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RIVERDALE Series Premiere Recap: Chapter One

RIVERDALE Series Premiere Recap: Chapter One

Editor’s Note: this is a recap! That means: spoilers. Only read on if you’ve watched (or want to be spoiled on) Riverdale‘s latest episode.

The first episode of Riverdale opens with a monologue from Jughead, an amateur sleuth of a sort. Basically, he says that if you look closely at the town of Riverdale, you’ll “starting seeing the shadows underneath.” That may as well be the theme for the entire pilot, as it seems dead set on letting you know that every corner of Riverdale is masked in shadow. This episode just layers on the mysteries, one right after another. Welcome to your new CW obsession.

After a slow crawl through the creepy, Twin Peaks-esque landscape of Riverdale, USA, we’re introduced to the show’s first big mystery: the death of Jason Blossom. You see, on the fourth of July, Jason and his twin sister Cheryl took a little boat ride out on the river. Jason never came back, and by the end of the episode his corpse was found with a bullet in its head—it certainly seems like Jason Blossom is Riverdale‘s Laura Palmer and that’s not a bad thing. Having a big, tentpole mystery that serves as a launching point for the show’s various plots and subplots could work. Time will tell.

Riverdale -- "Pilot" -- Image Number: RVD101g_0362.jpg -- Pictured: Cole Sprouse as Jughead -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network. All Rights Reserved.

With the horrific death of a teenager on viewers’ minds, it only makes sense to jump right into sassy, half-naked kids having a good time, which is exactly what the show did. We met Betty, sitting in her bra chatting with her best friend Kevin Keller (he’s gay, as the show points out several times). Betty’s the classic “girl next door” except she’s drop dead gorgeous and stylish to boot. She’s also got it bad for the boy next door, the only and only Archie Andrews, who apparently changes clothes while standing at his window.

Archie, we quickly discover, got hot over the summer. He’s buffed up and is now Riverdale’s sex symbol number one. He’s so hot, in fact, that we quickly discover that he boned down with his teacher a few weeks ago. Ooh! That’s right, Archie Andrews, wholesome as American pie, got down and dirty with his teacher over the summer break. That pretty much tells you where Riverdale is headed.

Now, Betty’s got it bad for Archie. The two have been friends forever and she’s ready to take it to the next level. If you know the comic books on which these characters are based, you won’t be surprised to find that Betty’s plan to get some sweet, sweet Archie action is muddled by a newcomer to Riverdale named Veronica.

Riverdale -- "Pilot" -- Image Number:RVD101g_0050.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): KJ Apa as Archie, Camila Mendes as Veronica and Lili Reinhart as Betty -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network. All Rights Reserved.

This is probably a good time to note that all these kids are sophomores. Horny, horny high school sophomores. In the fine tradition of high school TV dramas, most of the actors look a bit older. Like, seniors at the youngest, maybe more like college freshmen. They’re all dolled up and beautiful and not the least bit awkward, unlike most high school sophomores.

Despite the love triangle that Veronica’s sexiness brings, Betty and her become friends. They try-out for the Cheer Squad together and even make-out at one point. The thing is, the way the kiss is set up in the show, it doesn’t feel weird, exploitative, or out of place. It just works, in the strangest way.

While Betty and Veronica are becoming BFFs, we learn that Archie is a brooding phenom. That’s not to say that his amazing at brooding (although he is), but rather that he is talented at literally everything and also happens to spend a large amount of time brooding. He’s a football player (varsity, ‘natch) and an aspiring singer/songwriter. Buff, sexy, talented, and banging his teacher. Archie is truly living the American dream.

Riverdale -- "Pilot" -- Image Number: RVD101e_0277.jpg -- Pictured: Lili Reinhart as Betty -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network. All Rights Reserved.

Throughout the entire episode, nuggets of mysteries are teased. There’s almost too many to count. What happened to Betty’s sister? Why aren’t Archie and Jughead friends anymore? What did Veronica’s dad do? Riverdale is an overcooked soap opera, like a modern Melrose Place or later seasons of 90210Riverdale might be based on a comic book that’s as wholesome as apple pie, but it’s an apple pie made with rum and a dusting of cocaine.

Some of these mysteries linger on the screen for a few minutes and some just breeze through, presumably to be visited at a later date. It’s clear that the showrunners wanted to jam this episode full of teases and glimpses of possible storylines, and that’s more than likely the direction the show will take. One mystery leads to another which leads to another and so on and so on. We’ve seen this formula before and when it’s done right, it works great. Riverdale is doing it right. So far.

What did you think of the first episode of Riverdale? Let us know in the comments below!

Images: The CW

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