'Riverdale' S1E6: Faster, Pussycats! Kill! Kill!

★ ★ ★ ★

Riverdale has only had one problem and one problem alone: it doesn't quite know what to do with Archie just yet. The only one on the exterior of the mystery (even Kevin has his dad, the sheriff, to loop him back into it), Archie has been struggling to stay afloat in both his own life and purpose on the series. "Faster, Pussycats!" is the first real attempt to draw him into the middle of all of the action without having to rely on all of that Grundy fake drama.

With Riverdale's attempts to spice things up a bit, out went the Archie goofball personality — or so you thought. "Faster, Pussycats!" brings back some of that old Archie charm and uses it as a catalyst for B-plot drama while the rest of the Scooby Gang are out playing catch-up on the Polly situation. This episode does a good job showing just how dumb Archie can be. With Grundy he was blinded by love for her, but here he has no excuse like that, and viewers have the chance to get a look at how Archie really thinks in social situations. It's a unique character for sure, one that is oblivious to those around him and that comes across as selfish for doing so. This "ginger Judas" does just that, no matter what the intent may be.

The stage fright portion of the episode is… fluff. It's nothing else but that. It's odd watching Archie being both popular and struggling with popularity at the same time. Until his relationship with Jughead (and weird werewolf fear) are developed some more, it's a tad difficult to relate to hot Archie at this point, since it seems like he's been able to hit a good stride for most of his life. None of Archie's storylines so far are interesting enough to garner as much screen time as they do. If anything, Archie is only able to keep up so much time because he's Archie. Kevin is a more interesting character and Riverdale tends to keep him on the edge of things until he's needed for something. (Gotta love the fact that he was hosting and directing and shade-throwing throughout this whole ordeal.)

Riverdale: S1E6

Riverdale, sadly, won't ever be about Archie until something comes his way. It's more about the people around him, the ones who are given far more intelligent and entertaining material to work with. Josie's character, for one, was able to become far more dimensional in this episode thanks to her band's breakup and her revealing personal life. It might not have had all of the glitz and high-strung drama of the Blossom family, but it was just as potent to watch unfold. Between Sierra and her father, Josie's stakes are already so much higher than Archie's and the episode automatically becomes more about her than him by the time the variety show comes rolling in. Watching her father walk out (total Camp Rock move) crushed me and I totally saw it coming.

On the other side of the tracks, Jughead and Betty go on a field trip to The Sisters Of Quiet Mercy: Home For Troubled Youth, because nothing says home for troubled youth like a creepy old locale with stern religious nuts and men in white suits. The Polly/Jason narrative has gotten more and more muddled as the show has gone on and while the blame keeps getting thrown around to make the audience not know whom to trust, the timing of doing that is way off. Instead of tricking viewers into believing something and then revealing something else entirely, it goes into several scenes between the Coopers arguing over the right course of events, which confuses more than anything.

Valerie's an enigmatic addition to the series. (Still throws me off that she plays piano instead of bass, but whatever.) It's a little difficult to say, but it looks like this version of Valerie is more like the traditional Melody than her own source material. While Valerie kept the musical talent intact, she maintains some of the Melody quirks, like wanting to be taken seriously and being the sensitive one of the group. Right now she's more of the rebound for Archie while we wait for Veronica to come back into the picture now that Betty is getting distracted with Jughead.

Finally, let's talk about Veronica this week. The queen of sass got a basic storyline to bring some drama to the table when she spots her mom kissing Archie's dad, but what Riverdale does well is what it introduces after that: that Hermione forged Veronica's signature to get what she wanted. Even Twin Peaks didn't manage to make real estate drama this exciting and that's really saying something.

While Riverdale is still developing each of its characters, it's unclear just how noir the mystery is going to get. The show could really benefit from some Veronica Mars-level darkness and giving its characters a chance to involve themselves in some really dangerous situations. One thing that Riverdale has to fix, though, is finding the balance between intrigue and teen drama. For the most part it's been doing fine once an event causes as much ruckus as it did in this episode, but we can't all live on Archie stage fright storylines forever.

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An0nym0use
Mar 6, 2017 8:01PM EST

I still think the comparison between Riverdale and Twin Peaks fails. I've been assured that future episodes will change that but I don't have a crystal ball or access to unreleased material so I can only go on what we've seen so far. While it may have been good marketing to begin with, it only leaves a sense of disappointment when the material doesn't live up to the expectation. Which isn't to say Riverdale is bad, per se, just that it is definitely NOT Twin Peaks.

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