“Riverdale” falters at the start

Season 2 doesn’t live up to expectations

“Riverdale” is back. Thank god.

The hit CW show cultivated a monstrous fan base, from teens living for the hormone-fueled melodrama to adults who loved the “Archie” franchise. The pilot and the finale of season one were executed beautifully, showing that the writers know how to set up and complete story lines. And while I don’t know if the writers are entirely to blame, something was different about the season two premiere.

After Archie’s dad was shot in the finale of season one, Jughead put on the Southside Serpent jacket and Veronica’s dad’s returned; everything that happened in episode one of season two seemed to be the very logical progression of events. But that’s not great TV, and especially for Riverdale, that’s a let down. Many times in season one I was shocked about the strange and dramatic一in the very best way一plot twists.

The actors seemed to not have the usual stage presence, with the exception of Cole Sprouse (Jughead Jones), who among the main cast is the only veteran actor. The worst performance was by Lili Reinhart (Betty Cooper) who seemed to have a mulled energy the entire episode. KJ Apa did a great job, especially during the scene with Veronica in his home and when the shooter held the gun to his head. The adult actors all did a great job, especially Archie’s dad who had the most serious parts to play.

However, the worst moments were all of Archie’s dad’s dream sequences which, while probably fun to do for the cast, seemed pointless. I understand that the last one was meant to signify that he came back to protect Archie, so maybe that one can slide. Another pointless scene was the shower scene with Archie and Veronica that seemed to be put into the episode just to have it in. I also didn’t understand why Betty, in the start of the episode, seemed to be telling her mom that she had almost had sex with her boyfriend and might be joining a violent gang. These sort of gaps pulled me out of the episode.

The best moment was the ending, which begins with Veronica greeting her mafia-looking father and mother at the dining room table. Then Miss Grundy returns一still preying on teenage boys一 and gets killed by the green-eyed monster that shot Mr. Andrews, deepening the mystery that season two will center on. The twist at the end is a good setup for the rest of the season.

I adore Riverdale and I think everything, from the acting to the sets to the costumes to the writing, is done expertly. Maybe season one set the bar too high, but the premiere of season two fell short. I remain hopeful that it will get better as the story and actors pick up steam. There’s still so much to look forward to.


Show: “Riverdale”

Network: The CW

Premiere: Oct. 11

Rating: 3.5 out of 5