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What is the recipe for growing up?  This is different for everyone but growing up usually means facing some hard life realizations.  It’s not always pretty, it can be bloody, it can also mean the inability to move on.  For some, growing older means becoming cold or bitter due to past circumstances, for others it means discovering who you really are. The citizens of Riverdale fall into all these categories and more.

Add a pinch of the supernatural and a heaping amount of drama and you have this week’s episode of The CW’s Riverdale, titled “Chapter 85: Destroyer”.  The longer I write these reviews the more I feel like Jughead Jones when he’s narrating the beginning and end of every episode.  So what else is included in the recipe for growing up according to Riverdale?  Keep reading to find out!

Step 1: Equal Parts Love and Identity

What is getting older if not getting back with an old fling? There was plenty of that this week as we saw Veronica who is fresh out of her husband’s bed last week, underneath the sheets again with Archie. Veronica and Archie are not the only couple who we find reunited this week, however. 

Jughead and Betty team up once more to help solve the mysteries of the lonely highway, and if history has any influence on this plot, they will soon be revisiting their relationship as well.  After all, in Riverdale, does anything really change?  So according to these events, the recipe for your twenties is adding a bit of the past. 

As stated earlier, in order to move on after high school you also need some self discovery.  Most of the time we do a majority of that in college, so I think just a pinch of that will work in this case.  Kevin is facing some hard decisions with his sexuality.  He knows he’s gay, and has always had support from his friends and father.  

After a violent encounter and much hesitation he opens up to his father about the struggles he has recently been having after his breakup with Fangs.  Through Kevin’s arc this week we saw some of what the LGBTQIA+ community goes through.  Having that representation is important for any show on The CW, and as sad as it was to see Kevin struggling, it is good if it can help viewers who may also be struggling.  

Add Some Petty

In Riverdale, Archie and Company cannot seem to let go of certain things that happened in the past.  With that in mind this recipe now calls for a handful of pettiness.  Cheryl is the queen of denial and inability to move on.  She is also the most petty of the bunch, and this week was no different.  I did say a handful of petty for a reason, however.  Veronica just cannot seem to let go of this ongoing feud she has with her father.  The fight over Riverdale and The Riverdale Bulldogs football team continues as Veronica must go head to head against her father once again.  Archie, with the help of Veronica, works toward giving Riverdale Football a fighting chance and fighting against Hiram.  

A Dash of Recklessness

What is a good recipe for your twenties without trying to do a job yourself without the help of others?  Betty decides to take her sister’s case on solo, due to the FBI not wanting to help.  She, through her contact with the FBI, learns that the blood in the phone booth was in fact her sister Polly’s.  It is then that she gets angry and decides to do it herself.  Age and her past have hardened Betty and made her more reckless then she was prior to graduation. 

She is later met by her FBI friend visiting Riverdale telling her he is taking over the case.  This angers Betty who is not happy to be told she can no longer investigate it.   I for one, was happy to see Betty put in her place, she’s been pretending she’s an FBI agent up until now, and she never really has any repercussions for her actions.  Maybe this is what will bring reality to the forefront for her.  

Stir in Some Mystery

Last but not least, we get the pinch of supernatural that I mentioned earlier.  Jughead is still trying to research what is happening in Riverdale, while also teaching at Riverdale High.  He is worried about one of his students after reading one of his short essays and tries to confront the student.  This does not go over well with Principal Weatherbee or the students’ parents.  Although originally rebuked for his actions, it turns out there is definitely an issue that his story was commenting on. This show tows a fine line with reality and supernatural elements. 

I think there is a way to do this successfully but so far, Riverdale cannot get that recipe right.  Is this show a drama or is it wanting to be a supernatural show?  It feels as if it is trying to be both, and that is making it all just seem like a bit of a mess.  It feels as if Jughead’s on his own show and the rest of the cast on another.  If it were a spinoff where Jughead starts to explore sci-fi-fi and supernatural cases while researching material for his books, I would be completely on board.  Until then, I need more convincing.  

Let Sit and Hope for Success

What this recipe needs to be successful is reevaluating the amounts of content it provides its viewers.  It feels a bit unbalanced and also unable to add anything new.  Instead it resorts to it’s old tricks without making too much forward movement.  What is a good recipe without a special ingredient after all?  Something that gives it a bit of spice or maybe something sweet?  Toni, one of the few most believable characters in the show was completely absent this week and Jughead has a mustache now and it’s just distracting. 

The longer this episode bakes it seems like maybe they are close to accomplishing their end result.  So Riverdale, please try to find a focus on where you want the future seasons of this show to go, because as it sits now, it seems more like a Rye dough rather than a Sourdough starter.  To see more of the CW’s Riverdale, tune in Wednesdays at 8 PM, or on Thursdays via the or CWTV app.