Riverdale: This Episode Was Like Shit-Colored Paint (Hear Me Out)
Season 2, Episode 3
Greetings, folks, and welcome to The Queue’s official coverage of Riverdale season two. The third episode of season two had jingle jangle, almost no Cheryl (boo!), Kevin Keller mackin’ on dudes in the woods, and more, so let’s dive in.
And obviously, spoilers follow, so don’t read ahead if you hate knowing shit.
Episode Overview in Haiku Form
Y’all know I dig a haiku:
Kids doing dumb stuff at night,
Y’all, I’m getting bored.
This section breaks down the top five things you need to know from this episode:
- Kevin Keller’s been having many a rendezvous in the woods. Betty’s worried about his safety and keeps telling him to stop. Kevin’s like, “Girl, do you know how hard it is to find reliable D when you’re a gay guy living in a bumblefuck town in the middle of a goddamn pine forest on the Canadian border?”
- Veronica is still trying to make nice with her father, despite her mother’s warnings and the Very Obvious Signs that her dad is the human equivalent of Hades.
- Archie created a group of privileged, mostly white boy vigilantes who are somehow going to stop a crazed murderer with baseball bats and tire irons. Quick, find me the “Sure, Jan” meme.
- Jughead finally starts school at Southside High and proceeds to put every conceivable target on his back to make the scary gang kids hate him. For a pretentious son of a bitch who quotes all sorts of 1980s crap (aka the era of the stereotypical teen movie), he really doesn’t understand basic high school social dynamics. Also, he meets Toni Topaz, a girl who threatens his Romeo and Juliet thing with Betty. #shocker
- All of the parents, from Alice Cooper to Sheriff Keller, continue their quest to forever be The Worst.
Camila Mendes Eyebrows Update
Camila Mendes wasn’t too prominently featured in this episode, but I will say: Her quizzing eyebrows at her mother’s notion that she wasn’t in the “room where it happens” were quite a delight.
The Most Interesting Thing Archie Did in This Episode
In a very predictable and increasingly humdrum plot, Archie continued his vigilante ways, crescendoing in him creating a YouTube video threatening the unoriginally named Black Hood.
Artsy White Fuckboy Jughead Line of the Week
I’ve got to say, Jughead’s met his match in Toni Topaz. This exchange was pretty eye roll-worthy:
Jughead: “Well it’s no New York Times.”
Toni: “Kudos on finding your safe space, snowflake.”
Y’all are so #relevant!!!
Toni also had much to say about Emily the Strange and Winona Ryder from Beetlejuice, two things a kid born in the 2000s probably wouldn’t know anything about, but I digress.
Pretentious Film Observation of the Week
I took exactly one film class in college during my freshman year and I’m trying to pretend I learned things from it that I still remember.
I have a confession: I’ve been really bored during the first three episodes of this season. I think this is due to two different things.
First, I’m all for writers keeping things interesting by adding in some fresh meat, but there are too many characters to juggle who are all getting equal-ish amounts of airtime. The problem with this, of course, is that none of those plots get particularly deep, so by the end of the episode, we’re stuck with a muddled mess of poorly constructed storyboarding.
In just this episode alone, for example, we had:
- Kevin’s whole Grindr deal.
- Kevin and Moose having a moment.
- Jughead’s dealings at Southside High.
- The weird Toni/Jughead chemistry.
- Cheryl randomly popping up to start #drama.
- Hiram Lodge being The Worst
- Hermione Lodge being The Worst for different reasons.
- Reggie and Archie becoming buddies and forming the Red Circle.
- The Lodge dinner.
- Dalton Doiley getting multiple appearances (bizarre).
- Ethel being chased in the middle of the night.
- Alice Cooper getting a note from Black Hood.
The list goes on and on. You know when you were a kid and you decided to mix all of your watercolor paints together because you thought they would turn into a rainbow, but instead they just created a brown that resembled the color of a shit stain? That’s how I feel about writers’ ambitious attempts to take on so many subplots at once.
Because there’s too much to wade through, characters like Cheryl, who’s an absolute gem on this show, are barely featured. In these first three episodes, we didn’t even get a scene with Cheryl until at least one-third of the way through the episode, if not halfway. Meanwhile, I’m up to my eyeballs in the drama of people like Moose, Dilton Doiley, and Reggie. Snore.
Second, what was so fun about the first season was the agency that four high schoolers showed in chasing down a murderer and outsmarting every single person over the age of 18 along the way. Season one was like if the Scooby gang, Nancy Drew, and the Hardy Boys had a love child, and that’s what was exciting to watch: Kids not getting duped while adults constantly were.
Now we’ve got the youths doing one not smart thing after another, like Ethel walking down a dark street in the middle of the night by herself in B-grade horror film fashion and Jughead thinking he can stay late at night at his school with gang members roaming around. I think you can have teenagers who still act like teenagers while not losing the “kids outsmart the adults” quality that’s sorely missing from this season.
Analysis ’n’ Stuff
This is the section where I give my random thoughts and track a few things throughout the series.
We Need to Talk About Kevin
Kevin Keller finally had his breakout episode after having two lines total during the first two eps this season, which I was very stoked about. There was much to love about Kevin in this ep:
- That monologue where he called out Betty for being well-intentioned but problematic was great. A+, Casey Cott. You tear down that heteronormative bullshit.
- The solidarity moment between Kevin and Moose was touching, albeit random.
- Cheryl did sneak in a well-delivered: “So, buttoned-up Kevin Keller has a sex drive.”
Another question I have to ask: Did Betty out Kevin to his dad? If so, that’s ridiculous inappropriate, and I wish the show had addressed that more. Ooooof.
Ah, yet another mostly disappointing episode for people of color. Mayor McCoy barely made an appearance in a single scene, Josie and the Pussycats weren’t even in the episode, Reggie had some slightly heroic shenanigans, and Hermione keeps throwing in random Spanish in the ongoing attempts to make the show seem more diverse. And then there’s Southside High, which seems just as white as the rest of Riverdale.
There’s one nice addition, however: Toni Topaz, the reliable and quick-witted Southside Serpent, was a welcome change in this episode. The sexual tension between her and Jughead was palpable, so I’m already preparing my #RIPBughead tweets.
Jingle Jangle? How About No?
I can’t stop laughing every time writers try to force the “jingle jangle” drug nonsense down our throats. Those kids at Southside High looked like they were snorting Pixie Sticks.
This episode marked first appearances for characters like:
- Hal Cooper
- Polly Cooper (Great line about why Black Hood could come after her: “I’m an unwed mother carrying my cousin’s baby!”)
- Moose (Okay, he was there in the last episode, but he had actual lines this time.)
Was it entirely necessary for them to be there? As I mentioned in my pretentious film crap section, no. It’s like writers put all of the characters in a hat and were like, “Let’s pick five to feature with zero continuity!”
Meanwhile, Dilton Doiley made yet another appearance in this episode, a decision I don’t understand in the slightest.
What to Do About Hermione
I’ll be honest: I don’t know how to feel about Hermione. The problem is, I can’t tell if this is an intentional decision on the part of the show’s writers or a completely mucked up character development situation that even the writers didn’t even mean to create.
One second, Hermione is set up to be a sympathetic character who’s trapped in Hiram’s web of fuckery. The next second, she’s threatening her own daughter. But since we don’t really have much backstory on Hermione, it’s impossible to know if it’s deliberate or not on the part of writers.
Archie, I’m Snoring
Archie was always a pretty repetitive character, but we’re only three episodes in and I’m already tired of his “We’ve gotta subvert the po-po and find the killer ourselves!” schtick.
The problem isn’t that I don’t like this sort of plot; the issue is that Archie is the most vanilla (no bean) character on this show and has proven to be pretty dim-witted, so none of his ideas are interesting or clever. People with a heart of gold don’t make for must-watch TV, and having so much Archie in every episode is proving that.
A show like Riverdale revolves around someone like Archie at its core. The problem is, that person is usually pretty dull compared to everyone else. It was fine when he played a role of comparable size to everyone else last season, but a little Archiekins goes a v long way.
My Theory on Black Hood
This is my fun “fodder for next week” theory based on the episode four preview: Betty makes a comment about how Black Hood appears to be doing everything for her, which makes me want to believe that the killer is none other than her long-lost brother.
You’ll recall from last season that Alice Cooper told her daughter Betty that she’d gotten pregnant in high school and gave the baby up for adoption. I know there’s Dark Betty, but what about Dark Betty’s Brother?
I know the Black Hood reveal is already looking to be hella anti-climactic, but a gal can dream.