Riverdale Season 2 Episode 1 Recap


Warning: Spoilers for Riverdale season 2, episode 1, “A Kiss Before Dying,” are ahead.

Let’s just get this out of the way: Fred is not dead, Bughead is still the cutest couple on TV, and Archie was actually amazing this episode and didn’t talk about his music once. Okay, did I hit all the important Riverdale talking points? Good, because I really want to talk about something totally different.

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The season two premiere featured one of the most rewarding on-screen deaths I’ve seen in a while (more on that later). But first, I would like to point out that every single character on Riverdale is an actual psychopath. Archie (K.J. Apa) and Fred Andrews (Luke Perry) are the possible exceptions, though between papa Andrews’ death dreams and Archie sitting vigil, bat in hand, at the end of the episode, the good ole boys may be well on their way.

We’ve got Jughead (Cole Sprouse), who, after a blood-soaked Archie drags his father to the safety of the hospital (come on, you didn’t REALLY think they were going to kill off Luke Perry, did you?), wants to believe the shooting was a premeditated hit so bad I would almost think he had something to do with it. But that would be absurd, right? RIGHT? Even when he’s sent to Pop’s to look for Fred’s missing wallet, he’s almost more joyful than we ever saw him in season one, despite the blood from his best friend’s father’s attempted murder still on the tile under his feet. He’s munching on his burger while cracking jokes with Betty and telling harbinger Pop to “lighten up,” trading in his Quentin Tarantino quotes for classic horror references. The shoe would most certainly fit, given that the actor who plays his father, FP (Skeet Ulrich), is the OG psycho teen killer with a film obsession.

Scream

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Jughead does ultimately shed his veneer when the bearded Southside Serpents—whom he’d asked to find out whether a gang member was responsible for Fred’s shooting—brought a thoroughly beaten Serpent to his trailer. He didn’t do it, but the loudmouth seemed too happy about the shooting, so the gang took care of that. But now it seems he’s in deeper with the Serpents than he thought, doesn’t it?

Then there’s Veronica (Camila Mendes), who I am absolutely convinced is out of her mind. Let’s pretend for a second that she didn’t hop in the shower with her boyfriend as he literally washes his father’s blood off his body. The first shot of V in the premiere is of her casually sipping a mimosa in front of her mother, the first of many almost-erotic confrontations between the Lodge family. “I don’t think you’re an innocent pawn, Mom,”she whispers to Hermione (Marisol Nichols) in the hospital chapel, convinced her mother ordered the hit on Fred. I think you’re Daddy’s eyes and ears on the ground, calling the shots.”

And when we are finally introduced to the mysterious Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos), he’s seated at the head of the dining-room table, with Hermione standing ominously beside him. They scold V for being late and drinking his Cristal. When Veronica asks him if he’s changed, he says, “not so much that I still don’t want a kiss hello from my daughter.” I’m officially creeped out.

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Oooooookay then.

The CW/Riverdale

But it’s Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch) who’s the real crowning jewel of the premiere; she goes full Carrie on her mother, who’s suffering from third-degree burns caused by the fire at Thornhill. She delivers the most deserved, insane monologue of the episode, while cutting off her mother’s breathing tube: “You were cruel to me, mother. It was abuse, plain and simple. So, henceforth, if you breathe it’s because I give you air. If you drink, it is because I poured your cup myself, and if you move, it is quietly and with my blessing.” I’m dead. Cheryl threatens her mother that she’ll tell the truth about what happened to “Daddy in the shed.” So maybe Clifford’s death wasn’t suicide?

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Basically, I’m waiting for Sheriff Keller to arrest everyone for murder. I honestly think they’re all guilty. Which brings us to the most shocking moment of the night, and my favorite. See, the Chocklit Shoppe shooter wasn’t just going after Fred Andrews. He tracks down the creepy Miss Grundy, who—as I’ve pointed out before—totally got away with her inappropriate relationship with Archie far too easily. I literally screamed when he strangled her with her own cello bow, presumably the one gifted to her by Archie. But not before we learn she’s up to her old tricks with a new student. So. Glad. She’s. Dead.

There’s no doubt Riverdale is a whole new show this season. It’s shifted from nostalgic noir to straight-up horror, complete with jump scares. But the biggest mystery isn’t who is killing Archie’s nearest and dearest or where Jughead suddenly picked up that gorgeous motorcycle. What I want to know is why all these teenagers who are still calling their parents “Mommy” and “Daddy” are allowed in public.



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