Stay on target ‘Riverdale’ Season 4 Trailer Toasts to a Mysterious Senior YearSDCC 2019: ‘Riverdale’ Cast Spills Details on Core ‘Mystery’ for Season 4 Riverdale has taken Archie comics and turned it into a small town teen drama with the worst parents on TV. I think this is part of what makes the show such a hit with people who haven’t been teenagers for years as well as (I assume) the actual teenagers its aimed at. Everyone can really root for the central characters because the adults in this series are the worst. It creates the sense of righteous indignation that felt so good as a teenager. When you knew you were the smartest being on the planet, and all the adults in your live were either clueless or actively out to get you. Riverdale gives us a world where that’s true.This week’s episode was full of horrifically bad parenting, as it revolved around the Blossoms and the beginning of maple syrup season. That’s the other thing that’s so great about this show. All the blood feuds, corporate espionage, and murder revolve around maple syrup. The opening shot of the family evilly sipping maple syrup might be the funniest moment of the series so far. With syrup season beginning, it would usually fall to the male heir of the Blossom empire to tap the first tree. With him being murdered, that responsibility falls to Cheryl. The board members descend on the Blossom home. Believing Cheryl incapable of taking over the family business, they’re looking to take over.Cheryl asks Archie to join her for support, and for once Archie does the smart thing and says no. He has a girlfriend. Good job, Archie. But soon, Mrs. Blossom shows up at the high school and stands way too close to him. She offers to get him into a prestigious music academy’s summer program if he supports Cheryl. He agrees because if it weren’t for the adults on this show, Archie would be the dumbest human in Riverdale. He attends the tapping with Cheryl and defends her when they overhear some tactless board members talking about how weak she is while walking right in front of them.Madelaine Petsch as Cheryl Blossom and KJ Apa as Archie Andrews (Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW)Of course, the Blossoms keep asking Archie for more things and offering more in return. They buy him a new guitar and suit, asking him to join Cheryl at a big maple syrup company dinner that weekend. Both his dad and Valerie try to warn him, but Archie doesn’t listen. If anything, he takes his parents’ words of caution to mean make sure the construction business is taken care of too. Because he’s an idiot. If there’s anything good that comes out of this mess, it’s Archie can contact Polly for Betty. At the dinner, Polly reveals to him that she chose to stay with the Blossoms because she suspects they had something to do with Jason’s death.It soon becomes clear that the richest family in town wants Archie to be more than Cheryl’s friend. Her father thinks the board will accept her leadership more easily if she has a man by her side. Cheryl’s just wants Archie. The fact that she approached him about being a replacement for her brother at the beginning of the episode makes that just a little creepy. Archie makes his first smart decision of the episode and decides to run away. On his way out, he overhears Cheryl’s parents talking about trying to take Hermione Lodge’s business interests and suggesting that they’re behind Hiram’s incarceration. As he leaves the property, Cheryl tells him he’s just like everyone else, using her to get something from her parents. He runs back to Val, who is done with him for completely ignoring her. Good. She doesn’t have to put up with this moron.Archie tells Betty everything he learned. Betty’s mother, meanwhile, has tried to get her estranged husband’s newspaper to publish a hit piece on the Blossom’s based on Archie’s information. Her husband fires her, and she throws a brick through the window because that’s what responsible adults do. Betty and Jughead hire her on at the school newspaper, which they say probably has a higher operating budget than the local media. Damn Riverdale that hurts. Just because something’s true doesn’t mean you have to say it.Shannon Purser as Ethel Muggs and Camila Mendes as Veronica Lodge (Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW)While all this was going on, Veronica is trying to help Ethel Muggs. Yay, Shannon Purser is back! Veronica notices Ethel’s poems have gotten dark lately. Remembering her mean girl days, she wants to try to make up for it by cheering Ethel up. Veronica learns that Ethel’s parents have been fighting and invites her over for a nice lunch on the weekend. When Hermione hears Ethel’s last name, she starts acting super weird. It turns out Hiram had done business with the Muggs family, and his embezzlement and subsequent incarceration left them broke.When Veronica hears that Ethel’s dad attempted suicide, she rushes to the hospital to offer condolences. She tells Ethel everything about who her father is. Ethel’s mom, another sterling example of Riverdale parenting, decides to scream at a teenager and throw her out of the visitors’ area. Fortunately, Ethel is more forgiving than her mother and agrees to stay friends. Veronica decides she’s done lying to protect her father, and Hermione tells Fred Andrews the entire truth of who he’s working for. Fred stays on the project in exchange for a significant stake in it. He also angrily breaks things off with Hermione. No love for the Andrews men. As the episode ends, we see Cheryl holding a photo from the tapping ceremony. She’s angrily scribbling over Archie and Polly’s faces.Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper (Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW)While the secondary plot was a little saccharine, it provided a nice contrast to the over-the-top crazy that was Archie’s journey through the Blossom abyss. This episode had creepy rich people reading from ancient scrolls, corporate intrigue and blackmail all over maple syrup. It also had a line about how after Jason’s death Cheryl thought she’d “tapped her last tree.” It’s delivered completely straight and serious like it’s the worst possible thing that could ever happen to her. It all adds a layer of absurdity that keeps you wondering what’s actually going on in this town. I also enjoyed that we got stupid Archie back. He’s been a little too competent lately, and it was comforting to see him be a gigantic bonehead again. As frustrating as they can be when not written well, Archie’s constant pratfalls are part of what make the show so fun.Need more Riverdale in your life check out our Archie Gift Guide.
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