Arson, counterfeiting, missing girls and aliens, yes you read that correctly, aliens. These are just three words to describe Wednesday’s episode of Riverdale. We all thought we had seen the last of the supernatural plots with the departure of the cult in season three, but this assumption was proven false this week. Archie is still trying to save Riverdale, and taking on too many tasks in his attempts to do so. Veronica is back to her next ridiculous scheme to try and prove herself to her father, and Betty is on the hunt for her sister after her disappearance. These are just a few of the events that occurred this week in The CW’s Riverdale episode #507, titled, Chapter Eighty-Three: Fire in the Sky. I hope you’re ready because, for those of you who loved this episode, let me preface that this review will not be kind.
Needs A New Direction
We are all entitled to our opinions, and this is just one fan’s view. I have found this show to be a guilty pleasure for me for five seasons, staying loyal through musical episodes, a cult, and even tickle-fetish video subplots. That said, this season is making it hard to continue watching. I had hope at the beginning, but that is quickly fading away. I found episode 507 to be a hot mess because of too many plot lines, and completely ridiculous choices by its lead characters. This show seems to be stuck between a rock and a hard place in finding its’ new direction upon its leads’ graduating high school.
More With The Old
It appears as though Riverdale wants to still give us some of the old, despite the shift in the time jump. Will this work, or has the show passed its prime? I think this season may prove, as was the case with many of its predecessors, that once teenagers grow up within a show, the show’s end tends to accelerate. The strong start to this season has started to slowly decline due to its mundane, ridiculous nature. The slightly unrealistic, over-exaggerated drama worked alright when the characters were in high school, but is not as convincing post college. Every day that this show continues on feels like I am once again watching the later years of Pretty Little Liars or Glee– and not in a good way.
We need a new formula for teenage dramas, as it is getting quite dated. Although, I do understand that my no longer being a teenager may also contribute to this opinion. I personally hope this whole season turns up to be one of Jughead’s books, because it is hard to keep watching. Usually I do not care for the “it was all fake, it was not real” plot, but honestly, in this show’s case, I really hope that to be the case. Need more details as to why I found this episode such a mess? Keep reading while I break it down.
As stated earlier, girls are going missing in Riverdale, and FBI Trainee Betty Cooper is once again on the case to solve it! Will this lead her to her sister, or lead to something bigger? As the past has shown us, I think it will quickly turn into a bigger problem. We soon learn more about this case, but it is sure to be one of those subplots that reveals very little, very slowly, until it’s so underwhelming as to what the actual truth is.
Hiram calls out Betty for pulling her FBI status when trying to search for her sister. After her defeat by Hiram Betty finally calls the actual FBI for assistance, but when she does she does not get the response she was hoping for. She’s proven that she is still the reckless girl she once was. Enter the new mystery of the season, well one of them, but more on that later.
Just when it seems like things at Riverdale are peaceful, an arsonist is also on the loose. Due to the recent incline in arson related crimes, Archie’s newest plan is to bring a fire department back to Riverdale. I think it is safe to predict what happened next. Archie decides he is going to be a volunteer firefighter, and asks his friends to join the cause. Why not add to the already lengthy list of things that neither Archie nor his friends have any training for. Thankfully this time Kevin speaks up saying he has no training or knowledge of firefighting, aside from movies, but apparently, it’s all going to be okay.
Veronica has someone who can come to train them to be firefighters after all. Archie has heart, and his intentions for Riverdale are honorable, but it’s going to take more than what he and his friends can do, to save a whole town. He is also visited by his former Army buddy (whose life he saved), and through that is forced to face some ugly truths about life as a veteran. One thing this show is doing right, is to address this topic, and what Veterans go through upon returning to civilian life. Archie’s friend has PTSD and does not know how to cope.
Upon Archie hearing him say this, he invites him to stay in Riverdale, and Archie mentions that he too has to deal with life after the Army and lists that as the reason he’s trying to save Riverdale. He needs that as a distraction. I will applaud this show for taking the opportunity to address this massive issue and provide this commentary on the show.
Pretty Little Vixens
Veronica is up to her usual plots to anger her father with another crazy idea, creating a Riverdale town currency. This currency is to be used at Pops and other Riverdale small businesses, and help boost the economy. Hiram per usual, does not approve, and Veronica soon learns of the risks and problems that can come with her decisions. This subplot just further illustrates how insane this show can get.
Cheryl finally came out of her isolation at Thornhill to try and reclaim her Vixens after learning that Toni has taken them over. She and Toni fight over how to run the Vixens and it results in Toni telling Cheryl off for her past and present behavior. Thankfully Toni is defending her team, herself and demonstrating that some characters in this show are not going to tolerate the same old tricks and behaviors.
The Riverdale Files
I mentioned at the beginning that this episode has aliens, I did not forget. The supernatural component of the show was added with the investigation of a story that Jughead uncovers about Pop’s Diner. I have not mentioned much about Jughead this season because his subplot is small considering his massive character arc last season. There is not much for me to say, because honestly, if this episode was not already hard to finish, this made it even more difficult. Seems there is a past alien encounter in Riverdale and that story takes Jughead straight to Thornhill to talk to Grandma Blossom. I do not know where this is going, but aliens can kill my interest even faster than a poorly executed time jump.
To sum up my thoughts on Riverdale episode 507, I wish this show would focus on the drama aspect and not the supernatural and musical aspects it has started to rely on. I love a good supernatural show, but Riverdale thrives as a mystery and dramatic show, more than it does as a supernatural one. Last episode, I said I couldn’t drop below a 3 out of 5, but this week I am giving it a 2.5. This show needs to find a focus, and not seem like a chaotic mess of events.
If it does not get better soon, I hope they can end it before everyone stops watching. I also hope it can find it’s stride again, because there has been very little enjoyment these last few episodes. Is Riverdale worth saving, or should it just accept its’ fate? To continue to follow along with the Riverdale gang, you can watch live on The CW on Wednesday’s at 8 PM or on Thursdays via the CWTV app or CWTV.com.