Riverdale’s ‘Touch of Evil’ departs from the monotony of it’s pilot episode while keeping and expanding on the things we enjoyed. Archie gave us a taste of the kind of man he was pre-Grundy and that Betty fell for. Betty and Veronica struggled and made it through their first fight, cementing their friendship. And Cheryl, the resident villain, proved that she is capable, fierce, and vulnerable all at the same time.
A ‘Touch of Evil’ is about building trust between unexpected friends and people you might’ve wronged in the past. Seeing people for who they really are behind all the drama, pomp, and glamour. And building on the mystery that is the death of Jason Blossom.
Let’s dive right in!
Finally Understanding Archie
I’m going to be honest with you. I loathed Archie in Episode 1. He fell flat and was just the hot guy everyone was pining for. Stereotypical male from a young adult drama with a side of brooding ginger stallion. The young man that I saw in ‘A Touch of Evil’ made me rethink that and want to give him another chance.
There’s kindness and charm to Archie that’s easy to connect to. He worries about his relationship with Betty and wants to keep the friendship they have going despite the small set back they’ve had. He chases after his best friend, tells Jughead the truth, and seeks advice from his father when he doesn’t know what to do. Archie’s a young man trying to navigate the changing tides of his life just like we all did in highschool.
Don’t get me wrong, I still think the student/teacher relationship is ‘ewww’ but Archie’s got more up his sleeve than I expected. I’m willing to see more of him and how he deals with the guilt of what they did/heard on that 6 a.m. picnic, high school, and his complicated friendships with Jughead, Betty, and Veronica.
P.S. Is it just me or does he have this young and sweet Stefan Salvatore thing going for him in the gif above?
Betty and Veronica: The Start of Something Epic
Despite the shortcomings that Veronica feels like she has, aka her past as a mean girl, she keeps trying in a ‘A Touch of Evil’ when it comes to Betty. She sees something so honest and refreshing about Betty and wants to learn about it, become part of it. Through forgiveness, cupcakes, and some blunt truths, we see Betty open up and return Veronica’s branch of friendship.
It feels like the start of something epic.
As time passes in this episode it’s easy to see that they’re opposites that fit well together because they provide something the other doesn’t have. Veronica has that bold and straightforward way of telling the truth with a side of protectiveness. And Betty has a kind and optimistic heart that gives second chances. Together they’ll conquer whatever challenges they may face in their school, love, or home lives.
What’s important to note about these two is that they want to ground their friendship in something other than Archie and boys. Their comic book selves have always been pitted against each other and held a certain level of animosity/cattiness, that in my mind, never really disappears as they circle who will end up with Archie. Beronica is throwing that out the window, for the time being, to focus on a two women building a relationship based on honesty, caring, and a genuine want to explore who the other is inside.
The Many Layers of Cheryl Blossom
Making a fierce queen like Cheryl Blossom snap and show kindness is one of the most surefire ways to endear viewers to your villain. One second you’re ready to throw her under the bus and label her as the villain of the story and in the next you understand that her impeccable control is a means to an end aka so she doesn’t fall apart in a puddle of goo.
Every inch of Cheryl is part of her control. From her hair to her makeup. It’s perfectly crafted to show a young woman in charge despite the death of her brother and whatever skeletons she has in her closet. Let’s be honest, someone like her definitely has a couple bodies tucked away for a rainy day.
It’d be interesting to see what kind of person Cheryl was before her brother died. We know that she holds deep contempt with Betty for something that her sister did, before Jason’s death. So there’s a strong chance she was still just as vicious. But this Cheryl is all bite with a welling ball of sadness only visible in quiet moments, that shatters when we see how much she misses her brother.
There’s more to Cheryl Blossom and I can’t wait for us to dig right in.
Other Things To Note:
- Kudos to Betty for striking out on her own, despite her mother’s warnings, and trying to maintain her friendship with Archie going. (She’s gonna own the friend zone!) It’s not easy, she’s still struggling with her own feelings, but she’s trying. That always counts.
- Honestly surprised by the amount of times the parents appear on Riverdale. Usually they’re off to the wayside while their kids get in all sorts of trouble. Frank Andrews gave his son sage advice, Alice Cooper tried to lock Betty down, and Hermione Lodge proved how independent she is with her new job.
- Forget Cheryl’s lip color. I want to know where can we get Jughead’s hat?!
- We could all use more Josie McCoy.
Favorite Scene from ‘A Touch of Evil’: Getting Together at Pops
This scene is the first step in setting up the iconic group of friends. Now more than ever, we’re reminded that Archie has come to life and will continue growing into something we’ve never seen before.
Check out the trailer for next week’s episode of Riverdale titled ‘Chapter Three: Body Double’. Barb from Stranger Things, is in it!
Riverdale airs Thursdays at 9/8c on The CW.