Riverdale’s third season branches out, but retains flaws

Salena Moran & Evan Penrod | Staff Writers


In the modern TV spin-off of the Archie Comics, Riverdale is back for a third season, following an epic cliffhanger. Riverdale follows high school students Archie Andrews (KJ Apa), Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse), Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart), Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes) and other strong supporting cast members as they come of age in the mysterious town of Riverdale. The four main characters use their sleuthing skills to uncover their town’s hidden secrets and expose the wrongdoings of those in positions of authority.

Season 3 appears to move in various directions — not uncommon for this series. Riverdale cannot simply be classified by one genre, as the show encompasses several including crime drama, thriller, mystery and comedy. Moreover, this year’s theme appears to be adding influences of horror and the supernatural as evidenced in the first episode. In several interviews, many cast members have pointed out the varied directions the show will be taking this year, providing a fresh perspective for viewers who were not fans of the first two seasons.

“The season will be split in two; We deal more with the cult in the latter half of the season, the first half is more of a different mystery. But, it’s still there,” Reinhart said at the New York Comic Con.

Series creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa said, “The first half will have Jughead and Betty trying to solve a mystery that seems to plague Riverdale. For the first chunk of episodes they’re either going to be solving a murder – they don’t know if it’s a murder or a suicide.”

With regard to the first episode of season 3, some surprise and change is in store for the four main characters. As with season 2, the series continues to address more difficult topics such as sexual orientation, depression, drug issues, PTSD and other mental health issues to name a few.

Unfortunately, some aspects of the show have not changed for the better. There remains a suspension of disbelief, as the show continues to delve into a number of crimes and suspicious occurrences that seem unreasonable for such a small town in a short amount of time. The show also continues to have some of its cringe-worthy “teenagey” moments that really pull away from the integrity of the underlying mystery.

Without revealing too much information for future viewers, season 3 explores Archie’s fate following a confrontation with Hiram Lodge, shows Betty’s mom and sister participating in supernatural events and introduces a new “beastly” villain.

The future of the season has the potential to take any direction for worse or for better in subsequent episodes. However, too many issues and story lines can be a problem, especially for Riverdale. Hopefully, the directors refrain from tackling too many stories at once and continue to push the envelope in terms of mystery and suspense.

Riverdale airs on the CW on Wednesday nights at 8 p.m, and episodes are available the next day on the CW’s website: