Fangs Makes Like Elvis On Next Week’s ‘Riverdale’

by Rachel Bellwoar

Letting the cast of Riverdale play characters closer to their age was nice while it lasted, but it’s back to high school, and not just any high school, but high school in 1955, where no school dance (as this trailer attests) would be complete without an Elvis impersonator:

Continuity has never been Riverdale’s strongpoint (especially in recent years), which is why it feels strange for the series to change gears now, but if there was a drawback to this week’s season premiere (the series’ last, as the show will be ending in August) it was that it didn’t embrace being a total reboot. New era, new Riverdale, except by having Jughead (Cole Sprouse) remember the events of last season (namely that Bailey’s Comet presumably destroyed present day Riverdale) the show couldn’t really explore the things that make 50’s Riverdale exciting: Cheryl’s twin brother being alive — except he’s no longer Jason (Trevor Stines) but Julian (Nicholas Barasch) — and Betty’s father (Lochlyn Munro) being back from the dead. As Jughead pointedly tells Betty (Lili Reinhart), the term “serial killer” didn’t exist yet in the 50’s. Is that about to change?

Maybe things will be better next week. Tabitha (Erinn Westbrook) has wiped Jughead’s mind now, so there’s a chance the show will move on (though the reappearance of Jughead’s old beanie at the end seems to suggest that an attempt to return to the present day will still be made).

Some other thoughts on this week’s episode:

  • Addressing real historical events on a show like Riverdale (which also has witchcraft and superheroes) is dodgy on the best of days, but this week’s Emmett Till storyline (while extremely important) felt forced, especially since at the same time the series was trying to present Riverdale as this trailblazing school, that’s already desegregated in 1955 (five years before Ruby Bridges).
  • Given how absent Archie’s mom (Molly Ringwald) has been in the past, it felt pretty comical to see her be so overprotective of Archie (KJ Apa) in the 50’s (stopping him from driving in light of James Dean’s death)
  • Nice period detail: having the opening credits of Veronica’s parents’ show be very similar to the opening credits for I Love Lucy
  • Instead of having Veronica (Camila Mendes) live by herself, it would’ve been neat if Smithers (Tom McBeath) could’ve returned.

Riverdale airs Wednesdays on The CW.

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