Riverdale: Season 1 Episode 4 review – Chapter Four: The Last Picture Show
This review contains spoilers.
This week saw Jughead bemoan the forthcoming closing of his local favoured picture house drive in, which straight away put Betty & Veronica Issue #1 (the modern, 2016 run) in mind, in which our Riverdale foursome hear that Pop Tate’s is closing and then try their best to avert that pending closure. This similarity of subject matter can’t be a coincidence, which means that the writers are intentionally drawing from current Archie comics, which is great to see.
That being said, however, the diversions from core comic staple are still rearing their head every now and then. This week we met Jughead’s father, who is very clearly not a rich man. In the modern Archie comics Jughead comes from a rich lineage (hence the entitled name Forsythe Pendleton Jones III), but his father lost the family fortune, forcing Jughead switch from spoiled to living modestly.
Talking of living within your means, it was quite the revelation this week to see that Jughead was living in the picture house itself. This shouldn’t be construed as being his primary reason for not wanting the drive in torn down, however. Although he of course wouldn’t want his current home demolished, I personally think that his reason laid more in his adoration of films and of the drive in itself, rather than in the fact that it’s his current home. This is reinforced by the fact that he tells his father “I always do”, about finding another place to stay.
The father introduced in this episode, called FP Jones, who was played by Skeet Ulrich (Jericho, The Craft, Scream), doesn’t come across as the kind of man who had a fortune and lost it. He seems instead like he has been part of this biker gang for a long time and has grown up poor, which means that the writers are avoiding the rich Jones family angle. I can see why they’ve made this change; you shouldn’t have too many enormously rich families in one group, and Veronica and Cheryl already fill those roles. So it’s not a surprising alteration.
Along with FP Jones, we also got to know Hermoine Lodge a little better this week and the intricacies at play with her husband. Characters like Veronica’s father and Betty’s sister Polly are bound to come into focus soon (definitely the latter, at least, as she has been cast for this season). Betty herself was a little annoying this week, with her constant intrusion into Archie and Grundy’s love life. Watching her continue to write her diary at the end of the episode also felt aggravating, because she now knows for certain that her mother goes out of her way to read that diary.
Archie and Grundy’s love affair has now come to a close and one of the very best scenes this week was a brief moment towards the end of the episode, when someone mentioned that perhaps Grundy was dangerous after all and we see Grundy, dolled up Lolita-style (like a completely different person), returning a flirtatious stare back to two young men who are checking her out as they walk past. Given her usual little innocent bookworm persona, this was a striking revelation to witness. Perhaps indeed she wasn’t quite who she seemed and perhaps she does seek out young men to date. I loved this little moment of duplicitous revelation and I loved that the writers only gave it a brief passing moment and didn’t make a big deal out of it.
The cast recently wrapped the filming of Season 1, with a lively wrap party (including the cast singing on stage) and many of them expressing how much they will miss their colleagues on the show. They all seem hopeful about a second season, so let’s hope that the ratings warrant this and that we hear some joyous renewal news soon.
Image credits: The CW