Riverdale. I love you, but we need to have a talk. I’m disappointed and annoyed, and I’m worried your show is doomed to fail (oh, who am I kidding, fans would tune in just to watch Jughead eat for a full hour). After that ridiculous Black Hood fake-out, you finally had a chance to make things right. But you didn’t. Oh well, at least Cheryl has a bitching hunting cloak.
“Chapter Thirty-Four: Judgement Night” was an episode of shocking twists and surprises. LOL just kidding. For an episode about exposing (at last!) the real man behind the Black Hood killings, it was shockingly predictable. Because they already revealed who it was in the previous episode.
That’s right, it was Betty Cooper’s dad all along. Surprise! And I have to say, this was a major letdown. Not because I didn’t think having it be Hal Cooper (Lochlyn Munro) made sense—in fact, that’s who I thought it was in the first place—but because it was never properly set up. The show didn’t give us any indication Hal was the Black Hood, at least until last week when it mattered to the plot. This isn’t a surprise, honestly, considering the showrunners said they went into the Black Hood storyline not even knowing who it was going to be, and hadn’t made a final decision until well into the second season.
Instead, to make up for a hell of a lot of lost time, Hal Cooper was forced to go into this laughably bad villain’s monologue about how his legacy was cleansing the world of sinners to justify his family’s shitty choices... and how a so-called “darkness” has passed down generation to generation, which now resides in his daughter (okay sure, pal). Whatever, who cares, Black Hood’s gone (or at least in prison). Or is he? That’s right, we’ve got a probably-Hiram-shaped copycat on the loose now. Why can’t you let it go, Riverdale? Why won’t you just let it die?
But whatever, let’s talk about Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch), who has now become the only reason I’m still watching this ridiculous show. Why’s that? Because she’s the only character who’s as ridiculous as the series should be.
In Riverdale, gang fights and prison privatization aren’t normal. They’re boring. Do you know what is normal? Cheryl jumping out a window, Black Hood on her heels, and having time to not only grab her bow and arrow, but also put on her gorgeous red hunting cloak and gloves, waiting calmly, poised to kill as the night sky cascades off her flawless mane. Yeah, it’s ridiculous and doesn’t make any goddamn sense. But who cares? It’s Riverdale. At least, it’s supposed to be.
One of the biggest problems with Riverdale right now is how it keeps trying to have their world make sense. Only it doesn’t, nor is it supposed to. In the first season, Riverdale was ridiculous Twin Peaks-lite juxtaposed with the Archie gang’s wide-eyed optimism. It was weird but interesting. However, as the show has gone on, it’s tried to have things be realistic, with serial killers, campaign finance law, and mayoral races. But their world is best when it’s absolute nonsense. Sadly, the only one who seems to remember that is Cheryl, with her hunting cloaks of better days.
Frankly, I don’t know how much longer the show can teeter between the real and the bizarre. The surrealistic diamond has begun to dull, and Riverdale’s reality isn’t enough to bring back the shine for me.