Riverdale started off its fifth season really strong, introducing some much-needed change and maturity to the show which made it its most enjoyable since Season 1. Last week’s episode took the show back to some more disappointing routes, which this week seems to follow up on.
Archie had a cool plot in front of him in the earlier episodes of Season 5: now dating his lifelong best friend, coming back from the military only to try and save the town he grew up in. Last week didn’t just unceremoniously bring back Veronica/Archie out of nowhere, it also ramped the Hiram vs. Archie plot, which is like beating a dead horse at this point.
Veronica/Archie’s scenes are nothing new and they hardly feel earned at this point, more like retreading old ground instead of doing something new and interesting with that romance. Hiram vs. Archie is even more of a bore since they took to the football field to hash it out this time, with Riverdale getting its ass kicked.
Hiram becoming more of Toni‘s villain was such an interesting take Season 5 tried, that the return of the Archie vs. Hiram stuff is just…a downgrade at this point. We’ve seen it for five seasons. Though, the best part of this entire football segment is when Cheryl Blossom has her cheerleaders perform as back-up dancers for her as she performs Lady Gaga’s “Stupid Love” — it’s the kind of camp that’s so great about Riverdale.
Betty lies to her mother about Polly being alive, giving her the most interesting plot of the episode yet again. It is a little disappointing that Jughead and Betty are back to sleuthing together — even more so that they’re investigating aliens now — though Lili Reinhart’s delivery on some of those more ridiculous lines is so great. Lili Reinhart really doesn’t get enough credit for how great her delivery on some of these lines across the seasons is, especially when the show veers into its weirder territory.
But seeing Jughead and Betty back to sleuthing is disappointing mostly because it was fun to see Kevin and Betty doing that together again — and seeing Jughead’s interactions with Tabitha were also a fresh, new take for the show. Like Veronica/Archie’s coupling and Hiram’s beef with Archie, this plot too feels stale now.
Kevin’s woods hook-ups come back, which is a bit odd since they’ve been dropped for so long but Season 5 suddenly brought them back. Oh, and Kevin got hate crimed, sorta? It doesn’t feel like Riverdale can truly address this plot with the gravity it needs when Kevin barely gets substantial plots to begin with and is mostly a background character, though Casey Cott does great work. One can hope this plot gets the careful attention it deserves in future episodes.
Even Toni, who Season 5 showcased at first, is virtually absent from this episode, making this even more of a disappointing return to form for the show. When Season 5 first aired the timeskip episodes, #Tonidale was trending –and even the show’s official Twitter account took notice– showcasing how beloved Toni is and how long fans have wanted her to have more screentime. If this is the future of Riverdale, it’s a bit bleak.
Riverdale Season 5 Episode 9 is a disappointing entry for Season 5, which started off so strong, but is a very formulaic entry in the show that we’ve all come to know.
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