Riverdale S3 Premiere Has Cults Death and Abs

first_img SDCC 2019: ‘Riverdale’ Cast Spills Details on Core ‘Mystery’ for Season 4Top Movies and TV Panels to Keep on Your Radar for SDCC 2019 With a show that goes as boldly and proudly bonkers as Riverdale does, each season brings just a bit of anxiety. Can they really sustain this level of extra for another season? How are they going to top what they’ve already done? This premiere puts all those questions to rest. Riverdale is just as ridiculous and fascinating as it’s always been. Maybe even more so this season.It’s been a long summer since we last heard Jughead’s ominous narration. He lists all the stuff he and his friends could have been doing in the summer before their junior year of high school. Instead of any of that, they spent most of it in a courtroom supporting Archie Andrews. They all know he’s innocent, and so does his mom who’s also his attorney. (Yay, Molly Ringwald’s back!) The DA brings up every stupid thing Archie’s done for the whole season, and even we have to admit it’s pretty damning. Archie’s done a lot of stupid stuff over the past two seasons. But he’s also done a lot of heroic stuff, as his mother reminds the Jury. She brings up every moment were we actually like him. When he was still dumb, but in an earnest way.The show isn’t going to give us an answer right away, though. The jury deliberates long enough to trigger a sequester. Archie gets one last weekend with his friends and family before possibly going to jail. As they’re leaving the courtroom, Hiram Lodge taunts Archie, causing Fred Andrews to punch him right in the middle of a courtroom. But apparently assault isn’t a crime in Riverdale, even in a courtroom. Fred offhandedly mentions he could have gone to jail, but… didn’t. In any case, he’s free to spend part of what may be Archie’s last free weekend finishing up the project car Archie bought. Then, Archie had to go to Cheryl’s pool party, which she announces with all the sensitivity we’ve come to expect. (“Archie may be walking the Green Mile.” Cheryl’s just the best.)Penelope Ann Miller as Ms. Wright — Photo: Jack Rowand/The CWDespite the festivities, there’s a hopelessness permeating the scene. Nobody is talking about the year ahead, or even the verdict. Everyone’s preparing Archie for his time on the inside as though it’s a foregone conclusion. That includes Archie, who gets a Serpent tattoo for protection and makes Reggie promise not to start any more circles. Even Cheryl spends a portion of her own party lamenting that she can’t save Archie after he saved her life. Veronica tries to engage in a little light jury tampering, but that turns out to be about as good an idea as it sounds. Hiram, predicting his daughter might try something like that, stations the Sheriff outside to catch Veronica in the act. Fortunately, all she gets is a scolding from her mother, and a explanation of why she doesn’t stand up to her husband. I guess we’re meant to infer that he’s been abusive in the past, which… I guess I can buy. But remember that one episode where the FBI agent Archie was talking to turned out to be an informant for Hermione? The one where she implied she was the true power behind the throne? Yeah, that was way better. What happened to that plot detail and why can’t we bring it back?Not that it matters for now anyway. After one last night out with his friends, Archie returns to court to hear the verdict. There isn’t one. The jury is split down the middle, and there’s no getting past it. Rather than subject everyone to another trial, the D.A. offers him a deal: Plead guilty and have his sentence cut to two years in juvenile detention. And he takes it. Despite the protests of his mother and attorney, despite the fact that there’s no evidence tying him to the murder, he willingly goes to jail. He blames himself for getting suckered by Hiram in the first place. In his mind, that means he deserves whatever comes to him. Because Archie, and really this can’t be said often enough, is Riverdale’s biggest dumbass.Molly Ringwald as Mary Andrews, KJ Apa as Archie and Robin Givens as Sierra McCoy — Photo: Jack Rowand/The CWI did really appreciate the dream sequences Archie has in this episode too. It’s partly the job of the premiere to reestablish the tone of the series and remind us of everything that hooked us in the first place. That’s what the dream sequences do, allowing the show to get real weird and artistic with it’s lighting. It’s a reminder that this isn’t just a joyously trashy teen soap opera. It’s also a huge fan of Twin Peaks. Sequences like these are when Riverdale really gets to indulge in David Lynch surrealism. Well, other than the end of this episode. That’s a whole other question.Riverdale isn’t just Archie’s story. The premiere also set up the greater mystery that will plague the town this season. As always, there sure is a lot of weird stuff happening in this tiny Northeast town. It’s looking like much of the mystery will revolve around a mysterious cult-like farm commune Alice and Polly have joined since Hal was arrested. Betty has resisted, instead relying on Adderall and making up a fake therapist to appease them. (The fake therapist, by the way, is named Dr. Glass… Is that a Brady Bunch reference? Well played, Riverdale.) Throughout the episode, Betty resists her mother and sister’s attempts to introduce her into the commune and force their ways on her. Then things get wild. Yeah, you know it’s going to be a bonkers season when the creepy cult is the baseline.Cole Sprouse as Jughead and Lili Reinhart as Betty — Photo: Katie Yu/The CWMeanwhile, Jughead’s being followed by a strange boy who seems to want to tell him something. The boy finally speaks right as Jughead’s leaving for Archie’s sentencing. He only gets out the words, “The Gargoyle King is real” before Jughead has to run to the courthouse. When he gets back, the boy is gone but left a map with some weird symbols on it. Symbols that, coincidentally, are painted on the “Welcome to Riverdale” sign Archie’s prison bus passes. Hmmm. Jughead does what the responsible journalists of Riverdale always do and investigates alone in the dead of night. He comes across a ritual suicide. A large, chilling figure of a gargoyle hangs over two dying young boys who’ve just drank poison. It wouldn’t be Riverdale without some kind of murder mystery, but this is more gruesome and horrifying than the show has done before. It helps that the name “The Gargoyle King” is so much more evocative than, say, The Black Hood. Does this cult-like death have anything to do with the farm commune? That seems to be what the episode wants us to believe, but knowing this show, there’ll be plenty of twists and turns too bonkers to predict.There certainly is something weird going on with that commune, though. The episode ends with Betty returning home to find a strange ritual going on in her backyard. Polly and Alice are holding Polly’s twins above a fire. In a terrifying second, they let go and Betty screams. But then, in the most Lynchian moment of the episode, the babies don’t fall. They float upwards towards the sky. And while we’re busy considering whether that really happened and what kind of plausible explanation Riverdale will have next week (they always have some sort of out with these things), Betty faints and starts having a seizure. This episode ramped up quick.KJ Apa as Archie, Camila Mendes as Veronica, Cole Sprouse as Jughead and Lili Reinhart as Betty — Photo: Katie Yu/The CWThe season premiere of Riverdale started out oddly slow, but that was clearly done intentionally to make us let our guard down for everything that came at the end. Between the reveal of the Gargoyle King (whoever that turns out to be) and Archie’s shocking stupidity, the premiere had jaws firmly resting on the floor. And that’s not even mentioning the gang war the episode set up for the season. When the Ghoulies steal the Serpents’ dog, Jughead goes to get him back. Things quickly escalate, and Cheryl shoots one of the Ghoulies in the shoulder with a boy. Because why not at this point? God, this show is so ridiculous, I love it. As the Serpents make their exit, Penny Peabody warns that the North Side, where the Serpents now reside, is fair game. So we have that to look forward to along with all the prison, cult and ritual suicide stuff. Riverdale’s nothing if not ambitious. The premiere certainly made one thing clear: Riverdale is back in full force, and it’s more confident in its own weirdness than ever. With everything that happened in the back half of this episode alone, I can’t wait to see how wild Season Three gets.Riverdale airs Wednesdays, 8 p.m. on The CWPreviously on Riverdale:Riverdale Season 2 Finale RecapRiverdale Season 2, Episode 21 RecapRiverdale Season 2, Episode 20 Recap Stay on targetlast_img

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