“Riverdale” needs to pick its poison. The writers need to decide what type of show it’s going to be moving forward. Will it be so bad that it’s good or will it just be bad?
The fifth season opened on Wednesday with a myriad of bizarre, surreal plotlines that I can barely comprehend. First, Hiram Lodge, Veronica’s father and reformed villain, is suffering from a nameless degenerative disease. But he became a vigilante and is now beating the disease. Everyone in this town solves their problems by becoming a vigilante. How much crime can there be in a small town?
Second, Archie has to fight a forty-year-old high schooler named K.O. Kelly so he can get into the Naval Academy. The dude’s name is K.O. Of course, he wins. The only way Archie would’ve won is if he changed his name to Boxing Andrews.
Third, someone is sending the main characters’ snuff films. This leads Betty and Jughead to a combination rave and snuff film viewing. People in animal masks were either standing like mannequins in front of a projection of a person being murdered or they were thrashing around in the hallway, absolutely leaving it all out there on the floor. Then they run into Jughead’s younger sister, Jellybean, and lose track of the “Auteur,” the person that’s been sending them the tapes. This is a real show that managed to get a fifth season.
And finally, Archie and Betty kissed. But they’re dating other people! Oh no! Archie confesses this to Veronica and she cries and says they’ll pretend everything is okay until they go off to college in a few weeks. This plotline is meant to be the most affecting but I do not care about it. In a show where there are murder raves and gang members named “Sweet Pea” I simply do not have time to care about the teen romance aspect of this show.
This show is barely even a teen drama anymore. In season three Archie went to jail and fistfought a bear. How could I ever care about relationship drama after someone fistfought a bear?
“Riverdale” is a bloated mess. There’s so much going on that it’s impossible to keep track of all the details and really care about half of them. There are so many characters and half of them never get to do much of anything anymore. This show had its chance to be a regular teen drama. It chose to have gargoyle demons and a cult run by Chad Michael Murray. Going forward, “Riverdale” should drop the cliche love triangles and just lean into the lunacy.