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Riverdale Review – Dirty Dancing (707)

Riverdale -- “Chapter One Hundred Twenty-Four: Dirty Dancing” -- Image Number: RVD707a_0071r -- Pictured (L - R): Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper, Daniel Yang as Dilton Doiley, Nicholas Barasch as Julian Blossom, Camila Mendes as Veronica Lodge, KJ Apa as Archie Andrews and Madelaine Petsch as Cheryl Blossom -- Photo: Justine Yeung/The CW -- © 2022 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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Riverdale in the ’50s is far from peachy keen. 

Riverdale Season 7 Episode 7 explored themes of corruption and control, with Kevin’s sexuality being a huge focus of the episode. At this point, it’s safe to say everyone is aware that Kevin is gay, and while his peers are, mostly, supportive, the same cannot be said for the adults who treat it as some sort of disease.

Archie’s uncle Frank goes as far as to say he feels “sorry” for Tom Keller. It’s deeply upsetting but an unfortunate reality of the times.

Kevin struggles a lot to come to terms with his sexuality, particularly when his father begins to notice that his interests aren’t in line with what’s considered “normal” and signs him up for basketball as it’s considered a “manly sport.”

Times were different back then—and these approaches to situations that we deem so commonplace these days were considered a sign of the times. 

There’s a lot wrong with the ideologies of the ’50s, but it was particularly striking to see young men praised for having sex while young women were shamed and shunned. It still happens in this day and age, but it’s never so blunt and straightforward. 

The adults even seemed more accepting of a teen male sleeping with a prostitute than acknowledging that someone is part of the LGBTQ community. It’s so twisted and unfortunate. 

Kevin couldn’t go through with his rendezvous with Twyla, and thankfully, Archie arrived just in time to help his friend out of an awkward situation. 

Much like Betty, Archie seemed understanding, even “breaking bread” with Kevin and Clay so that they would feel supported and loved. Since we rarely get any scenes with just Kevin and Archie together, this was a nice surprise.

Archie and Betty were caught getting all hot and bothered by each other in their respective rooms, and by the next day, everyone had heard a version of the story thanks to Alice. 

Betty was pretty much labeled every terrible name in the book while Archie was hailed a hometown hero. However, Betty wasn’t interested in sitting back and getting shamed, so she decided to own her sexuality by pulling a scandalous move on live television and showing her red hot underwear while doing the twirl during the broadcast of Riverdale’s Grandstand. 

Oh, if only all of those people knew that live TV performances would be much, much, much more risqué in the future. 

Alice Cooper was simply disappointed in her daughter, but the move landed her in hot water at school as the principal labeled her as “tortured” and suggested that she needed help. My guess is that her sexual exploration and ownership of what she likes and wants will land her at the Sisters of Quiet Mercy.

Featherhead’s attention shifted from Jughead to Betty, but it was largely thanks to Mr. Rayberry, who vouched for Jughead and stuck up for his writing career. Featherhead wasn’t pleased Jughead was writing horror comics—which he likened to porn magazines (it’s a stretch but ok)—so Rayberry told Jughead to write under a pseudonym. To really sell it, Jughead informed the principal he’d be writing comics about “Super Duck.”

After Rayberry promised to be Jughead’s mention, you knew things were too good to be true. Everything was just falling into place way too easily. And that night, Rayberry got a knock on the door from a deranged killer posing as a milkman. Yes, the same one that took out Ethel Mugg’s parents. 

I’d put my money on this man being someone paid by Principal Featherhead and the psychologist of the school. They’ve made it their mission to ban comic books, so it seems like they have a vendetta against Pep Comics and anyone affiliated with them. And anyone who crosses their path gets taken out. 

It’s definitely a mystery as to the milkman’s motivations, but at the very least, we now know who the killer is! 

Despite the change of eras, many events mirror each other. Some might say that things are just meant to be, like Veronica becoming the owner of The Babylonium, though instead of being a casino, it’s a movie theater that she hopes to bring back to life. And she bought it simply to spite her parents, which is such a Veronica Lodge move. 

In addition to corruption, the need to break free from the expectations set by society and free from the control of adults who think they know better was a constant theme amongst the characters—from Betty owning her sexuality, Jughead sticking by his writing hobby despite the risks, and Veronica flipping a big middle finger to her parents. I love rebellious teens. 

This season of Riverdale is definitely peculiar, and I can’t really figure out what the endgame is, but after Jughead vowed to keep writing horror stories, I’m wondering if this season is just one big comic book born from the mind of the Jughead Jones. It might be the only thing that makes sense at this point. Is this reality a figment of Jughead’s imagination?

What did you think of the episode? Will Betty get sent away? Will Jughead become the top suspect in Rayberry’s murder?

And will Archie and Betty finally get together?

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Lizzy Buczak is the founder of CraveYouTV. What started off as a silly blog in her sophomore year at Columbia College Chicago turned her passion for watching TV into an opportunity! She has been in charge of CraveYou since 2011, writing reviews and news content for a wide variety of shows. Lizzy is a Music Business and Journalism major who has written for RADIO.COM, TV Fanatic, Time Out Chicago, Innerview, Pop’stache and Family Time.

Riverdale

Riverdale Review – American Graffiti (710)

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Riverdale Review Season 7 Episode 10 American Graffiti

And that’s what you call a break in the case.

On Riverdale Season 7 Episode 10, Jughead and Tabitha Tate dug deeper into the death of Brad Rayberry, who was assumed to have died by suicide, a cause of death that didn’t quite sit right with Jughead once he became to learn more about Rayberry’s life. 

With another death—well, deaths, as it was Ethel Mugg’s parents’ death that first shook the small town to its core—you would think that the cops would be more inclined to look into this case a little deeper. However, they simply leaned into the oldest trope in the book because it was easier and didn’t require them to exert too much effort. Typical. 

Jughead, on the other hand, thought it was peculiar that someone like Mr. Rayberry would do what he did after asking his boss at the comic book shop to send half of his paycheck to his wife in South Carolina. His suspicion became even more warranted when said wife, Mrs. June Simpson, explained that Rayberry was a very optimistic man who was just trying to save up enough money so that they could move to Paris as ex-pats. He was also feeling reinvigorated by his desire to get his novel published—at Jughead’s insistence—which again, didn’t seem like the kind of behavior from someone looking to end their life. 

Mrs. June was helpful in filling in the blanks, even clearing up some of what Sheriff Keller told Jughead. There are always multiple sides to every story, and how you interpret them depends on what you take away from them. Keller assumed that the fact that Rayberry protested the Korean war and was committed to an asylum meant that he was someone who would be more likely to die by suicide, when the reality of the situation is that he served in WW2 and became addicted to opium due to a war injury, hence his disapproval of another war and his willingness to seek help for his addiction. 

It turns out that Jughead’s perception of his mentor and good friend was on the money the whole time—he was a good person who dealt with a lot of hardships yet always looked on the bright side, even if it may not have seemed that way when they first met.

The big break in the seemingly cold case didn’t come until the final few minutes of the episode thanks to a neighbor named Mrs. Martin, who revealed that she heard the milkman stop by Rayberry’s house at an unusual hour. 

And her testimony coincides with the one Ethel Muggs gave following the death of her parents. We’ve got a serial killer on our hands—and it’s the case of the milkman. Who is this person? How does he identify his victims? And why?

The teaser for the upcoming episode—which looks as though it would be the perfect Halloween episode if it were to air during the fall season—will dig a little deeper into the murderer’s identity, with everyone joining forces to get justice and answers. 

Working Rayberry’s case brought Jughead and Tabitha closer together, and while they are very aware of their feelings for each other, seeing the difficulties Rayberry and June went through is a sign of the times. It was also a reminder—not that she needed one—that Tabitha should get back out there and fight the good fight. Jughead’s battle is back at home trying to figure out the serial killer’s motive, while Tabitha’s fight is out in the real world evoking genuine and necessary change. 

Interracial relationships were at the forefront of the episode, with Cheryl and Toni also trying to navigate the complexities of not only being a black and white couple but also an LGBTQ couple in a time when it wasn’t socially accepted. 

Cheryl wanted to be more involved in Toni’s world, requesting to attend the Black Athena literary group, which wasn’t an idea that Toni came around to initially. But when Clay invited Kevin to his poetry reading, Toni had no choice but to extend the invite to Cheryl, and while it was slightly awkward for everyone involved to address race in such an open way, it was also necessary and comforting. 

Riverdale Review Season 7 Episode 10 American Graffiti

Riverdale — “Chapter One Hundred Twenty-Seven: American Graffiti” — Image Number: RVD710a_0004r2 — Pictured: Casey Cott as Kevin Keller — Photo: Justine Yeung/The CW — © 2023 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Though, I think the more important takeaway from this whole plot was that Cheryl understood why it was necessary for Toni to have her space and to remain protective of her club. Cheryl was always welcome—and she promised to attend the public events—but this club was something that Toni fought for. Cheryl’s support was more than enough, as was the promise to read more books written by Black authors so that they could discuss them together. It was more special that way as it showed Cheryl’s effort to better understand Toni and her experiences. This couple has always been one of the show’s strongest—but the ’50s are giving them the most to work with, despite all the odds stacked against them.

The series is obviously trying to propel Betty and Archie and Veronica and Reggie, though, honestly, I feel like the girls kept interrupting a pretty epic bromance that was unfolding right in front of their eyes. The girls couldn’t just let the guys be guys, and that’s all they needed at this moment. 

Reggie and Archie bonded—and argued—over Archie’s Hot Rod, and eventually, they found common ground when Pop gave Reggie his jalopy that needed some TLC. 

It was a breakthrough moment for them as Reggie came clean to Archie about taking his car for a “joyride” to visit his parents because he was homesick, which was a feeling Archie understood all too well. They found common ground and a brotherhood that was stronger than any potential relationship. Archie needed a friend as his best friend was his dad, who went off to the war, and Reggie simply needed someone in Riverdale to be in his corner; a found family, if you will. 

And, at the end of the day, Betty and Veronica were still there, and still thirsty for a proper date.

I also loved that Reggie reached out to Betty to help out with his new ride. When she said there wasn’t an engine she couldn’t fix, he listened to her and believed her rather than dismissing her or brushing her off because she’s a woman. The world needs more Reggie’s. 

So much of this season has focused on Betty’s sexuality and her desires/urges, which is fine, but it’s nice to see this other side to Betty—one where she isn’t so sex-oriented. There’s so much more to her that makes her such a catch, and it’s nice that we’re getting to see some of those sides.

Elsewhere, Fangs had one of his biggest shows, proving that he’s on his way to becoming one of the hottest rock n’ roll musicians of his time and hopefully, getting accepted by Midge’s parents as a respectable husband. With Midge expecting a child, it doesn’t seem like they have much of a choice, but I love that Fangs wants to prove himself and earn their respect, making it impossible for them to turn him down. 

What did you think of the episode? Why do you think the milkman targeted Rayberry? Is he on Featherhead’s payroll? Or was it just a sheer coincidence? And is there a reason the cops are trying to convince Jughead it’s a suicide case? Are they covering for someone?

And with so much going on, it’s easy to forget that these characters still need to get back to the present timeline to get closure on their respective storylines, the ones that actually matter in our reality. How will they make their way back from the ’50s? Is everything that they are doing here leading them to the moment when they return home?

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Riverdale Review – Betty & Veronica Double Digest (709)

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Riverdale Review Season 7 Episode 9 Betty Veronica Double Digest

Does anyone feel like we’re not getting any momentum this season of Riverdale?

Riverdale Season 7 Episode 9 focused way too intensely on Betty’s sex life—through the lens of therapy with creepy Dr. Werthers—and Veronica’s ambition to make the Babylonium a destination movie theater simply to spite her parents. 

And while there’s nothing wrong with the storylines, per se, it just seemed to consume the whole hour of television, leaving no room to touch base with the other characters or to address the two lingering murder mysteries—in addition to the overall mystery of how everyone makes it out of the ’50s and back to the present day before the curtains close. 

In general, there’s just too much of a focus on Betty’s sexual desires, almost to a point of obsession. I’m sure it has something to do with Dr. Werthers, who, I imagine is also somehow connected to the milkman murders, but it also wasn’t necessary. There’s no reason to paint Betty as this sexually-charged teen in every single episode. However, I did like how she stood up for herself, pointing out that tapping into her desires was more her way of finding out who she is and what she wants. It was her way of getting to know herself and nothing to be ashamed about, which, in the ’50s is quite a radical ideology. 

Even the fact that Betty questioned whether she wanted to start a family, noting that she wants to make something of herself, was such inspired and modern thinking for a woman back in the day. She has no interest in being a trapped housewife like her mother.

It’s possible that glimmers of who these characters were in the present day are starting to poke through in this timeline.

When Betty finally stood up for herself, and to Dr. Werthers, she also begged her overbearing and controlling mother to just talk to her, suggesting that maybe she’s unhappy with her life. It seemed as though Betty was close to a breakthrough with Alice, however, her father quickly jumped in and made sure to remind Betty that she was being ungrateful for all of her mother’s sacrifices. The next morning, Alice declared that since Betty has all the answers, she was no longer her mother. It was bizarre behavior but one that seemed to stem from an abusive relationship. We know that Hal has never been a good husband in the past, so you can’t convince me that his behavior is any different in this decade. Unfortunately, answers about what’s really going on in the Cooper household are few and far between. 

Veronica, on the other hand, poured everything into the Babylonium after she/it were blacklisted by all the major movie studios because of her parents, who wanted to force her into selling it back to them so they could build a parking structure. We know Veronica is tenacious, so she wasn’t going to go down without a fight, creating a business plan that introduced a revolutionary “4D experience” that put the small town theater on the map. Of course, in the process, she infuriated her parents, who kicked her out of the Pembroke. She didn’t mind as being on her own was proving to be quite fruitful. Veronica always had a business mindset, so it’s not surprising this is the trajectory of her ’50s character. 

All of this took away time from the investigation into Brad Rayberry’s death, Jughead’s mentor and friend. He mourned him on his own terms by re-reading all of his novels and declaring that he was finally going to move on just as Sheriff Keller walked into Pop’s and asked for his help solving the “suicide.” This is just the thing that Jughead is good at, however, and it will hopefully provide some clarity into the murder of Ethel’s parents as the same milkman in question is responsible. Though, it’s funny that the police can’t solve a crime on their own and need a teen to help them out, especially one who had to hide his interest in true crime and disturbing comics. 

Many of the major players storylines this season were sidelined on “Betty and Veronica Double Digest,” which makes sense considering the episode’s title, but Reggie did get some screen time as a love interest pursuing Veronica. Those two always had a special connection so it was a shame when their relationship became toxic in the present day format. Maybe they’ll finally get a shot together in this decade? And it would be cool if they kept these memories when they eventually got back to their era. 

Betty’s sex-track-mind scenes allowed the writers to once again pair up Betty with, well, everyone, so we saw her making out with Fangs, naked in the shower with Reggie, and even locking lips with Veronica. It was a lot, but it’s clear Riverdale likes playing with the pairings this season, even in imaginary and dreamlike settings. Archie is still the one as he’s the person her brain defaults to whenever she’s asked who the person she most frequently dreams about is, so hopefully that means we’ll get some movement on their relationship soon enough. 

What did you think of the episode? Do you feel like the episodes have been repetitive? Would you rather they focus on plots that move the storyline along?

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Riverdale Review – Hoop Dreams (708)

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Riverdale Review Season 7 Episode 8 Hoop Dreams

Riverdale Season 7 Episode 8 finally brought Reggie Mantle into the mix. 

Reggie’s arrival at Riverdale High was highly-anticipated, and though it’s not what I imagined, it’s a good and important storyline for the character. 

Reggie has always been somewhat of an outsider—an integral part of the show, yes, but removed from the core five—so having him literally come in an as outsider who lives on a farm in Duck Creek just made sense. 

But it’s refreshing that he’s getting a meaningful storyline right off the bat that acknowledges his Korean roots, even if the racism during that time is hard to stomach. 

Archie was in Reggie’s corner completely, and despite his naivety about his town, when it mattered, Archie stood up for his friend and made sure that everyone understood that he wasn’t going to accept any type of bullying. 

No one can be surprised by the behavior of white and privileged teen boys when they’re around parents who spew that same kind of hatred and deem it acceptable. Not to mention the fact that they think it’s ok to simply use this person for their own personal gain without any care or concern about what happens to them. It’s sickening. 

It’s honestly a shame that Cheryl is a Blossom because her behavior and outlook are so far removed from the rest of the family.

She heard what her father said about Reggie, which prompted her to make it her mission to secure funding for Toni’s new Black voices literary club. It also seemed to give her perspective on why Toni ended their relationship, at least, in part. The truth is that while race played a role in it, Toni was mostly afraid of committing to a long-term relationship with someone so different. Yet seeing Cheryl’s true heart made her realize that this isn’t something she can just give up on. 

Cheryl and Toni haven’t had an easy road, but I’m so glad that they aren’t giving up on each other this time around. 

Part of that also stems from Clay’s advice to Toni as he understood all too well the complexities of navigating a relationship with someone from a different race and class. However, he knew that Kevin was someone worth fighting for even if their relationship required a lot of conversations to figure things out. 

As for Veronica, she’s seemingly not having any luck in the romance department. She was turned down by Archie, her fling with Jughead fizzled out, she found out Clay doesn’t swing that way, and her attempt at wooing Reggie fell flat, mostly because he’s so focused on his schoolwork and getting a basketball scholarship, but slightly because he has eyes for Betty. 

I’d feel bad for Veronica, but I know it’s only going to fuel her in the long run. 

As for Betty, her time with the Vixens was spent teaming up with a basketball player—fittingly Reggie—to “take care” of them, which honestly, doesn’t seem like a good way to get rid of “excess energy.” Once Reggie found out that Betty was taking a walk on the wild side, he removed himself from the narrative for a bit, but admittedly, if we’re just going to have everyone hook up with everyone, I want to see the chemistry between Betty and Reggie.

Also, why are they making Betty such a nymphomaniac this season?

Tabitha returned to Riverdale after her tour with Mrs. Till and picked up where she left off with Jughead. While their date night to the movies and the “Orient Express” was epic, it was overshadowed by the news of Brad Rayberry’s death. Jughead stumbled upon the crime scene and was informed that it was a suicide, but we know better than to believe that in this murderous town. And we can’t forget the milkman we saw knocking on his door just before his untimely death. If I had to guess, I’d say Rayberry crossed the wrong people when he stepped in to make a case for Jughead, and he paid the ultimate price. The question is why?

Tabitha also gave Jughead a copy of “The Comet” by W. E. B. Du Bois, which is likely going to be the key to this whole mystery of how they leave the ’50s. 

What did you think of the episode? And what do you think of the final season?

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