The Riverdale season 6 premiere welcomed us to Rivervale, a town that’s somehow even crazier than Riverdale!
“Welcome to Rivervale,” the town sign read as a fourth-wall breaking Jughead introduced us to “a place where folklore and myth carry the weight of facts and truth.” The Riverdale season 6 premiere wasted no time in letting us know that the five episode special event wasn’t going to be like anything we’ve seen before.
However, other than Jughead’s narration upgrade, things looked pretty similar to what we saw at the very end of Riverdale season 5. Toni and Fangs were raising little Anthony, Betty and Archie were well into their “try again,” Jughead and Tabitha were moving in together, Veronica and Reggie were hustling hard for their casino, and Cheryl was still entrenched in the memory of Abigail Blossom.
Of course, there is one very notable difference between the season 5 finale and the Riverdale season 6 premiere. Namely, the ticking bomb under the bed of Archie and Betty, courtesy of a recently exiled Hiram Lodge. In this reality, the bomb was merely a bad dream that stirred Archie from his slumber just in time for some early morning delight.
Related: Riverdale season 5 finale review: Literally everything is up in flames
Although there has clearly been a time jump to establish the relationships, it seems like the events of the past remain intact in Rivervale. Choni, Bughead, and Varchie still had their epic loves, much of the Cooper family and Fred Andrews have perished, and the Lodge family drama has still shaped the town.
This five episode special event is a cool way for Riverdale to reset and explore a new side of the characters and relationships in their adult lives. For the most part, I really liked what I saw. I’ve never been a fan of how Barchie, Veggie, or Jabitha have been developed, but it was nice to drop in on them in their element.
Veronica and Reggie were kind of awesome as the power couple. At least while it lasted. Reggie has finally been developed enough as a character that he could be a viable romantic lead in the show, but unfortunately he’s still stuck in the backseat he’s taken in the past. Also, the fact that Veronica straight up forgot about him in her casino plans probably reveals how she really sees Reggie and how into the relationship she is.
Betty and Archie were obviously cute as the perfect representation of the all American boy and the girl next door. The Riverdale season 6 premiere finally gave us a glimpse of them as a functioning couple, and just like Veronica and Reggie, it appears to be kind of awesome. Unlike Veggie, Betty and Archie aren’t falling apart from the inside, but the show does have a way of always blowing them up, sometimes even literally, as soon as they get together.
As for Jughead and Tabitha, they’re still just okay to me. They’re cute, but that’s all I’m willing to say after the Riverdale season 6 premiere. However, I’m excited to see more. Fangs and Toni were similarly fine, with most of their storyline centering around a weird serpent ritual for Anthony. This has to come back in future episodes, right?
Cheryl works well as the instigator in the Riverdale season 6 premiere. Her strange rituals and her family of orphans offered most of the creep-factor in the episode, and they pulled it off perfectly. Since Cheryl’s storyline has been so similarly strange for a while now, it made it hard to know if something was Rivervale-weird or just normal Riverdale-weird, but I think this will help when it comes to tying these episodes into the rest of Riverdale season 6.
The goal of this five episode event is to swing Riverdale into the horror genre for a while. This episode had all the tropes with the folky fertility rituals, the infestation of the home of new lovers, and the fake smiles masking sinister intentions, but did it really have the horror?
For me, the answer was no. That is, until Betty Cooper smiled sweetly and told Archie she was “with child.” That’s when I knew things were about to take a wild turn, and I was not disappointed. While I struggled to decipher the tone of these familiar characters and stories in this new, though strikingly similar world, the end of the episode took a really fun turn.
The steadily increasing creepiness in the episode did help the whole thing come together, making it a great episode overall. I’m excited for the next four episodes now that a different tone has been established, and I hope things get even scarier going forward.
So now Archie is dead and confirmed to not be appearing in the next episode, and apparently the body count is only going to keep climbing. So the question is, how does this connect to the rest of Riverdale season 6? Since we can’t answer yet, I’m just going to keep watching this fun special event to find out!
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