Riverdale’s first season kept us on the edge-of-our-seats with murders, suicides, and shootings—and season two promises to be even darker.
The Show: Riverdale
The Network: The CW
The Genre: Teen Drama
The Challenge: Give a show four episodes with which to draw you in, impress you, challenge you, make you feel something deeply. Four episodes for the chance to find out if you care what happens to the characters you’re watching enough to become invested in the story. If after all that, it does none of those things for you? Then no biggie. You gave it a good shot, and you can move on. But if you love it, you’ll be glad you stuck around.
The Premise: Riverdale is a teen drama series based on the characters by Archie Comics. Riverdale season two follows Archie (KJ Apa), Betty (Lili Reinhart), Veronica (Camila Mendes) and Jughead (Cole Sprouse) as they attempt to identify the serial killer known as the Black Hood all the while a war brews between the citizens of the northside and southside of the small town.
In Season 1, the small town of Riverdale was shocked by the murder of popular high school football player, Jason Blossom. After Jughead’s father is falsely accused of the murder, the core four (Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead) work together to find the real killer. Once the murder is solved, the town is once again horrified when a masked assailant shot Archie’s father. Riverdale stars KJ Apa, Lili Reinhart, Camila Mendes, Cole Sprouse, Madelaine Petsch, Casey Cott, Ashleigh Murray, Madchen Amick, Luke Perry, Marisol Nichols, and Skeet Ulrich.
So far, season two of Riverdale has delivered on the drama and mystery but will that be compelling enough for fans to continue tuning in every week?
The showrunners promised a darker Archie in season two, and that’s exactly what we got.
In season one, it’s fair to say that Archie was the least affected member of the group. Jughead’s life was torn apart after the sheriff arrested his father on murder charges, Betty’s family implodes after finding out that they are members of the Blossom family and Polly is pregnant with her cousins baby, and Veronica has an ongoing drama coming from her father’s shady business dealings. And while all this is going on, Archie watched helplessly as his friend’s lives fell apart. But the final blow came when a masked assailant shot Fred Andrews in the last scene of the first season.
Archie: “Betty’s getting threats, Jughead’s being thrown into a snakepit, and I can’t do anything to help them.”
Fred: “Sometimes you help just by showing up.”
Archie: “I’ve been showing up all year, Dad, and it hasn’t made one bit of difference. We’re getting our asses kicked.”
While Fred recovers from a gunshot wound, we watched as Archie unhinged with a series of terrible choices. He decided that he’s not only going to protect his father but the rest of the town. He got a gun, convinced the other members of the football team that they needed to patrol the town at night as the Red Circle, and started a fight with the Southside Serpent gang. His fight with the gang is bound to cause friction with Jughead, who at the moment has a toe on both sides of the fence. We’re not sure how we feel about this new, darker version of Archie. He both fascinates and frustrates us, and we fear for the outcome of all his reckless behavior.
Veronica’s daddy is back in town, and he’s making an immediate impression.
Although he spent the entire season off-camera in a jail cell, Hiram Lodge had a constant presence in Riverdale. The arrest of her father tainted Veronica’s reputation before she took her first step in Riverdale High. Veronica learned that people in the town, like Ethel’s father, were negatively affected by his business dealings. And she had to come to terms with her feelings for him to speak on his behalf during his trial. But even from a jail cell, Hiram kept busy. It seemed like no matter what happened he was rumored to be involved. And, if we’re honest, we thought from the beginning that he was responsible for Jason’s murder.
Hermione: “Why are you smiling?”
Hiram: “So much chaos and uncertainty.”
But none of that compared to Hiram’s (Mark Consuelos) actual arrival in season two. He makes his first appearance sitting in a darkened room sipping a glass of wine. He spoke only of his disappointment when Veronica wasn’t there to greet him when he arrived, then asked for a kiss. The tone was dark and moody and perfect. From that brief two minute scene, we knew things were going to get darker. Mark gives the character of Hiram this constant feeling of controlled chaos. We never know what he will do next, and that’s what we love about him. Of all the new characters they’ve introduced this season, we love him the most.
Growing fears over violence and drug trafficking threaten to split Riverdale in two with Jughead caught in the middle.
From the beginning, Jughead was the bridge between the north and southside of Riverdale. His relationship with his troubled father, a member of the Southside Serpent gang, was a featured season one storyline. Although cleared of first-degree murder charges, F.P. will still be held accountable for destroying evidence and lying about his involvement. Jughead was placed in a foster home and forced to change schools. At the end of the season, the Serpents pledged to protect Jughead in his father’s absence and gave him a Serpent’s jacket which he accepted.
Tall Boy: “We got your back. Serpents take care of their own.”
The Serpents and the southside have long been considered the darker, crime-ridden side of Riverdale. The heroin trafficking reveal at the end of season one was immediately tied to the Serpents without any shred of proof. And now that there’s a serial killer on the loose, the people from the northside of town assume he’s a resident of the southside. A war between the two sides is only made worse by Archie’s Red Circle. While the parents fight it out in a town hall, Archie and the Circle take on members of the Serpent gang in an all-out brawl. It’s clear that this is only going to get worse as they hunt for the serial killer. In the meantime, we predict Jughead finally taking a side, and it may not be with his Riverdale High friends.
Of all the crazy storylines this season, we’re enjoying the rivalry most of all. The writers are making subtle hints to the current political climate in the US along with wealth and poverty stereotypes. It’s an exciting premise, and we look forward to seeing where they take it from here.
Final Verdict: Season two of Riverdale is dark, twisty, and full the angst, and we love every minute of it.
During last week’s episode, the Black Hood revealed Betty’s Jubilee speech as his motivation. We’re interested to see how this affects her relationships with the rest of the gang, and we fear what he might do next. Also, we still have yet to learn where the heroin is coming from and who’s selling it. We believe it’s the Goonies, a rival of the Serpent gang, but we’ll have to wait and see. And how is Hiram tied into all of this? We have more questions than answers, but we’re only four episodes into the season.
Sure, Riverdale is over-the-top with obvious narrative issues, but we just can’t get enough. There’s no other show on television to that compares. The beautiful cast is only made better by the fog-filled backdrops that are just as moody as the characters. And each episode is packed with swoon-worthy moments, suspense, and constant turmoil. It’s teenage drama at its finest. What’s there not to love?
This one’s a no-brainer for us. We’re completely engrossed in this show, and we’ll continue to watch every week on the edge-of-our-seats with the rest of the massive fandom.