Wednesday, April 24, 2019

REVIEW: 'Riverdale' - Betty Learns a Surprising Detail About Evelyn While Josie Plots Her Future in 'Chapter Fifty-Four: Fear the Reaper'

The CW's Riverdale - Episode 3.19 "Chapter Fifty-Four: Fear the Reaper"

When Jellybean goes missing, Jughead, Gladys and FP follow a series of cryptic clues to get her home. Archie faces the fallout from his latest boxing match. Betty makes a major discovery about Evelyn's past. Josie makes a big decision about her future.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of The CW's Riverdale.

"Chapter Fifty-Four: Fear the Reaper" was written by Janine Salinas Schoenberg & Will Ewing and directed by Alexandra La Roche

This episode is full of major departures both onscreen and off. Series creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa noted recently that this was the final episode Luke Perry filmed before his sudden and tragic death. As with most of his appearances since then, Fred only pops up briefly. And yet, it's a sweet and simple scene that proves that Fred always was the best Riverdale parent. He is supporting Archie in his latest time of need to ensure that he doesn't get consumed with guilt over somehow being responsible for the death of his boxing opponent. Of course, there is also the uncertainty of the future because Archie has long needed this good influence in his life. Hiram and Elio are now plotting to manipulate the dark side of Archie's personality which should only be concerning with Fred unable to be around to help him navigate his changing life. Meanwhile, Josie is leaving town to go on tour with her father. That departure is likely fueled by Ashleigh Murray filming the Katy Keene potential spinoff pilot at The CW. Depending on whether that show is picked up to series will determine if the citizens of Riverdale ever seen her again. Her romance with Archie has been pleasant and sweet. But it's also clear that the show is ramping up the tension between Archie and Veronica once more as well. Veronica is the one supporting him through this entire crisis and ensures he walks away on the right moral side of life. Meanwhile, the latest game of G&G does have a lethal conclusion. It's just no one in the Jones family. Sure, it's very sudden and abrupt that Gladys is outed as the woman behind the new drug trade in town. That's how she could reunite with her family and afford a better life with them. She is honest and the family is absolutely devastated by the actions that have been taken. Despite previously hating her though, Jughead is surprisingly emotional about his mother walking away. Sure, it's a story that also includes Gladys and Penny Peabody fighting each other with swords while Jughead gets trapped in a junkyard refrigerator. But it highlights the suspicion that the latest version of the Gargoyle King actually wants the Jones family to reunite. Gladys is unlikely to stay away for good. Right now, she just sees the benefit of doing so in order to give her family the time to process everything that has happened. She came to Riverdale and corrupted the home that F.P. and Jughead made for themselves. It's an idealistic goal that she can respect and admire. But of course, only bad things continue to happen in Riverdale as well. Josie doesn't have the wrong idea to get out of here because she is literally at Pop's when it's robbed while making that point to her father. And finally, Betty gets the news that her father was killed in an accident while being transferred to Hiram's new prison. Sure, that's immediately suspicious. It could be the Black Hood's latest efforts to manipulate Betty into joining him in his crusade. She may even be in a more vulnerable place right now as well. She has lost so many friends and family to the Farm. Whenever she sends someone in as a spy, they immediately become indoctrinated. Toni is just the latest example. It doesn't matter how much evidence she collects to prove it's a nefarious organization. People don't want to heed her warnings. Instead, she fears for her own life because a mob is sent after her to get her to convert. That's scary. But the Farm's willingness to turn over Dagwood to Penelope also proves that something more is going on. It's a suspicious move considering the organization has been all about recruiting and maintaining as many people as possible. It doesn't make sense to lose someone who could grow up in this organization. But that should only increase the urgency that Betty feels too. She can't give up on her family and friends even though they refuse her help.