This post contains spoilers for Riverdale.
Check out our last review here.
Last year, Riverdale announced they’d be doing Carrie: The Musical. Upon that announcement, I’d noted that it wasn’t possible for them to find a more perfect musical for the show. Enter Heathers: The Musical. The show perfectly weaves in each mean-spirited number, while saving all of its big anthems of yearning for just the right moments. Like its Carrie episode, “BIG FUN” doesn’t bring on the musical numbers by sacrificing story. The musical episodes may only come once a year, but they always progress the season’s narrative in a big way.
First up: Hermione and Hiram are separating. He’s finally found out that Hermione not only sold his drug trade out from under him, but she tried to murder him twice as well. Veronica sums it up pretty well. Her family’s always been a little weird, but their familial bond has been unbreakable. Turns out Hiram draws the line at being shot. Understandable, even if the guy is a monster. Though we’ll see more unfold in the coming episodes, the most surprising part of this arc so far is that Hermione’s still alive. Which is more than we can say for the casualty of last year’s musical episode, Midge.
Folks start seeing Midge around because li’l miss Evelyn Evernever is out here getting everyone drunk and giving them shroom brownies (ew?). The fact that Evelyn’s using the play as a recruitment tool for The Farm gets called out very early on, but nothing Betty does gets anyone to pay any mind. Even photographic evidence of Kevin and Fangs’ ritualistic smooch sesh isn’t enough to get anyone to do anything. Mostly because Principle Weatherby’s a Famie. But, yay Fangs and Kevin! Kangs? Fevin? Who cares! It’s adorable.
Running parallel to the cult situation is a whole lot of ship drama. Toni’s learning firsthand what a stone cold savage Cheryl can be while she’s pissed, and we’re all still trying to find it in our hearts to care about Josie and Archie’s not-relationship-relationship. Both pairings reconcile before the final number. Only one of them should have. Meanwhile, Veronica and Reggie are on ice until both of them are in better emotional spots. (Read: Ronnie and Reggie are on ice until Charles Melton returns from filming Bad Boys for Life and The Sun Is Also a Star.)
“BIG FUN” has a whole lot of sweetheart moments, but every pairing on the show needs to get on Betty and Jug’s level. If you don’t burn down your childhood home because it’s been stolen and turned into a mobile drug lab by your estranged mother before your big play and then make out in front of the flames, are you even really a couple?
Like last year, the cast of Riverdale knocked each of their musical numbers out of the park. But none shine as brightly as both renditions of “Seventeen”. The longing of all of these kids to just be kids is tangible. None of them should have ever been forced to deal with any of the things they’ve faced over the last three years. Usually they grin and bear it, or they have an emotional outburst and get back to getting the job done. “Seventeen” gives them all a chance to admit that sometimes they just want to drink milkshakes at Pop’s and to know that everything’s going to be okay. Fun fact: it’s also the first time we’ve seen Cole Sprouse sing. The actor’s always insisted that if he could make it out of all of those years doing The Suite Life of Zach and Cody with a musician as his on-screen mother, then he could make it out of Riverdale without singing a number. Pretty glad to see he’s softened on that!
No one dies this year. What we get instead is a terrifying indication of just how deep The Farm has infiltrated the town. When the final number’s been sung, there’s a brief pause that’s broken by the slow clap of Edgar Evernever (Chad Michael Murray). Gradually, the rest of the Farmies join in on his standing ovation. There’s a sea of white-clad slow clappers joining their leader in approving of The Farm produced play, and it was just as creepy as any Gargoyle King.
Most of the kids look justifiably spooked, but they’re not going to have time to hold onto those reactions. Next week we have an angry Gladys confronting (and assaulting) her son, Gargoyle’s back on the loose, and who knows what else going on in this broken town. You know what to do if you had thoughts on this week’s episode in the meantime!