This post contains spoilers for Riverdale.
Check out our previous review here.
Listen y’all, when an episode of television has the line “I will not succumb to thespian terrorism”, what else can you really say about it? Ok. It turns out there’s plenty to gush about in this week’s Riverdale, but that line deserves to be highlighted, circled, and underlined with little washi tape arrows pointing to it and covering all of the other words that don’t matter. In case it wasn’t already abundantly clear: yes, Riverdale’s musical episode was great.
Let’s get the one negative of “A Night to Remember” out of the way so we can spend the rest of this review metaphorically jumping up and down. Hal and Alice are back together, and that’s garbage. It’s played up as Betty bringing her dad back so her mom can feel less abandoned, but its only purpose is to create drama between Alice and FP. Would it be weird to have Alice and FP dating while they’re children are together? Yes. Have weirder, ickier things happened on this show? Big yes. Hal Cooper not only cheated, but has consistently shown borderline abusive tendencies toward his wife and children. Alice can be a real monster, but she deserves better. Beyond that, having no other purpose for a character but to create drama between others is both boring and exhausting. Be better, Riverdale!
Now, on to the fun stuff!
Archie Andrews, king of uselessness, grew a spine. That’s right, boys and girls. Prince Passive rubbed his two brain cells together and realized that Hiram was trying to drive a wedge between him and his dad. Not only does he confront Hiram about the behavior, he makes it right by returning the car and getting an old junker he and his dad could fix up together. Archie even works up the courage to talk to Betty about how she’s been treating Veronica, which takes us into some complicated waters.
It’s good that Archie had a reasonable discussion with his friend about her treatment of her bestie. Problem is, Ronnie doesn’t necessarily deserve the water under the bridge reaction she got from Betty shortly after. Arch was right to point out that Veronica was quick to forgive Betty for all she said when the Black Hood was threatening everyone’s lives. But the Black Hood was threatening everyone’s lives. Betty’s friends were going to be murdered if she didn’t ostracize them. Ronnie just wants to make mommy and daddy proud. Her situation is deeply complicated, and there’s some reasoning behind her behavior, but for Betty to immediately be okay with the fact that her bestie is cool with Hiram and Hermione’s nonsense seems a stretch.
Stick with me here, because this is going to seem contradictory: B and V’s makeup scene is absolutely the best part of “A Night to Remember”. When Riverdale first debuted last year, the biggest thing expected to hold it back was the inherent cattiness between the two girls battling for Archie Andrews. Instead the show created a fierce friendship that would build the foundation of what was an exceptional first season. Moving away from that has been one of season two’s biggest downfalls, and having the girls be the ones to sing “You Shine” instead of keeping it between Betty and Archie was one of the best decisions the writers have made this year.
The second best moment, you wonder? Cheryl going about as full Carrie as you can go without straight up murdering some folk. After Penelope stops her from performing the role she might have been literally born to play, Cheryl has a crisis of confidence. Thankfully, Toni is there to remind her who she is. The girl who burned down Thorn Hill and cut off her mother’s oxygen supply doesn’t make a grand entrance in the play as one would expect. Instead, she returns to Thistle House to pay mommy dearest a visit. While, you know, drenched in blood and wielding a candlestick. Penelope tries to play tough for a moment or two, but Cheryl’s threats hit home. Mummy Dearest and Uncle Creeper (or Uncle Black Hood, your call), are to vacate Thistle House immediately, and if so much as a hair on Nanna Rose’s head is harmed, Cheryl will remind her mother how good she is with fire.
The episode could have ended there and still would have been exceptional, but the writers figured they ought to toss in a little bit of mystery after playing mobster for so long. If you were one of the many who knew the Black Hood wasn’t dead, feel free to eat your celebratory cookie. RIP Midge, someone had to play the victim, and it’s too early in the season to have someone who really matters bite it. You will be fondly remembered as the kindly woman who deserved a bigger role than playing Moose’s beard. Now we get to spend some time with Jughead trying to figure out if Ethel was behind the threats and is in cahoots with the Black Hood. We all know that’s nonsense already, but maybe we’ll have some fun watching the main four eventually make it to that conclusion.
It’s almost unfortunate that they picked the perfect play right out the gate, because how in the world can they top Carrie: The Musical in the inevitable coming years of the show? No matter what happens, it will be fun to watch them try. Next week we’ll see the town reel over the return of their serial killer, but let’s hear your thoughts on “A Night to Remember” in the comments!