As the love triangle of the source material takes a back seat, RIVERDALE as a show takes a huge leap forward in quality. As mentioned last week, the relationship between Betty and Veronica is the most captivating of the show, and Josie and the Pussycats aren’t far behind. Luckily, “Body Double” (excuse the pun) doubles down on what makes the show and these characters so intriguing. Under the guise of these relationships, the silliness of the show, with the many pop culture and teen dramatics, becomes fun and charming.
Our girls Betty and Veronica take on their biggest enemy this week: Misogyny. Who would have thought that this Archie reboot would be the place to crack down on slut-shaming in high schools, but that’s just what Veronica Lodge came to Riverdale to do. After Resident player hottie Chuck Clayton (everyone’s names on this show are built to have both the first and last names used) goes on a date with, Veronica, he proceeds in a specific brand of Instagram humiliation. Oh, kids these days with their new and improved ways to humiliate women. However Veronica Lodge (the first name-last name thing is hard to stop doing) isn’t putting up with any sexist stuff. Not now, not ever.
It’s very refreshing to see that the teen shows of 2017 are cracking down on misogynist issues that were more than prevalent in teen shows of the past. If Veronica encountered the likes of Gossip Girl’s Chuck Bass, he’d be dead meat. Much like Riverdale’s Chuck turns out to be. Shockingly, it’s less Veronica that takes the lead in punishing Chuck, but the young seemingly naive Betty Cooper. After the gal pals figure out that Chuck and cronies created a playbook of their “conquests,” which included that of the late Jason Blossom getting with Betty’s sister, some of the sweetness fades from Betty.
In a plot that could only be conceived on the CW, Betty and Veronica con Chuck into a fake threesome situation, so they can get a confession out of him. Betty really goes the extra mile, though, with a wig and heels, and holding Chuck captive in a hot tub with wilding rising temperatures. It’s enough to even make Veronica tell her to tone it down. In a two birds with one stone situation, the girls get a confession out of Chuck, and the audience gets to see just how much the situation with Betty’s sister affected her. Since Veronica Lodge is a stand up friend, and by far the best character this show has to offer, she does an artful combination of calling Betty out and letting her know that she’ll always have Veronica’s support. Once again, the two of them anchor the episode.
Less of an anchor, but doing much better than last week, everyone’s favorite fake redhead Archie Andrews is just trying to make music. After being grounded for confessing he heard that fateful gunshot, Archie is trying to sneak past his pops to lay down some sweet tunes with Josie and the Pussycats. The best part of this plot by far is when Josie tells him why she doesn’t need his white privilege near her band. It’s great to see a show like this acknowledge race in this way. Oftentimes the show will give us a Josie, and it will be great to have a talented black character, but the character will never go into how race affects her. Not the case in Riverdale though. Josie lets Archie know that it’s hard being a black woman in America, and that her mother got flooded with hate mail when she was running for mayor. It’s a rare grounded moment in a show that is so often off the rails. Of course, some of the power of the moment is taken away when Archie proves himself by making some sweet lyrics for The Pussycats. Hopefully, if they keep this collaboration going, Josie will continue to put him in his place.
All of the above are highlights from the episode, in getting a much needed feminist perspective from the show. However, It’s all framed around the ominous voiceover of Jughead, saying that the girls are sure to face some darkness in the future due to their outing of the playbook. Of course, the show has to keep up it’s dark sexy murder vibe, but it was really great to get a victory for the ladies. Hopefully, the dark future that Jughead alludes to doesn’t take away the power from the women of the show. Once again, these women keep the whole of Riverdale together, and hopefully will, no matter who shows up next.
Season 1, Episode 3 (S01E03)
Riverdale airs Thursday at 9PM on The CW
Raina spends most of her time watching television and trying to find the perfect bagel and lox, because she likes being emotionally distraught.
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Raina Deerwater | Contributor