RIVERDALE Review 2.01 “A Kiss Before Dying”

Murder Archie returns with, well, more murder.

If you were concerned that Riverdale wasn’t going to be able to keep up with the intrigue it brought in season one, the premiere for season two put those fears to rest pretty much immediately. Murder Archie is back, and so are our reviews. Unfortunately, Meredith has found herself busier than usual during this season, so I will be taking on the show from here on out (I will try, and fail, to live up to her greatness). If you’re new to our coverage on the site, these reviews will have spoilers.

No time has passed between seasons one and two. We left off with Fred Andrews being shot and pick things up with Archie rushing him to the hospital. Hopefully Arch will be taking some driving classes before heading in to take his test. Golden boy can’t be good at everything, unfortunately.

Archie may be a rubbish driver, but he’s pretty good at dealing with grief right up until the point where he isn’t. Anyone who’s had the misfortune of dealing with similar situations to what Arch found himself in tonight can tell you that’s a pretty solid depiction of how it works. Riverdale has always done a great job of showing the full spectrum of emotion, and “A Kiss Before Dying” added grief to its list of successes. Pro tip, though – don’t flip out on your significant other after shower sex. They might not be as understanding as Veronica.

Riverdale continues to play a strange (and exceptional) balancing act with the parents. Each one of them have it in them to be the very worst, and then at the drop of a hat become kind and understanding. Betty’s mother is a monster a large percent of the time, but out of nowhere she finds a weird kind of maternal instinct and takes care of business. In “A Kiss Before Dying” her moment was in the hospital while trying to calm Archie down. We even see a touch of it in the beginning when Betty is surprisingly open about what she and Jughead were doing the night prior in FP’s trailer. On the flipside of that, Veronica’s mother used to be warm and loving more often than not, but her introduction in season two was that of a cold and calculating housewife.

Speaking of cold and calculating, Cheryl Blossom is back with a vengeance. For those who may have forgotten, her story closed out last season with her burning down Thorn Hill. Turns out it also involved her mother almost dying, but Cheryl’s not playing games anymore. After years of abuse at the hands of her family, the white gloves are off, and she’s calling the shots.

Archie is a special kind of character. He’s the perfect personification of the phrase “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”. In all of his sweet earnestness, he spends a lot of time hurting other people. He would never, ever do so intentionally, but he’s just too much of a doof to realize how he effects other people. Ironically, the one time we’ve seen some sort of self-reflection from him is in a case where he shouldn’t be filling guilty. Archie eventually reveals to the gang that he froze when the gun was pointed at him instead of attacking the shooter or defending his dad. Survivor’s guilt is a hell of a thing.

Thankfully, Archie doesn’t have to reflect on that guilt for too long. Fred Andrews may have taken a bullet to the belly and had a few weird fever dreams, but he’s got to protect his boy. After some mild suspense, Fred wakes up and heads home, but it wouldn’t be Riverdale without a murder.

Remember Ms. Grundy? Creepy predator lady from season one who couldn’t possibly have an agenda who "loved" Archie for who he was? Yeah, turns out she just has a things for the kiddos. She’s found herself a new pupil to make out with, but her creepin’ days are over after “A Kiss Before Dying”. It appears as if the man who shot Fred had more murder on his mind, and that leaves us with the season two who dunnit.

Riverdale’s season premiere did exactly what it was supposed to do. We were reminded of the exceptional chemistry between the core cast, there was plenty of intrigue, and it laid the foundation for the rest of the season flawlessly. We know exactly where each character sits, and have interesting stories set up for all of them for the next twenty or so episodes. It’s hard to keep up with a stellar first season, but it looks like Riverdale might just live up to the task.

A special shout out has to go to the Lodge family drama, and whatever the hell is about to go down in that household, and the solid puppy moment when V learns how much dogs matter. As always, we want to hear your thoughts on the episode and what you hope to see from the season to come!

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