'Riverdale' season 3 episode 1 review: Fred Andrew's punch and Cheryl Blossom's sassiness are highlights we can't get over
Archie Andrews decides to serve prison time rather than letting his family go through the tedious court trial over again and we see Hiram Lodge's downfall dawning
When the 'Riverdale' cast members said that the fans are going to "absolutely freak out" with Season 3, they were right. Episode one of the third season titled 'Labor Day,' aired on October 10 and never was any episode so far removed from reality as this one, but entertaining nevertheless. We can't wait to see how baffled we are going to get as rest of the season unfurls.
The theme of what the entire season will be was immediately established in episode one, starting from Archie's courtroom trial, to the cult and the raging tension among the Lodges. Gargoyle King, who we anticipate being the new villain was mentioned and so was the cult's spiritual guru Edgar. With the opening scene telling us of the last final days of summer, where Veronica worked as a waitress and Betty got into a less paying internship, flashback to good summer days were recounted, mainly by Archie as he could be serving prison time soon enough.
Even though not guilty of the crime he's accused of, Archie agrees to go to the juvenile detention facility for two years, because let's face it; he is righteous but at the same time very dumb. The reason for taking this call is because he wants his loved ones to be spared of the anxiety and grief of a long drawn-out legal battle, even though his mother was/is his lawyer. Another reason why he took the call to surrender is because he is fraught with guilt for taking Hiram Lodge's side over his own father's and not being able to prevent the murder of Cassidy Bullock. Sacrifice, be it of Archie's or Jughead's when it came to Season 2's conclusion (of the Ghoulies beating him to a pulp,) has been a very futile selfless deed. Riverdale do you hear me?
But given that Archie Andrews flaunts a new temporary Serpent tattoo in his arm did prepare us for this ultimate fate he would meet in episode one. We are also assured that he will not be serving two years in prison, why? because he is the protagonist and his greatest fear of not retiring with the rest of his squad will not materialize. Let us recall the look Veronica gives Hiram after Archie's arrest. She is now a fierce lioness, who after losing her love, will do anything to avenge her enemies, especially her father who set up Archie. Hiram's downfall is also predicted as mom-daughter duo join forces. Hermione, in an emotional scene says, "I'm a prisoner, Veronica, but I am not his puppet."
One of the major highlights that none of us can stop thinking about is how hard Fred Andrews punched Hiram. Betty describes, this moment as “incredibly cathartic.”
Then immediately the scene escalates to the supernatural, and we would be lying if we'd say we did not see it coming. Had the trailers not given us enough hints to what to expect, we would have had a more surprised reaction to Polly's twins suspended or levitating in mid-air above a burning furnace, than we actually did. We are shook anyway!
The supernatural element dawned when Dilton frantically told Jughead that his roleplaying game involving someone called 'The Gargoyle King' exists in real life. Jughead dismissed Dilton because of Archie's pending court verdict and no-time-for-nonsense-schedule of the Serpent King. However, when he comes back home, he finds a map that Dilton left behind. It's a map of Riverdale, so Jughead ventures to the spot where Dilton had red-inked. He goes alone at night, only to stumble upon a horrifying scene of Ben and Dilton lying face-down naked in the woods, with mysterious symbols carved on their back. Ben had some green liquid frothing out from his mouth while Dilton lay almost lifeless.
Beyond the woods, in the heart of civilization, right at the Cooper house, even more sinister things are happening. Right from Alice's introduction in the episode, we know that she is completely smitten by Edgar and is very much a part of Polly's 'The Farm' cult. So at the end of the episode when Betty goes out at night looking for her mother and sister, she hears a group of people chanting mantras in the backyard. As she gets a closer look, she sees that Polly's twins Juniper and Dagwood are suspended in mid-air as they are thrown over the fire by Alice and Polly. Seeing this sight, the young 'Blue and Gold' journalist faints and gets a seizure. Alice rushes to take her young daughter in arms but we don't know what the hell is going on.
We will have to wait until the next episode premiering on October 16 to know the inner workings of this cult. But one thing we are so satisfied with in this episode is the sassy fabulous-ness of Cheryl Blossom as she makes an entrance in her new red Serpent leather jacket, meanly inviting the Riverdale foursome for her pool party, but deeply worried about Archie's fate that she discloses only to her girlfriend Toni. We also get to see her Katniss Everdeen-ness as she heroically helps Jughead rescue Hot Dog from the Ghoulies. We believe Cheryl Blossom deserves her own show, she's Powerpuff anyway!