Wednesday, May 15, 2019

REVIEW: 'Riverdale' - Archie, Betty, Veronica and Jughead Fight For Their Lives in 'Chapter Fifty-Seven: Survive the Night'

The CW's Riverdale - Episode 3.22 "Chapter Fifty-Seven: Survive the Night"

After receiving mysterious invitations, Archie, Betty, Veronica and Jughead band together to confront the evils of their past once and for all. Chaos ensues at The Farm after Edgar makes a chilling announcement.

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 season finale of The CW's Riverdale.

"Chapter Fifty-Seven: Survive the Night" was written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Michael Grassi and directed by Rachel Talalay

Chic's return from the dead is much more believable than Jason's would have been. He was never explicitly killed off the show and mourned by the important characters in that story. Sure, it signaled the Black Hood's continued seduction of Betty in the life of a serial killer. But Chic was completely disposable because he was mostly an annoying addition who never quite worked with the various elements of the show. That's insane because of just how outrageous and bonkers the show has always been. But it's true nevertheless. Even though he is revealed as the Gargoyle King, everyone should notice that he isn't asked to bear the brunt of explaining everything that has happened this season. Sure, this was still a very erratic year for the show. One that flirted with interesting supernatural aspects, had kids suffering from seizures and even quarantined the town for no reason whatsoever. However, this is a very effective finale because it does put things in a very stark context. Sure, it has to explain how the actions taken this year are informed by the entire run of the show so far. Penelope was the true mastermind who introduced Griffins & Gargoyles to the Midnight Club and brought it back in the present day. She teamed up with the Black Hood because she was having an affair with Hal. Chic took on the identity of Jason and then became the Gargoyle King. Hal decided to mentor him and someone new had to terrorize the town after Hal was arrested. All of this also presents as a test to the core four characters of Archie, Betty, Veronica and Jughead. They have often been very isolated from one another this season. They have had their own interests and struggles to form their own paths in Riverdale. And now, they are flung together for this final test to survive the night against the dangerous hurdles Penelope and her followers have created. That means Archie has to fight for his life once more, Veronica has to prove where her loyalties lie and Jughead & Betty have to confront the serial killers who have dominated their lives. The show probably makes too big a deal about Betty needing to make a fatal shot to prove that she is exactly the same as her father. The solution always seemed to be to shot him but not fatally wound him. Instead, that honor belongs to Penelope who picks up the gun and kills the serial killer. That proves that she is just as villainous and cold-hearted as all of the previous killers who have set up shop in Riverdale. She may explain that it's because of the pain from losing a child. However, it proves that she is just as twisted as the threats she wishes to condemn in this town. Plus, she evades justice and capture at the end of this hour. That's not a fate given to Hal or Chic. They are either killed or arrested. Archie, Betty, Veronica and Jughead all survive this terrifying night thanks to Cheryl and Toni arriving in the nick of time. Of course, it's also fascinating to see how all of this sets up the idea of so many of these teens losing their parents. Cheryl's parents were both killers. Betty's dad is now dead and her mother is missing. Veronica's parents have both been arrested for their various crimes. F.P. and Mary present as the only parents left standing to continue to protect their children. Even Kevin seems abandoned in his final moment as The Farm leaves him behind to offer a warning to the citizens of Riverdale who come looking for Edgar, Evelyn and company. That leads to new connections forming. Betty's actual brother, Charles, also comes back from the dead and is revealed to be an FBI agent working to take Edgar down. Alice has been helping him in that investigation. So, she has truly been seeing the son everyone thought was dead. She just chose to keep it all a secret. That was likely beneficial to the investigation despite the damage it did to her relationship with Betty. The search for the missing people from The Farm will drive the story forward. However, it's just as engaging to see Archie, Betty, Veronica and Jughead promise to have a normal senior year. Of course, it was always unlikely that the show would give them that considering all the crazy things that happen in Riverdale. As such, it's already intense that by the spring of their senior year Jughead could be dead and the other three could be responsible. That's a very enticing tease of what's to come.