Another chaotic season of Riverdale is in the books.
Though perhaps not as outright weird as the previous season, season four was… something.
For those of you who have never watched Riverdale, the show is all over the place: there’s very little continuity with the plot and the writers seem to throw in the weirdest storylines they can think of. It’s almost universally agreed upon that people don’t watch Riverdale for quality television. They watch it for the endless over-the-top drama and to see what craziness the show's creators come up with next.
Since we can all acknowledge there’s very little that’s objectively good about the show, I decided a review of season four in the normal sense wasn’t necessary. Instead, let’s break down a few of the wildest occurrences from this season’s nineteen episodes.
Warning: major spoilers for season four ahead.
The end of the Farm! Finally!!
The undercover organ harvesting cult introduced in season two met its end at last. This storyline dragged on for a frustratingly long time and had a lot of strange, unexpected and, dare I say, unnecessary twists (Alice Cooper being an undercover FBI agent, anyone?). I was more than happy for the show to finally move on to something else.
Jughead’s fake death & the Stonies
This was the one plotline of the show I found actually kind of interesting. Jughead’s feud with the Stonewall snobs provided one of only two sources of continuity for most of this season, and I was actually impressed with how it all came together … that is, until Donna’s confession ruined everything.
Her desire for revenge and her goal of taking down the book franchise didn’t line up even a little bit with any of her actions. If she was so hell-bent on taking down the series and its creators, why was she so willing to be the mastermind of murdering Jughead and play into the franchise’s twisted system? If she had been a somewhat reasonable human being (which, OK, no one on this show is) she probably would’ve tried to recruit Jughead to work with her. The target on his back gave him an equally reasonable motive to fight back and take down the franchise.
The disappearance of Josie, the Pussycats and Toni’s character arc
Riverdale has always had problematic facets: the show’s creators erased Jughead’s asexuality and the racial diversity of the show’s characters is disappointingly low to say the least. In the first one and a half seasons, Josie, Melody and Valerie (also known as the band Josie & the Pussycats) were the only three Black female students in the show and were depicted as background pieces to Archie’s budding musical career. In season four, all the characters from the Pussycats have simply disappeared with no explanation, leaving only Toni Topaz, who was introduced in season two. Toni had a decent amount of screentime, but whereas in prior seasons we got to see her act independently, during this season, she served as nothing but an accessory to Cheryl’s storyline. Whenever Toni was on screen, it was always in the background of her white girlfriend.
Vanessa Morgan, who plays Toni, recently took to Twitter to call out the show’s creators; they promised to do better going forward, so here’s to hoping we get to see more of one of the show’s only interesting characters next season?
Tangerine, tangerine, tangerine
Literally how could anyone be expected to take this seriously. Not only does the way Riverdale discuss serial killer genes not make the slightest bit of sense (who’s surprised tbh), but the fact that they chose TANGERINE of all catchphrases made me laugh every single time. The idea that Alice and Polly could be hypnotized to kill their daughter/sister by Evelyn menacingly whispering tangerine over the phone three times … I couldn’t make this up if I tried.
Barchie?! (aka Betty + Archie aka the most unnecessary romance ever)
How about … no. We dealt with this in season one. It should be over and done! I get that Betty and Archie have been best friends forever and apparently, according to the show, it’s impossible for a boy and girl to be friends without making out at some point, but really? We’ve moved on and it’s far past time that the writers of the show do too. Also, somehow the physical and emotional cheating on both Betty’s and Archie’s parts were just never addressed?
Veronica and Jughead deserve better.
Veronica starts… a rum business?
Yes, you read that right. I already thought it was a stretch last season when she started serving alcohol at her speakeasy (given, you know, that she’s 17) but the idea of a high schooler launching a rum business is on a new level of unrealistic. The writers could have chosen literally any market for Hiram and Veronica to be a part of, and they choose one of the few that would make absolutely zero sense in the real world. Typical.
Archie’s annoying hero complex continues
Is Riverdale attempting to channel Marvel? Archie clearly thinks he’s invincible and that he can single handedly save the world despite having no superpowers (that we know of).
It may have been cute and admirable for a while, but at this point, he’s failed so many times and been told by so many people not to be a vigilante that it comes across as narcissistic and disrespectful to the actual adults who know what they’re doing. He’s fully incapable of acknowledging that he might not be all powerful or always know the best thing to do, and it’s been four seasons now. Where is the character development?!
Charles just randomly shows up — supposedly back from the dead — ready to jeopardize his life and career for a family that rejected him and that he barely knows?
Agreed, Betty, you definitely can’t trust him. I don’t know what this man is up to, but it’s nothing good, especially since it involves Chick. I kept waiting … and waiting … and waiting for something (anything!) to happen. The show started dropping hints at the beginning of the season that Charles was up to no good, but the writers left us hanging. Which brings me to my last point …
Oh yeah, and the season basically ended in the middle of an episode.
You had nineteen episodes. Nineteen. And you somehow manage to end the season in what should have been the middle of an episode.
This season could have ended three episodes earlier (before the horrid & cringe-worthy musical episode that sparked a mocking TikTok trend and the Barchie comeback! Imagine!) and everything would have been tied up somewhat nicely, at least for now. My point: a reasonable ending was right there after the Stonewall takedown and yet it finished in a place that doesn’t make sense as an ending.
At this point, I can’t tell if Riverdale is supposed to be a comedy or a drama. Do the show’s creators legitimately think they’re putting out something of quality or do they just try to come up with the strangest and most outlandish (read: funniest) plotline they can think of? Whichever it is, season five is sure to be a wild ride.
Article Thumbnail: Robert Falconer