Riverdale Season 2, Episode 1 – The Boys (and Girls) are Back in Town

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Posted October 13, 2017 by Panda Emily Jarrell in Nerdy Bits

It is happening again.

When we last saw the Riverdale gang, Jughead was donning a Southside Serpents jacket; Cheryl was committing second-degree arson; Veronica was anticipating the return of her father; and Archie’s dad Fred had just been shot in the chest by a man in a mask. Part of me still can’t believe all that happened in one episode.

The season two premiere picks up right after where last season’s finale left off, with Archie frantically rushing Fred to the hospital. During surgery, Fred begins having nightmares about not living to see Archie graduate, take over the family business, and get married; these nightmare sequences are interspersed throughout the episode pretty much every time the focus cuts back to Fred being operated on. The scenes are honestly heart-breaking—Fred wants nothing more than for Archie to succeed and live a good life, but the masked gunman from Pop’s is around every corner.

While Archie waits feverishly for news of his dad’s condition, Betty and her mom talk about Jughead. Mädchen Amick continues to delight as Betty’s mom Alice, getting two of the best lines in the episode; first, when she refers to Jughead a “beanie-wearing cad,” and then when she reveals that apparently one of the Southside Serpents is named “Snake Plissken.”

News about Fred starts to spread, so naturally Betty, Veronica, and Jughead all rush to Riverdale General. Jughead accomplishes this by riding off on his dad’s motorcycle, and I have some questions. Can Jughead ride a motorcycle? When has he ever ridden a motorcycle? How long did it take him to scratch an admittedly adorable crown into that helmet? Wouldn’t riding a motorcycle with a long flannel shirt tied around your waist be dangerous?  These are all questions the episode will have no interest in answering.

Several times in this episode, Archie will have to recount the story of what happened with the gunman at Pop’s; each time, he hesitates between describing the moment the gun was fired, and the gunman running off. One would think that someone might catch on that Archie isn’t telling the whole truth, but this is Riverdale we’re talking about, so it isn’t until the second time it happens that Jughead Jones, Boy Detective realizes something is off.

Archie and Veronica go back to Archie’s house to get him and his dad a change of clothes. We’re treated to a steamy—pun intended—scene of Archie and Veronica taking a shower together, during which Veronica inexplicably continues to wear her pearl necklace and bracelets. After they dry off, Archie discovers his dad’s wallet has gone missing; this will likely be a running plot point for at least the next episode or so, because the wallet is still missing by the time the episode ends. The shooter didn’t take any money from Pop’s, so the question remains: what was in Fred’s wallet that the shooter wanted so badly? Archie says it contains “everything that is important to [his] dad,” but what does that really mean?

Back at the hospital, a wild Cheryl Blossom appears, clad in white. She tells Betty and Kevin her obviously fabricated story concerning the fire and the damage it did to her mother. Cheryl is as unsettling as ever; I really wish someone would cast Madelaine Petsch as the main villain in a horror/thriller already, because she has some moments in this episode that are legitimately terrifying.

This episode also marks the introduction of Charles Melton’s Reggie Mantle, played previously by Ross Butler, who had to leave Riverdale over a scheduling conflict. Reggie doesn’t have much screen-time in this episode (not that he had much in season one), so it’s hard to say how this change will affect the cast dynamic, but I’m looking forward to seeing what he can bring to the role.

While Archie and the gang chow down on some food at the hospital, courtesy of Pop’s, Archie reveals what he’d been hiding about the incident with the gunman: rather than running off after shooting Archie’s dad, the gunman actually held Archie at gunpoint for several minutes before fleeing the scene. Archie’s eyes were closed as this happened, but he speculates that it was during this time that the gunman was able to take Fred’s wallet.

With Fred in stable condition, Veronica returns home to find that her father caught an early flight “to surprise [her].” The moment between Veronica and both of her parents in unbelievably tense, underscored perfectly by Klergy’s “Start a War,” featuring Valerie Broussard. I anticipate that, in addition to the mysterious gunman from Pop’s, Hiram Lodge will also make for quite the villain for this season.

The episode ends with a shot in Greendale, where Ms. Grundy relocated after her abysmal and (thankfully) short-lived subplot in season one. We see she’s still up to her old ways of sexually assaulting teenage students, but before I could even groan about how little I want her to be a part of season two, she is unexpectedly attacked by the masked gunman, who slits her throat.

There’s a lot to love in this episode—Fred’s Scottish dream wedding for Archie and Veronica, who look absolutely fantastic in a wedding dress and suit jacket/kilt combo, is one of my favorite scenes—but more importantly, we’re being introduced to a lot of plot seeds that we’ll hopefully get to see germinate and bloom over the next ten episodes. All in all, I’m delighted to dive head-first back into the world of these crazy kids and their negligent parents. Riverdale is back and better than ever, and I can’t wait to see where this wild ride takes us next.


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Panda Emily Jarrell