Riverdale: Archie's Weird Mystery

Archie Comics are heading to TV with a CW teen drama/mystery which is like Pretty Little Liars meets Twin Peaks, minus the weird, supernatural stuff.

So this is just Pretty Little Liars on the CW with Archie characters. There’s already been articles summarizing the changes from the comics to the small screen so let’s get the basic snark out of the way: there’s no way in hell these 26 years old look like 16 year olds, the acting is terrible, and this “mystery” show will never compare to Archie’s Weird Mysteries.

You’ve never heard of it, but it was awesome.


So our plot kicks off with Jughead giving a terrible, cliche narration about how there is something dark underneath Riverdale’s perfect surface. On the 4th of July, the Blossom twins, Jason and Cheryl, went on an early morning boat trip and Jason drowned. Although his body was never found and early morning brother-sister boat trips are not A Thing and Cheryl should be thoroughly investigated, the police declare the case cold.

On the last day of summer vacation, Veronica and her mother Hermione Lodge move back into town after Hiram Lodge was convicted of fraud and embezzlement and the Lodges lost most of their money. Hermione sends Veronica to pick up dinner from Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe, where Betty Cooper and Archie Andrews are grabbing a milkshake or something equally idyllic.

Betty is in love with Archie because he lives next door, has a six pack, and thanks to the washed out cinematography, looks like Edward Cullen with a red Kool-Aid hair dye job.

That still turns teenage girls on apparently.

With encouragement from her sassy gay friend Kevin Keller (Is it Kevin? I think it must be but he’s never addressed by name. Sassy Gay Friends never are), Betty is ready to ask Archie to take their friendship to the next level at Pop’s but then Veronica enters, looking like a badass Goth Little Red Riding Hood and ruins Betty’s moment.

Veronica introduces herself to Archie and Betty and sighs how Riverdale is going to suck. “I’m more like Breakfast at Tiffany’s and this place is more like In Cold Blood,” she says. Archie is impressed with her shallow literary references because he has recently gotten into songwriting.

I wonder if the show will work in an update of the “Sugar, Sugar” song.

Songwriting might have to take a backseat because his dad, Fred Andrews, wants Archie to play football and take over the family business. The countdown until the melodramatic “I’m not you, Dad!” speech begins now…

So Betty’s chance with Archie got ruined, but there’s still time for those kids to get that love triangle going. Mrs. Cooper disapproves since Jason Blossom caused Betty’s older sister, Polly, to have a mental breakdown. She warns Betty to stay away from boys, especially the ginger ones. They don’t have souls, after all.

At school, Betty gives Veronica a tour of the school and Kevin offers his services as a Sassy Gay Friend. He asks Veronica about her father, much to her annoyance. Yeah, her dad stole a bunch of money and caused a major scandal, but does everyone have to gossip about her? “I’m like Blue Jasmine!” she moans over dramatically.

Okay, fine. The show has made Veronica less of a spoiled brat and more of a pretentious ex-rich bitch. I accept this, but I have to ask why the show decided  “rich NYC teen” equals “Ann Taylor LOFT mannequin”.

The wear to school collection for the class of 2019

Archie approaches Josie and the Pussycats to look at his songs but instead of being a friendly trio who solve mysteries and fight corporate product placement, they are Unfriendly Black Hotties in this incarnation of Riverdale. Josie informs Archie that the Pussycats are building a brand and they can’t taint it with dumb songs by “Justin Gingerlake”.

Veronica asks Betty to set her up with Archie but Kevin insists Archie and Betty are “endgame”. Veronica backs off and suggests Betty ask Archie to the school dance. The dance almost gets cancelled but at the school assembly,  Cheryl Blossom, dressed as a grieving widow (Okay, I’m going to predict it now: there was twincest happening between Cheryl and Jason) announces that the school dance will continue as scheduled because Jason would have wanted life to go on.

I’m sure Jason  would have wanted his life to go on, but whatever.

At the assembly, Archie sees a young, blonde female teacher in the audience and thinks back to how over the summer, she gave him a ride in his car and then, uh, rode him. And who is this teacher? Ms. Grundy.

Yeah, that Ms. Grundy.

The CW has already caught flack for portraying a teacher-student romance as “hot” and “steamy” so I won’t get too much into it, but I think we can all agree that it’s wrong for teachers and students to hook up, no matter how gritty a CW show wants to be. Archie approaches Ms. Grundy for music lessons and tries to bring up what happened over the summer. No, not the statutory rape. Archie and Ms. Grundy heard gunshots by the lake on the day of Jason’s murder. Ms. Grundy wants to keep quiet about that because she doesn’t want to get in trouble with the police.

Well, she should have thought of that before she had sex with an underage student.

Meanwhile, Hermione goes to Fred’s to ask for a job and we find out that Hermione used to be have her own Betty-Veronica-esque love triangle and she picked her Veronica, Hiram. Fred is snide about her choice and doesn’t give Hermione a job. When Hermione goes home, she finds that Hiram sent a big bag of cash. “Oh, Hiram what have you done?” she asks.

Back at school, Cheryl introduces herself to Veronica and invites her to cheerleader tryouts. Veronica asks Betty to join her and they perform a cheesy routine that does not impress Cheryl. Veronica makes out with Betty, but this still does not impress Cheryl.

“Hello, it’s 2017,” says Cheryl. “We legalized gay marriage and stuff. If you want to be shocking, make out with your twin.”

Cheryl makes snide comments about Polly Cooper in an attempt to make Betty explode, but Veronica steps in and delivers a hokey speech how Cheryl rules by fear but no one likes her and Veronica will take her down or else. Cheryl lets Veronica and Betty on the squad and privately, Veronica admits to Betty that she used to be just like Cheryl before her dad got busted and now she wants to be a better person. Her next good deed is to get Betty and Archie together, but Betty only has enough courage to ask Archie on a group date.

Baby steps.

The dance is like a prom meets a memorial, which is exactly the confusing vibe I want my funeral to be so take notes.

Lights, music, dancing, and a hint of sadness.

Achie approaches Ms. Grundy and asks her to help him set up an independent music study class so he can make music, play football, and still work with his dad. Wow, the love triangle hasn’t even started and Archie is trying to have his cake and eat it too. Ms. Grundy finally agrees, especially after Archie promises not to bring up their affair again.

During a slow dance, Betty admits her crush to Archie. Well, she creepily tells him that now she’s a cheerleader and he’s on varsity football, she has a fantasy of them being a power couple. It’s understandable Archie rebuffs her; that was some Swimfan shit.

Things are still awkward when the gang heads over to Cheryl’s for the after-party and roped into a game of Seven Minutes in Heaven. Veronica and Archie are picked to go in the closet first. Veronica asks about the Betty/Archie romance and Archie says he’s not into Betty that way. That is enough permission for Veronica to mack on her new friend’s crush. When they’re done making out, they rejoin the party and find that Betty fled. Archie suggests they look for her but Veronica gets an Uber home–alone.

Wait, how is Riverdale is small town but big enough for Uber?

Archie goes to Pop’s too look for Betty but Jughead, who is writing a book about Jason’s death. Jughead encourages Archie to just talk to Betty. “Talking would have gone a long way with me,” he adds glumly. Jughead and Archie aren’t friends in this TV series, apparently. But the real question is, why isn’t Jughead eating hamburgers?

Archie finds Betty at her house and she tearfully asks why he doesn’t love her. Archie claims Betty is so perfect that he can’t ever be good enough for her. “If I’m too good for you, then how come I’m not with you?” she sobs.

Meanwhile, Kevin and Moose drive to the river to hook up. I guess Midge doesn’t know that Moose is in the closet. Before they can get to business, Jason’s body washes up in the river. 

Jason has a gun shot wound and now the mystery around his death has been reopened.

The TRUE Archie Mysteries I Want Solved:

  • At Cheryl’s request, Josie and the Pussycats play the song that the Blossom twins were conceived to at the dance. No one is disturbed by this.
  • Why isn’t Jughead eating burgers? Give that man a burger!
  • Seriously, how is Riverdale big enough to have Uber?

Susan Velazquez

Susan is a recent college grad and writer who enjoys all things from the 1980s, snarking on dumb television, and reveling in celebrity gossip. Oh, and she has serious interests like reading historical fiction, getting involved in social issues, and consuming French fries.

TV Show: Riverdale

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