is the same thing that gets me fully on board with any other show, and that’s the characters.
These characters have me completely sold on this show now. There is something interesting about almost all of them, and I find myself just wanting to know more. Everyone from Archie and Betty to Mrs. Cooper and Ms. Gundry have mysterious things about them that I am dying to have revealed, and that is the mark of good character writing. Alright, let’s talk about the episode itself.
This episode pretty much picks up where the pilot left off, with the police finding Jason’s body in the water. Everyone in the town now knows that Jason didn’t drown, but instead was shot and killed. The rest of this episode revolves mostly around that revelation. The principle and the Sheriff talk to the school through the PA system about this for some reason, and Cheryl is shown smiling when the pep rally gets mentioned. I find it especially odd that her character can really give two shits about a pep rally when she just found out that her brother was murdered, but alright.
Okay, so it’s obvious that Cheryl is kind of crazy, right? That being said, I have pretty much completely ruled her out as the murder suspect at this point. There were just too many scenes in this episode that starkly go against that theory. For one, she was grilling Betty pretty hard about her sister’s possible involvement in the murder, before Betty shut that shit down, and we will talk about that scene more later. Also, I’m not one hundred percent sure yet, but the pilot episode kind of gave off some incestuous vibes pertaining to Cheryl and Jason, and this episode just doubled down on that. I am thinking that they had at least a somewhat incestuous relationship with each other, but we will see if my theory on that turns out to be true. The look on her face when she envisioned Archie as her brother Jason at the pep rally was not a very sisterly look, but I digress for now. At the end of the episode Cheryl admits to being guilty when the principal and the sheriff walk into the classroom. However, guilt can mean many things, and I don’t think murder is what she is confessing to. I’m thinking her and Jason had some sort of plan to run away together or something along those lines. When she breaks down crying in the locker room and is comforted by Veronica, she says “he was supposed to come back” insinuating that there was a plan for him to disappear for a while perhaps, or something like that at least. Cheryl is very intriguing, and I am curious to see where her character goes from here.
Betty was great in this episode, let’s just say that up front. She had a nice little arch that felt natural and came to a satisfying conclusion. At the beginning of the episode she thought she could just forgive Archie and they could go back to how things were before. As for Veronica, Betty decided to just tell her she forgave her, thinking Veronica would just find someone else to mess with. However, neither of those things ended up turning out that way. Later on, after hearing Archie play some music, she realized that she can’t just pretend like nothing happened between Veronica and him, and that she has to actually deal with the pain she is feeling. Likewise, after seeing Veronica console Cheryl after her emotional breakdown, Betty realized that Veronica really is a good person, and was truly sorry for what happened. Betty decides to forgive her and they get milkshakes together at the end of the episode, where they are joined by Archie and Jughead. Betty’s most interesting scene came when she had Cheryl over at her house. Cheryl was grilling Betty about her sister, and then called Betty a cow and said her tweeker sister probably killed Jason. The undeniable and split second shift that occurred in Betty when that happened is incredibly intriguing. She goes from her usual timid and mild mannered self to something much scarier and more foreboding in an instant. She stands up, gets right in Cheryl’s face and tells her to get the hell out of her house before she kills her. I believe that is the most important scene in the episode, as far as what it could mean in the big picture of things. If she can snap that suddenly, what’s to say she didn’t kill Jason? Maybe she couldn’t take how he was treating her sister, and just blew a fuse. It’s all conjecture at this point, but the possibility is there.
Archie and Veronica were solid in this episode as well. Archie spent most of the episode wrestling with whether or not he should come clean to the principal and the police about what he and Ms. Grundy heard the morning Jason went missing. He even vaguely threatens Jughead at one point, because Jughead finds out in this episode that Archie and Ms. Grundy have been sneaking around together. Eventually the two of them bury the hatchet and seem to be on the road to becoming friends again when Archie tells him that he is going to come clean to the principal and the police. Ms. Grundy still doesn’t approve of the idea, and something tells me she is hiding more than just her relationship with Archie. I have a sneaking suspicion that she may have been sleeping with Jason as well, before his untimely demise. That would be a much bigger reason for why she wants her name nowhere near this investigation. Veronica was trying to mend her relationship with Betty for most of this episode, and she eventually succeeded in that goal. Other than that, she didn’t really have a whole lot to do compared to Archie and Betty. She was still fun to watch, and had a nice little scene with Cheryl while trying to console her.
The last character I want to talk about is Betty’s mother, Alice. This lady is a serious piece of work. She bribes the coroner near the beginning of the episode so that she can get some inside information regarding Jason’s autopsy. She’s already shown that she is a very controlling person, almost to the level of a cult leader. She pretty much tells Betty not to have any contact with Archie, Veronica, or Cheryl. Her hatred for the Blossom family is very clear, but the show still hasn’t really convincingly explained why. I’m almost positive there is something much deeper to that disdain. Hopefully we find out what it is in the coming weeks.
The episode itself ends with Cheryl being taken into custody by the sheriff and proclaiming her guilt, but to what we don’t yet know. The closing narration of the episode also reveals that Jason didn’t die on July 4th, but instead didn’t pass away until a week later. That served as the cliffhanger moment for this episode, and just makes me further confident that Cheryl can be eliminated as a suspect.
Overall, I was a big fan of this episode. It cemented the fact that I will be watching this show going forward, and I can’t wait to see what happens next with Archie, Betty, and Veronica. Especially Betty. I love Betty.
Please share your thoughts in the comments section below and let me know if you are watching Riverdale.