RIVERDALE Review: “Chapter Six: Faster, Pussycats! Kill! Kill!”

Veronica joins the Pussycats, hallelujah amen.

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 "Your hunt for a new Pussycat is over. I can sing, and I've got a lot of aggression that needs channeling into something positive." 

"Faster, Pussycats! Kill! Kill!" is the best possible version of a Riverdale episode, delivering everything we could ever want out of this show, unless what we want is a compelling storyline featuring Archie Andrews.

But even Valerie, whose real introduction last week was a little lackluster, is made more interesting through an extremely riveting Pussycats arc that deepens our understanding of Josie while giving Veronica yet another character to play off of perfectly. Veronica joining the Pussycats is just the right storyline for Riverdale: it's both a celebration and an update of the original comics. 

And it gives Veronica and Josie an opportunity to grow closer (what a powerhouse friendship!) while they work out their respective parental traumas together. Veronica's dad's in prison and her mom is moving on, putting her own needs above her daughter's and proving herself as untrustworthy as Hiram. Josie's situation is less dramatic but perhaps sadder: she'll never be good enough for her mom or her dad, who each put a tremendous amount of pressure on her in different ways. Josie's always been an engaging character on Riverdale, thanks to her style, her attitude and talent, but now that we know more about her, what makes her so ambitious, she's a wholly realized character. 

And, of course, it all culminates in a marvelous performance: Josie and the Pussycats (including Veronica and Valerie) singing a cover of Donna Summer's "I Feel Love" for the 75th annual Riverdale Variety Show (naturally, Archie Comics have been around for about 75 years). The leotards, the tails, the drumset, the backdrop: we all love the 2001 film Josie and the Pussycats, but Riverdale's version might start to give Rachael Leigh Cook and Co. a run for their money.

Our other big plot this week revolves around Betty and Jughead's investigation, and these two sleuths are making great strides. They've found Polly, who is pregnant with Jason's baby as so many of you guessed last week, and they've found a car with all of Jason's belongings. Of course, the car's in flames by the time Sheriff Keller gets to it, and Polly's quite literally broken out of The Sisters of Quiet Mercy Home for Troubled Youths, but we know a lot more about the mysterious, star-crossed love between Polly Cooper and Jason Blossom this week. It's heartbreaking that Polly had no idea about Jason's murder - unless she killed him, of course.

Equally as important to this viewer: we now have confirmation that a Betty+Jughead romance is in the works. Our own writer Sid has illuminated with great insight the benefits of making Riverdale's Jughead asexual, like his modern comics counterpart, and I truly believe that's a worthy and important story that deserves to be told. But when Jughead kissed Betty last night, that was a kiss I'd been waiting for since I was eight years old. I always wanted those two to be a thing.

We're halfway through the first season of Riverdale, and "Faster, Pussycats! Kill! Kill!" is as good as it gets. We can only hope the latter half of the season keeps up this remarkable quality, the style and humor and heart and creepy melodrama. I'm starting to think we can count on it.

A few more tidbits: 

My aesthetic: Alice Cooper laughing hysterically and gasping, "Him?!" 

"There's always room for one more kitty in my litterbox." Give Josie all the lines, because she can make magic out of cat crap.

ALSO THERE WERE WEREWOLVES. Thank you, Riverdale. Thank you.

Next week, on Riverdale: