Chapter 2, “A Touch of Evil”
Last chapter we met Archie and his clan while discovering there’s more to the death of Jason Blossom who was found in the river with a gunshot to his head. This chapter, the manhunt is on and it’s all about eye candy. Archie is tossing and turning in his bed in his underwear, then does a mid-night run to Ms Grundy’s house shirtless. Betty, Veronica and Cheryl are strutting their stuff in the River Vixens in their little Cheerleading outfits. There also happens to be some little gap fillers to the “who killed Jason Blossom” story.
While the school is in mourning over Jason’s death, the official manhunt is under way. Principal Weatherbee makes an announcement to the school to ask anyone with information to come forward. But as the local Sheriff is making his appeal Archie happens to walk past and catches the eye of Principal Weatherbee. This convinces Archie to speak with Ms Grundy to confess about what they heard the morning Jason Blossom died. But while Ms Grundy was convincing Archie to not say anything because she has feelings for him, what we really come to understand is that she just doesn’t want to lose her job. During this exchange with Archie, Jughead walks past the music room and sees them in an embrace.
This brings Archie and Jughead to have a confrontation about Archies little tryst to confess what he heard that one morning. This seems that it might be the most that these two have spoken in some time, though we still don’t know what it was that made them fall apart in the first place, they can repair what they once had “over many burgers”, said Jughead. This is the first real nod about Jughead to the cartoon series about his obsession with food, more so burgers.
Veronica attempts to make a mends with Betty by way of cupcakes, flowers and a pedicure. Betty’s still pretty cut about the kiss and ends up letting Cheryl takes advantage of the feud between the two. But in true Ice-Queen style Cheryl was only using this to get close to Betty in order for gossip about Betty’s sister who Cheryl thinks is her brother’s killer. And while all this backfires it only gives Betty’s Mother Alice, ammunition to turn her against the Blossoms even more. We also find out Alice is a little too happy Jason Blossom is dead. Made even creepier by paying off the Doctor who performed the Autopsy for information and to get a closer look.
The time comes in the episode where it all comes together. It’s raining and the River Vixens are throwing their pom poms about but curiously not getting wet. The Riverdale Bulldogs football team come running onto the field with Archie leading the way. This triggers Cheryl to see her brother, guess it’s the red hair thing, and she runs off to the change room. A shame because Cheryl gave a grand speech to the River Vixens while they were training about how she needs to show everyone how strong she is and how she isn’t a victim. Being the nice girls that they are, Veronica and Betty go to console Cheryl as she has her breakdown. This is where Cheryl let’s slip that her now dead brother Jason was supposed to come back. But as if the plot wasn’t thick enough, Cheryl stands up in class as the Sheriff enters at the doorway to the classroom. She puts her wrists out and tells everyone she is guilty.
We close off the episode with Archie, Jughead, Betty and Veronica coming back together sitting in a booth at what seems to be the only place that sells food at night, Pop’s Chock’lit Shop. And unlike one of Netflix’s series where you can watch each episode back to back, you have to wait a week to fill in the gaps.
This “chapter” isn’t a strong episode, there’s a couple of information drops, but it’s really just about cementing the characters and where they all fit together. No stand out performances, except if you are talking about Archie’s body. But what you will notice is Madelaine Petsch who plays Cheryl Blossm still hasn’t quite stepped into her character. She can act the Ice-Queen sassy redhead, but you can tell she is acting this character. And when you see her standing next to Lili Reinhart, Betty, it’s really obvious how hard she is trying.
Is it still worth hanging in with this series? Well you won’t find out who killed Jason Blossom if you don’t.
Review by Jay Cook
Riverdale is screening weekly episodes every Friday on Netflix Australia