Ahh, Riverdale. It's so good to have this show, and its complete devotion to going for it, back. We've heard that this season will have "Dark Archie." Well, if the premiere is any indication, that basically just means Archie's a dick.
This year's mystery is apparently going to be "Who shot Fred Andrews and why?" It's gonna take a while to figure out because everyone has a motive because everyone in Riverdale has a motive for murder.
Fred Andrews getting shot interrupts Veronica drinking the Cristal her mum bought for her dad getting out of prison (that it was for a special occasion bothers her more than her high schooler drinking), Veronica's mum interrogating her about her sex life, and Jughead's contemplations about his jailbird father.
Once at the hospital, we are treated to some of Riverdale's finest bits of dialogue as Archie calls his mum. "How are you? Good, yeah, good. Actually Mum, we're not, we're in trouble here. Dad's in the hospital. It was a robbery and he was shot." LEAD WITH THE GUNSHOT, ARCHIE. If it bleeds, it leads. The Coopers could have told you that.
Betty is also the only person not wondering if maybe her family is to blame. Because Jughead thinks that one of the Southside Serpents that Fred fired might have shot him. Jughead asks the Serpents, who see him as one of them, to look in every "hidey hole" and see if they can find out who did it. Veronica, however, thinks her mother ordered the hit. Basically, last season, there was a whole thing where Hermione Lodge wanted Fred to sell his shares in a company they owned together, because her husband was going to be out of jail soon and he and Fred "wouldn't get along." Veronica knows this, and she confronts her mother, who responds, "Get back in line with this family. Because you are a Lodge before anything else. I should slap you for what you just insinuated, but I'm not a violent person." Every parent in Riverdale is great.
Veronica gets nowhere with her family, but the result of Jughead asking the Serpents to help is a bloodied man is delivered to his trailer. He was bragging about Fred getting what he deserved, and so the Serpents think he might be who Jughead is looking for.Jughead, by the way, is justifying all of this to Betty by saying that his dad's gang, trailer, and Southside Serpents jacket makes him feel closer to his incarcerated father.
In character development news, Veronica says she's bad at comfort. And given that she gets naked and joins Archie in the shower as he washes off all his dad's blood, she might be right. But then Archie's anger flares up and he tries to push Veronica away through the time-tested manner of "being a dick." It almost works, but Veronica refuses to go, saying Archie needs her. It's character growth, and growth she'll need since her dad is introduced at the end of this episode literally sitting in shadow and asking for a kiss from his loving daughter.
Archie also has a breakdown this episode about how he didn't do anything after his dad was shot, just sat there frozen in terror. And he closed his eyes when the guy put the gun to his head and didn't open them til he heard the guy leave. For some reason, "being afraid of the guy with a gun who just shot his dad" fills Archie with deep shame. I mean, I guess it is? But only in the context of everyone else in Riverdale's much higher levels of trauma and dealing with it shockingly well. In real life, it's a perfectly human response that is very understandable and not shameful.
This has shaken Archie so much that, while his dad convalesces, he's taken to standing guard over his home by sitting on a box by the front door with a baseball bat. Because...sure, why the hell not? You go, Dark Archie. You...sit there with a bat while people one town over get murdered.
Yeah, that happened at the end of the episode. Lest you think it was a one-time deal, spurred by true love, the episode ends with the return of Ms. Grundy. She's sexing up a piano student of hers over in Greendale, pretty much the same way she did with Archie. Only not so much anymore, because a masked figure kills comes out of nowhere to kill her. I'm sure that won't cause Archie to further spiral at all.
- I wanted to focus on Archie, but oh my god Cheryl is in amazing form in this episode. After setting her house on fire last season, she's telling everyone that her mum got burned from saving her from an accident. "I might have perished if not for mummy's heroics," is her alibi.
- Also, she tells her mother to go along or, you know, everything will get worse.
- Also, also, she shows up in Fred Andrews' hotel room, just to creepily say to Archie, "You gave me the kiss of life Archie Andrews, now I've given it to your dad." Cheryl's gone completely round the twist.
- As he struggles for life, Fred Andrews is in a dreamworld where Archie works with him at "Andrews and Son Construction" and proposed to Veronica. There are bagpipes at the fantasy wedding.
- The actual best scene in the episode may be Pops asking Betty and Jughead if they're hungry, and their simultaneous answers. Betty: No. Jughead: Always.
- This means Jughead ate a burger in the premiere. Progress!