Riverdale Raises A Milkshake To Its Best And Brightest
The season finale sees one life saved, another (perhaps) lost, and a raging inferno at Crimson Peak.
Careful, you guys. There's trouble down at the milkshake shop! There's actually no more perfect way to sum up Riverdale's often imperfect blend of tones then to end the season at said shake shack, but with an armed robbery that leaves Fred Andrews bleeding and possibly dead of a gunshot wound. Twenty-plus years since his Noxzema-fresh bride was gunned down on 90210, Luke Perry suffers the same fate, in the toned arms of his son.
Until that point, there was a definite sense of minor-key denouement to this episode. In the wake of Clifford Blossom's suicide, Mayor Robin Givens is obsessed with the town's regaining its veneer of placidity, which includes leaning on FP Jones to snitch on who's dealing the heroin that spilled out of those barrels of Blossom maple syrup. He won't, because when you're a Southside Serpent, you're a serpent all the way, but since that means he's going to stay in jail, it also means that Jughead's heading into the foster system. Mayor Robin Givens also wants Archie and Betty -- our alabaster-skinned teen idols -- to speak at the town's Jubilee celebration. I'm going to tell you about this Jubilee, because I feel like you have the right to know: this "celebration" consists of about 95 people at most, in the gymnasium of Riverdale High School, listening to a bunch of teens sing a pretty mediocre song, and then another teen tell them to be nicer to her boyfriend and her boyfriend's dad. No wonder some of the townspeople decided they'd rather go rob milkshake shops instead.
But as we ponder who shot Fred Andrews -- in what Omniscient Narrator Jughead calls "an act of violence that was anything but random" -- and as we further ponder how it became winter in Riverdale literally overnight, we shall rank our beloved Riverdaleians one more time.
- Fred (Archie's dad)
Tough break, man.
Kevin basically just gets to sit in the audience at the Jubilee for Betty's speech. When she tells the crowd, "Riverdale is Archie Andrews," the crowd goes actually wild; when she follows that with "Riverdale is Kevin Keller," you could hear a pin drop. Story of Kevin's season.
- FP (Jughead's dad)
He gets to look like a hero for refusing to snitch on his Serpent buddies re: who's selling the Blossom family heroin stash, but that also means he stays in jail for being an accessory to Jason's murder. Six of one, half dozen of the other, really. And honestly, when it comes to fathers of the principal characters, FP is doing okay.
I'm tempted to rank Josie right down with the similarly ill-developed Kevin, but the truth is at least Josie gets to sing a song...even if it's Archie's song.
Perhaps the best thing about Archie is his utter simplicity. As Veronica works up the words to tell Betty that she and Archie are seeing one another, Archie just delivers it plain: "We've kissed a couple times." This basic little angel. Later, he fucks up his guitar-playing hand punching through the ice to save Cheryl's life, not that he seems any the worse for wear about it.
- Hermione (Veronica's Mom)
Hermione's kind of a b-word this week, huh? First, she and (a still unseen) Hiram offer to buy Fred out of their business arrangement. Later, she seems supes cool with Veronica sexually manipulating Archie to get Fred to sell. And finally, she gets all "Out of my house" about Cheryl warming her fozen bones by the penthouse fire. Feels like the imminent arrival of ol' Hiram is getting to her.
- Alice (Betty's Mom)
Not as stellar a performance as last week's tour de force, but she does responsibly decline to publish Betty's article in the grown-up newspaper, so points in her favor there. She also comes clean about the baby boy she gave up for adoption when she was a teen, which surely won't come back into play next season.
It's telling that Veronica's being the only person Cheryl might deign to call a frenemy actually ended up leading to the gang rescuing Cheryl from the icy depths, but you don't see Veronica getting props for it at any local assemblies. Perhaps it was cosmic punishment for lifting her clever "Mom's sleeping with Prince Valium" joke straight from Beetlejuice.
She really runs the gamut this week. After going on an apology tour around school and giving away all her possessions (her iconic spider brooch to Juggie; the River Vixens to Veronica), all in preparation for her suicide attempt. But she also rebounds and decides to set Crimson Peak ablaze. Which would seem more badass if I knew where Grandma Blossom was.
Never one to let well enough alone, Betty has a real Lisa Simpson week as she pokes and prods her hometown, hectoring them about sweeping their secrets under the rug. That said, she's pretty resilient in the face of harassment at school; "GO TO HELL SERPENT SLUT" is rude as heck. And when she sees Juggie don his new Southside Serpent jacket at episode's end, she only freaks out an appropriate amount.
We're so proud of Jughead for fitting in so well at his new sketchy high school. Success in challenging social situations should always be applauded. Jury's still out on whether this newfound embrace by the Serpents is a good thing or not (it is probably not a good thing), but you have to admit it's nice of those violent bikers to be sweet to lil' orphan Juggie for a week. Even if they do interrupt his and Betty's sexcapades. I suppose that's what the offseason is for!