Look, they can’t all be winners. As we prepare for Season 2, let’s remember which episodes worked — and which bombed — the first time around!
3. Chapter Four: The Last Picture Show
This episode isn’t offensively bad, and it certainly has its moments, but it’s living proof that Riverdale is best when it stops trying to deviate to one-off side-plots and make them seem somehow more important than the main mystery. While the end to the Grundy nonsense was wonderful, in a show with such a short season you shouldn’t waste an episode as filler to button up a plotline that never should’ve happened in the first place. Break-in at the sheriff’s? Cool touch. Jughead’s homelessness? Great twist. But something about this episode just did not work, and I’ve got a sneaking suspicion it was the introduction of biker gangs into ‘wholesome’ ol’ Riverdale.
2. Chapter Ten: The Lost Weekend
When your whole episode’s theme is ‘let’s throw a party for a character that doesn’t want a party’, you’re really digging disgustingly deep into the teen drama tropes. And getting everyone drunk so they spill on secrets? Not only is it lazy writing, it didn’t actually end up amounting to much of anything plotwise. To make matters worse, this episode had some of the cringiest dialogue yet — and yes, I mean Jughead’s lone-wolf ‘weirdo’ monologue. While this slowly progressed the plot in the form of Bughead, Varchie and reintroducing Mary Andrews, the rest of the episode was just a waste to try and pair up Cheryl and Chuck as villains.
1. Chapter Three: Body Double
Not only is this episode the one that kicked off the lingering maple-syrup plot device so stupid it’s impossible to suspend disbelief for, it brought an unsatisfying fake-out conclusion to the previous episode’s CHERYL’S GETTING ARRESTED? cliffhanger. I’m all for girlpower, but Dilton sucks, Sticky Maples suck, Chuck sucks and, I’m sorry — Ethel sucks. This episode felt like a shoehorned-in side-plot that they kept trying to reference later so it didn’t just seem like a one-night stand to get Betty to go inexplicably dark, before promptly dialing things back to be a touch more subtle.
3. Chapter Twelve: Anatomy of a Murder
This is the one the whole show had been building up to. Mystery, tension, sleuthing… and finally, the revelation of Jason Blossom’s murderer. While I can’t say I was entirely shocked by the reveal, the acting in this episode was A+ and the imagery of the gang crowded around a laptop to watch the morbid footage was enough to bump this episode high. Finally, we’re getting answers.
2. Chapter One: The River’s Edge
Who can forget the first time they checked out Riverdale, only to find their old Archie Comics pals in a dark mysterious new world? Romance, heartbreak, dark mystery, comedy, and a dark shocking cliffhanger? When the show was announced and plot and casting details started to emerge, people didn’t know what to expect and certainly had their concerns. Not only did this episode prove them all wrong, there was no better way to start off the show.
1. Chapter Thirteen: The Sweet Hereafter
Well, the murderer has been revealed and is now dead. The finale should just wrap things up, right? What else could happen? Well, a lot, apparently. This episode was wall-to-wall craziness with slammin’ music performances, suicide attempts, arson, sex, betrayal, and THE (attempted?) MURDER OF A BELOVED CHARACTER. We could not be more hyped for October.
While we wait ‘til then, check out the rest of The Game of Nerds for all your other Riverdale and geeky fun stuff!