I’m still a huge fan of the characters with chiselled jaws – hello, Archie Andrews (KJ Apa) – and spiteful one-liners – yep, I’m talking about you, Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch) – but Season 3 is getting far too sci-fi for my liking.
Sure, Season 1 had a bit of an edge, with the bizarre mystery surrounding Jason Blossom’s (Trevor Stines) death providing a catalyst for the show at the outset, but the producers are really pushing it this season. We’ve had all types of weird and wacky scenes, from what looked like a ritual sacrifice in the woods and the introduction of gargoyles to a pair of twin babies levitating. It’s just downright weird.
And when the teen drama isn’t going all X-Files, it’s just confusing. One minute we are feeling all sorts of emotions for Archie as he tries to keep a low-profile in juvenile detention, after being framed for murder by Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos), then we’re watching his girlfriend, Veronica (Camila Mendes), organise a cheer squad to help the testosterone-filled cellmates build up the courage to partake in a good old-fashioned battle on the football field. It goes from one extreme to the other. We’re singing along to the cheer squad’s musical number, but before we know it, the prison wardens are belting the teens for simply trying to show some camaraderie. I can’t cope with all the mood swings.
One more problem I have with the latest season of Riverdale involves the show’s other central romance: Betty and Jughead. I’m not one to psychoanalyse people’s relationships, but it’s clear that despite Lili Reinhart and Cole Sprouse’s adorable real-life coupling, their characters have very little in common besides their investigative skills. And while we’re on the topic, shouldn’t Sheriff Keller (Martin Cummins) be doing a bit more on that front since, you know, he gets paid to solve crimes.
Betty and Jughead are so consumed by their detective work that Betty’s mum (Mädchen Amick) questions whether or not her daughter’s seizures are triggered by the stress of trying to investigate all the criminal activity in town. You think? Even so, Betty is still curious.“Seizures aren’t contagious, so what is it?” she says. To which Jughead replies: “Sounds like another mystery to solve! If you’re up for it …” You can bet your mortgage on it, she is.
But even if Riverdale’s weird True Detective-style twists and hard-to-keep-up-with tonal shifts annoy me, there’s one thing I can pretty much guarantee: I’ll still tune in next week …