one episode in and we’re practically already in mid-season form. what a terrific start so far. drama. action. deathbed dreams. shower sex. motorcycles. GRUNDY. this episode had it all. i’m so damn excited for 20 more episodes.
now to the rankings. in all honesty, i’m not sure if this episode inspired many big changes from where we were at during the pre-season. small sample size so i have to exercise some caution because things can change in an instant in this small town. that’s always been the goal here, but recency bias always has an effect.
here we go, the first of many rankings this season.
riverdale power rankings
1. jughead jones (+1)
jughead has embraced his dark side and enters season two on a goddamn motorcycle. i wasn’t ready for this and neither was betty. i loved it though. he had some great lines throughout the episode, specifically when he, the emo king of riverdale, told pops to lighten up. or after his best friend’s dad got shot he’s like “yeah i need some burgers.” extremely relatable to be honest, because in times of trouble i’m pretty sure i would be right on my way to burger town. this season will be really interesting as jughead juggles the two paths he’s veering towards and the trailer scene looked like a rude awakening of where the wrong choice may lead. i’m nervous for juggy, but it seems to be coming from a good place in the name of loyalty.
2. archie andrews (+4)
the opening scene was extremely well done and kudos to kj apa for that. it was obviously a very difficult time for him and you really felt for him as he drove to the hospital with his dad in critical condition. archie just keeps impressing me and i feel bad for being so down on him early in the show’s run. he just needed some adversity to give him some perspective, but he seems to be aware of his faults and is fiercely loyal to those he loves. he owned up to his own perceived cowardice which took some guts and it’s clear he wants to be The Hero, but is struggling with what that exactly entails. apparently it means foregoing sleep and watching over the front door with a baseball bat? look he’s trying ok. in typical archie fashion though, he didn’t let his grieving distract him from his number one goal: sex-having. at least he didn’t sing any songs.
it was also good to see him cry, breaking down the barrier of toxic masculinity his macho exterior sometimes exudes, but i gotta say he needs to work on his single tear game. by far the weakest we’ve seen so far – way too much velocity on it, not enough dramatic build-up. second take was a bit better. 4/10.
3. betty cooper (-2)
this episode was just betty being betty. it wasn’t enough to keep her spot at the top as there were some stronger performances, but her consistency as one of show’s best characters is always remarkable. the opening scene with her mom had some great sass-back. “yeah i almost fucked a serpent, deal with it bitch.” she was so cavalier about it too making the back-and-forth that much better. it was great to see her come around to being supportive of jughead’s current path as she seems to be the only one who understands his want for acceptance. bughead forever.
4. cheryl blossom (-1)
i don’t want to drop cheryl one spot because she was incredible, but i had to make room for archie. sorry. i think she might be psychotic. maybe. there’s been a few hints at it perhaps. the scene with her mom killed me, she went full crazy. and why wouldn’t she given all she’s been through. girl also spilled some major tea about “what really happened in that barn” and i am excited as hell for the moment that plot twist gets revealed to everyone. of course she framed a suicide. of course. that honestly makes me like penelope more. especially now that she’s the puppet of her psycho daughter.
5. fred andrews
before the season i wondered what it would be like watching deathbed fred and apparently it’s just him having dreams with the central thesis of each one being “the old fred can’t come to the phone right now… why? oh, cause he’s dead!” i was extremely here for the gradual realization he was dying each time. it was a bit campy, but they pulled it off. i like that even in his dreams cheryl is a weirdo wearing a red graduation gown and jughead still won’t take off his stupid hat. not sure how i feel about fred in a kilt, but i’m leaning toward that’s the best any dude has ever looked in a kilt.
6. veronica lodge (+1)
veronica, i appreciate you so much. you know archie and you know how to comfort him. great work, good effort. the element of surprise was perfectly executed and super important and no one can ever take that away from you. but can we please talk about your venue choice? shower sex is objectively terrible. sure, it’s hot and steamy in theory, but the angles are usually all wrong and the water takes away any natural lubricant. it’s awful and then they show it in shows like this like it’s this magical wet, steamy, hot, passionate fantasy when in reality it’s literally the opposite of all those things. it’s simply not practical and not conducive of good sex-having. maybe i’m being too hard on them, they’re kids so they need to learn these things themselves, but it’s just a bad message for impressionable viewers who might believe shower sex is anything but terrible. also, please use protection. safe-sex is important and i don’t think veronica brought a condom into that shower. we don’t need another damn baby on this show.
in non-sex veronica news, i was very here for all the clapbacks aimed towards to her mom. fuck hermione.
7. alice cooper (+1)
i hate alice as a mom, but love her as a character. her daughter just said she basically had sex with some boy she doesn’t approve of at all and she acts all incredulous and starts throwing hissy fits and gets all sassy as she slowly realizes she is losing control. didn’t like her talking back to jughead in the hospital, but it did provide some comedic moments.
8. fp jones (-4)
pretty sure fp didn’t have any screen time in episode one which is a shame to all the girls i talk to about this show because he’s always and forever #1 on the hot dad power rankings. can’t blame em, and it’s a shame his face wasn’t present today.
9. josie mccoy
offering archie one of the pussycats nine lives was cute and adorable and i’m happy her and the rest made it to the hospital. i’m a little curious as to why fred pictured her front row at the deathbed wedding, but i hope it’s because she’s actually gonna be important this year.
10. valerie brown
i’m pretty sure she didn’t say a word, she just let josie do the talking. i can’t take her out of the top ten though, she’s too pretty and i can never forget her archie sass.
11. kevin keller
god bless kevin for calling jughead “mr. i’m weird, i’m a weirdo” although i’m not sure i like the inference that he knows about that speech because it means betty was probably talking a bit of shit. this dude is nosy as hell which is worrisome because he’s a known snitch, but it’s nice that he’s got betty’s back after his own business dating a serpent.
12. reggie mantle
a nice intro to the new reggie in this episode, though nothing major yet. really excited the frenemy-rivalry dynamic between him and archie.
13. polly cooper
i think she was on bed rest this episode, so that’s good. gotta keep special care of her inbred babies.
14. hal cooper
thankfully let his wife do most of the talking today which is good because he’s not even 10 percent as interesting. he did stop her in the hospital as she was talking to jughead, which was nice because she was probably about to cross several lines, as she usually does.
15. melody valentine
still wondering what melody’s voice sounds like.
16. sheriff keller (+2)
goddamn, it looks like the sheriff is actually gonna do his job this season. i mean, he’s still terrible at his job for outright refusing the theory that it wasn’t a robbery, (especially since the dude didn’t take any money… like does he just not have this information or does he think it’s not relevant to the case? do your due diligence here man, a high school sophomore should not be a better detective than you) but at least he set up a line-up. that’s something!
17. penelope blossom (+2)
ok, so penelope is still awful, but she gets points for two things.
1) probably killed her husband who was somehow a worse human being than her.
2) is suffering from so many burns and smoke poisoning or whatever that she can’t talk, which is great because she sucks. (i won’t lie, someone else texted me this joke, but i couldn’t not put it in. this is also an announcement that i will accept ghost-written jokes for future episodes).
also, she’s not a lodge parent, and that’s a big plus so far.
18. hiram lodge (-2)
we met hiram for like seven seconds and he’s already god awful. the way he said “so disrespectful” and acted as if his daughter was his property was blood-curdling. fuck this dude.
19. hermione lodge (-2)
ugh. i don’t even want to talk about you. i thought she would turn it around this season because her hair looks much nicer now, or maybe she looks less old, but she’s still such a snake that i can’t look past the fact she looks moderately better now. congrats on being the new worst mom on riverdale.
other characters who appeared
pop: he’s my favourite character actually because he gives the kids food and food is life’s most important thing.
random serpent dudes: i’m not sure why they thought bringing this dude back to the trailer and tying him up to show him off to a kid was a good idea, but i guess it’s because i’m not an outlaw and don’t know better. i get they want to prove they’re working but i feel like a simple phone call or note would have sufficed.
miss. grundy: a hearty welcome back to riverdale’s favourite sexual predator who i see is still preying on 15 year old boys. not for long though because she’s dead now. that closes the weird opening chapter of riverdale that centred around this strange plot of forbidden love. it does connect the shooter to archie and grundy though – is it her ex-husband? feels like a red herring, but it’ll be interesting to see why he targeted her and fred andrews specifically.
killer: i like that he’s changing his weapons up and diversifying his kill portfolio. gives him layers. his mask needs a bit of work though. he looks like spider-man before he knew what he was doing.