Riverdale Recap (S2E01): Am I Still Into Jughead?

This Riverdale Recap for Season 2 Episode 1 “A Kiss Before Death” contains spoilers.

There’s a couple of things about Riverdale we need to lay out in the open before we start recapping its second season:

As 20-somethings, we’re all a little over many of the tropes found in tween shows. This means that, while we enjoy Riverdale‘s antics and swoon over makeout scenes as much as the next person, we’re mostly here for the Twin Peaks references.

For this reason, our coverage of Riverdale might appear unforgiving at times. But do not be deceived. We do enjoy it. Just not as much as, say, Mr. Robot or Legion.

[This has been a public service announcement due to our Riverdale posts often being met with #DefensiveFanbase backlash.]

Now that housekeeping is out of the way, let’s dive right into Riverdale‘s second season premiere, “A Kiss Before Death.”

Fred Andrews was bleeding out last time we saw him.

Picking up right where we left off, Archie somehow manages to get Fred into their truck. As Jughead narrates the scene, Fred is rushed into the ER and news of the Pop’s shooting ripples its way through the town.

While our Number #1 Dad is in surgery, the narrative fluctuates between reality and weird dream sequences Fred is experiencing while unconscious.  In the ever-morphing dream, Archie graduates, gets married, and urges his father to join their dead relatives.

Back in the real world,  Veronica, Betty, and Jughead try to look after Archie. By the end of the sequence, Archie has called his mom and Sherrif Keller has made an appearance. As to be expected, he rams Archie with questions (super insensitive protocol for when dealing with a boy who’s dad just got shot in front of his face).

Veronica hops in the shower naked while Archie is washing off his dad’s blood from his body.

Super not weird and did not AT ALL make me feel uncomfortable. Guess what, Ronnie? You were right to question your ability to console a traumatized boyfriend. But I’ll give the girl some credit: you can’t go from zero to hero just like that. Character development is important.

While Archie finishes upstairs, Veronica starts organizing the clothes they brought back from the hospital. (I.e. a bunch of bloody garments belonging to Fred).  At first, Archie is thankful for the gesture, but his mood immediately changes when he discovers his dad’s wallet is missing. Archie blames Veronica and yells at her, Veronica pleas, and in the end, all the bottled up tears rise up to the surface, providing Archie with much-needed relief, Veronica with a chance to appropriately console her boyfriend, and me with an ending to this goddamn sequence.

Because here’s the thing: if someone you love is on the verge of death, it is not realistic to imagine you’re home getting it on with your girlfriend and taking FOREVER to return to their side.

Maybe that’s just me.

Betty and Jughead search for the missing wallet

Ever since Jughead put on that Serpents jacket, Betty has been worried they’re becoming the next KevinxJoaquin. However, Kevin tells her the situation is completely different, and Jughead explains his only interest in the Serpents is retaining a connection with his dad who, fair enough, he’s not going to see for the foreseeable future.

While they hash this out, Betty and Jughead return to Pop’s to search for Fred’s wallet. The pool of blood is still on the floor by the time they arrive and Pop Tate is ready with some dramatic talk about death angels and the end of Riverdale.

Jughead eats a burger, and Betty judges him momentarily.

Cheryl shows up at the hospital with a mummified Penelope

The story we’re going with is that Penelope ran in to save a sleeping Cheryl from an accidental fire. The real version is Cheryl is now running the shots after purposefully setting Thornhill on fire. Would it have been interesting if Cheryl had caused her mother’s burns? Yes. But it’s not what happened. Instead, Penelope ran into the burning mansion to save heirlooms. Meh.

In an even weirder note, when Archie gets back to the hopsital, he finds Cheryl kissing Fred on the forehead. She seems unbothered by being caught in the act, simply stating Archie had saved her and thus, he had now given Fred the “kiss of life.”

Solid. No further questions.

Back at the Lodge household, Ronnie faces Hiram

So what’dya know. Hiram Lodge is back in town and Veronica is ready to play with fire. The tension is real at this house, but I’m glad they kept their interaction short. There’s been too much build-up surrounding Hiram and there’s no way a Riverdale script can properly deliver.

Of all the family dynamics, the Lodges appear to be the most interesting this season. Then again, I still found the Coopers more relatable, believable, and overall palpable. Not trying to make you dizzy with the reverse alliteration, it’s just the truth. The Lodges are sometimes too feud-y and you already know not to trust them. The only twist here would be if they turned out to be clean.

Bughead shows up with  burgers for everyone

To end this weak premiere episode, last year’s It Couple shows up with burgers for the waiting party. This is the only moment when we see the Pussycats (good thing), New Reggie, and other random characters. Fred wakes up, says some corny AF line about having come back to protect Archie, and everyone eats their burgers like they’re on holiday.

I couldn’t decide if I’m  still into Jughead or not. I felt the edge he gained in the last episode, which almost justified his previous whiny attitude, disappeared without a trace. I don’t know what that leaves us with. Also, he did seem horrified of the Serpents by the end of “Kiss of Death,” but we’ll have to wait and see.

Before leaving Riverdale, however, Jughead tells us about the Angel of Death who is out praying on none other than Ms. Grundy who got to kiss another underaged boy before getting killed.

Conclusions

I don’t know if this season will be any good. In all realness, the thread that held Riverdale together was Jason’s murder mystery. And even having that, the writing completely fell apart mid-season, awkwardly tumbling its way to a predictable reveal. Sure. there’s a tension that can be worked with, and sure, the “civil war” element. But from my POV, the characters are already too exposed to actually present any sort of twist.

There will be no Lynchean mind-fucking and the show will follow more along the lines of Gossip Girl than any crime show.

Meh.

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