Riverdale Season 3 Premiere “Chapter Thirty-Six: Labor Day” Review
One heck of a way to turn what was almost a hopeful end to the second season of Riverdale into the next nightmare. From season one to three, this small town has been home to the worst kind of conflict. The kind that tears a town apart because a select group of people desire power and will go to any length to keep it. Hiram Lodge made his presence known, and finally embraced the role of the villain for better or for worse. We have a lot of things to look forward to this year, but none more than what this new conglomerate has in store for the citizens of Riverdale.
The approach to the trial was pretty unexpected. I think we were all prepared for a grander stage to be set-up, or the usual build-up to this moment, but no. Riverdale is a series tat loves to put you through the ringer, so one of the very first moments of this season three premiere was us jumping straight into the trial. No punches were pulled as you would have assumed from the prosecutor. It was practically a heavy-handed reminder of a lot of things that happened in the second season from Archie’s perspective. One after another thing that was stacking against him in the face of murder. I mean, how do you call yourself incapable of murder when there were one too many instances where actions spiraled out of control? I loved the role that Archie’s mother, Mary, played as his attorney. Her speech was powerful, insightful and covered the other half of Archie’s experience that could not be overlooked. Now with that said, this also wouldn’t be Riverdale without a little suspense, and they did not hold back in leaving us waiting for the results. It was a love/hate thing since they were telling us we waited a year for this, we could wait a bit longer. I have to say, it broke my heart how it ended for Archie. There was honestly no way that this was going to give us a happy ending, but they gave us something that met us halfway.
It was what developed afterwards that I loved more than the result itself. While Hiram has put together his little league of evil, we were able to look at what would form on the other side. Probably the best move since the last thing we should want is a story that becomes bleak, because we like our moments where we can be exciting and anxious for more.
To see that most of this episode was how they would actually spend their Labor Day weekend leading up to the trial results wasn’t a bad way to spend the rest of this hour. For Archie that meant living his best life for the possibility that things might not swing in his favor. For everyone else, that meant continuing to transition from the events of the second season or also trying to be there for Archie as he makes the best of this time. It was honestly worthwhile to finally have Archie, Veronica, Betty, and Jughead together in a way that didn’t show the hostility that almost existed between them before. For Veronica, I enjoyed how bold she was towards helping Archie regardless of his demands. This led to an excellent scene shared between herself and her parents. Mainly between herself and her mother who clarified the situation and how out of hand this is for both of them.
Betty dealing with her problems head-on after a heated confrontation with Alice and Polly was probably the only thing that I wasn’t expecting. I was hoping for more solidarity to their family after cutting everything evil out of their lives. What I didn’t think we would get is what was one of the biggest WTF moments of the series so far. I mean, I don’t know if this was a dream, something brought on by a lack of sleep, or something more, but they are walking a line that they might not be able to come back from. Not saying the twist to their family was a bad one either. As for Jughead, it was something you could see coming that the Serpents would still have a fight to deal with when their safety isn’t assured. How things escalated was a bit of a surprise with that said. At this point you always know that they will unfortunately get themselves into trouble directly or indirectly. The only true question is how they get themselves out of it. That is what holds your attention since Jughead can be a great leader when given the opportunity to prove himself. Now what I didn’t see coming was him running into the second WTF moment of the series so far. One after the other. I don’t know what the writers are cooking up this season, but they have my full attention.
Catching up with Cheryl was worth the wait. The one thing you have to love about this character is that she commands attention when she makes her entrance. She lives in her own world and nothing truly affects her that she doesn’t allow herself. For her it was a big step up this season that she could take a more active approach towards the role she has taken up with the Serpents. You would think they could run out of ways to make Cheryl look badass, and surely you would find yourself proven wrong by the end of this episode.
There’s one thing I loved about this season premiere that they neglected since season one. That being the things we know about her as the girl next door. The direction they took her as a journalist and what not was a cool change to her character, but nothing changed the fact that there were still some things that you enjoy that she did differently from other girls. That being skilled in fixing cars.
The kids are not alright after the events of this Riverdale season 3 premiere. Had to keep myself from even putting that in all caps. I didn’t know what to expect from this season, and I still don’t! But that is what we love about this series. They keep us guessing, they keep us at the edge of our seats, and they keep us coming back for more. This was probably the best season premiere for Riverdale so far.