Wednesday, October 24, 2018

REVIEW: 'Riverdale' - Veronica Opens Her Speakeasy While Archie Gets New Privileges in 'Chapter Thirty-Eight: As Above, So Below'

The CW's Riverdale - Episode 3.03 "Chapter Thirty-Eight: As Above, So Below"

When a series of suspicious roadblocks threaten to delay the opening of the speakeasy, Veronica enlists the help of Cheryl, Toni, Reggie, Kevin and Josie to ensure opening night goes off without a hitch. Betty and Jughead follow different leads to learn more about the strange incidents going on in the town. Some unwanted attention forces Archie to make a difficult decision about his future.

In 2018, it has become very difficult to keep up with every television show out there. It's even more difficult to provide adequate coverage on this site about the episodes that air every week. Not every show can get full coverage because of my busy and hectic viewing schedule. As such, some reviews will now be condensed to give only some summary thoughts. But it also affords a space for me to jot down my thoughts on the various episodes. And so, here are my thoughts on this week's episode of The CW's Riverdale.

"Chapter Thirty-Eight: As Above, So Below" was written by Aaron Allen and directed by Jeff Hunt

The teenagers of Riverdale are all just trying to survive in a world that is forcing them to be anything but teenagers focused on high school. Archie is in jail and forced to compete in fights for the warden. Betty and Jughead are investigating a mystery game that is forcing their classmates to kill themselves in service of some mystical creature. And now, Veronica is opening a speakeasy below Pop's to prove to her father that she can do things the legitimate way and corrupt his plans for the city. Of course, all of these stories can be seen as coping mechanisms for everything that has occurred in their lives so far. Betty and Jughead are devoted to figuring out what is actually going on with this game in order to have a distinct mission in their lives. Otherwise, they would be struggling with the significant losses they suffered at the end of the second season. Meanwhile, Veronica is devoted so fiercely to the speakeasy in order to stand opposed to her father. Sure, she doesn't always make the smart business decisions. That's what keeps this story from truly taking off despite such an impressive new set for the show. And finally, Archie chose to go to prison because he believed it was the punishment he needed for how he went astray last year. Only now is he realizing just how horrifying this environment can be. In fact, it's meaningful that some time passes in between the episodes. It's enough for Archie to understand the horrors of prison without the show having to keep him in that isolating environment for half the season. This is only the third episode of the year and he is already plotting his escape. That's absolutely ridiculous. And yet, it's not any more outrageous than some of the other plot points the show has featured over the years. It's best for the audience just to go along with every insane thing that happens in the world. It's also easy to understand that the show doesn't approach its characters with the idea that they are crazy or detached from reality. Ethel fell into this game so strongly because she wanted a place to belong and feel empowered. She was pushed to the side so many times in the first two seasons. And now, she's on the brink of suicide because she believes she needs to make some grand sacrifice to the Gargoyle King. The show further confirms that the adults know more than they are letting out about this mysterious game too. Alice and F.P. actually step up as parents to curtail their children's investigation. They want to ensure that no one ever plays this game again. They fear for their lives because Jughead comes home with blue still on his lips. He tempted fate by playing with Ethel. But the game isn't contained. It is now sweeping through the school with everyone terrified of what further actions will be taken in service of the Gargoyle King. And finally, Veronica is stepping out in her own independent story. Her fighting for Archie's freedom is so important. However, it can't be the only thing to define her. It's also much appreciated that the show explains that an underage girl doesn't own a bar that serves alcohol to high school students. She is smarter than that. And yet, the show also sees it as a decisive win that she doesn't end up having to pay money to her father for protection. But she foolishly doesn't see the likelihood of him moving his drug lab as soon as she teases that she has photographic proof that he is behind it. That proves that she may not be as smart as her opponent is. However, the opening of the speakeasy is still a rousing success for her.