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RIVERDALE RECAP: “Chapter Two: A Touch of Evil”

RIVERDALE RECAP: “Chapter Two: A Touch of Evil”

Editor’s Note: This recap will contain spoilers for Riverdale’s second episode, “A Touch of Evil.” Only read on if you’ve watched (or want to be spoiled on) Riverdale‘s latest episode.

Lest we forget where Riverdale‘s head is at, the second episode opens on a bloated corpse being prepared for an autopsy, followed by a quick cut to Archie’s (K.J. Apa) nearly naked body, drenched in sweat. Riverdale is working hard to lock in the title of “Darkest and Horniest Show on Television.”

This episode did a lot to peel back the layers of mysteries that comprise the show’s plot, but it also focused on one of the most strange and troubling aspects: Archie’s relationship with his teacher. Admit it, when you think about the fact a 15 year-old slept with his high school music teacher, it makes you really uncomfortable, right? I mean, it should make you uncomfortable and the fact that the show does not appear to be positioning it as an outright horror is concerning. It’s statutory rape, there’s no way around it.

If you can look past that—and that may be a big “if” for some viewers—the most compelling part of the show has to be Betty (Lili Reinhart) and Veronica (Camila Mendes). Whatever budding friendship these two had is on the rocks after Veronica kissed the love of Betty’s life (that sexpot Archie), but it’s clear that division won’t last. Veronica apologizes, buys Betty flowers—yellow for friendship!—and has cupcakes shipped in from New York.

Riverdale -- "Chapter Two: A Touch of Evil" -- Image Number: RVD102d_0371.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Casey Cott as Kevin Keller and Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper -- Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network. All Rights Reserved

But Betty is hesitant, and even goes out of her way to hurt Veronica by trying to strike up a new friendship with Cheryl Blossom. Cheryl is a legit psycho though and a total creep, so that doesn’t last long. Betty’s mom coming in with burning incense to banish the “evil presence” left by Cheryl is hilarious. Too bad Betty’s mom is also a legit psycho. Long story short, while it takes most of the episode, Betty and Veronica are friends again by the time the credits roll.

Do Betty and Veronica remind anybody else of Brenda and Kelly from the original 90210? Obviously, the 90210 gang were somewhat inspired by the Archie comic characters, but updated with modern sexuality and venom. It’s a weird pop cultural ouroboros thing, I think. Maybe I’m way off base one this one. Or maybe not.

This second episode does, however, make it clear that Riverdale is following the classic Aaron Spelling model of things going crazy, bad stuff happening, and then everything returning to normal, complete with sexy people smiling. I know we compared it to Twin Peaks in our review, but the format of this show reminds me so much of Melrose Place and 90210. It calls itself a dark drama, but Riverdale is clearly a soap.

Riverdale -- "Chapter Two: A Touch of Evil" -- Image Number: RVD102c_0200.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Madelaine Petsch as Cheryl Blossom and KJ Apa as Archie Andrews -- Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network. All Rights Reserved

We also finally get to spend some time with Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse) in this episode. Aside from the crown or beanie (I guess,) this Jughead has zero in common with his comic book counterpart. He’s a serious dude, right? No burgers and fries for this kid; it’s all journalism and angst and bitterness. Will he ever lighten up? Or will he stay the dark narrator of Riverdale?

While the second episode spends most of its time mending fences and bringing our central characters together—that scene of Jughead, Archie, Betty, and Veronica all eating at Pop’s was magical—it also spent some time advancing the mystery of Jason Blossom’s murder. As we all guessed, it’s a lot more complicated than it initially seemed.

Riverdale -- "Chapter Two: A Touch of Evil" -- Image Number: RVD102c_0255.jpg -- Pictured: Cole Sprouse as Jughead Jones -- Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network. All Rights Reserved

We’re told that Cheryl and Jason headed out on a boat down the river, but pulled aside and Jason ran away. Turns out he’d been planning an epic escape from Riverdale with Cheryl as his accomplice. But who was he trying to escape from? It’s unclear, but whoever it was caught up with him, because the autopsy reveals that Jason died a full week later than when Cheryl last saw him. He had been tied up for days, eventually shot in the head, and then dumped back into the river.

This reveal complicates things. Not only was Jason’s death more sinister than we originally thought, but it seems to be pointing to the notion that there is an even bigger secret that someone was willing to kill to protect. Jason obviously knew something about someone, right? Something that meant he had to run for his life.

What did you think of Riverdale so far? Let us know in the comments below!

Images: The CW

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