Riverdale: Season 1 Episode 8 review – Chapter Eight: The Outsiders
This review contains spoilers.
After a three week break, Riverdale returned this week with its eighth chapter. Polly’s baby dilemma became the primary focus once more, with the longevity of Fred’s construction project riding shotgun.
One begging question, after the first ever hiatus for a show, should be: did I miss the show while it was off-air? As much as I appreciate and love certain aspects of the show, the answer this time around was unfortunately: no. The hiatus acted instead as a welcome break away from the ebbs and flows of Riverdale‘s drama.
To examine why that might be the case, I think from a personal perspective it was the Betty and Jughead relationship that is still leaving me with a slightly bitter taste for the show. I’ve expressed before why I feel it was the wrong move for Jughead, so I’ll only touch on it briefly below.
During the hiatus, I had one friend (someone who knows nothing at all about the Archie comics) ask me why I dislike that writing choice. I told him – using the comics as a basis for my argument – and he replied that it felt natural to him and that “you have to allow him some love of his own,” or something close to that remark.
Apart from that being a nice sentiment, I can see why, as an outsider observer, he would take that view. To him, these are brand new characters, with no back-history to do right by. Therefore, to my friend, Jughead looks like nothing but a young guy with family issues, who deserves some romantic love and comfort, just like everyone else.
I would agree with that, if this was an original show, with characters created for the screen, but I think when you take on a much-loved property then you have certain responsibilities to the fans. There are certain rules, within each much-loved franchise, that you simply do not cross, and making Jughead a romantic is one of those, for me. And the writers seem adamant on keeping it going, as was evidenced in this episode with their frequent kissing.
The episode itself gave its major focus to the tug of war on Polly’s life and child. As much as this would be a big issue, if this were a real life story, I would rather the show moved away from this. All it does is highlight the deception and malice of both sets of parents and it offers little in the way of progressing the actual murder mystery.
We were granted only a small amount of progress on the Jason front. FP revealed that The Southside Serpents helped Jason by giving him some money to get away. After giving Jason some of their product (presumably to deliver or sell it, in the return for their aid), they assumed that he had taken off with their stash, before the news hit about his death.
It was nice to see both Archie and FP band help together to work on Fred’s construction site, in his dire hour of need. Moose being the one to get hit in the fight didn’t go unnoticed. In the comics Moose is known for his strength but not his mental proficiency, so while he might pack a hard punch, when it comes to knowing what to do when two guys holding metal bars come towards him, he might not have the smarts to bolt.
One thing I didn’t quite expect was for FP’s involvement with The Southside Serpents to be such a secret. It seemed like everyone knew who FP was and which road we went down. But this week highlighted the opposite, with Archie doing that cliche a-hole move – barging into someone else’s event and verbally attacking someone without a care for the person’s special day.
Like Jughead, I’m inclined to believe FP when he says that he didn’t kill Jason. Even though FP did show his more cold-hearted side this week, in the reveal that Kevin Keller’s lover is actually an undercover Serpent (or someone in their employ) being utilised to form a link to the Sheriff.
When a show returns from any kind of hiatus it should ideally return with a bang. This episode merely drifted us calmly back into the comings and goings of Riverdale. The familiar strength of writing, style (music is always used exceptionally in this show, especially in that lingering final shot of the title) and character development was present, but the content of the episode fell short of ranking among this season’s better episodes.
Image credits: The CW