Riverdale continues to follow some of our favorite Archie Comics characters in the second half of season two, with pep and dark undertones
The second season of The CW’s Riverdale is returning from the mid-season hiatus. The pilot premiered nearly a year ago, and Riverdale is part way through its second season. Riverdale is a dark, gritty adaptation of the Archie Comics, and follows three friends that grew up together – Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart), Archie Andrews (KJ Apa), and Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse) – with the addition of Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes) that moved to town following her father’s incarceration. Season one examines the disappearance and subsequent murder of Jason Blossom (Trevor Stines), a popular football player that was planning to run away with his pregnant girlfriend, Polly Cooper (Tiera Skovbye).
Season two starts from the attempted murder of Fred Andrews (Luke Perry), and the distorted motives from The Black Hood to cleanse their town from sin. The Black Hood was inspired by Betty’s speech to the town at the end of season one, about how Riverdale needs to acknowledge both good and bad aspects of their town and residents, but strive to do better. The Black Hood twisted her speech and took it upon himself to cleanse their town from sin, and ended up manipulating Betty into removing sinners from her own life in exchange for him not killing her loved ones. The identity of The Black Hood was revealed in the mid-season finale, and Betty Cooper – their resident “Nancy Drew” – played a pivotal role in solving the case. It raises the question- what’s next for Riverdale? And the ominous narration at the end of the mid-season finale asks – is The Black Hood threat really over? Riverdale has a growing fan base, and if you’re not already watching it, here are a few reasons why you should!
1. Murders, drug deals, and serial killers. Oh, my!
This seemingly perfect town is not as it appears, and uncovering the darkness that lies beneath is an overarching theme for both seasons. From high school students investigating a murder of their fellow classmate to secret drug dealings, serial killers, and family secrets, there is no shortage of mystery in Riverdale. Season one solved the murder of Jason Blossom while uncovering a secret drug ring run by the influential Clifford Blossom (Barclay Hope). The first half of season two exposed the sinners of Riverdale in The Black Hood’s twisted game of cat and mouse.
“The success of season one has given us a lot more freedom to dive into more topical narratives, more – I guess the kind of genre elements and the tones that we were only dipping a toe into last season.” – Cole Sprouse (actor)
The mid-season finale answered some questions but posed additional questions. Is the threat of The Black Hood really over? Alice Cooper (Mädchen Amick) will be reunited with her son that she gave up for adoption in high school. How does that affect the Cooper household? The Lodge family purchased Pop’s diner and relayed their plan to their daughter Veronica. Will the audience see what secretive plans are in store for Pop’s diner? FP Jones (Skeet Ulrich) was driven back into the Southside Serpents in an effort to protect his son Jughead from repaying favors to Penny Peabody (Brit Morgan). Now that FP is on parole, will these not-so-legal business deals put him at risk for going back to jail? The Blossom family is in a precarious situation after Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch) burned down their house at the end of season one; how will they reclaim their reputation and wealth? A mystery figure was seen taking pictures of Archie and Veronica. Who is the mysterious person, and what does this mean for Archie and Veronica? For a small town, Riverdale has an abundance of secrets; and secrets always have a way of coming out in the open.
2. Friendships rooted in shared history and family.
Season one solidified the friendship between Betty and Veronica within the first few episodes, and they’ve said that no boy would come between them. The core four friendship between Betty, Veronica, Archie, and Jughead is one of the key friendships on the show. Their friendship is staying strong in season two, with a slight hiccup due to The Black Hood’s interference. The Black Hood labeled the Lodge family as sinners and forced Betty to remove Veronica from her life, or he would do it for her. Their friendship was strained for a short period of time but eventually reconciled after Betty came clean about the harsh comments she said to distance herself from Veronica and that she was manipulated into it. A group of young women – Veronica, Josie (Ashleigh Murray), Valerie (Hayley Law), and Melody (Asha Bromfield) – have shown solidarity in protecting their own, Cheryl, against sexual harassment when they noticed something off about her behavior.
On the Southside, Jughead attempted to distance himself from his Northside friends, but Archie has stuck by him throughout season two, and even helped out with some late night business deal to help Jughead’s father, under the pretense that it was a “one-time thing.” That one time favor turned into Jughead being blackmailed by Penny with video of his drug delivery. The Southside Serpents realized that Penny would keep using the Serpents for future drug deals, and took it upon themselves to forcibly remove her from Riverdale. The Southside Serpents always protect their own, no matter how many shady, or potentially illegal, situations they get into. Even the Riverdale parents have history going back to their own high school days, and now they’re trying to manage their own headstrong children. Riverdale friendships are rooted in family and shared history, and are truly about being there for each other, through thick and thin.
3. There is no shortage of drama on Riverdale.
From break-ups to make-ups, sexist initiation rituals for the Southside Serpents, and family secrets – there is no shortage of drama on Riverdale. Betty and Jughead break-up and make-up nearly every other episode in season two. The real root of the problem is lack of communication, which is disappointing because fans loved their healthy communication in season one, and it’s lacking in season two. Relationship problems have also affected Veronica and Archie this season, due to differing opinions on “I love you,” although they appeared to have repaired their relationship shortly thereafter. Will the core four’s friendship be salvaged from the kiss that Betty and Archie shared? Especially when both Jughead and Veronica have expressed insecurities about Betty and Archie previously, and Veronica and Archie seem to be back together by the end of the mid-season finale.
“I think there are twists that we don’t even see coming, and the audience especially won’t see coming.” – Camila Mendes (actor)
There was a strong reaction to the sexist initiation of women into the Southside Serpents, needing to complete a striptease in a bar full of grown men. Here’s hoping the headstrong women put an end to the misogynistic rituals in the near future. Season two picks up with the merging of Southside High and Riverdale High, which will likely cause these issues to come to a head. Will the civil war that’s been brewing finally erupt? And if so, can the two sides of their town reconcile? Riverdale has twists and turns in every episode, and more drama will certainly be revealed in future episodes.
4. The inclusion of LGBTQ characters, with a confirmed love interest in season two.
It’s clear that more representation is needed in television, and Riverdale is making strides in that regard. Kevin Keller (Casey Cott) is an openly gay character, and luckily he has the support system of friends and family that accept him for who he is. Kevin was in a relationship with Joaquin (Rob Raco), a member of the Southside Serpents. Their relationship ended in season one after Joaquin revealed that he was involved in covering up Jason Blossom’s murder. We can hope that Kevin will get another love interest in season two, although nothing has been confirmed.
Both Cheryl Blossom and Toni Topaz (Vanessa Morgan) have expressed interest in women, and while their sexual orientation isn’t explicitly defined – in this day and age, does it really need to be defined? Madelaine confirms that her character Cheryl will get a love interest this season, so we’ll see how that plays out in the coming episodes. It is a welcome change that Riverdale is embracing several LGBTQ characters, and while they have caused some unnecessary tension this season, here is to hoping that we’ll see more from these confident and determined characters that are comfortable in their own skin in the second half of season two!
“You’re going to see a lighter side of Cheryl, a more – you’re going to learn a lot more about her past, and why she has that relationship with her mother. And you’re going to see a love interest.” – Madelaine Petsch (actor)
5. The abundance of ships for fangirls and fanboys everywhere.
The truth is, relationships are messy. And they’re even messier when you’re a teenager. The two ships that were on solid ground at the end of season one (Bughead and Varchie) have had some miscommunication in its sophomore season. Whether you’re a fan of the classic Veronica and Archie pairing from the comics, or that Riverdale is exploring Betty and Jughead’s developing relationship, you’re sure to fall in love with at least one ship on this show! Betty and Jughead have broken up twice this season, both intent on protecting the other from harm – in Betty’s case she was protecting Jughead from The Black Hood, and Jughead was attempting to minimize Betty’s involvement in the Southside Serpents.
The mid-season finale doesn’t resolve their romantic relationship, but with the merging of high schools, it will likely put them in close contact with one another. Veronica and Archie had differing opinions on “I love you”, and brief break up, but reconciled at the mid-season finale. Can the core relationships thrive in the second half of season two? Or will the betrayal of friendship, in the form of Betty and Archie’s kiss, affect whether their relationships can be repaired? Will the other characters find love in the second half of season two? Cheryl has shown interest in Josie, however misguided with her stalking tendencies; can something come from their friendship? Or will Cheryl get an entirely new love interest? Will we find out the complicated backstory between Alice and FP? There are so many relationships that can be explored on the show, and we can only hope for more moving forward in season two!
Riverdale is a drama with strong female friendships, relatable characters, a diverse representation, and their very own Scooby gang.
As with most CW shows, Riverdale has many binge-worthy reasons to watch. Season one set the tone with healthy relationships and friendships, with a dash of mystery, drama, and crime solving. Season two raised the stakes with a faster pace than season one, which means a lot of information and action condensed into each episode. The heart of Riverdale is truly the characters and their friendships and relationships. Season two has taken us on a rollercoaster of ups and downs with these characters, and we’re only nine episodes in!
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Season two poses the main question – is the Black Hood really gone? And what other secrets will unfold? Southside High is closing in the next episode, which will allow for plenty of opportunities for drama between the Northside and Southside students. Overall, these are just a few reasons why Riverdale is such an addictive and binge-worthy show. Catch up on episodes on Netflix and/or The CW’s website.