S01E05: Heart of Darkness
As the final scene of this weeks episode plays the gasps and “omg” can be heard across the seas. Is Betty’s Dad Hal, the killer of Jason Blossom? Is this really Betty’s show rather than Archie? Is Jughead still writing his novel and where is Archie’s Mum? Once again the twists and turns keep you on your toes as Riverdale sucks you back in for another chapter. With this week being no different as we dive head first into the inner workings of Cheryl Blossom and her grieving family.
When someone is grieving you can let some actions and comments slip through because that person is not quite himself or herself. But it is hard to let Cheryl’s mum, Penelope, get away with being so horrible to her daughter. You can see where Cheryl get’s her sass and attitude from. Penelope tells Cheryl she can’t speak or even attend her brother’s funeral. Why, because every single suspect in the murder case has been invited so Clifford and Penelope can get a step closer to figuring out who killed their son Jason.
To help Cheryl get through the dark time, she invites Veronica to stay the night before the funeral. A questionable act, but you can start to see some vulnerability in Cheryl that will later vanish no doubt. Just as the funeral is about to start, Cheryl struts down the walkway with an eerie and haunting rendition of Shout by Tears for Fears playing. Cheryl gives a stellar performance as she mourns over her loss, which is met with a public hug from Veronica. But as punishment for Cheryl giving her little speech, Penelope snaps and tells her she is being sent to a boarding school in Europe.
This is the first time the actress who plays Cheryl, Madelaine Petsch, has stepped up her performance. A crowd favourite for her sassy comebacks and quick polished delivery, but there has always been something holding her back to really show her natural character. The more we get to know Cheryl the more it’s clear Petsch has been holding back to this point and possibly further as the season goes on before Cheryl explodes.
When you think of the comic series of which Riverdale is based on, it is always Archie doing the investigating or at least centre stage. But what is emerging with Riverdale is rather the opposite with Archie taking more of a backseat to the story line. Did Archie kill Jason Blossom, is that why the writers are playing his character down? Maybe Jason caught Archie with Miss Grundy so Archie shot him with the gun that Grundy kept in her car. Maybe there was a jealous love triangle, which resulted in Miss Grundy being the murderer. Interesting theory.
So Archie’s story line isn’t centre stage, it’s becoming more the Betty and Jughead story. And that’s evident with Judghead narrating each chapter but also doing a chunk of the investigating with Betty. Curious if Archie will make more of an appearance aside from the love interest for Betty and Veronica or if he will continue to fade into the background. Needless to say Archie decides he needs to train harder for the Captain role in the football team. But after being told he isn’t a very good song writer then being told by Josie and the Pussycat’s, Valerie, he has what it takes, he turns down the Captaincy and goes about his ways.
Betty is doing her best to figure out who killed Jason Blossom, along with Jughead. And they use their invite to the funeral of Jason to snoop around the Blossom’s home. This is after Betty met with a friend of Jason’s, Trav Brown, who confessed Jason was selling off his personal belongings before he ran away. But not only that he was also selling drugs, but why they still aren’t sure. So as Betty and Jughead rummage through the Blossom’s home Cheryl’s grandmother who mistook Betty for her sister Polly confronts them rather creepily from behind the bedroom door. After some creepy back and forth Betty realises Polly and Jason were engaged only known by the parents of each of the families. When Betty confronted her father about it he explains he knew about the engagement and confessed Polly tried to kill her self. But by this point we have to question anything Hal says, as he is now one of the main suspects in the murder case. So much so Betty and Jughead have put his name on their murder board.
As we move in to the middle of the season we start to fill in gaps and this “chapter” is very much filling in gaps. While we add Betty’s Dad Hal into the list of killers, we get to know more of each of the characters such as the Blossom Family in this chapter. All these little bits we see now will no doubt all come together in what will be an extravagant finale. And what a finale it will be as we will finally get to meet Archies mother played by no other than 80s superstar Molly Ringwald. You’ll have to wait a while for that though.
Review by Jay Cook
You can catch weekly episodes of Riverdale every Friday on Netflix