This post contains spoilers for Riverdale Season 2, episode 1, "A Kiss Before Dying."
Riverdale returned Wednesday night and it picked up right where it left off. Of course, when you leave off on a main character being shot and your show's lead sobbing over his bleeding body, it's hard to pull off much of a time jump.
If you need a refresher (even though you obviously don't, if you watched Season 1), Riverdale ended last season on a huge cliffhanger—Archie's dad, Fred Andrews, was shot by an unknown, masked man at Pop's Diner. WOULD HE MAKE IT, we wondered all summer.
Yes. Fred Andrews pulls through. Not without his share of comatose visions that hinted at his demise (Archie creepily telling him it was time to go see dead relatives, visions of Archie's graduation and wedding and life events he wasn't going to live to see), but he made it.
But did the episode live up to the promise of Season 1? Is Season 2 on track to be your TV obsession again this year? In spite of some slow moments, overall the answer is a resounding yes. The episode broke up long, brooding scenes of grief and almost-grief with a healthy dose of very Riverdale-y moments. Such as:
The doctors' and nurses' outfits.
It shouldn't come as a surprise that a lot of the episode's action takes place at the hospital (that's where people tend to go when they get shot, after all). As serious as the situation is, though, the costumes the doctors and nurses wear are ridiculously not. Part of Riverdale's charm is its intentional anachronism, mixing vintage aesthetics and modern technology to create a unique world. And boy, are these outfits unique:
Veronica and Archie enjoy a sexy shower, but she doesn't take off the pearls.
As Veronica was stripping down to join Archie in his "I'm grieving and in shock about my dad" shower (sexy?), I thought, "PLEASE LEAVE THE PEARLS ON."
And of course she did, because she's Veronica effing Lodge.
Cheryl is PEAK CHERYL and it is everything.
Cheryl Blossom is one of the best things about Riverdale. She is over-the-top and she owns it and she's just the right mix of confident and creepy and possibly sociopathic. This week sees Cheryl at her Cheryl Blossomiest.
Last season, Cheryl ended on a bright note, in a very literal sense—she burned down her family mansion, for a "fresh start." This season, she's also in the hospital, but not just for Mr. Andrews. Her mom suffered third degree burns and severe smoke inhalation (go figure). Cheryl tells everyone how her mother heroically saved her from the fire, valiantly sacrificing her own safety for her daughter. Then, to her mom, she's basically like, "I own you," all while pinching her oxygen tube, just to really drive the point home.
She also sneaks into Fred Andrews' room and gives him a lingering, lipstick-stain-leaving kiss on the forehead and then proceeds to tell Archie that she's repaying his favor of giving her the "kiss of life" during that whole incident on the ice in Season 1.
Riiiiiiiight. (But also never change, Cheryl. Never. Change.)
There's a reference to Jughead always being hungry.
It's a small thing, but so far the show has ignored this running gag, which is pretty prominent in the comics. Nice nod to your roots, Riverdale.
Veronica outright accuses her mom of hiring a hit on Fred Andrews.
So that happened. Veronica's dad also returns home by the end of the episode, so it's safe to say we can expect major tension at the Lodge home this season. But considering how deviously the Lodge women (and presumably men) handle tension, that's not a bad thing.
Jughead teases Pop for being too dramatic.
LOL, Mr. Noir Narration.
MISS GRUNDY IS BACK AND MAKING OUT WITH ANOTHER TEEN.
Oh, and also dead. Burying the lead? Yeah, sorry about that.
The episode ends on the most Riverdale-y of Riverdale moments: A murder most foul. After her latest teen boy toy leaves from their "music lesson," Miss Grundy is murdered by the same hooded, green-eyed man who shot Fred Andrews. Someone is targeting the people Archie cares about, so watch out B&V.