There are spoilers ahead, so be warned. I'm not holding back today.
Lets just jump right in. The worst thing about this second season wasn't Veronica's eyebrows. No, it wasn't even the fact that the Black Hood, feared serial killer, had a 50% kill rate, making him one of the worst and least terrifying serial killers in the history of ever, simply because there was a 50% chance that he would not actually kill you. No, the worst thing about this second season was that all four of the main characters completely derailed.
I want to mention that there is a big difference between characters that are bad people, and characters that are poorly written. I can get behind an evil hero, I can get behind a character that is annoying, or weird, or mean. Because part of the point in consuming fiction is understanding that you won't like every single character, because the characters are supposed to be human, and humans have flaws, and you don't like everybody you cross paths with. But poorly written characters may be conflicted, complicated people, but their actions, their dialogues and their choices don't make sense and are overwhelmingly characterized by being totally stupid. The four main characters of Riverdale were poorly written characters.
Jughead's whole obsession with becoming a Serpent and then suddenly despising the north side when he has been going to school there for like three years makes no sense. Plus, I'm sorry, but Cole Sprouse is not the guy I would've chosen to play Jughead, who apparently this season becomes a totally badass sex-god. Because honestly, Cole Sprouse is the exact opposite of a totally badass sex-god. Regardless, his obsessive turn to the dark side and joining the serpents didn't make a lot of sense, and how Jughead reacted to the whole situation was painfully cringe worthy. The serpents actually called him out on it, telling him he didn't really know what he was talking about because he had been a member of the serpents all of one day. Jughead's transition to becoming a serpent needed to be way more low key, and way more mature. Going around screaming and yelling and getting all upset on behalf of people you hardly even know is just stupid, regardless of whether or not your dad is the leader of their gang.
On the topic of boys joining secret societies in literally the most stupid, useless way possible, lets take a look at Archie taking a blood oath to join the mafia for no real apparent reason. Looking back on this totally absurd, unrealistic and wasteful story line, Archie got roped into joining the mob because he was trying to impress Veronica's dad, who one episode was kindly inviting Archie to dinner, and the next completely hated him for no real reason. So Archie does the smart, teenage boy thing, and tries to wrestle, and there is one episode that is full of homoerotic wrestling scenes, and then its all over and suddenly Archie is no longer wrestling to try and impress Veronica's dad, he's becoming his intern, whatever that means. Since Archie was so genuinely stupid and terrible during this particular time in his life when he was working as Hiram Lodge's mobster whipping boy, I thought that at some point in the season Archie would reveal that is was all a prank and he was heroically trying to take down Hiram from the inside. But that moment never came, and we were left with the fact that Archie just became a really terrible person that turned on his dad and became a member of organized crime all to impress his high school girlfriend's father. Maybe he could've, I don't know, brought over flowers to dinner, or just kept wrestling. Was the mob thing really necessary? I'll answer that question, no it was not.
Veronica is next. I could write an entire paragraph about her eyebrows because I cannot get over just how awful they are. But that would be unproductive, so instead I'm going to attack something else about her. This is a known fact, Veronica kind of sucks as a human being. She is very pushy and absolutely, 100% the most spoiled brat ever. And no, she is not a powerful woman standing up for herself in the face of adversity, she is spoiled rich kid being a total snake and hiding behind her mom and dad's money. To think that she was meant to be some kind of feminist icon is an insult, when there are actually women out there in the world who are strong and honorable and hardworking, and not just petty and spoiled. In fact, there is one in the show, and her name is Josie. Veronica couldn't even complete one shift at a soup kitchen. She literally left her post, serving soup to the homeless people, to talk to Archie. The point in the season when everyone started turning on her because her parents were awful and Veronica knew all about it and she should have totally, absolutely been held responsible for it (since she is a strong woman who can make her own decisions after all, she should have to own up to her mistakes too) was the best part of the entire show. I am fully beind Ethel. Those flyers told the truth. Also her and Archie having sex instead of discussing the issues in their relationship was also stupid. I mean, seriously CW, come on. Right after his Dad got shot? Would he really have been in the mood?
To lighten the mood we'll move onto Betty. I actually liked her the best this season, since the only times I cringed so hard I injured myself when she was on the screen was when she was trying to be sexy. So that's a grand total of three times. Compare that to Archie, who made me want to die every single episode, so much so that I hoped the Black Hood would murder him. Betty's only fault is that much like how Cole Sprouse cannot play a badass sex-god, Lili Reinhart can't play a sex-goddess. It's just uncomfortable to watch the 'girl next door' putting on an ugly ass wig and touching her face. It doesn't work. It will never work. And stripping to 'Mad World'? Really? Even when you know that song has been totally destroyed by the video of that kid singing it in the worst way possible? I'm all for dark Betty, I'm all for her being an evil, psycho, messed up chick. Just stop trying to make her a stripper. I can't handle any more of it.
There are other characters who were also super cringey but don't have enough content in-show to warrant an entire paragraph. Those characters are Cheryl's mom when she suddenly decides to become a prostitute, the leader of the Ghoulies because what respectable gang leader would paint their face like that, and the scene where Cheryl is hosting a sleepover and the girls all literally sit in a line and brush each other's hair as if that is a thing that actually happens at sleepovers. Alice Cooper, suprisingly, doesn't make this list, because despite being completely psycho and a terrible person all her actions made sense and weren't totally dumb. She is a prime example of a bad character that is well written.
To shed some positivity on this entire experience, for the most part the characters were all great. Archie's parents are great, Mayor McCoy is great, Sheriff Kellar is great, Hiram Lodge is stupid but okay, I guess, Chic is great, Josie is great, FP is great and also the most handsome man on the show. What was wrong with the main four characters was that they just did such uncomfortably stupid stuff that was absolutely inconceivable. There is no way, no way, that a group of teenagers that don't even have cars or jobs could become involved with the mafia, a local gang, and taking down a serial killer. And yes that's the point, that these are just teenagers and yet they can still do great things. But sometimes the show let that concept of youthful strength and the stench of teen rebellion go a little too far to the point where it was totally unrealistic that any of these kids would be doing this stuff. So unrealistic to the point where it was stupid.
And on one final note of anger, lets dissect the Black Hood, because I called that it was Betty's dad the second he called her, and also how they suspiciously never showed his eyes for the entire show because they were blue by the way, not green, so that makes Archie a dirty liar. His involvement with Betty was childish, because what self-respecting sociopath teams up with a teenage wannabe investigative journalist? I know that he was her dad all along, but like, the Black Hood wasn't even scary because every time he entered into the story line that stupid lollipop song would play and like come on, who would ever be scared of that? Also going back to the 50% kill rate. How did he miss Moose and Midge? That is a serious question. He was literally standing right next to their car. How in heck did he miss. How.
The show was very intriguing, but it lacked character development, and also lacked the risk taking that comes with mature storytelling. The best stories are ones that are honest, ones that don't just let their heroes walk away scar-free. The stories that allow their heroes to fail, to die, to be hated, and to make mistakes reflect life more honestly than the stories that miraculously have people surviving when really they should've been dead. Archie should've been shot, or at least very seriously injured by Nick during that weird time when he was tied to a chair. And Veronica shouldn't have had that roofie up her sleeve, she should've slept with him, because sometimes in life you don't always have a master plan to weasel your way out of everything, and Archie should've had to watch and they should've been upset and in pain and the situation shouldn't have walked away all tied up, nice and neat.
I know there is a season three coming that will likely have an absurd amount of mafia related shenanigans that will be just as ridiculous as the last season. Will I still watch it? Yes. Absolutely. I want to see where this train wreck goes and if they actually let Jughead die for real. Plus if I stop watching, I won't have anything to complain about.
P.S. Replacing Reggie with another handsome, athletic, totally ripped Asian guy with a bad haircut was an amateur mistake. Why not make Reggie the Black Hood's second victim so we don't have to spend the whole season wishing we were looking at Ross Butler when in reality we were looking at his less attractive, less talented replacement. Thank you.
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