WARNING: This article contains MAJOR spoilers about Riverdale season 3, so be aware.

The much-anticipated season 3 of Riverdale is finally upon us as of last week, with the first and second episode now on Netflix. As an avid Riverdale fan since the beginning, I was eager to see what would happen next after Archie (KJ Apa) was arrested and framed for murder by Veronica’s father, Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos), in the season 2 finale.

After a slightly disappointing second season, I was ready to be wowed by Riverdale’s comeback. After seeing the first two episodes, I’m not sure if “wow” would be the best way to describe it, more baffling I’d say. The show has had a shift from the dark high school mystery thriller show of the first two seasons; suddenly the supernatural has become a prominent theme in the show. I’m aware of that Riverdale possibly shares the same universe as the iconic Sabrina the Teenage Witch, but it was still a surprise.

Throughout the first episode, there were hints of some sort of satanic monster haunting the woods and controlling some of the other high school students, forcing them to play a sick game of drink and die. We see Betty (Lili Reinhart) and Jughead (Cole Sprouse), encounter fellow high schoolers, blue-lipped and frothing at the mouth, with weird markings cut into their backs. I’m sure it’ll make more sense as the season progresses but it was just so out of nowhere! I didn’t know what to think. Even the end of the first episode shows Betty having a fit after seeing her mother and sister Polly, in a cult-like setting in their garden, hovering Polly’s twin babies over a fire, who suddenly start floating.

Although season 2 alluded to a weird relationship between Betty’s mother and Polly, with a man called Joseph (whom we’ve yet to meet), a super religious guy that Polly stayed with on a convent while she had the twins, it’s still pretty odd. I feel like this moment marked Riverdale completely crossing the line between fiction and being even a little be close to reality, bringing the supernatural into the town so soon into the season, suggests that there will be plenty more weird moments to come.

The whole spooky side to the first episode, made me completely forget the main part of it, Archie’s trial. As usual, Archie decides to be the virtuous hero, accepting the plea deal, giving him 2 years in a juvenile detention centre, rather than have a re-trial after the jury is dismissed. I’m assuming that he chose this so his family and friends wouldn’t have to go through the ordeal again, but it just seems a bit silly to me, if you had another chance to prove your innocence wouldn’t you take it? But I guess the relentless wrath of Hiram is enough to make anyone submit.

And I wasn’t wrong! The second episode continued the strangeness even further. Betty and Jughead once again find themselves in the woods investigating what exactly happened to those kids in the woods, they’re met with some weird demonic deer headed creature, which seems to fail to faze either of them. I guess after all the weird stuff they’ve encountered; a weird demon monster is a piece of cake. This is not before we see Ethel (Shannon Purser), another fellow classmate, have a fit after being questioned by the pair about the weird game in the woods. This whole part of the episode just seemed all over the place if I’m honest.

What I did like about episode 2 was the short-lived bonding between Archie and his cellmate and newcomer Mad Dog (Eli Goree). Mad Dog initially seems to try to stay clear of the prison newbie, but after a few exchanges, it’s clear that he has Archie’s best interest in mind. There’s definitely some sort of corruption plot hinted at in this episode, the whole “Try not to be tapped” by a prison warden scene, which is something I am looking forward to seeing unfold throughout the season.

Overall, I’m not sure if I’m feeling the direction that season 3 seems to be going in, but I really hope Archie’s prison arc and the exploration of the corruption and brutality of the U.S. prison system will make up for it. I understand that it’s no longer just a high school drama, but hopefully, they will still keep some realism as the season continues. I’m intrigued yet anxious to see what’s next for the Riverdale gang.

Overall Rating: 3/5

3 Star

By Gemma Prince

Images provided by The CW

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