‘Riverdale’ returns with a problematic new season


By Kevin Ludy ’19

A teen framed for murder, high school crushes and a mysterious map are all tied together in a teen drama. Although these qualities sound intriguing, the new season of Riverdale doesn’t deliver as a binge-worthy series.

Season three of Riverdale premiered on Oct. 10, marking a new entry into the town and the characters found within. Lili Reinhart returns as Betty Cooper, KJ Apa as Archie Andrews and Cole Sprouse as Jughead Jones, all deemed as fan favorites from the past seasons. Although the acting can sometimes seem cheesy, the actors themselves are very likeable as they engage with fans online and make posts on Instagram.

The first episode, titled “Labor Day,” dove right back into the drama from last season, with (spoiler alert) Archie being framed for murder and put on trial, and Betty trying to get over the trauma of finding out her dad is a murderer. The start of the episode was a little jarring because of how quick the plot started unfolding, and it took a little until I got used to the fast-paced style of the show.

This show’s plot is somewhat notorious for being outrageous and bad, and I have to admit that this season doesn’t change much about that. With the drama of the trial going on you would think that would be the focus point, but no. Betty’s mom and sister join what could be considered a cult, and Jughead is warned about the “Gargoyle King,” which he investigates as he follows a map. Surprisingly, the map leads to two kids poisoned in front of a devil-like worship effigy. These three dramatically different plots unfurl in the span of a 45 minute episode, which made it overwhelming to understand.

Another issue I had with the episode was the timing of the premier itself. With the episode taking place on Labor Day and the last weekend of summer, why would you choose to start this season in October when autumn is in full swing? This timing alone made me less interested in the episode as I’ve moved on from summer, so watching people swim at a pool party didn’t keep me invested.

For as much as this episode annoyed me, I have to admit that it wasn’t all bad. The acting of Madelaine Petsch, who plays Cheryl Blossom, was excellent. Furthermore, Cheryl’s relationship with Vanessa Morgan’s character Toni Topaz is progressive and their characters feel real and believable. The show also has a fun and upbeat soundtrack, playing songs like “Youngblood” by 5 Seconds Of Summer, which is great for the teen fanbase the show caters to.

When the first season of this show came out and was eventually put on Netflix, it was an immediate summer hit, which made fans excited for the next season. After two more seasons, the show has grown stale and unless the plot for this season takes a dramatic turn, I wouldn’t recommend coming back to this. I would give the premier of Riverdale season three a 5/10.