‘Riverdale’ is back and tenser than ever

The CW hit show “Riverdale” returned Wednesday night with its season premiere episode, “Chapter Fourteen: A Kiss Before Dying.”

The episode begins with Jughead’s classic narration and shows Archie driving his father to the hospital, covered in blood from the gunshot wound that ended the last season. Early on, it is discovered that Fred Andrew’s wallet went missing after he was shot, which becomes a major conflict in the episode.

This puts Betty and Jughead back into their role of investigators as they go off on their own to look for it. Clearly, as the show has repeatedly proven, a group of high school sophomores is better at solving crimes than the town’s police department.

Season two of “Riverdale" brings its viewers back to the confusing and cliché town they fell in love with last year. The show continues to master the art of being a soap opera for teens. Its 20-year-old actors maintain their roles as 14-year-olds who act as the heads of their respective families, incapable of going a day without experiencing drama.

The show’s dramatic music, intense lighting and questionable writing are almost comical, yet that seems to be the reason viewers continue to watch. Hearing the town sheriff refer to a drug as “jingle-jangle” during a serious scene is a type of comedy few shows can achieve. If anything, “Riverdale” recognizes that it is over-dramatic and uses that to its advantage.

“It’s so cringy, it’s good” first-semester English major, Lucie Turkel, said.

This aspect of the show has become a gimmick that draws viewers in.

Season two takes a darker view on the town than the last season did and every second of the show is packed with tension. From beginning to end, the episode is in constant motion, seamlessly jumping across subplots and characters. The town’s events have thrown everything into chaos and characters are quick to blame each other, making interactions strained and leaving viewers guessing at who the true antagonist of the show is.

This season introduces a new character, finally giving a face to Veronica’s father, Hiram Lodge, who played a major role last season. His return from prison shows him seated at the head of a table in dim lighting as the words “so you want to start a war” are sung behind him, foreshadowing the growing conflict and mistrust between him and his daughter that is sure to play a large role later this season.

Notable, too, is the way that Reggie Mantle – formerly played by “13 Reasons Why” star Ross Butler – has been recast as Charles Melton. Butler was unable to make the time commitment to filming, as his character is set to hold a large role in this season.

The episode leaves several characters in rough shape and ends with a cliffhanger that catches the audience by surprise.

“The last five minutes took my breath away,” said first-semester English major, Livia Zapata. “I can’t wait for the rest of the season.”

Riverdale’s promise that season two would be darker has already begun to come true, and it still has its entire season ahead of itself.

The next episode will air on Oct. 18 at 8 p.m. on the CW.


Courtney Gavitt is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at courtney.gavitt@uconn.edu.