Thoughts From the Riverdale Episode Chapter Eighty: Purgatorio
Synopsis: Seven years after leaving Riverdale, Archie (K.J. Apa), Veronica (Camila Mendes), Betty (Lily Reinhart) and Jughead (Cole Sprouse) return to celebrate Pop Tates (Alvin Sanders) retirement. Only Riverdale is no longer the same as it was when they left it and, instead, is a community that has become lawless as it is strangled to death by Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos).
My thoughts from this episode (which I finally had a chance to watch this weekend):
1. This isn't the first time I have watched a show like this have its characters fast forward in time. Pretty Little Liars did it during one of their final seasons (only they just fast forwarded five years). The show didn't last much longer than that and I'm not convinced this series won't suffer the same fate. That's one of the drawbacks of casting non-teenagers to play teenagers.
2. Of the four friends, Archie's decision to leave Riverdale honestly never made a whole lot of sense to me. Sure, he didn't graduate high school but, between his dad's construction business and his youth center, it wasn't as though he didn't have options. I'm not really sure he gained anything from joining the military.
3. Speaking of business, wasn't Veronica taking over Hiram Industries with her half sister, Hermosa (Mishel Prada)? What happened with that? How is she working a completely different job while Hiram is back in charge of Riverdale? I hope that gets explained.
4. I'm not a big fan of the whole lawless Riverdale concept, just because it stretches believability a bit too much. You mean to tell me the other citizens of Riverdale or, at minimum, the Southside Serpeants, wouldn't make an effort to remove Hiram from the picture? Why would any of them let it get that far? It doesn't help that the episode itself seemed a bit confused about just how bad things were when Archie is told buses don't go to Riverdale anymore literally the same day he arrived by bus.
5. Nice Silence of the Lambs reference in Betty's backstory. The only thing missing was her being stripped down and told to rub lotion on her skin. Of course, the big question is, if she got herself captured and let a serial killer escape by not following procedure, why is she even still in the FBI? I would think they would have fired her on the spot.
6. Any bets the serial killer she let get away will somehow wind up in Riverdale this season?
7. Seeing Jughead as a failed writer fending off debt collectors was interesting but also didn't make a whole lot of sense given how close he is to his dad and his ties with the Southside Serpeants. You would think, if things were that bad, he would have fallen back on his safety net by now. Also, since he was the only one who we know returned to Riverdale prior to this time jump, did he notice the changes happening or is he just as surprised as everyone else?
8. I wasn't a fan of the ending and the way it introduced a new killer (or possibly the same one Betty was chasing?). This is mostly the decision to use a random victim (Skylar Radzion) rather than maybe a well-known secondary character instead. The death would have had a lot more meaning had we not just met the victim a few seconds earlier and, in all honesty, I would have much rather seen the new character stick around Riverdale just to give the series a bit more fresh blood since I am already kind of growing bored with the main cast.
Final Opinion: Having a significant time jump is a risky idea. Pretty Little Liars managed to make it work for a short time but I'm not convinced this series shouldn't have just ended with the graduation episode and this episode didn't do much to change my mind.
My Grade: C