Riverdale‘s time skip was highly publicized, catching the attention of the wider internet for its new, if a bit outlandish, premise. The first episode introducing the time skip didn’t have much of the core four interacting, but as expected, “Homecoming” delivers on that front.
Each character has their own mini-arc in this episode, setting the stage for their plots for the rest of the season. Veronica once again crosses paths with her father, who is none too forgiving of her decision not to help him when he came home roughed up by some goons.
When Veronica’s controlling husband starts tailing her, he refuses to come to her aid by convincing him to leave her alone. So, Veronica takes matters into her own hands, purchasing a revolver and shooting out the tires of the man Chad hired to spy on her. By the episode’s end, Veronica is back in her cutthroat Lodge ways, telling her husband to unfreeze their credit cards and leave her be.
Veronica’s best moments in the show thus far are when she shows a bit of that Lodge fire, taking charge like only she can — seeing her use it to retaliate against her controlling husband was good material for her. It’s clear these two will have a major falling out to end in complete severed ties by the season’s end, but just how that happens has yet to be seen.
Jughead’s plot centers around his troubles with debt and betrayal. The Southside Serpents aren’t happy he made a mockery of them in his book, effectively biting the hand that feeds — and although Toni Topaz took pity on him by making him a free drink, she refused to offer him a job. This leads Jughead to try his luck at Pop’s diner, which introduces him to Pop Tate’s granddaughter, Tabitha.
Tabitha is, without a doubt, the best character Riverdale has introduced in a long time –she’s fun, in charge, and doesn’t put up with Jughead’s crap– she’s exactly what the show needed. The show sets him up to be responsible for another betrayal via his new book, but will he actually go through with it? Or will he learn from his mistakes?
Archie and Betty both get the roles of “fixer,” individually and together. On her own, Betty is trying to save her sister Polly from herself once again, which causes turmoil in her family and causes her to cross paths with Archie. Archie is trying to run the Ghoulies out of his home, which just so also happens to be the place Polly is getting up to no good around. With the Serpents, Archie and Betty run the Ghoulies out of his home and subsequently arrest them for dealing illegal substances.
It’s a weird scene, but it’s one of those things only Riverdale can pull off because it knows it’s weird. The whole shot of them fighting is set to “Hold On I’m Coming” by Sam and Dave, which totally works and is a lot of fun. Riverdale actually works really well with a lot of ’60s sounds and aesthetics, due to the nature of the source material and set pieces around town like Pop’s Diner.
The most significant part about Archie and Betty’s scenes comes after they’ve chased the Ghoulies out and the two share some cute, awkward scenes together where Lili and KJ’s chemistry really gets a chance to shine. After five years, it seems like the show has finally decided to explore the Archie/Betty romance that was teased from the very first episode.
For the show overall, it’s a good sign of progression, feeling more and more like the teen drama it’s supposed to be. For viewers, it’s finally a chance to see the show explore Betty and Archie’s intense chemistry — whether they should or do end up together is irrelevant right now, but it’s certainly a fun ride to be along for the time being.
Since Season 5 started, Toni Topaz finally got a chance to really shine, stepping into the spotlight as a full-fledged leading lady. Her plot sees her taking on Hiram Lodge full-on, lobbying her friends to become teachers at the school in a last-ditch effort to save the school — and Riverdale — from Hiram Lodge. Lodge is defunding the town, making room for his Sodale properties, but Toni is determined to put a stop to him. Seeing Vanessa Morgan get more and more material is a treat as she’s one of Riverdale‘s strongest players.
“Homecoming” is an exciting chapter that hints towards a hopeful future for the season. Betty and Archie’s chemistry is off the charts, Toni Topaz asserts her place as a true star player, Veronica Lodge proves she’s a force to be reckoned with, and Tabitha Tate has made a great first impression.
Riverdale airs Wednesday nights on The CW.
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