Riverdale—Season 1

riverdale season 1 poster cw review episode guide
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Nice Twin Peaks and 90210 blend, interesting visuals

Not the Archie for everyone

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Riverdale…it isn’t how you remember it

Riverdale is a small town with secrets.  When Jason Blossom (Trevor Stines) dies on the river, the town learns that his death could be part of a bigger mystery.  Archie Andrews (K.J. Apa) and his friends Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart) and Jughead (Cole Sprouse) welcome the new arrival of Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes).  The Blossoms including his twin sister Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) want the truth of what happened to Jason.  With the numbers of mysteries growing and romances blooming, the secrets of Riverdale could be exposed…and a night at Pop’s could never be the same!

Riverdale—Season 1 is a comic book adaptation of the classic Archie Comics series.  The CW series was a midseason replacement and aired from January 26, 2017 to May 11, 2017.  The show was initially met with mixed reviews but quickly gained a cult following.

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Archie, Betty…Meet Veronica!

I actually really like Archie.  Despite being a “kids’ comic”, the series has some depth and the history behind Archie makes it rich.  There are characters besides the core “Archie Gang” characters that have been around for years and Riverdale has a big world to explore in its small borders.  Many people were upset by the dark take on Archie…but the darkness helps distinguish the series.

The show has aptly received comparisons to Twin Peaks which does kind of set the tone for Riverdale.  Both series start with a murder and honestly they have the same tone.  Darkness mixed a goofy honesty (though Twin Peaks was more a “night time soap” like Dynasty while Riverdale has a bit more 90210 mixed in).  The story keeps moving with mysteries and red herrings, but it also sometimes is frustrating in that you can see the mistakes that characters are making.

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Ms. Grundy…you’re…different…

The cast is rather strong.  The young cast is rather shiny and happy.  KJ Apa, Lili Reinhart, Camila Mendes, and Cole Sprouse make up the core cast while Madelaine Petsch is a scene-stealer as the unbalanced Cheryl Blossom.  For adults watching the series, it is the adult cast which is fun for viewers.  You have Dillon McKay aka Luke Perry…the king of ’90s cool as Archie’s dad and an actual Twin Peaks vet Mädchen Amick plays the unbalanced Alice Cooper.  Bad boy Skeet Ulrich plays Jughead’s bad boy father F.P. Jones and Robin Givens is the mayor of the town.  Stranger Things cult favorite Shannon Pursuer plays Ethel Muggs (formerly known as Big Ethel) and a surprise fun (and smart) addition to the story is Archie’s mother played by Molly Ringwald.  Plus, I have to love anything featuring the Pussycats (played in this series by Ashleigh Murray, Asha Bromfield, and Hayley Law).

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Those Blossoms are kooky!

The show as a darkness to it (which it needs).  It holds on to the basic look of the characters in a way that still looks good.  Like Twin Peaks or something like Blue Velvet, the characters are far too perfect to live in the dark world.  It is a shiny dystopia and it works.

Give Riverdale a chance.  It has a lot to offer.  It is a dark take on a classic series but it still treats the characters with respect.  It could be a lot darker (creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa wrote the fun zombie-Archie mix Afterlife with Archie).  Riverdale I think could have a long future if it handles itself right.  Of course, unlike the comics, the characters will need to grow up sometime…but Riverdale breaks the Archie mode, and the series can go anywhere.

Riverdale—Season 1 Complete Episode Guide:

riverdale season 1 episode 1 rivers edge cheryl blossom madelaine petsch

“Chapter 1: River’s Edge”

1.1      Chapter 1:  River’s Edge Airdate:  01/26/17

It is a new year in Riverdale and the town is gossiping.  Over the summer, Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch) lost her brother Jason (Trevor Stines) in a drowning on the river.  Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart) is trying to finally confess her feelings to her friend Archie Andrews (KJ Apa) but the arrival Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes) and her mother (Marisol Nichols) has distracted Archie.  Archie tries to explore his budding music interest and football while hiding his summer fling with his teacher Ms. Grundy (Sarah Habel) and what they heard.  Jughead (Cole Sprouse) works on a novel of the events going on in Riverdale.  The discovery of Jason’s body by Moose (Cody Kearsley) and Kevin (Casey Cott) could change

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“Chapter 2: Touch of Evil”

1.2       Chapter 2:  A Touch of Evil Airdate:  02/02/17

Jason Blossom was shot, and the town of Riverdale is reeling with the fact that someone is a murderer.  Jughead questions if Archie is hiding something about what happened over the summer.  Kevin deals with Moose’s advances, and Betty questions her mother’s request for her stay away from Archie.  Veronica finds Betty feuding with her, but Betty’s attempt to befriend Cheryl backfires.  Reggie (Ross Mantle) sparks a fight with Archie as Archie debates going to the police against Ms. Grundy’s wishes.  As the Kevin’s father (Martin Cummins) investigates Jason’s death but gets a shocking admission.

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“Chapter 3: Body Double”

1.3       Chapter 3:  Body Double Airdate:  02/09/17

Cheryl admits that Jason didn’t die on the river but that she doesn’t know what happened to him.  Archie reveals what he knew about the shooting and comes forward to Principal Weatherbee (Peter Bryant)…but earns a grounding from his father (Luke Perry).  Veronica goes on a date with Chuck Clayton (Jordan Calloway) but finds that she’s been given the “Sticky Maple”…bringing out the dark Veronica.  Betty employees Jughead on The Blue and Gold leading Jughead to question Dilton Doiley (Daniel Yang) about what he saw in the morning.  An opportunity to work with Josie McCoy (Ashleigh Murray), Valerie Brown (Hayley Law), Melody Valentine (Asha Bromfield) of the Pussycats has Archie going against his father.  Betty, Veronica, and their revenge squad set out to get even with the football team…but Betty might take it too far.

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“Chapter 4: The Last Picture Show”

1.4       Chapter 4:  The Last Picture Show Airdate:  02/16/17

Dilton Doyle’s reveal that Ms. Grundy was at the river when Jason was killed uncovers to Betty and Veronica that Archie and Grundy have a relationship.  Cheryl sees Veronica’s mother talking to a Southside Serpent.  Betty looks into Ms. Grundy and her past and finds that Grundy might not be telling the truth.  Jughead tries to save the Riverdale Drive-In which means a meet-up with Mayor Sierra McCoy (Robin Givens) to find out who is buying it…while Hermione Lodge hides the truth.  Kevin makes a new “acquaintance” at the drive-in but learns he’s from the wrong side of the tracks.  Sherriff Keller finds that his investigation into the murder of Jason Blossom has gotten to someone.  When Alice Cooper (Mädchen Amick) finds Betty’s diary could give away the truth.

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“Chapter 5: Heart of Darkness”

1.5       Chapter 5:  Heart of Darkness Airdate:  02/23/17

Archie tries to get the captain position on the team but finds himself up against Reggie.  Betty learns the truth of why her sister Polly was institutionalized, and Jughead and Betty decide they need to find out why Jason Blossom planned to run away from home.  Archie gets the lead on a new music teacher from Valerie and meets Oscar Castillo (Raúl Castillo).  Veronica shares an awkward dinner party with the Blossoms.  Hermione Lodge gets a warning at Pop’s and reveals to Fred Andrews that her husband owes money to the Serpents.  Jason’s memorial ceremony occurs, and Jughead and Betty learn a secret about Polly and Jason.  The person responsible for the break-in at Sheriff Keller’s office is revealed.

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“Chapter 6: Faster, Pussycats! Kill! Kill!

1.6       Chapter 6:  Faster, Pussycats!  Kill!  Kill! Airdate:  03/02/17

Archie has stage fright and seeking help from Valerie to get his voice.  Veronica sees Archie’s father and her mother kissing which pits her against Archie.  Betty and Jughead see out Polly Cooper (Tiera Skovbye) and Betty tries to get answers from her…leading to a surprise.  Josie finds Valerie is leaving the group but quickly finds a replacement for the Pussycats in Veronica.  Fred Andrews makes his pitch to Mayor McCoy for the contract, but Veronica learns that she could be the key to the deal.  The variety show is preparing to launch, and Riverdale will rock!

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“Chapter 7: In a Lonely Place”

1.7       Chapter 7:  In a Lonely Place Airdate:  03/09/17

Archie learns that Jughead has been secretly living at the school.  Betty and Jughead try to hide their relationship and worry about the escape of Polly from the institute…but Cheryl’s Vixens puts everyone on the trail of Polly.  Alice reveals Polly’s pregnancy to the press, but Betty learns her parents have different plans for the baby…leading to an uneasy alliance with Cheryl.  Jughead tries to get his father F.P. (Skeet Ulrich) to accept Archie’s father’s offer of employment but faces his own problems when he is questioned by police.

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“Chapter 8: The Outsiders”

1.8       Chapter 8:  The Outsiders Airdate:  03/30/17

Polly finds herself rejected by the Blossoms, but the baby rejected by her parents…and Veronica decides to throw Polly a baby shower for the baby to mend differences.  Fred encounters difficulties when the Blossoms try to hire his crew.  Moose is attacked when trying to help the Andrews, but when Archie suspects the Serpents, he could be headed for trouble.  Alice discovers her husband stepped into the situation involving Polly’s pregnancy which forces Polly to make a big decision.

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“Chapter 9: La Grande Illusion”

1.9       Chapter 9:  La Grande Illusion Airdate:  04/06/17

Veronica learns things aren’t good at Ethel’s home and invites Ethel Muggs (Shannon Purser) to help her.  Archie finds himself invited by Cheryl to the Blossom annual tree tapping ceremony and learns that it could be good for his future.  Hermione Lodge (Marisol Nichols) reveals Ethel’s problems could be a result of her husband and is forced to admit her ties to Hiram’s ties to property to Fred.  Archie’s attempts to appeals the Blossoms could cost him.

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“Chapter 10: The Lost Weekend”

1.10     Chapter 10:  The Lost Weekend Airdate:  04/13/17

It’s Jughead’s birthday, and Betty is considering throwing him a surprise party against his wishes.  Chuck Clayton returns to school as Archie deals with his break-up with Val.  Veronica investigates her father’s ties to the Blossoms and questions if he could be tied to Jason’s death.  When Veronica challenges Cheryl for the leadership of the cheer squad, Cheryl teams up with Chuck with plans for revenge, and a game of truth could leave secrets exposed.

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“Chapter 11: To Riverdale and Back Again”

1.11     Chapter 11:  To Riverdale and Back Again Airdate:  04/27/17

Archie’s mother Mary (Molly Ringwald) has returned and has Archie questioning his choices as the big dance comes.  Veronica learns her testimony could free her father and sets out to find the truth if he is guilty.  Polly’s investigation into the Blossoms discovers a clue.  Veronica finds herself teamed with Mrs. Cooper to investigate Jughead’s father’s involvement with Hiram Lodge.  The Homecoming Dance could be explosive as the police make a big arrest.

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“Chapter 12: Anatomy of a Murder”

1.12     Chapter 12:  Anatomy of a Murder Airdate:  05/04/17

F.P. has been arrested for Jason Blossom’s murder, but Archie and Veronica reveal that they believe the gun was planted after their break-in.  With F.P. admitting to murder, Betty’s father (Lochlyn Munro) reveals a shocking secret.  Archie, Betty, Jughead, Veronica, and Kevin team-up to find the truth and uncover a shocking murder that could change everything.

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“Chapter 13: The Sweet Hereafter”

1.13     Chapter 13:  The Sweet Hereafter Airdate:  05/11/17

Clifford Blossom (Barclay Hope) is dead from suicide after the revelation that he killed his own son for the discovery of a drug empire.  Veronica learns her father is going to be released and questions what it means for her family.  Archie and Veronica tell Betty about their relationship while the town preparing for the 75th anniversary.  Jughead gets bad news about his future at Riverdale as Cheryl makes a decision about her future in the city.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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