It’s a blast from the past for our favorite sweet little dreary town.
Archie Comics has finally found a closer home to the heart of Riverdale. It’s a whole new 1950’s aesthetic (and a time-traveling misadventure) that kicked off a new season on Riverdale Season 7 Episode 1.
Is Jughead living a Marty McFly fantasy? Not quite, but the pieces were there for plenty of juicy drama.
“Chapter One Hundred Eighteen: Don’t Worry Darling” threw us back into the mystery that kept us on our toes since Riverdale Season 6 Episode 22.
It’s another reboot for Riverdale, the second after Riverdale Season 5 Episode 4, so the series already knows how to refresh and pick things up where it left off. In this case, the reboot felt like a nice love letter to the teen drama of its former self.
As wild as some of Riverdale’s plots have been (and there have been plenty!), the first four seasons were always the favorite.
The iconic love triangle. Cheryl ruled Riverdale High as the queen. The Southside Serpents. The murder mysteries.
And let’s not forget all the spicy and soapy drama in between. The early years of Riverdale were a wild time to be alive. You had to have been there.
Bringing it back to the beginning, albeit with new plot points, is a nice nostalgic touch to Riverdale’s roots. Certain things will be retreaded, but it seems like a new start for what could’ve been a different Riverdale Season 1.
Jughead having his memories of the present had so much potential for the chaos it could’ve caused.
Just look at the short time he had them during “Chapter One Hundred Eighteen: Don’t Worry Darling.” Like, he was talking about making a bomb!
If he had more time, he probably could’ve created ripples that would’ve changed Riverdale in 1955. Sure, his friends wouldn’t have believed him, but one conversation could’ve changed everything.
Cheryl: How dare you besmirch his memory like that?
Veronica: Don’t you be so provincial?
It was an exciting direction for the character, so it was surprising that Riverdale chose to get rid of this plot by the chapter’s end.
Maybe it’s because the “Jughead saving the present” storyline was the expected plot. Getting rid of it would take the story in a different direction and focus on the 1955 plots.
Still, in the short time he did have his memories, we were treated to some peak Chaotic Jughead moments.
Did anyone else laugh during the time capsule messiness? How did he not hear the words coming out of his mouth?!
For a dark show at times, Riverdale kills it with its campy comedy.
Jughead: I have an idea. Now it’s a crazy one, but it might work. So short of waiting for Bailey’s Comet to return, the other way we could break through the space-time continuum is by getting Archie and Betty to make out on top of Archie’s bed. And then we blow up a bomb underneath them.
Archie: Alright Jug, that’s enough, man. Let’s go for a walk.
Jughead: You’re not gonna beat up, are you? Because you’re really violent in the future.
Jughead trying to explain the future and Riverdale’s past plots is a highlight of the series by far. He clearly didn’t practice how he would talk to the group; no one was going to believe him right away.
We were right there with the group with their baffled and shocked expressions. Is there any other way to react?
It’s a shame he did ultimately lose his memories. As I said above, there was so much potential for where the storyline could’ve gone.
But if he had to lose them, at least Tabitha was the guardian angel to do it.
The chemistry between them is so sweet and tender; you can feel the love of these characters so easily. And with Tabitha (both angel and 1955 Tabitha) not being around, hopefully, this isn’t the last we’ll see of her.
Tabitha is a great character that has grown on Riverdale. Sure, she’s got a big job unraveling the timelines to return them all home, but we need some Tabitha in our lives again.
Though, if we have to say goodbye to Tabitha (for now), her farewell story touched upon an important moment in history.
“Chapter One Hundred Eighteen: Don’t Worry Darling” did a good job discussing the trial of Emmett Till’s murder and the reaction within the town of Riverdale. The show didn’t go for any cheap laughs or soapy drama; it felt serious, respectful, and thought out about what it wanted to discuss.
It was nice having Toni, Tabitha, Betty, and Cheryl teaming up to get the poem read.
The group got so much pushback from the adults (Principal Featherhead can go away!) about the article that their scheme seemed the only option. And Riverdale does a great job when it gets the friend group together for the storyline.
Besides Toni reading the poem, the shining moments of the plot were in the subtle conversations throughout the chapter.
Betty and Toni didn’t get many scenes together in the present timeline, so it was a nice change of pace for their chats in the newsroom. They felt real and serious, yet with a touch of sadness.
Betty, I heard Mamie Till give the most incredible, inspiring speech after the verdict was delivered. And I got a chance to interview people who knew Emmett personally. His friends, his neighbors, and I made them a promise I would help tell his story.
Toni never shied away from discussing the horrific things that happened to Emmett Till, and Betty was open to learning more. They had good dialogue, one that sometimes would get covered up by the teen drama of it all. It was pretty refreshing.
The same goes for the class discussion too.
Elsewhere at Riverdale High, the arrival of Veronica was peak Lodge style. Who else would start school in a large hat, sunglasses, and a chic dress?
Her introduction this time was very different from Riverdale Season 1 Episode 1. Interestingly, her first time with the group happened by coincidence since Betty and Kevin were her school guides. But here, she naturally gravitated to them all in the lounge.
It’s one of many subtle nods throughout the chapter that may hint at the characters still having some essence/memories of their former selves.
Like Archie and his jalopy, there are some things they can’t forget. The hidden truths could pop up eventually.
Veronica lying about her life wasn’t too out of character. Regardless of the timeline, she still is one for dramatic flair and living her narrative.
She didn’t even need to lie about being in a movie. Both her parents are movie stars; that alone could be enough to impress people.
Veronica: Excuse me?
Archie: Cheryl, what is your problem?
Cheryl: She is my problem, Archie. Veronica Lodge is nothing but a liar and a fraud. And I’m going to make sure the entire world knows it.
Still, all the lies were worth it for the glorious moment of Cheryl storming into the Chock’lit Shoppe to accuse Veronica.
Cheryl was so pressed that you could feel the hatred radiating off her. I was waiting for her to breakout into a song from the Carrie musical because the rage was ferocious.
Madelaine Petsch is a superstar channeling Cheryl’s queendom, especially the villain side. She does it so effortlessly fun. I can’t wait for more battles between these two.
Last Thoughts From Sweetwater River:
It’s so strange seeing characters alive again. The image of him being The Black Hood popped up every time Hal appeared. (We know the truth, Hal!)
Will Veronica end up with Archie or Cheryl’s brother, Julian? We might be in store for a brewing war between those boys.
Veronica’s parents having their teenage daughter living unsupervised across the country would’ve been a huge scandal for the time.
Cheryl was so scandalized even thinking James Dean was bisexual. She isn’t ready for Kevin’s truth.
Now, over to you, Riverdale fans.
What did you think of “Chapter One Hundred Eighteen: Don’t Worry Darling”?
Will the group successfully unravel the fractured web of time? Will anyone regain the memories of the future? What new chaos will spark in 1955 Riverdale?
If you missed the latest episode of Riverdale, you can watch Riverdale online via TV Fanatic. Come back here and share your thoughts in the comments below.
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.