Hardwood and Hollywood

Riverdale Season 2 Premiere Review: 2.1: A Kiss Before Dying

The Riverdale season 2 premiere was a little underwhelming, but it definitely had a couple of standout moments. Of course, Cheryl Blossom’s bone-chilling monologue to her hospitalized mother was the highlight.

The ending was also fantastic. In addition to being gruesomely exciting, it was nice seeing Riverdale finally portray Geraldine Grundy as an unambiguously terrible predator. With Grundy and Fred Andrews both being targeted, it looks like Archie Andrews is central to this season’s mystery rather than just being a witness to it.

Speaking of Fred, the bulk of the episode revolved around him.  The characters all dealt with their feelings around Fred’s shooting. This included several scenes that took place inside Fred’s brain while he was unconscious. I love Fred and I’m all for a dive into his subconscious. Unfortunately, the execution of this was disappointing. The scenes that played out felt incredibly generic and told us very little about Fred. It seemed like the episode was more concerned with serving up intriguing promo images– like the one of Veronica Lodge getting married– than actually creating a great story.

It was nice watching Archie deal with his emotions after Fred’s shooting. Despite being the protagonist of the series, Archie is rarely the most emotionally gripping character in an episode. But, this episode did a great job at showing him be an absolute wreck. The terrifying situation chipped away at his polite and optimistic exterior. I loved seeing this side of him.

Veronica struggled to deal with having a boyfriend going through a crisis. Her concern over dealing with grief or comfort felt emotionally resonant. Veronica has always been a strong character because of the way her generosity and kindness juxtapose with her self-image. So, this was a perfect storyline for her.

Meanwhile, Jughead Jones and Betty Cooper were also there. The way Betty echoes Alice Cooper’s judgments about the Southside could be interesting if fleshed out properly, but instead it feels odd and unbelievable. Jughead jumping straight into conspiracies as soon as he heard about another crime was fun, but I wish they’d played with it more instead of almost immediately validating his odd theories.

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Lenny Burnham

Pop Culture Spin Managing Editor Lenny Burnham is a writer/comedian in New York City. In addition to Pop Culture Spin, he writes for Gossip and Gab. He also hosts the podcast The Ugh Glee Truth, available on iTunes.

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