“Riverdale Chapter 14: A Kiss Before Dying” Review
We waited and waited and waited some more but the time is finally here – Riverdale is back. The second season premiere picks things up immediately where the finale ended and sets up (somehow) even more drama than season one. Be warned, there will be some mild spoilers.
At the core of the season two premiere of Riverdale is the shooting of Fred Andrews. The episode immediately picks up with that as we’re shown Archie’s mad dash through town to get his dad to the hospital as fast as he can. Once at the hospital, attention turns towards figuring out how and why this happened. As this entire situation begins to set in, the relationships in Riverdale begin to heat up. Archie and Veronica get very close and spend some very steamy quality time together. Meanwhile, Betty and Jughead deal with their new normal as Jughead struggles to bring together his life with her (and their crew) with his place in the South Side Serpents. You see, Jughead may not have the jacket on but he’s F.P.’s son and that makes him a very powerful person in the Serpents whether he likes it or not. At the same time, the Black Hood (the man who shot Fred) makes another move in the circle of the Andrews as he claims another life. Oh, and Cheryl? She’s still stylish but has completely gone off the deep end and has switched the power structure of her family.
“A Kiss Before Dying” works as a season premiere because it very much sets up the dominoes and now we’ll watch them fall as the season goes on. The emotional gut punch that was Fred’s shooting is picked up so quickly and really determines so much of where this episodes goes, especially as it pertains to Archie. I’m really interested in seeing Archie’s journey over this season as it’s clear this violent act has left him traumatized and wanting to do something. “A Kiss Before Dying” also pushes the two core romances into high gear as each one is very much established as a thing and not a flirtation. Archie and Veronica have their own issues to deal with now as Hiram is back and that will lead to a love triangle involving the parents that will undoubtedly test them. Elsewhere, Betty and Jughead are living out some kind of pseudo Sons of Anarchy melodrama that sorts of plays as a much less tragic version of Jax and Tara. The episode goes through all its big moments in nice succession as everything gets the time it needs to be properly set up.
Added to the show this year is Mark Consuelos who plays Hiram Lodge, Veronica’s formerly imprisoned father. Given the way Veronica has felt about her mother and father, she is unhappy to see him and once again we see another family dealing with a power struggle. Veronica is pushing back against her parents who have taken on this almost mafia esque presence as Hermione has shown her true colors more than once. Riverdale has become a show about families just as much as it is about the teen melodrama and that’s a really fascinating wrinkle to add to this season. We’re seeing Jughead deal with his family legacy, Cheryl breaking out from the abuse she’s suffered as a Blossom and now Veronica dealing with these two forces that are her mother and father. This premiere touches on all of this and it’ll give the show legs to stand on instead of just being about multiple murder mysteries.
As usual, Riverdale is one of the most visually impressive series on TV and definitely a high point for the CW. The lighting, the shots used and the music all make Riverdale a very unique experience that knows exactly what it wants to be. The cast continues to do fantastic things as the show continues to be everything no one would have expected.