The CW's Riverdale has been a little lackluster since the time jump that signaled the start of the storylines of the originally planned, which means not a lot happened plot and mystery-wise in the previous week's episode "Chapter Eighty-One: The Homecoming" though it finally picks up its groove again in the most recent episode "Chapter Eighty-Two: Back to School." So consider this a "catch-up" review with the "MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!" sign officially on- you have been warned.
Apparently, Jughead wrote unfavorably about the Serpents and specifically people he knew and they are less than happy about it. Speaking of Jughead, he still has writer's block and still has the "debt collectors" after him…so he gets a job at Pop's Diner, now under the management of Tabitha Tate, Pop's granddaughter (new love interest, perhaps?).
Everyone seems to have lost their minds with this "let's save Riverdale, even though it's garbage now" campaign, and this was at least in small part a response to Hiram Lodge spontaneously un-incorporating the town of Riverdale, which means it ceases to exist and becomes part of Hiram's SoDale development. Because after seven years, apparently the best antagonist Riverdale could come up with was still Hiram Lodge and his mobster criminal enterprise. And yet, Riverdale high school is still a hot commodity with "over one hundred students"…
Toni coerces Cheryl into funding the school single-handedly, which means the teachers don't need degrees or certifications…so they hire Archie, Betty, Jughead, and Veronica. Because none of them have anything better going for them, apparently, and Cheryl is just a money factory to them? None of it makes sense.
Betty is an FBI trainee – she would not have a badge and windbreaker she can just keep breaking out to intimidate whoever she needs to in the not-a-town-anymore of Riverdale. This is lazy writing…same as Toni taking the entire athletic budget to revive the cheerleading squad despite literally every other sport, like the football team, getting zero funding. Cheryl does not take this news very well, though she's busy forging copies of her family's paintings to sell so she can get money to finish renovating the house, because if she keeps it under construction, the Blossom family curse can't get her.
And Polly, who got caught up with the Ghoulies, is last seen running along the lonely highway with the headlights of a large truck dangerously close behind her. Of course, showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa did tease the lonely highway storyline back in the fall when it was being filmed, but the detail of Polly being involved was a secret up until last week.
In this week's episode, Betty is on the case, and she recruits Kevin to snoop around with her and search for the missing Polly. Why not Jughead? He's too busy learning about "The Mothmen" of Riverdale from the local town crazy man who lives off the outskirts of the lonely highway. Because the new book he's writing is about the death of an Americana small town. What a coincidence, that describes Riverdale- and wouldn't you know it, that's what not-town he's in.
"Barchie" stans are going nuts as this week's episode heated up and featured not one but two Archie and Betty hook ups. How many times is Riverdale going to use the lame "night jogging" excuse? It's basically a joke by now – everyone in the show has to know that's super fake.
This duet between Veronica and her husband Chad, who showed up spontaneously in Riverdale, is absolutely awful. Nothing against the actors who are singing, but please do not put such an iconic song such as "Shallows" from A Star is Born into your show for characters who are not Lady Gaga to sing- no offense to Camila Mendes.
Speaking of Veronica, her marriage is abusive, especially now that her controlling husband Chad is in town and in cahoots with one Hiram Lodge. Seriously, how did Veronica, the very model of a modern major empowered woman, end up with a dud like Chad? They may as well have had her marry Nick St. Clair for goodness sake. At least we didn't have to wait for him to turn out to be the bad guy all along.
Maybe we'll get more mothmen of Riverdale next week, maybe one of the characters will actually do something that makes sense for a change – tune in Wednesdays on the CW to find out.