Riverdale Season 2 Premiere: ‘Chapter 14: A Kiss Before Dying’ Review

Riverdale Season 2 Premiere: ‘Chapter 14: A Kiss Before Dying’ Review By Rachel Bellwoar I didn’t realize how much I had missed Jughead’s narration until Riverdale season two began to...

Riverdale Season 2 Premiere: ‘Chapter 14: A Kiss Before Dying’ Review

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By Rachel Bellwoar

I didn’t realize how much I had missed Jughead’s narration until Riverdale season two began to start. Jumping in where season one had left off, Archie’s dad, Fred, has been shot and Archie is driving him to the hospital. Jughead is using his voiceover to talk about how Archie doesn’t have a driver’s license, Fred is giving the most dramatic hand against a window pane since Rose in the Titanic, and somehow Jughead, Betty, and Veronica synchronize their watches, so they arrive at the hospital at the same time.

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Much of this opening depends on viewers forgiving the show its excesses, but when you have a scene that’s so tonally satisfying to watch, it’s hard to be disagreeable. KJ Apa does some of his best acting depicting Archie’s tumult after the shooting. It’s not long before he’s back to his old, frustrating Archie self, but these moments of him wheeling at the hospital are astonishing.

Last season Riverdale was much noted for its darker tone compared to the Archie Comics. Never has the show been more chilling than during Fred’s unconscious dreams. The cliché goes that when a person has a near-death experience, they see their life flash before their eyes. Fred sees a future that feels wrong, and the reason for that, as somebody always tells him, is he’s dead. He shouldn’t be there at Archie’s graduation or other milestones, and few things could be more frightening as a parent than being told you’re not going to see your child grow up. For Archie, who must be hoping his dad isn’t in any pain, the truth is Fred’s mind is much more distressing.

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If that weren’t traumatizing enough, Fred’s shooter is unaccounted for and presumably in possession of Fred’s wallet and address. The show’s readiness to address Archie’s PTSD is immediate. Concerned that the shooter might come back to finish the job, if it was a hit, and not a robbery, then Archie could be right. Jason’s murderer was at large, too, throughout season one – his death the main mystery to be solved – yet there was never that same premonition that his murderer would kill again. That looming threat adds a whole new layer of drama to Riverdale season two.

The other change, and not a bad one, is that after being in the spotlight because of Jason, the Blossom’s have been pushed to the back of the narrative. Cheryl can be a lot, very larger than life, though with a great taste in movies, referencing “Baby Jane” over her mother’s weakened state. It’s because of Cheryl that the episode is titled ‘A Kiss Before Dying’ and that uncomfortable moment is enough for one episode. If the planned Sabrina spinoff ever has a Riverdale crossover, Cheryl and Sabrina need to talk.

That being said, the Lodge family seem more than prepared to fill the Blossom void. Hiram is out of prison, and Hermione’s response to him being back home is disappointing. Attentive to his every need, Hermione’s more upset that Veronica opened a bottle meant for him than that she caught her daughter day drinking. It’s not a good look on her.

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Any review of Riverdale would be remiss without mentioning Betty and Jughead. Betty’s reaction to Jughead driving a motorcycle is true to character, in a way that’s exciting to see. No one’s supposed to be immune to a guy on a bike but Betty is worried about her boyfriend and, instead of sitting around, being silently disapproving, she’s open and receptive with her trepidations. It’s a mature way of talking about your feelings. Betty may be the “nice” girl to Veronica’s “bad,” but that doesn’t make her deferential.

As for those closing seconds, Miss. Grundy wasn’t ever somebody you missed having around, but that doesn’t mean things were supposed to end like that for her character [SPOILER: Miss. Grundy is killed by the same man that shot Fred]. What she has to do with any of this is unclear, but Riverdale has topped itself with the stories it’s cooking this year.

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Riverdale Season 2 Premiere: ‘Chapter 14: A Kiss Before Dying’ Review

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  • ⚜ The Geeked Gods ⚜ Riverdale Season 2 Premiere: ‘Chapter 14: A Kiss Before Dying’ Review | Rachel's Media Channel
    12 October 2017 at 8:43 pm
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