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Riverdale: Season 1 Overview & Review

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BEWARE; SPOILERS for Riverdale Season 1!

With the new Riverdale trailer for season 2, it is only right that we talk about season 1. Overall, season 1 was an adventure; a ton of plots were left open-ended, characters got together, broke up, then got together again, and we finally found out who killed Jason Blossom. It has been a long season.

Throughout the season, we get a glimpse of who Jughead is, and what his dad does. We learn more about his relationship with Betty, and we get insight into Cheryl Blossom’s life. Along the way, we also find out more about the Cooper’s, the Andrews, and the Lodge’s.

There is a ton to get into, and to overview, so we might as well start now!

“First Four”

The first four episodes of Riverdale are titled: “Chapter One: The River’s Edge,” “Chapter Two: Touch Of Evil,” “Chapter Three: Body Double,” and, lastly, “Chapter Four: The Last Picture Show.”

Throughout the first four episodes of Riverdale, we get a scandal plot. Honestly, this plot should have never been in the show, to begin with, but they did it. Archie Andrews has a secret; he is dating the teacher, Miss Grundy. A teacher that no one knows about, no one has heard about and seems sketchy throughout the time she was on the show. Granted, she was not on the show that long.

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Miss Grundy and Archie Andrews

Archie Andrews is in love, though, and decides to keep seeing her — that is, until, Jughead catches them, Betty finds out, and Betty’s mom Alice Cooper (finds out by her daughter’s diary) puts their relationship on blast. After Alice does that, that relationship is quickly forgotten and never to be mentioned again.

Throughout the first four episodes, Betty tries to win Archie’s heart. She has always had a huge crush on him and wants to be with him, but he friendzones her quick into the season — going on to make out with her new-found friend Veronica. This will be important later.

“Second Four”

The second four episodes of Riverdale are titled: “Chapter Five: Heart Of Darkness,” “Chapter Six: Faster, Pussycats! Kill! Kill!,” “Chapter Seven: In A Lonely Place,” and “Chapter Eight: The Outsiders.

At the end of the fourth episode, “Chapter Four: The Last Picture Show,” we get a little glimpse into Jughead’s life. It appears he is homeless, which is why he was trying to save the drive-in. His dad is a Serpent, which results into another storyline we will get into a little later.

Archie’s singing career plotline is still alive and well for these second four episodes. However, by the third four, it does not become a priority plot. Which, again, might just be one of those plots they can leave out in season 2.

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Jughead Jones’ “brooding” facial expression

Throughout these first eight episodes as a whole, we get an on and off “Polly plotline.” Betty Cooper’s sister that her parents are hiding who used to date Jason Blossom is in a group home type house. Often it is slightly leaned towards a mental asylum of sorts, but it is believed to be a group home scenario. Soon thereafter, Betty investigates with Jughead. They find out that Polly is pregnant with Jason’s child and the reason she was sent away was for that exact reason.

Their father, Hal Cooper, was irate about the entire thing; he has the belief that you should not have children “young.” It is not stated whether he is religious or just does not believe in that notion. Nonetheless, that is when their mother, Alice Cooper, eventually kicks him out after Betty finds Polly in the basement of their home.

Alice realizes that he is detrimental to her newfound relationship that she will have with Polly (hopefully). She realizes that Hal never had the best intentions for Polly and he was selfish the entire time.

“Third Five”

The last five episodes of Riverdale are titled as follows: “Chapter Nine: La Grande Illusion,” “Chapter Ten: The Lost Weekend,” “Chapter Eleven: To Riverdale and Back Again,” “Chapter Twelve: Anatomy of a Murder,” and “Chapter Thirteen: The Sweet Hereafter.”

The duration of the ending of the season is filled with definite confusion; but, not in a bad way. It fills some of the plot holes that were hollow but leaves us with wanting more out of Cheryl, Jughead, Betty, Archie and the rest of the gang. Throughout the last five episodes of the season, we meet Archie’s mother, Mary. We learn that Alice may or may not have been in the Serpents before the time of the show.

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F.P. Jones and Fred Andrews

By episode 11 titled, “Chapter Eleven: To Riverdale And Back Again” F.P. Jones is being framed for murder. Throughout the season, it is hinted that F.P. killed Jason. No one could confirm that notion or theory, but fans and the show alike often subtly tried to tell us it was F.P. However, we were all far from who it actually was.

That sends F.P. Jones to jail after his trailer is looked into by the police after a warrant and he goes to jail. In that same episode, it is revealed that Jughead is moving to be with his family with his father. That causes a rift in Betty and Jughead’s relationship.

Chapter 12 & 13: Anatomy Of Murder & The Sweet Hereafter

By the last two episodes (12 & 13) we get a bunch happening. F.P. Jones admits that he killed Jason, admits to everything else as well. While Hal is trying to destroy evidence, Betty and Alice catch him red-handed. They also find out that the Coopers are Blossoms by blood; which means, Polly and Jason are related: incest.

Within the entirety of episode 12 (Chapter Twelve: Anatomy Of Murder), we find out that Clifford killed Jason. This is revealed by a thumb drive in his coat pocket. When the police go to find him, it is shown that he committed suicide surrounded by drugs.

By episode 13 (Chapter Thirteen: The Sweet Hereafter), we discover that Jason figured out Clifford’s drug scandal. That resulted in Clifford killing his own son and abducting him. Within this last episode, Cheryl also tries to commit suicide. Jughead is transferred to a foster home and a new school; and, in the end, Fred Andrews is shot by a gunman.

That ends the entire season of Riverdale.

Jughead and F.P. Jones’ Relationship

Throughout the season, Jughead’s on and off again relationship with his father is something to be explored. In the tenth episode, he talks his son into going to apologize to Betty for getting into an argument with her after his party went awry. Riverdale focuses heavily on Jughead’s father, F.P. Jones, and his complicated relationship with his little sister and mother.

They have a rocky relationship, for starters, his father is an alcoholic. That often causes the rift in their relationship and has already caused one in the relationship with his previous wife/significant other and their daughter. Jughead stayed around because who wouldn’t in a situation like that?

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F.P. and Jughead Jones

His father, sometimes, leaves him high and dry — more often than not; but, he does come around. Throughout the season, I felt myself becoming attached to F.P. Jones. We all know someone that messes up and cannot control it — it was sad and one of the best portrayals of a “gang leader, absentee father” I have seen on screen.

That brings me to Jughead Jones himself. Cole Sprouses’ portrayal of Jughead Jones is something I applaud. He plays the brooding, mysterious character insanely well. That casting choice was nothing short of a fantastic option. I think he brings out the character a lot more than what we have seen in the comics and makes it his own; which, is important in any portrayal. His performance of Jughead is one of the best on the show.

Some of the strongest performances are by F.P. Jones and Jughead this season of Riverdale.

What To Make Of Riverdale?

Overall, Riverdale was jam-packed with plots this season. I think if by season 2 they focused on two or three scenarios it would do better. Some of the plots were short-lived and never touched upon again, and some of them were started in the middle of the season and dictated a lot of rushed time to complete.

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The Coopers; Alice, Betty, and Fred

I would say for a new show it is something that can lead to being great; especially for a CW show. The show is not far from a teen drama that can be something great, and hopefully, by October 11th at 8PM we will find out what it is truly capable of. Bring on the messy season 2, CW, we are waiting for you.

What I want to see more of from Riverdale Season 2 are Josie and the Pussycats! If you want more Riverdale goodness, look at the SHO-FILE of the Riverdale characters you know and love. It gives you a character analysis, a summary of what Riverdale is all about, and prepares you for a good binge session before you turn on Netflix to watch season 1!


If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, please do not hesitate to talk to someone or call the suicide prevention hotline: 1-800-273-8255.

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