TV Review: Riverdale “Body Double”
A fan favorite actress make her Riverdale debut and Betty plays a very dangerous game with the best intentions. Oh, and Archie is still sleeping with his teacher. Basically “Body Double” is just another average day in this quiet little town.
In just three episodes, Riverdale has proven just how far away from its wholesome roots it intends to stray. With the murder of Jason Blossom still lingering in the background, “Body Double” works more to build upon the relationships that exist in Riverdale. Instead of throwing more clues at us, this episode focuses on friendships and parental relationships and that’s why it ultimately succeeds.
As Veronica gets more adjusted to her new school, she agrees to go on a date with football player Chuck Clayton. Chuck is known as your typical alpha male macho and after their date he exaggerates and “slut shames” Veronica. This leads to Betty and Veronica teaming up to stop an ongoing issue at their school but this plan turns out to be a near disaster as things get out of hand. Elsewhere, Archie is struggling to make his dreams of being a songwriter real. His father doesn’t really support this dream and added in with Archie’s constant sneaking out, it has caused tension.
Riverdale is not a perfect show by any means but it packed with so many good elements. With “Body Double” two important ideas are examined through these characters. The first is a smaller plot involving Archie and Josie. Archie is almost obsessed with working with Josie and the Pussycats and here that comes to a head. Josie, in a scene commanded by actress Ashleigh Murray, forces Archie to check his privilege and shows us that not even and idyllic small town like Riverdale is free from racism. This scene is direct and doesn’t attempt to sugar coat this subject and given the audience this is trying to reach, its value increases. Josie and the Pussycats may be supporting characters but their influence has been felt across the series as their music has become the soul of the series and the sound of this town.
Veronica and Betty also address an issue that is bigger than them as they take on sexism in an incredibly direct manner. Camila Mendes as Veronica is a girl on a mission with fire in her eyes. She will not sit idly by as these boys grow into manhood not being held accountable for the awful things they do to their classmates. Like racism, sexism is tackled head on in a way that fits within the context of the show and allows its female stars to shine. You’re left cheering for Veronica and Betty as they vow to bring consequences to Chuck and his friends. However, given that this is Riverdale, things become dangerous very quickly and we see a different side to Betty that even worries Veronica. Over the hour, Betty and Veronica become the duo longtime fans know them as.
With Riverdale,you have to take the good with the bad. The series still struggles to properly frame Kevin Keller as more than the “gay best friend” and some of its attempts at humor fall flat given the serious tone of the series as a whole. Jughead still hasn’t come into his own but as he investigates the murder of Jason Blossom, that will surely change. The inclusion of Shannon Purser as Ethel Muggs is fun and makes use of Purser’s Stranger Things fame. Riverdale is ambitious and the exact kind of soap opera that’s been desperately missing from television and “Body Double” is a good example of the series being more than the murder mystery hook.