Riverdale 1×03 reminded us murder isn’t the only thing happening in this affluent town. Harassment, face slapping, and increasingly melodramatic narration are ever so present.
Archie thankfully steps slightly aside from the Miss Grundy romance, but he still only drives the B-story. As he dips his toes in writing music for Josie and the Pussy Cats, B & V yet again take full force in all the action.
Archie falls flat
When Veronica and Betty burst into the boy’s locker room to confront Chuck about the slut shaming going around, they actually push the baffled Archie out of the way when he asks what they are doing there. As far as we know, Archie either has no idea about what happened to Veronica and the others, or is aware but ignores it (which clearly is an issue bearing in mind how serious it is). He is on the football team, and although not all of the players were involved in this horrible ‘playbook’ game, it seems odd that Archie would be completely out of the loop.
This show really wants to make Archie an isolated character because he is hardly ever seen interacting with any of the other prominent characters. Aren’t Archie and Betty supposedly really close friends? Bumbling along with figuring out his love of music is fine, but sneaking around seeing Miss Grundy while helping write a song that seemed already pretty much written as his only two storylines? It’s dull and unfortunate.
Just to put it into perspective, Betty is balancing story lines of starting the school paper again, murder mystery with Jughead, handling a crazy mom, and revenge against the football players. Character development is key for progression, and Archie’s continuously disappoints.
Cheryl teams up with B & V
Unlike Archie, Cheryl does have some interesting character developments, starting off by teaming up with B & V, along with Ethel (played by Neflix’s Stranger Things Barb!).
In the beginning of the episode, Cheryl admits her guilt of embarking on a strange and cruel plan of helping Jason fake his own death. Cheryl showing up to help find the playbook and realizing that her brother wasn’t as wonderful as she thought (because faking his own death wasn’t a big enough hint already) gave her character a boost of reality. No, Cheryl, boys will be boys is not an acceptable excuse!
Realizing Jason played Polly, Betty and Cheryl, the siblings of both involved, did not take the news lightly. Betty pushed her good girl nature aside, and although ultimately may have gone a little overboard with revenge, her pain feels real.
When Betty and Cheryl end up burning the book together, without saying anything, it is clear they both feel pain for what was done. Perhaps this is a new start between the two?