The CW series premier of Riverdale aired Thursday, January 26 at 9pm. I caught up with it on The CW website. “The River’s Edge” has nothing, really, to do with the comics your parents and grandparents read; it uses the names and the settings, and Archie stays ginger, Veronica brunette, and Betty blonde. I didn’t read the comics, but I believe that’s where the similarities end.
There is a lot going on in this first episode, and not all of it is…appropriate. So let’s start with the innocent and move our way down.
Betty (Lili Reinhart) loves Archie (KJ Apa). Archie’s attracted to Veronica (Camila Mendes), and also still has feelings for his ex. Veronica and Betty become friends and join the cheerleading squad…then Veronica and Archie make out and Betty is upset. Standard high school buffet.
Archie also wants to get into music, so he bothers Ms. Grundy (Sarah Habel) to give him lessons, while playing varsity football and working for his dad.
Jughead (Cole Sprouse) is our narrating loner, writing a “novel” about the mysterious disappearance/murder of teen Jason Blossom (Trevor Stines). There’s some dialogue- the only time he speaks to anyone- with Archie about “just talk to Betty” when she’s upset. Jughead implies that Archie screwed up their relationship and could have fixed it if he talked to Jughead then.
Jason Blossom disappeared/died (there was a funeral) while boating with his “Antichrist” sister Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) during the summer. When school starts again, it’s on everyone’s mind. Apparently no one knows what happened, but his body is conveniently found in the river, completely intact (even though he’s been dead for at least two months?) at the end of the episode.
You may not want to read ahead, so I’ll wrap my final thoughts here. The show has promise. I’m hesitant due to the things I outline below the warning, and it would probably have worked better divorced from any memory of the Archie comics. However, the murder storyline is certainly interesting, and hopefully we will see more originality in the high-school-drama line. I’ll still be tuning into Episode 2, “A Touch of Evil” either on Thursday at 9 or later on CWTV!
Director: Lee Toland Krieger
Writer: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Image credit: https://www.inverse.com/article/25741-riverdale-cw-archie-comics
(I’m putting a trigger warning here because I’m about to delve into abusive sexual relationships. Please stop here if you need to!)
There’s definitely something not platonic going on with those Blossom twins. I’m not saying there’s definitely incest, but there is definitely a strong undercurrent from the fifteen seconds they spend together on screen. Good grief, Cheryl refers to Jason as “her soulmate” and requests that the semi-formal dance band play the song she and her brother were conceived to. Twincest is not made cool by Game of Thrones.
Last but certainly not least, Mrs. Grundy is aged down considerably so that she can spend the summer having sex with 15/16-year-old sophomore Archie. It’s a great idea, promoting statutory rape, especially since our society already views male student/female teacher relationships as “not a big deal.” No, it is a big deal, and I hope the show will deal with it appropriately, and not just have Mrs. Grundy feeling guilty and Archie pining. That’s unacceptable.