Riverdale Pilot Recap: A Darker Twist on the Comic Book Series with a Murderous Plot
Image: The CW
This isn’t your parent’s Archie comic series.
In addition to the daily soap opera recaps, Soaps.com has been reviewing the first episodes of primetime shows. Today we are recapping The CW’s Riverdale, which aired on January 26, 2017. The show is a dark take on the Archie Comics, with KJ Apa in the lead role of Archie Andrews.
The town of Riverdale
The story is introduced by Jughead and begins in Riverdale on the morning of the Fourth of July with the Blossom twins, Cheryl and Jason, driving out to Sweetwater river for an early morning boat ride. The next day Cheryl was found alive, wet and cold by the river’s edge, and Jason’s body was never located. Jason’s death was ruled an accident, with Blossom claiming the boat capsized. Presently, on the last day of summer vacation, New York socialite Veronica Lodge and her mother Hermione arrive in town.
In Betty’s Cooper’s bedroom, her friend Kevin pushes her to let Archie, who she hasn’t seen all summer because he’s been working for his dad’s construction company, know that she likes him.
Archie and Betty grab burgers at Pop’s Diner to catch up. Archie has decided music is his future, not football or his father’s company. As Betty braves bringing up their relationship, Veronica enters and catches Archie’s eye.
The next day before school, Archie’s dad asks him to stop by the site later to start working, but he says he might not be able to because of football.
At the Cooper house, Betty’s mother instills how important this year is for her future. She bemoans not to become like her sister Polly, who had a breakdown and lives in a group home after getting used by that awful Blossom boy.
At school, Betty shows Veronica the rounds, and Kevin crashes their tour. Veronica is thrilled Kevin is gay and indicates they should be best friends. Kevin asks if it’s true about her dad. Veronica wonders if everyone knows about her father. Their silence is her answer. Veronica asks Betty if she and Archie are dating. Kevin interjects they aren’t but are each other’s end game.
The students are gathered for an assembly, where Cheryl tells them that her brother Jason wouldn’t want them to spend the year mourning, so they should use the end of summer formal as a way to celebrate. Archie trades glances with the music teacher, Miss Grundy, and both flash back to hooking up over the summer.
At Archie’s father’s construction trailer, Fred is shocked his old flame Hermione wants to apply to be his bookkeeper. He tells her it would look bad to his clients seeing her husband Hiram is on trial for fraud and embezzlement.
Back at school, Cheryl crashes Veronica, Kevin, Betty and Archie’s lunch. She suggests to Veronica she try out for the Riverdale Vixens cheerleaders. Veronica agrees, but only if Betty tries out too.
Later in the music room, Archie plays his songs for Miss Grundy and wants her to give him music lessons. They remember back to the last time they were alone. It was a picnic along the river on the Fourth of July and they heard a gunshot. Neither told anyone about it because it would expose their relationship. Grundy advises he pursue his music, but not with her.
In the gym, Veronica and Betty try out for the Vixens, but only Veronica is invited to join. Veronica gives Cheryl attitude and says she and Betty are a package deal.
At football practice, the coach offers Archie a spot on the varsity team. Archie has to think about it because his dad is counting on him to work after school.
Betty and Veronica, in their new cheerleading outfits, walk along the school track. Betty asks why Veronica is being so nice to her. Veronica explains she used to be just like Cheryl, and what happened with her father has made her want not to be that spoiled brat she was. They bump into Archie, and Veronica pushes Betty to ask him to the dance. Betty does, but as a double date with her and Veronica. He accepts.
At home, Betty’s mother spies her in her uniform and furiously forbids her to have anything to do with Cheryl’s squad. Betty refuses to quit and indicates she’s going to the dance with Archie and Veronica.
At home, Fred has heard from Archie’s coach about his hesitation to play ball, and wants to know why he’s lying about needing to work. Archie finally admits he wants to pursue music. Fred tells him whatever he does, he needs to do it with honor.
The high school dance
That night at the dance, Archie spots Grundy and begs her again to help him with his music. She agrees to teach him before first period. Archie then reveals to Betty he’s worked his schedule out to accommodate music, football and helping his dad. Betty finally professes her feelings for him, which leaves him speechless. Meanwhile, Cheryl invites them all to her after-party with nefarious intent.
At Cheryl’s party, a game of spin the bottle sends Archie and Veronica to the closet. They chat, and Archie admits he doesn’t love Betty the way she wants him to. The two kiss, which they both immediately regret. After emerging, they discover Betty has fled.
Archie heads to Pop’s looking for Betty, only to find Jughead working on his novel about Jason. Archie eventually finds Betty at home. On her front sidewalk, she asks Archie if he loves her. He does but indicates he’ll never be good enough for her. She tearfully walks away.
The real mystery begins
Kevin and Moose, one of the football players, leave the dance to fool around by the river. There they discover Jason Blossom’s corpse washed up with a bullet in his forehead.
As everyone gathers at dawn to see Jason pulled from the river, Jughead’s voiceover indicates on Monday Jason’s autopsy would be performed, and halfway through fifth period on Tuesday, the first arrest would be made.