Riverdale - Season 1 Episode 1: "The River's Edge" TV Episode Review

Written by Ali Chappell

Official Site


Directed by Lee Toland Krieger
Writen by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
2017, 46 minutes, Rated TV-14
Episode premiered on January 26th, 2017

Starring:
K.J. Apa as Archie Andrews
Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper
Camila Mendes as Veronica Lodge
Cole Sprouse as Jughead Jones
Marisol Nichols as Hermione Lodge
Madelaine Petsch as Cheryl Blossom
Ashleigh Murray as Josie McCoy
Mädchen Amick as Alice Cooper
Luke Perry as Fred Andrews
Ross Butler as Reggie Mantle

Review:

Is the child within you screaming right now? Archie is back. The whole gang returns in Riverdale, the new series brought to you by CW. Only with a slight edge. Reggie (Ross Butler) is now a hot-shot Asian. Jughead (Cole Sprouse), our burger loving best friend, is now a dark blogger writing about the tales of Riverdale (he's also the narrator of the show). Our favorite best friends, Betty (Lili Reinhart) and Veronica (Camila Mendes) return with a new sense of adventure and intrigue. Oh, and we kick off chapter one with a murder.

Let's begin with the murder. The obvious hook of the show. Weirdly close twins, Jason (Trevor Stines) and Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch) go for a boat ride the morning of July 4th. Two siblings leave, one returns. Jason is missing and considered dead. This news shakes this quiet and humble town to its core, leaving you with the question 'what happened to Jason?'

Anyone who read the comics knows that Betty has been in love with Archie forever, but you never really get how Archie feels. She decides to finally get her answer. Sitting in that ever-so-famous Pops (a true trope of the series) enjoying a couple late night eats, when the new girl in town walks right through the front door. Veronica Lodge. Her father embezzled all their money, so her and her mother Hermione (Marisol Nichols) are forced to move here back to her hometown. The moment her and Betty begin to talk, the moment Archie catches his first glimpse at her, you know the friendship we grew up loving is about to form and the battle for Archie-kins heart will begin.

Betty befriends Veronica and in turn Veronica gets Betty on the cheerleading squad, The Riverdale Vixens, run by the queen bitch herself, Cheryl. Where we learn more about Betty's sister Polly, who dated Jason and is now in a mental institution. When Cheryl forces Betty to talk about it, to take herself down a peg or two, you can see the anger building up inside Betty. You can feel her holding back a reckoning. Instead, she says she's sorry for her loss. The good girl method. The way the characters are kept true to the comic with an upgraded edge to appeal to the masses makes them more relatable. You want to be best friends with Betty and Veronica, you want to pull Cheryl's stupid red hair and most of all, you want shake Archie like a red-headed child and tell him not to be so stupid.

Alright, alright, alright. Enough about everyone else. Archie is the title hunk of this series. What's his deal? Well, apparently over the summer he worked with his dad in construction, but that's not all he did. He may have had a sexual encounter or two with a certain music teacher, Geraldine Grundy (Sarah Habel), at his high school. What's even more suspect is that they happened to be at the lake on July 4th and they heard a gunshot.

Episode 1 closes with Kevin Keller (Casey Cott), our favorite gay bestie, going to the river's edge alone with Moose (Cody Kearsley) for some "everything but kissing." Instead of experimenting with Moose's homosexual feelings, they find Jason's body in the river. Bullet hole right between the eyes.

The cinematography throughout the episode plays into the emotions we are meant to feel. The darker a scene looks, the more intense it's going to be; unless set in Pops, where the pops of neon colours against the dark setting contrast. The opening scene by the river only has the flash of white in the clothing the Blossom twins were wearing, played against the dull vibrancy of the forest setting.

I was weary about how this series would turn out, growing up with these comic books we all have a vision of how each character should be perceived. During the premiere of Riverdale, those representations get thrown for a loop and I am welcoming this change. Forget what you thought you knew about Archie and the gang, they are all grown up now and things are very different.

Riverdale is shaping up to be a season of teen drama mixed with a whole lot of deadly trouble, but one thing is for sure, someone is about to break. The money is currently on Betty, but Cheryl shows promise of slipping up somewhere along the lines.

Side note: The NEW Josie and The Pussycats are going to be the best part about this whole series. Soundtrack = pre-ordered.

Grades:

Episode: 4 Star Rating Cover
Buy from Amazon US

 

Click on a cover to read more episode reviews of Riverdale: Season 1.

 

 

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About The Author
Ali Chappell
Reviewer - US
Ali Chappell grew up in a wholesome Canadian family that embraced her love of horror at a young age, which allowed her to become desensitized towards its violent nature. She has a several degrees, including business, a triple threat theater degree and is currently working on her third in the field of archaeology. On top of being a writer and an avid horror fan, she is also a yoga teacher, archer, tarot card reader, in the midst of planning her first heist and still enjoys the bright life of being a struggling actress. When she isn't traveling the globe, she is usually found hiding in a movie theater hating the world and everyone in it. However, she is also very optimistic and cheerful and hopes one day Joe Dante will notice her (so she can stop obsessing over him, it's getting kind of weird).
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