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Ready for a sad senior year

KJ Apa (left), Lili Reinhart, Camila Mendes, Cole Sprouse
Photo: Dean Buscher (The CW)
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Aaron Sorkin has this little habit of titularizing the final episodes of the first season in his television series "What kind of day has it been?". He takes each stopping point as an opportunity to take stock, look back at what comes before and look forward to what is to come. Even though Riverdale has been chained to the obligations of the plot, the editorial staff inserts a reflection of this nature under the story that must conclude in "Chapter fifty-seven."

The final scene in particular, which allows our central quartet to regroup in the Pop & # 39; s with shakes after the various dangers of this season, encourages this feeling of summary. Everyone is sharing a giggle about the amazing volume of traumas they have had to deal with this year: the cult of the organs, not one but two crazy homicidal homicides, the revelation that the mother of her friend is a criminal, the death. in all directions as far as the eye can see, and swearing to return to normal. There are probably many fans who echo these same feelings, eager to return to the routine of classes and infatuations.


Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has other plans. One has the feeling that he would think of a return to the stakes of the first season as a return, that the show can not be brighter and simpler again. How else to explain the shocking breakthrough that announces that any hope of being innocent in high school has been misplaced? That coda, what would have been a "moment of water refreshment" if we still had water coolers or monocultures to discuss around it, is a slap in the face for anyone who expects the show to come out of the dark phase of this season . Archie, Veronica and Betty are standing around a bonfire burning in their underwear, burning their clothes, throwing the last one of Jughead's absent hat. There is a note of cruelty in the juxtaposition of what certainly looks like an evil blood pact with the carefree happiness of the four characters in their present. Children are deceiving themselves if they think that from now on they only have to worry about pop quizzes. That's how we are.

This scene suggests that the madness replete with "Chapter Fifty-seven" will be the order of the day in the future, and it is better that we all get used to it. Determined to end up with an explosion and not with a whimper, the writing team presents more intense confrontations that can be counted on one hand in its forty-two minutes. That is not an approximate language either; The feeling of exhaustion from this episode can be attributed to the fact that six different scenes carried the crushing emotional weight to end the episode, but only one did. The mastermind Penelope Blossom has organized a sadistic treasure hunt for her teenagers, and has accumulated a horror that has changed their lives. "A lot of crazy things happen" could pretty much describe the majority Riverdale episodes, but all have been rewarded with the solemnity that this episode does not have, apart from an inopportune meeting between a gathered Archie and Veronica, a poison that runs through their veins. Gentle pedaling is not allowed, not this week.

Archie has to kill a bear man! Jughead has to kill Chick! Betty has to kill her dad! Veronica has to commit suicide (or so she thinks)! In a show that thrives on its own, Aguirre-Sacasa and his writers may have finally devised a way to have too much. The four life and death recognitions confront each character with their deepest torment: the bear has been a recurring symbol of Archie's capacity for violence, in addition to giving him an excuse to say "Oh, shit, not again", Jughead faces The incarnation of danger for Betty in the form of Chic, Veronica's alleged guilt for bringing so much danger to Riverdale dissolves when she tries to take a bullet of Russian roulette for her friends, and Betty faces her own dark side through his father. Everything makes sense on paper, but that is the problem. These scenes are more fun to discuss than to see, the usual value of the camp is affected by the seriousness of the tone.

Two teenagers who now own large portions of property in Riverdale It makes perfect sense within the internal logic of the program, just like a scene that opens in a craniotomy. We have been trained not to lose sight of this during the last three years, but we have no idea what to do when this show demands that we take their emotional risks seriously. No wonder that the best scene of the episode is also the most stupid, in which the mini archery-army of the Beautiful Poisons arrives just in time to overcome the threat of the Gargoyle. Of course, no one is going to die here (a phenomenon I learned is known as "plot armor"), but that is not a concern when we are having fun joining this show for the trip. In the event that the deed suddenly insists that these The homicides will be much more disturbing than the previous homicides, low stakes, cracks in the face.

But even if Riverdale stumbles in his attempt to break into a sprint, things get dangerously American horror story Here, although Cheryl Blossom sympathizing with her brother's dried corpse is delicious, it's only a matter of time before the show recovers. Mama Jones will be present for some time, as long as the writers avoid Fred's death and she is sending her own son. Charles has re-entered the universe of the Cooper family, entangling himself in the family trees and preparing the show for a decidedly different dynamic between Betty and Jughead next year. Not to mention Alice's new association with the FBI, another thread with a lot of potential in the third season.

But the heart and soul of this show live inside Archie, Jughead, Betty and Veronica. The final scene leaves a bitter taste, mocking the kind of high school melodrama that initially launched this show in successful territory. The high points of this season have come when the show is more like its previous self; Anxiety tests, school games, graduation night. Getting away from that could be a slippery slope, giving writers the wrong idea about what it means to get ahead. That is the constant mandate in the fashion television programs, so that they become bigger, darker and more intense each year. But this is not RiverdaleCriteria For this show, surpassing the previous year does not require more suspensions, or more spooky gore.

Balance has been the name of the game since the first season, since the program discovered how much it wanted to be Twin Peaks Against what I wanted to be An invitation to love. The third season has learned more towards the first (although it deviates towards Real detective Lynch country), and it seems that the fourth season will continue the trend. Maybe it's just that these plot lines have kept the main characters away from each other, but they're dragging the vibes down. Even when this season has turned somber, we have tried to maintain a sense of lightness; Just look at the revelation of the great organ harvest. Having a good time is what RiverdaleEverything is related, and losing contact with that represents the greatest threat to the continued success of the program. Relax, everyone! The murderers have been eliminated, it is summer and a new school year is approaching. They tell students who start the last year to enjoy each moment, because it will be over before they know it. I would give that same advice to the cast of Riverdale: Appreciate every moment in which you become defective, accessible and pleasant children. It is only a matter of time until it returns to the blood.

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