Riverdale Season 2 Episode 1: A Kiss Before Dying Review

After a very successful first season, Riverdale is back and jumping right back into the middle of things. A lot happened in the finale so here’s a quick catch up. Fred Andrews was shot at Pop Tate’s Choklit Shoppe, Jughead was sworn in as a Southside Serpent, Veronica awaits the return of her father and Cheryl burned her family’s house down. Caught up? Okay good, let’s get to it!

Synopsis: Fred’s life hangs in the balance following the shooting; Veronica’s father arrives into town; Jughead and Betty question the gunman’s true motives. (IMDB)

Writer: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

Director: Rob Seidenglanz

Rating: TV-14

Running Time: 45 mins

“A Kiss Before Dying” starts off right where the finale ended, Archie is racing against the clock to save his father’s life. Lucky for him it’s the start of an episode so Fred’s life needs to hang in the balance for at least the next half hour or so. At this point we are thrown into a dream sequence in Fred’s mind where he sees Archie and the gang graduate, only to find out he didn’t live to see it.

The gang all arrive at the hospital to support Archie, including Jughead arriving on a motorcycle (apparently Archie can’t drive, but Jughead is a master of the motorcycle). Once everyone’s there Archie fills them in that Fred was shot at Pop’s, but the story doesn’t seem to be adding up. Archie then calls his mom and fills her in then talks to Sheriff Keller about what he saw. All Archie can come up with is a homemade hood and green eyes, which doesn’t help much in the investigation.

The Sheriff mentions that maybe someone had a grudge against Fred which prompts Archie to tell Jughead about the Serpents he fired from the construction crew. This causes him to get curious and ask the Serpents if they can help out his brother and second dad. Don’t go down that road Jug.

Veronica is freaking out about being a good girlfriend in this situation, but Betty reassures her that she’s a good person. Back to Fred’s dream sequences where he’s seen with Archie at the construction business, afraid to leave him alone. Again doesn’t want to leave his son. Veronica takes Archie home to change where they have a steamy shower encounter. Because horny teenagers can’t let one of their parents getting shot stop them.

But when Veronica unpacks Fred’s clothes they notice his wallet is missing which enrages Archie who yells at her to leave. But instead of reverting to old Veronica she stands up because new V sticks with her man. After an unsuccessful police lineup, Jughead and Betty (Bughead?) check Pop’s for Fred’s wallet where Betty voices her concern about Jughead’s new friends. He reassures her that he won’t fall into that life and that he plans to stay at his father’s trailer rather than with his southside foster family.

At the hospital, Cheryl comes in with her mother who is severely burned. Apparently she ran into the house to save Cheryl from a house fire, but we know what happened. Cheryl threatens her mother by saying if she reveals what Cheryl has done then she will tell the world what really went down in the barn. Apparently something other than her father’s apparent suicide?

Now to the best scene in the episode, Veronica follows her mom into the hospital’s chapel where she confronts her about planning the hit on Fred. She believes her mom isn’t as innocent as she seems to which her mom goes full calculated supervillain on her and puts Veronica in her place.

With the group all finally back at the hospital, Archie reveals that he didn’t tell the whole story. Apparently Archie froze after Fred was shot causing him to feel like a coward and disappointed in himself. Dude, you’re like 16. The gang reassures him and finally Archie is able to see his dad. However, when he arrives Cheryl is in the room kissing Fred on the forehead with some schpeel about giving him the kiss of life. Cheryl is batshit.

Archie sits down alone with his dad where he tries to coax him awake with some positive conversation. Flash to Fred’s final dream sequence where he sees Archie and Veronica’s wedding, only a bunch of already dead characters are there. All of a sudden the shooter appears and Fred jumps in the way to protect his son and BOOM he’s awake.

With Fred safely at home, Archie intends to protect his dad at all costs. By sitting in the hallway with a bat. Because bat totally beats gun. Betty promises to support Jughead no matter what path he takes, but Jug is already way in over his head when he comes home to a Serpent interrogation. And Veronica’s world has flipped upside down as the anti-climactic introduction of her father Hiram happens in the final minutes of this episode.

The episode ends across the river in Greendale where we find Ms. Grundy again up to her pedophilic ways. But after her student leaves, she’s attacked and viciously strangled by the hooded man and becomes victim number two, and murder number one.

Questions

  • Will Jughead fall into the Serpents or use his intellect to outsmart them?
  • Will Betty continue to support Jughead?
  • How will Hiram’s arrival change Veronica? Will some of her old personality come through?
  • Does Archie plan to do some after curfew vigilante crime fighting?
  • If the hooded man targeted both Fred and Ms Grundy, who is trying to kill everyone in Archie’s life?
  • What’s Cheryl’s plan?

Overall, this was a good premiere to set up the second season. The 13-episode first season had a very self-contained arc that focused on a whodunit mystery with an overpacked story, but with a longer 22-episode order, this season will have the ability to slow down and not clutter every episode while keeping true to what hooked fans in the first place. There’s definitely a darker vibe to this season with a similar, albeit more layered, whodunit mystery at the center. Excited to see where they go with it, but as of now, it’s a step in the right direction!

Score: 8/10

What did you think of “A Kiss Before Dying”? Did it get you excited for the sophomore season? Let me know in the comments below!

If you liked this, check out my other reviews here as well as my channel and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and like me on Facebook.

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