"If there's an issue in all of this so far, it's that the show has been resolving its conflict too speedily. The last finale suggested there was a serious sacrifice involved in Nick getting trapped in hell, but two episodes in, he's fine and free (if allergic to shirts) after only a month. And the danger of the freezer trap is so brief that there's almost no tension to it. Lilith shows up to retrieve Sabrina so quickly she's barely in danger due to a just-revealed psychic trail. Will this happen any time she gets into a scrape? Even the disappearance of Faustus feels a little too quickly resolved. There's barely any time spent with Ambrose and Prudence on the road before they're back in the fold. It does get the gang back together to face off a new villain, but it would be nice to see the show let its challenges breathe for a while. Sabrina's tendency to get her own way can reflect her tenacity, but sometimes it seems like it's also reflecting the show pulling obstacles out of her way."
Lisa Weidenfeld, AVClub
All of what Lisa said above, I couldn't agree with more. This season lacks direction thus far, since every time it starts to go somewhere, the writers yank it out from under and resolve it too easily and quickly. Let's hope the next few episodes pick up in pace and purpose.
A much-needed "calm down" episode after the last one. I loved seeing the show completely shift gears after the trauma of riot night.
Ve stood up to her father and gave up her family legacy, just to save Pop's. Hermione finally helped her daughter instead of being Hiram's obedient wife. Archie made it clear that he is no longer Hiram's lackey. Betty confronted her father and walked away from all of the darkness he represents. Cheryl got emancipated from her horrid, abusive mother and found a new family in the Serpents. The divisions between the Northside and the Southside are gone- now there is only one united Riverdale. The Serpents are no longer the enemy of the town.
All of this was great resolution and set in motion some very exciting plots for next season. I was also glad to see some new terrors be opened up, not just resolution, especially with Hiram's plan for the prison finally making sense- it was never a plan to "go clean," it was a plan to partner up with some of the most despicable figures in Riverdale, Penelope, Claudius, Penny to start a drug empire. To make sure the children don't get in their way, he set out to dissolve the very glue that holds them together and frame Archie for murder. Then, there was also that interesting bit between Alice and Polly and her very creepy and telling smile once Alice agreed to meet someone from The Farm. I am so excited to see where this all goes and what's next for everyone.
I have never, ever experienced anything like this episode before. It left me fired up and drained at the same time, emotionally exhausted from all of the murder attempts. I actually had to come down from an adrenaline rush. My dopamine was firing and I, honest to god, had a full-body crash after the episode ended. This was spectacular.
The ability of this show to pack so many tense, dramatic, action-filled moments, but still make each feel like they matter, is unparalleled. It's easy to breed chaos, to let a thousand plots run loose, but you know you've succeeded at writing a show when each of those many plots have a precedent, logic, and emotional stakes that make the viewer care. That's not an easy feat.
The Black Hood reveal was handled wonderfully, in a way that allowed Riverdale to steer clear of the teen drama tropes. There was no cliche "unmasking" moment, just an explanation that made perfect, jaw-dropping sense and altered the course of the show entirely. It also opened up a new mystery, with the identity of the second Black Hood still being unknown.
Also, on the topic of Jughead, because this review wouldn't be complete without it...
I find it hilarious that while the town was in shambles and everyone was rioting, Jughead still managed to put the pieces together and figure out that Hiram was responsible for all of this, that it wasn't happenstance. His brain is seriously something else. I think it also speaks to how Hiram was so threatened by him, that he accepted a deal to take out Jughead as opposed to an entire gang. I'm sure Jug will pull through and that he isn't dead, but I am in awe of the events that led to his self-sacrifice.
This was a superb episode, definitely one of the best of any teen drama I've ever seen.
A mayoral debate ends in gunfire, Betty starts to put the pieces together, the heat falls on Fangs, and Cheryl comes face-to-face with the Black Hood. This was an intense and phenomenally done episode. Each person is starting to show themselves for who they really are as veils of innocence and ignorance are being lifted.
The two times Betty confronts her father were remarkably different. At home versus on the phone, he was like an entirely different person when talking to her. I wonder if he has a split personality disorder or something of the sort.
I loved seeing Betty team up with Cheryl and having the Black Hood come to her door was jaw-dropping. I definitely caught how Hal said "Cheryl?" suspiciously after Betty said that they broke into his "shareBNB" together, so I suspect him for sure. Excellent hints throughout.
I also think it's great that Hiram is starting to show himself for who he really is. He's getting sloppy with his tactics and growing increasingly desperate to finish his plan for the prison. Archie is realizing that he's manipulating him and has been all along, and Veronica is seeing him for the monster that he really is. This is sure to be quite a dramatic last two episodes.
Not to mention all of the Northside/Southside tension. Poor Fangs, I hope he pulls through.
Wow, this might have been a season best for Riverdale. It had everything that makes this show so enthralling: camp, tension, high stakes, and relationships.
I have noticed that a lot of people seem to find that this show is less put-together than season one, but I have to disagree. I think it *has* fully changed genres from teen drama to camp... but it actually works even better as such, since it's something more original than the usual teen soap and more on-par with the tone and vibe that the show really excels in creating. These characters flourish in camp, and it almost feels as if they are somewhat held back whenever the show tries to lean into normalcy. Riverdale thrives on the chaos and the confusion.
I absolutely love this plot with Archie getting involved with the Lodge family business and seeing Veronica wrestle with how it might taint him. It's really quite karmic for her in a way, she turns a blind eye to her family's mob ties, until it affects someone she loves. It also pays great homage to "The Godfather," which was also referenced here in the brilliantly done scene in which Veronica is asked to denounce Satan and sees only Archie in the golden light.
I also love the Chic plot and the jaw-dropping moment at the end. He is proving to be a great harbinger of darkness for this show. I'm loving this season so much and it truly seems to get better and better with every episode.
I loved this episode. It was wonderfully campy a la Riverdale, but also emotionally grounded and powerful. I loved seeing friend and relationship dynamics explored and tested, as well as finally giving Cheryl, Toni, Moose, Kevin, and Midge some overdue screen-time. I was beyond happy to have Cheryl confide her secret in Toni. Finally, so much about her character makes sense.
I love how Riverdale is establishing increasingly high stakes this season, showing us how Archie is falling in deeper and deeper with the Lodges, the extent of which is unbeknownst even to Veronica. This entire Archie/Hiram plot is brilliant and perfect for a campy, tense, and soapy show like Riverdale.
Such an intense and dark episode. I loved the twist at the end with Hermione meeting Archie instead of Hiram. I suspect she's not as innocent in all of this as she seems. I loved seeing Betty and Jughead work together to cover up Alice's crime and bring in FP as well. Cheryl continues to be a secondary character this season but had some interesting development here. A great episode all-around with a lot of excitement.
This episode broke me. It was beautiful and heartbreaking. Raw and real. We subverted the dynamics that make this show by flipping the core four's roles, explored Alice and FP further, finally saw Varchie come to a crossroads, and tested the limits of Bughead in Jug's new world.
From a pitch-perfect reference to "The Godfather" by FP, to a riveting performance of "Mad World," to a rollercoaster of emotions with outstanding character development, this was one of Riverdale's all-time best episodes.
The town remains on edge after a chilling letter from the Black Hood challenges the town's residents to remain sinless for 48 hours, or he'll strike again. On one dark night, Jughead is called in by Penny Peabody to return her favor, and must recruit Archie for help; Cheryl helps Josie with her music career, until things begin to spiral when Josie receives some mysterious letters; Betty and Veronica investigate a suspicion about Sheriff Keller.
This was a phenomenal episode. It showed tremendous character development and was atmospherically gripping and dark. Major props for the cinematography. I loved the concept of parallel storylines, all taking place during the same night, but with different deadly outcomes. Having them all brought together at different booth's at Pop's was phenomenally done and beautifully shot. One of the best of the season.
Betty begins receiving terrifying calls from the Black Hood and is forced to cut herself off from her friends and boyfriend. Her mental state deteriorates as she is pulled deeper into his mind games. The Black Hood reveals a secret about Alice's past that rocks the town. Jughead endures an emotionally and physically tolling initiation to join the Serpents. He soon realizes that he can't be a Northsider and a Serpent when he loses two people who are close to him. Veronica's old Nick St. Clair, comes to town and brings chaos and unrest. His actions prove to be sinister and someone is caught in the crossfire with horrifying consequences.
This episode was true psychological horror and fantastic in every respect. There has never been a better episode of a teen drama. Lili's acting was phenomenal. Cole's too. I am in love with this season and this storyline.
Frustrated by the lack of progress made in catching his father's shooter, Archie takes matters into his own hands and forms a militia to protect his fellow students, a move that is largely welcomed after the attack on Moose and Midge. Alice receives a letter from the Black Hood and brings it to the attention of Sierra. Veronica is thrilled when Hiram's attempt to start fresh means she gets to introduce him to her friends, including Archie. Hermione warns Veronica that Hiram may not have the purest of intentions with Archie. Jughead starts his first day at Southside High and befriends a Serpent named Toni, but is uncomfortable with a mounting pressure to join the gang. Kevin's attempts to have some fun causes Betty and Cheryl to be concerned for his safety. A turn of events leads the town to realize their darkest chapter may be far from over.
A very strong episode. Lots of plots are moving in a really interesting direction. I love what's happening with Hiram, who's clearly sinking his claws into Archie for some nefarious purpose. I can't wait to see where this all goes.
This was, without a doubt, the best episode of season four and one of Riverdale's best of all time. It was incredibly coherent, well-written, and gripping, and all of the pieces from previous episodes came together to form a perfect puzzle. I am very impressed that the writers managed to keep track of all of their flash-forwards and clues, and deliver such a coherent and satisfying endgame. The writers clearly planned this all far ahead, giving us clues about the Stonewall Four, the Baxter Brothers franchise being stolen from Forsythe, Chipping's murder, and the terrifying Halloween night prank, right from the very beginning.
So many jaw-dropping moments and so many unexpected twists here. There was not a single dull moment in this packed episode. It also played like a season finale, complete with full-circle resolution-- ending the episode back in Pop's, toasting to a normal rest of senior year, bringing us right back to when the madness began.
This was truly phenomenal. Though season four suffered from a tonal rut in the first half, it quickly got itself together in the second half to deliver one of its best plots. It was clear from the beginning that the writers had something great up their sleeve with the Stonewall Prep storyline, even when the other plots were starting to flounder. This, though, exceeded all expectations.
That was a fantastic twist and very well put together logically. It all makes perfect sense and was wonderfully elaborate, much like an Agatha Christie novel. Let me break it down...
Brett and Donna attacked Jughead with the intent of murder, and tried to pin it on Betty by smearing his blood on the rock and getting her to doubt herself with the Devil's Breath.
Little did Brett and Donna know, they failed in actually killing Jughead, thanks to his beanie (as Betty says to him). They thought they actually succeeded in killing him and framing Betty.
When Veronica and Archie found Jug's body in the woods with Betty, they all realized that the Stonies tried to kill him and created this plan to expose them and bring them down for their attempted murder. This is why they were not sad about his "death," just shocked. Someone TRIED to murder their friend.
When Veronica was questioning Betty about holding the rock and not remembering, they were only wondering if SHE was the one that tried to kill Jughead. They had to make sure that Brett and Donna really had been the ones that attacked him, and tried to frame Betty.
So, Betty, Veronica, and Archie had to keep up the charade that Jughead was dead, in order to get the Stonies to trip up and confess to killing him, only to later reveal that he is still alive and nab them for attempted murder with their confession. Again, that's why they were all acting SHOCKED and WORRIED, not SAD.
Now, they've got the parents in on it and have made a big discovery about Donna that they'll use to blow everything up. I look forward to seeing where this goes, because this is truly Riverdale at its most brilliant and elaborate.
I loved this episode. It was very simple but very fun, it's nice to see some normal high school drama this season. I'm also happy the show has finally got itself out of the tonal rut of 4A with a lighter change in tone and new plots for most of the characters, except for Archie (Frank's arc is really dragging so hopefully it ends soon). I'm happy to see Veronica and Cheryl teaming up and Betty returning to her Nancy Drew roots with Jughead. The mystery of Stonewall Prep is really quite interesting and I look forward to seeing where it goes and how it leads to the flash-forwards that we've been seeing.
Riverdale High celebrates a monumental Spirit Week and gears up for a football game against Stonewall Prep. After being commissioned for a piece in the school's newspaper, Betty investigates claims that Stonewall's team plays dirty when Monroe is jumped before the big game. Betty enlists Veronica to go undercover at a Quill and Skull party to get Brett to admit to jumping Monroe, leading to an unexpected discovery. Jughead is welcomed into the Quill and Skull secret society with an initiation that involves revealing your darkest secret. He then scores an interview with a Yale recruiter but receives pressure from Mr. DuPont to halt Betty's exposé. Archie and Frank get to know one another better, much to Mary's chagrin, as she tries to convince her son that Fred's brother is bad news. Frank helps Monroe overcome his injury, in order to make sure he can play for the visiting Notre Dame recruiter. Cheryl goes toe-to-toe with the newly appointed leader of the River Vixens and comes up with an innovative way to be rid of her. Veronica continues to face off against Hiram when, after the successful launch of her new Luna Rum business, he slams her with a cease and desist order. She sends her father a message with Reggie's help and forges a "sweet" new partnership at the football game. The big football game is met with wins and losses for different people. Mr. Honey gives Betty permission to continue pursuing her efforts to expose Stonewall Prep, insofar as she brings home a win. Jughead and Brett receive news from Yale, and in the future, Jughead's acceptance may be short-lived.
This show is in a narrative and tonal rut. It just can't move on from Fred's death and keeps inventing new plots as a way to re-circle it. It is clear that the writers are still grieving over Luke Perry, but they have given him more than enough of a commemoration (In Memoriam, The Ice Storm) and need to get some fresh ideas on the page and move characters' storylines forward.
The only plot with any substance/progression is that of Jughead at Stonewall Prep and the mystery surrounding Chipping's murder. It is progressing well. The other plots, however, are just circling around and eating their own tails.
Archie is caught up in obstacle after obstacle regarding Fred's death. It was a tragic ordeal but it's time for his character to get an actual plot-line instead of the plot just being his trauma. Veronica is back to playing the same games with her father, revealing her plans to defeat him too early, and him always being two steps ahead and scuppering them (it is clear she did not take the therapist's advice to distance herself from him). Betty is caught up in a bizarre allegorical plot surrounding Dark Betty and her serial killer genes, which Alice and Charles are just static and circling Betty's weird self-confrontational journey. Cheryl is grieving over Jason (again) and giving her mother what she deserves, so just confronting events of the past without starting anything new.
It seems to be a recurring theme this season that entire plots are just being an exploration of the trauma caused by past events. Betty's entire plot is her analyzing the trauma caused by The Farm. Archie's entire plot is him acting out on the trauma of his father's death. Veronica's entire plot is her inability to move on from her father's monstrosities. Cheryl's entire plot is grieving over Jason, again, and confronting what her mother did last season. While these are interesting things to explore in one or two episodes, they do not constitute entire season-long plots. Again, the only plot that is going anywhere and leading to some sort of endgame is that of Stonewall Prep.
It's time for the writers to move on from the past and start thinking about the future. Let's hope for new plots in the second half and in season five.
As college deadlines loom, the Riverdale High guidance counselor holds extended office hours. Betty and Alice confront their unspoken tensions about the aftermath of The Farm. Archie opens up about his vigilantism and the trauma that drives his need to save others. Cheryl fears losing her cheerleading squad and opens up about her recent trials and tribulations with the Blossoms, dead and alive. Veronica is maddened when her father uses his money to control her once again and discusses her never-ending battle with Hiram and her fears of living his life. Jughead's academics are suffering as a result of his desperate attempts to prove his conspiracy theories and he pays his public alma mater in the hopes of doing college damage control, but ends up having to confront his downward spiral and how it affects others. With valuable insight and advice provided by Ms. Burble, each of the students make critical and overdue changes to their lives and forge new beginnings.
This was a phenomenal episode. Beautifully written and self-aware with powerful dialogue and tremendous character development that is incredibly crucial to setting the show back on track. It was perfectly acted and crafted. We've been waiting four seasons for this. One of Riverdale's all-time best episodes.
SO much clicked. OF COURSE Cheryl is being gaslighted, not haunted. OF COURSE Archie is playing vigilante because it's his way of coping with the pain of Fred's death. OF COURSE Alice gave Betty's college money away because she didn't want to lose her. It all makes so much sense in hindsight. But yet, we wouldn't have put those pieces together without many of these valuable explanations. Such a much-needed episode for the season.
It's the beginning of a new school year. Archie convinces Mad Dog to join the Bulldogs. Tensions brew with an insecure Reggie, leading to a realization by Archie about Reggie's home life. He soon helps Reggie forge a new beginning. Cheryl clashes with the new principal at Riverdale High when he sabotages her back-to-school dance and threatens her position, leading to a power struggle between the two. Cheryl throws a back-to-school party at Thistle House. Jughead receives a visit from one of the judges of the short story contest, who offers him a spot at Stonewall Prep, a prestigious private school. Jughead takes a tour and realizes he fits in better than he ever did at Riverdale, but transferring could mean spending less time with his girlfriend. Betty works with Charles to infiltrate The Farm but becomes worried when Alice stops communicating with them. Kevin tries to make amends with Betty, but she soon discovers that Kevin has still been talking to Fangs, leading her to use him to get to The Farm by letting a fake piece of intel slip around him. After everything, they get close to discovering the Farm's whereabouts. Veronica pays for her parents' mistakes when the paparazzi continuously ambush her at school and Hiram has a piece published that claims Veronica is the criminal mastermind instead of him. After a meeting with Mr. Honey, she fears that it will affect her standing at school and her Harvard application. She decides to bring all events to a head with a press conference.
It was great to return to high school drama in Riverdale while continuing to see the storyline with The Farm unfold. Everything is progressing nicely. We got a lot of heartwarming moments between our main and secondary characters as well as suspense. Something sinister is certainly in fruition with both The Farm and Jughead's new beginning at Stonewall Prep, and I look forward to seeing where it all goes.
Betty has her first session with Edgar, which proves to be far from what she expected. Determined to get to the bottom of it, she begins to unwind the web of lies spun by Edgar and comes across a series of horrifying revelations. Now sure that everyone is in danger, she warns Cheryl and Toni, leading to an epic, high-stakes race for their lives. Jughead tracks down the deliverer of Betty's envelope at prom and comes face-to-face with a troop of young G&G players protecting Ethel. As Jughead tries to convince Ethel to come out of hiding, they have a dangerous confrontation with the Black Hood and all of their lives are endangered. Ethel reveals the identity of The Gargoyle King. Archie and Veronica mastermind a plot to put Hiram behind bars after she discovering his lies about Pop's. He challenges Hiram to a boxing match and everyone wants in on the action, but Archie may not make it out of the ring alive. Jughead is determined to investigate the bombshell that Ethel dropped on him and has a shocking realization.
This was an insanely intense episode with lots of twists and cliffhangers. Very satisfying with Hiram getting what he deserves too! Can't wait for the epic finale.
Archie decides to bring The Red Paladin quest to a head by seeking out the remaining players with Hiram's quest cards. Jughead adds an addendum to the quest that will force them all to take their shots during a twelve-hour period or give up. The Joneses navigate a move to the Northside when Gladys unexpectedly buys the Cooper home, and as FP's 50th birthday approaches, his family celebrates and he reflects on his life. Jughead is tipped off about Gladys and does some digging. Reggie surprises Veronica with a risky request that may mean the end of their personal and professional relationship. Cheryl and Toni's power struggle comes to a hot and heavy head.
This was a great episode, mostly intended to shift pieces to where they need to be. Lots of the remaining mini-plots came to a head, which means we're probably going to get something more focused on the main two plots (The Farm, G&G) after the musical episode. The speech that Jughead gave for FP was beautiful and I loved his final line of the episode to Betty.
This episode started when every character was in a place of secrecy and uncertainty and ended in a really great place that puts them exactly where they need to be for the final arc.
This was a filler episode for sure. It was mostly just about Veronica dealing with her father and Gladys being overbearing, Jughead trying to sort out gang relations while trying to save a kid marked for sacrifice, and Betty freaking out about The Farm. Some moments were good but not a lot moved forward plot-wise, though it does feel like it's building to something. It's been a strong season overall thus far. A great twist about Joaquin's brother, though!
As Alice prepares for her baptism into The Farm, Betty tracks down a former Farmie and has a horrifying realization. Tensions mount between the Serpents and the Pretty Poisons, causing Jughead to reach out to the Ghoulies. Veronica attempts to keep her father from discovering the truth by working with Gladys. Archie steps back into the ring and after an impulsive decision, gets himself involved in a dangerous no-win situation.
This was an interesting episode with a lot of gripping moments, like Alice nearly drowning, Archie in the ring with his opponent, and Alice telling Betty she plans to sell the house. It was a bit of a filler in some respects but a lot of things were done well nevertheless, and I am glad they're starting to push The Farm storyline forward towards its endgame. It was also interesting that The Farm called dying to be "ascending," just like G&G. I'll be interested to see if and how they're connected.
A very strong and cohesive episode with a lot of witty dialogue and funny moments. This was definitely a return to the tone and storytelling style of season one and it worked perfectly, with plots like Josie's audition for Juilliard, Moose coming out to his dad, Cheryl trying to get into her mother's alma-mater. With all of the time they spend out of high school, it's been great to see them focus on it these past few episodes.
It was nice to see Cheryl get something to chew on and her relationship with Toni be developed further than usual. I was also shocked by the twist that Gladys was Hermione's buyer and she's manipulating everyone but love where it's going. Lots of great scenes and plots in motion!
Surprisingly coherent, Bizzarrodale offers a refreshing change of pace by putting Cheryl and Kevin where they belong: center stage.
So many revelations! This episode was not only beautifully directed and written but tied plot threads together and answered many of the outstanding questions: the seizures, the reason for the quarantine, how Claudius fits into all of the events, who killed Claudius in his cell, what really happened to Clifford at the end of season one, who shot Hiram (and why), how did FP suddenly become Sheriff, and what happened to Sheriff Minetta. All of those questions answered in ONE episode, and they all made sense!
I'm also incredibly impressed that they answered questions not only from season 3, but also from seasons 1 and 2, without it feeling contrived.
Definitely one of the best of the season so far and such great homage to Chinatown.
Well, that was a great episode. A nice tonal shake-up too after a darker first half of the season. It was nice to see them focusing on school again as well as some shocking twists setting everything in a new direction. I love everything that happened with Hiram's shooter and Claudius being murdered in his jail cell, proving that they are not the ultimate Big Bads that we thought they are. There were also a lot of major questions answered here, like who was the Gargoyle King in the costume and why did Hiram have the Gargoyle King in his office. It was great to start to see some of the logical reasoning behind all of the wild plots.
This was a pretty fun and satirical episode. Great set-up with the Smiths being Canadian and lots of great moments with them getting scammed but then saved by the overly kind Canadians.
There were a few jokes that didn't land and the ending could have been stronger, a "here we go again" type of ending would have been better with the real DNA results revealing they're Chinese or something else. Some missed potential in a few areas. But overall, a fun episode. The B-plot was a bit odd but gave us many fun one-liners from Francine.