As we all know, Riverdale's season finale aired last Thursday. There's a lot to take in, and if you're not into spoilers, turn back now.
Poor Jason Blossom. All season long fans were coming up with some amazing theories as to who killed him. Actor Trevor Stines was even into the theory action, telling me one of his personal favorites. But as we all learned, it was in fact Clifford Blossom–Jason's father–who shot him point blank in the head. Betty immediately calls Cheryl, telling her to run for her life. In one of Madelaine Petsch's most stunning moments, she wipes away a single tear, descends the grand Blossom home staircase, walks nonchalantly by her dad…and delivers a helluva line. "You did a bad thing, Daddy. And now everyone knows."
Petsch stealing the entire series aside, Riverdale is a campy, gothic masterpiece. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa did a masterful job of separating the show from the white picket fence comic we all grew up with. The characters are flawed, there's real world problems all around them, yet they all stem from within and are not from an outside source. Riverdale is not perfect, it's destroying itself, the group of teenage heroes are doing anything they can to stop it.
Overall it's a strong show, but select episodes (as I've talked about in the past) did drag on. The series picked up again come episode 9, and the last two episodes absolutely made it worth while, and Lili Reinhart was brilliant in her role as Betty. I've never been Team Betty (I grew up Team Veronica), but watching her grow and mature has been a joyride, so I was completely heartbroken for her when Archie rejected her. Watching her tearfully tell Archie he was her home is sincerely a punch to the gut. But watching her pull herself out of her tragedy into a strong, no shit taking young woman was inspiring. Betty rescued herself, and her family as well. The season finale also gave hints at the eventual love triangle between Archie, Betty and Veronica. It's obvious Archie has feelings (though likely physical) for Veronica, but it's even more obvious he may feel like he made the wrong choice. Veronica's wording of "soul mates" when described Betty and Jughead clearly jars Archie.
The series, as I said earlier, is campy as hell (theCW doing melodrama? Never! – Eliot) and this is not a bad thing at all, as it adds to the drama. Blood brothers killing each other, incest, the harsh divide between the rich and the poor, and of course a dash of typical teenage angst all made for one helluva season one. Yet not everyone was happy. A large number of Archie fans refuse to watch the show because it's not the comics they grew up with. It's almost divisive in the already small fandom, and it doesn't need to be. There's also the fact that this version of Jughead isn't asexual, which he was outed as in the Jughead reboot by Chip Zdarsky and Erica Henderson. Had the show followed the comic, they could have successfully had an asexual character on a major TV show. Unfortunately the writers didn't do that, which alienated another large group of fans.
Personally I loved Riverdale. I've waited 25+ years for a proper live action Archie show (and the ones I've talked about before didn't do it for me) and it really exceeded my expectations. Plus KJ Apa, Camila Mendes and Cole Sprouse were brilliant in their respective roles, seriously, the casting was exceptional. The little nods to classic Archie are there too; Riverdale is a town with pep, Riverdale High opened in 1941, Chic–Betty's older brother–is alive and living with another family. I also appreciated the use of old movie titles for episodes names, which molded each episode. The show is wildly clever and fun, and I can't wait to binge watch it again on Netflix while I impatiently wait for season 2.
Good job Archie, you finally did it. Now please get Afterlife and Sabrina back on a regular printing schedule.