Riverdale - Chapter Three: Body Double S1EP03 Review

The Riverdale girls go "Full Dark, No Stars" and we are blessed to bear witness to the forging of 'B & V'.

Riverdale - Chapter Three: Body Double S1EP03 Review

The Riverdale girls go "Full Dark, No Stars" and we are blessed to bear witness to the forging of 'B & V'.

I may have been a little hard on Riverdale last week, getting ahead of myself in regards to the show's dealings with diversity and fringe characters. Chapter Three: Body Double put all my fears to rest as we finally had some attention given to Josie and the Pussycats, the adult characters got more of a look-in and we got to witness the forging of B & V.

We got to see a more pro-active Betty in this episode, which made me very happy. This new Betty-2.0-by-way-of-Veronica-Mars is much more positive that the piney, Archie-obsessed girl of the first two episodes, and whilst her inevitable descend into deranged bad girl fills me with dread, I am enjoying her current transformation.

Still, it was Veronica who got all the walking-off-camera-smash-to-commercial one-liners and so she remains my favourite character. V may masquerade as a cold, NY city girl, but underneath the nail polish and pearls, there is a heart of gold. 

The slut-shaming storyline, whilst on the nose, was handled very well; getting its point across without feeling preachy or Glee-After-School-Special. Nice to see Shannon Purser (Stranger Things) in her guest appearance as Barb...er, I mean Ethel. She didn't have much to do, but I hope they bring her back later in the season.

We also met Chuck Clayton, who in this episode was no more than a brainless jock. The fact he had no idea he was being played by B & V was hilariously obtuse because their advances were so obvious. Ah the power of the penis. For the purposes of this episode, I understand why he was portrayed as totally unsympathetic, but by the looks of the things he will return and if so, I hope we get to see a deeper side to him -- it's always more compelling when characters live in the grey. Well almost always...

Sometimes you just need a good old fashioned villain...enter Betty's mom, Alice Cooper.

Alice, playing with delicious conviction by Mädchen Amick, is all kinds of wicked. From the lip-stick smearing mirror scene, to the way she "worked the room" at the Taste of Riverdale event, the beauty of Alice's character is that she is completely unaware of how destructive she is the people she holds to most dearly. Bit-by-bit she is slowly chipping away Betty's sanity, in the same way she probably did to Polly, which is captivating to watch. More, my pretty! Moooree!

Meanwhile, Archie's storyline with Ms Grundy is grating. I just don't care. Maybe I would if we knew something, anything about this woman who just plays cello alone in empty classrooms, but we don't and so I give zero f**ks. What she's doing with Archie is unprofessional and damaging. She is an adult. He is a child. Where is her self control?

Now on to Josie and the Pussycats. Hurrah! Josie's reticence towards Archie writing for the band and her acknowledgement of her mother's struggle to become Mayor was wonderful and provided so much empathy for her character in such a simple way. I love these girls, I love how focused they are on their careers and how they haven't (thus far) fallen into any of the teen drama surrounding our core group. See how long that lasts...

On to Cheryl and a chink in the armour as she realises that Jason wasn't the golden boy she once thought. Hopefully now she will become are more active part of solving his murder.

Overall this was fine episode of Riverdale and a vast improvement over last week. It was stand-alone in its theme, but also expanded characters, relationships and left us want more in regards to the greater mystery.

4/5

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