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TV Review: Riverdale (Season 3, Episode 16)


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After an annoyingly static episode last week, I was definitely worried that Riverdale would take the musical episode as a chance to once again stall the plot - after all, the season finale is fast approaching; things really should finally be moving forward now. Thankfully that wasn't the case, and "Heathers: The Musical" did actually move things forward for our characters, even if some of the songs were incredibly contrived for plot reasons.

Image Credit: © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

We get thrown straight until the musical, with the episode opening in the Principal's office. Kevin is arguing with Mayor Lodge about the school doing Heathers, with the latter believing that Heathers contains too much adult content. I mean it's not like these kids deal with cults, murder, drug dealers every day... in order to make his point Kevin jumps straight into the episode's first musical number, "Beautiful". Is it incredibly contrived? Yes. Did I love it? Absolutely.

It's not long before the drama kicks off, as Kevin hires Toni to be the show's choreographer, which leads to faceoff involving plaid skirts and croquet mallets in number "Candy Store". It's highly entertaining to watch and it's clear that Choni are not quite ready to kiss and make up yet.

Jughead, who much like last year is taking a backseat to all the musical drama, finds out from his dad that their old trailer has been stolen. Having recently found out about his mum's side business, Jug puts two and two together and uncovers his mum's less than legal plans.

Veronica meanwhile is shaken when she finds out, in a surprise to no one but her, that her parents are getting a divorce. Far more earth shattering things have happened in her life recently, but it definitely says something worrying when your parents getting a divorce shakes you up more than drug dealers and cults.

Evelyn has taken up her spot as co-director of the musical, which naturally has Betty incredibly on edge and suspicious. Evelyn attempts to dissuade her suspicions by throwing a massive cast party, in costume at the Sisters of Quiet Mercy. 

This leads into a performance of "Big Fun", probably the weakest number of the episode, especially with the jarring inclusion of Veronica taking Veronica from the musical's line, despite the fact that's not the character she's playing.

Josie and Archie's relationship is revealed to everyone after seeing them get up close and personal at the party, although this isn't that dramatic as it was never actually clear that it was a secret. This leads to a sweet moment in the boxing ring ("Fight For Me"), but honestly I'm not sure why we're wasting our time with Jarchie since we all know she's going to be off to New York soon for the Katy Keene spinoff.

Cheryl and Toni's feud goes next level when Cheryl explodes over Toni wearing her signature colour: red. This seems like a weird hill  to die on, but I get it, Cheryl is mad and taking it out on even the smallest things. Cheryl demands Toni leave school which leads to Toni singing "Dead Girl Walking", which is a very contrived use of the song, especially considering in the musical itself, Josie is playing Veronica, who sings that song. Keeping up? Still, watching Toni seduce a Pretty Poison and Sweet Pea and disrobe them on stage is pretty entertaining, whilst it lasts.

Betty's investigations into the farm are ongoing, and she walks in on a closed rehearsal for Farm members singing "Our Love Is God", which actually makes a weird sense in this situation, even if it's not the way it's used in the show. I'm honestly not really sure what was going on here, but it's very weird. Betty goes to the Principal with her findings, but he brushes her off, and implies something disturbing about himself in the process.

Jughead is devastated to find that his suspicions were right, and Betty comforts him in a beautiful rendition of "Seventeen" (definitely my favourite performance from the show) which finally allows us all to appreciate Cole Sprouse's singing chops. For someone very reluctant to sing, he's actually far better at it than KJ Apa. The cutting between Bughead and Choni making up is beautifully done and was probably my favourite part of the whole episode.

Veronica tries and fails to get her parents to reconcile, leading into a beautiful and heartbreaking rendition of "Lifeboat". 

We end the episode with a performance of "Seventeen (Reprise)", with Jug having been conscripted into the cast at the last minute, in another contrived attempt to have Cole Sprouse singing (no complaints here). Betty and Jughead arrive late, having made a quick stop to start a fire on their way (no biggie). The musical goes off without a hitch, unlike last year, but right at the very end, we finally get our first glimpse of the famous Edgar Evernever, who is played by... Chad Michael Murray? I am definitely excited to see where things go from here. 

Riverdale Season 3 is available for streaming on Netflix, with new episodes available on Thursdays. 


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