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Sunday, November 26, 2017

TNH Roundtables: End of Season Review - Riverdale

As we do with other shows, The Nerd Hub sits down to discuss our thoughts on this latest season of Riverdale. What did they do right and what did they do wrong? Where have they been, and where could they be going? So, take a look at what we had to say and look for our reviews from the upcoming season, as well as, take to the comments section below and let us know what you thought about this series.

***Unfortunately Technical difficulties didn't allow us to publish this article when it was intended and by the time this can finally be released the second season will have aired, but responses were given after the first season wrapped and must be taken into account under such context.

Riverdale



          Riverdale is a show that took a dead and gone franchise and put a unique twist on it that mixes a not only bearable but interesting level of teen drama with mystery and suspense. The tone of the show (highlighted left) being even more so original and enticing tops this show off as an all-around gem. We now know that the show was successful enough to launch a second series surrounding Sabrina the teenage witch in her more dark and gritty comics version. The series will bring Sabrina through some chilling encounters with werewolves, vampires, demons, ghosts, ghouls and more. The fact that this show gained an infamous CW spinoff is quite an achievement and a leap for comic adaptions. So was it all just hype and luck or was this show worthy of a recommendation? That what we are here to find out as we discuss below. Spoilers lie ahead for those who have seen it but would like to continue engaging in new takes and theories, but for those looking for a simple recommendation, skip the jump to the closing paragraph.


Jughead and Betty drove the narrative from their position at the Blue and Gold; what was your overall opinion on that?

Ashley - I enjoyed the relationship between Jughead and Betty and how it grew. While the classic love triangle of Betty/Veronica/Archie barely had any airtime, I'm glad that Betty had someone to turn to as a friend and then lover.  It works, so far, on the TV show. However, I still miss their quirks from the comics.

Brittany - I think Betty and Jughead were the best people to lead the Blue and Gold. Archie and Veronica both had their own stuff going on to really be a part of something like that. Not to mention, Archie was a piece of the mystery for a brief moment and Veronica was only interested after she discovered that her father might have had something to do with Jason Blossom's murder. 

Jack - I thought the Narration by Jughead was a key part of their signature build and the fact that it made perfect sense because of his involvement at the blue and gold made it work so well. I loved that Jughead was already a writer of his own due to his invert style and Betty had it in her blood and is an academic scholar. All, in all very well crafted and everything, is accounted for within the narrative. I find it very ironic in a good way as that would be the goal of reporters for the Blue and Gold as well.

At the end of the season, we see Jughead and Betty together, as well as, Archie and Veronica. This took several breakups and hindrances. What are your overall opinions on those relationships and how the characters have handled that aspect throughout the season?

Ashley - Jughead and Betty seemed to grow naturally, though as long-term friends I find it a bit odd it took them a murder mystery to discover that they have feelings for one another. Archie and Veronica, while I love them paired in the comics, don't work too well on the show. They have little to nothing in common and honestly, both characters have lost a lot of their endearing qualities from the comics. Archie isn't a klutz and Veronica isn't blissfully ignorant of things. I would have liked to see them both develop more and connect more before being made a couple in the first season.

Brittany - At the beginning of the season, Betty was pining after Archie. Archie, however, is immediately smitten with Veronica and in a  relationship of sorts with his music teacher, Geraldine Grundy. After being rejected by Archie, Betty threw herself into her work at the Blue and Gold where she spent more time with Jughead. While the group as a whole didn't mind facing danger, Betty and Jughead were the most willing to go searching for the truth, no matter where that took them. Archie and Veronica work well as a couple because they both seem to try to have as normal of a life as possible amid the chaos unfolding in Riverdale. Archie needed someone to support him in his pursuit to work on his music, while Veronica needed a strong shoulder to lean on as she dug deeper into her parents' dealings with the Southside Serpents. However, because they're all best friends and given the feelings Betty had for Archie, they were all afraid to tell each other. Although everything worked out, I think for a moment it was hinted that Archie had feelings for Betty.

Jack - Yeah, I think both of those relationships worked because Jughead and  Betty both have a dysfunctional family borderline on the level of the Blossoms. They both have basically gone without parents because they are not really there and when they are it's never a good thing. Veronica and Archie while not working quite as well as in the comics still work just on a different plane. Int he comics the klutz and blissfully ignorant works great, but so does the struggling to maintain a normal life. Unlike Jughead and Betty. These two once had a seemingly normal life and that life is now shattered into fragments. The two of them look to pick those fragments back up so they click very well. 

Speaking of Jughead and Betty's relationship. At the end of the season, we see Jughead take the patch of the serpents. We saw earlier that episode Jughead fitting in well at Southside High. Neither of which is settling for Betty. What are your thoughts on all of that and where would you like to see it go?

Ashley - I'd like to see this expanded on, Jughead is a bit of an outcast and I'd like to see more of that and not just because of who his dad is. I'd also like to see Betty touch on her dark side again which was hinted on in the first season. She's always written as a perfect girl, but on the show she's fractured and that fact got hidden in all the murder mystery mess.

Brittany - In my opinion, it wasn't surprising that Jughead accepted the Serpent jacket. The only parent that showed any interest in him was going to prison. It makes sense that he would turn to the people his dad considered family. Betty, of course, won't be happy about it. It will probably cause tension int he relationship, but I think they'll work through it. I'd like to see him use his place in the Serpents to find out who shot Archie's dad in the season finale.

Jack - I think this will be a great opportunity to bring Betty's dark side out and allow Jugheads to shine. This will also provide a slot plot point that can be used for, at a minimal rate, the remainder of the season. I think Betty and Jug will actually end up closer because of it at one point. Archie is in pursuit of what he lost if he ever had it at all. That's a family and that's what the Serpents were to his father. At the very least he's going to try to understand his fathers' way of thinking to understand his choices. The Serpents are no doubt also a heavy presence in Southside Higwhichch could make S.S.H.S. a larger focus and bring in new characters. Lastly, Id like to see more school activities and relations and perhaps a School V School subplot could reoccur.

F.P. started off as a shit head who was revealed as misunderstood and loyal to those who came before, and as someone who above all else stood by a code. He claims Jughead to be the same. Do you agree with his choices and his assessment of Jughead?

Ashley - I don't feel that Jughead fits that bill, but I do think he may be prone to mistakes more than his friends; especially when it comes to trying to find his place in the world.

Brittany - F.P. sucks as a parent. He can't provide for his son and his alcoholism forced Jughead to leave. As bad as he is, he knows his son. He knew when he would try to pull away from his friends. All the advice he gave Jughead and his friends was right and even intervened when he witnesses things get serious. He isn't really a bad person, he's just made bad choices. Jughead is extremely loyal just like his dad but is much better at making the right decisions for himself.

Jack - I think Jug will be different from his father once he learns is ways of thinking during his time with the serpents. I think Jughead was more affected by his mothers' abandonment than his fathers' disengagement. I think Jug understands this pain he and his father share and because of it, their bond still remains. When it comes down to it, F.P. is who he needs to be for Jughead despite his previous choices that he has been unable to escape. I think Jug will realize this, but live another life in the end as his first path was with Archie and friends.

At the end of the season, we are teased with a clash between Hiram Lodge and Fred Andrews. What do you think will come of this and where do you stand with Fred's decision? Do you think the final scene of the season was connected or do you think it will turn out entirely unknown?

Ashley - I'm hoping for a bit of a love triangle between Fred, Hiram, and Hermione. Fred and Hermione had good chemistry and Hiram is clearly not a clean person. I worry he'll drag her to the darkness. I don't really think he'll go directly after Fred, but I expect a lot of interesting dialogue; I also don't think he sent the shooter after Fred. hiram seems dirty, but not enough to murder someone.

Brittany - Fred made the right decision to refuse Hiram's offer. Even better was his decision to end his involvement with Hermione. Unfortunately, I believe this is why he was shot in the season finale. Hiram had been dealing with the Serpents all season, so it seems completely possible that they would keep an eye on her at his request. He would have known about their relationship. If Fred dies, not only would that permanently put an end to the filing he had with Hermione (even though he had ended it himself), but it would also leave Fred's share in his company wide open.

Jack - I feel as if they are using the Hiram story as false flag much like they did with Jugs father in the first season. For that plan to work Hiram would also have to kill Archie unless it was solely for his relationship with Hermione. I'm going to go out on a farfetched limb her and say that Archies mother had something to do with it. Perhaps that's why she wanted Archie to live with her so badly all of a sudden. Perhaps she didn't want him to be caught in the crossfire. Or perhaps she acted in response to Archie's decision. Really, I cant say anything on the final scene because chances are it's a huge misdirection that won't stop throwing more misdirections on top of it until the final few episodes of the second season. That's what makes this show so great; each episode is a new revelation.


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Polly has driven away due to a major bombshell that ended up making a lot of sense. Besides that, we didn't see much of Polly. Do you think that worked out for the better of the plot or would you have liked to see her more?

Ashley - I would have liked to see more of her, however, her absence helped keep the plot mysterious; especially since her baby belly was a big giveaway. Having her off-screen for so long helped viewers speculate as to what really happened to her and also relate to Betty who was actively searching for the same answers.

Brittany - As much as I like Polly, her absence throughout most of the season worked extremely well for the plot. It added another element of mystery to the case of Jason Blossom. When Polly is finally introduced, it's a complete surprise because she's not at all like what the audience was led to believe. Not driven mad by a relationship gone bad with Jason, but with his child(ren) and hidden and locked away by her own parents.

Jack - I think this show works so well because of their ability to let certain characters serve the plot points and other characters development, as well as, developing these characters while off-screen through the plot and coinciding characters development. This is a special thing that makes this show so enjoyable and something other shows need to take note on.

Cheryl Blossom. What are your thoughts on where she stands at the end of the season and her choices made throughout? Where would you like to see her character go next season?

Ashley - I honestly can't understand or relate to Cheryl at all. She starts out as a general mean-girl and I imagine would slowly develop a semi-decent relationship with the main cast, but she's weird and her family is clearly even more so. While none of the characters respect their source material much, she's such a huge departure that it's unsettling. That being said, I do sort of like her. I want to see her more grounded and gain more control over her life, but the girl needs therapy.

Brittany - Cheryl is the basic high school mean-girl. Rich, entitled, and thought she was better than everyone because of who her family is. As the season progressed she became less of a terrible person, but still pretty snobby. I think we'll see her change a little more and try to be part of the group in season two.

Jack - Cheryl is one insane chick that I can't seem to understand no matter how hard I try, but yet I find myself rooting for her the most. Not sure if its some sort of underdog thing or I see something despite not being able to put my finger on it. Either way, she is the one who intrigues me the most even more so than Jug or Betty combined. It's apparent that she was not who she wanted to be and was finally able to pull a Fawkes and literally rebirth herself by fire. Hopefully, this means that the next season lets her burn brightly.

The entire plot was a murder mystery. Do you think they did a good job at keeping that under wraps, as well as, deterring you from the true culprit? What are your overall thoughts on how it all went down?

Ashley - It did too good of a job of keeping the truth under wraps. When the true killer was revealed all I could say was "FINALLY!"; Too many red herrings and misdirects. While these make sense in a murder mystery, the fact that the characters didn't do much of anything else meant that it dragged on very long.Also, no other character seemed smart enough to figure this out but a bunch of high school kids?

Brittany - This season was beautifully written! I thought the Blossoms were VERY suspicious, but I figured that they couldn't possibly kill their own son. Apparently, I was only half right. Cliff Blossom killed his own son because he didn't want anything to do with the family business

Jack - I think the fact that these were high school kids worked be because nobody listened to them or helped them because the misdirects were placed so well that only certain things would change it and they chose not to reveal it because of the early disregards and disapprovals. I think they did a tremendous job with the misdirects being that they stretched from the main plot all the way throughout the subplots allowing for a new revelation with each episode. That means that I wanted to see every episode for their own revelations, which kept me onboard for the finale no matter how long it took. The long drag being helped by this allowed it to work and bring that gut-wrenching suspense only to turn out better than anyone could have hoped for or imagined.

If you could add one new element to the show to give it a breath of fresh air, what would it be and why?

Ashley - Sabrina, the show is already weird, so might as well take the next step and stop with the murder mysteries.

Brittany - I would focus a little more on their lives outside of the mystery. in the show, things are pretty serious almost all of the time and I think it would have benefited from more light-hearted moments. At the end of the day, they're still kids and they need to have more fun and happiness in their lives.

Jack - I think a Sabrina cameo would be awesome. As stated before the Southside High can be a great way to introduce distant characters to the, now shared, universe. I feel that doing this would also allow Jug the possibility of a crossover, as well as, these Chilling Adventures to have little effect on the Riverdale world beyond Marvel style easter eggs implanted in the dialogue. But mostly, as far as Riverdale itself goes. I believe the rebirth of Cheryl Blossom can do just that for the show in entirety. All she needs is a spark to ignite the flame and that may have already happened. Lastly, I'd like to see more school activities focused on beyond a quick glimpse or montage. these activities have served as backgrounds, but they could serve as much more. These could be plot points.

Was this season worth watching? How did you feel about the writing as a whole?

Ashley - I did like watching the season, as a fan of Archie it took a while to get used to the show since it's such a huge departure to the wholesome I normally associate with the Riverdale gang. The writing was good, but the characters needed more depth. Plot points outside of the murder kept being brought up and dropped. They didn't go anywhere with Bett'ys self-harming, the Pussycats weren't developed well and Archie sleeping with Ms. Grundy was a moot point.

Brittany - Riverdale is amazing! I'm very glad that my curiosity got the better of me. I really liked the way it was written and can't wait to see what's in store for season two!

Jack - I think the subplots need to be more than drivers for the main plot, I really enjoyed the writing for the main plot but like I said some of the plots felt like fillers because they were less emphasized and they can actually use these subplots to develop characters better which is probably the biggest downfall of the show. Characters develop slow, but that's not necessarily bad, so as long as they progress well. As of right now, it's on that line where if they make it any less it may become an issue. At the end of the day, this show provides a breath of fresh air to my TV slate.

In conclusion, This show is overall a very well crafted show that brings something different to your current TV slate. Great story, great group of characters with so many possibilities in the coming seasons, as well as, a uniques setting and tone to set it apart. This is most definitely one we recommend watching immediately if you have yet to do so.



Stay Tuned for our upcoming Roundtable Reviews where we will give our thoughts on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Punisher, Wynonna Earp and American Godz.

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Contributed to and Edited by, Jack Flowers. Contributions from Brittany Spencer and Ashley Gibbs of Outright Geekery

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