Riverdale S3, Episode 11 review – The Red Dahlia

Cole Sprouse as Jughead in Riverdale
Spoilers Below!

I never saw it coming that we’d see a Riverdale film noir episode.

Jughead (Cole Sprouse) is the narrator, naturally. Even Veronica’s (Camila Mendes) outfits and manner of speaking are done in the film noir style.

What is film noir? Well, technicolor films have existed since the 1930s, but filmmakers chose to make black and white movies well into the 1970s. To this very day, some filmmakers prefer black and white for certain projects.

But that’s not what noir is exclusively, although short clips from this week’s episode are in black and white. Noir tends to involve detectives, mysteries, diagonal or “Dutch” angles, and sexual tension between the male and female leads.

Jughead’s been commissioned by femme fatale Veronica to find out who tried to kill Hiram Lodge. Meanwhile, Betty (Lili Reinhart) is investigating Claudius Blossom’s murder.

She discovers it was Penelope Blossom who killed not only Claudius, but Clifford Blossom. Penelope’s rationale? They’re evil men who were murderers in their own right.

I find it pretty disgusting that Hal, Betty’s father, tried to find moral relativism between murdering murderers and his murders of “sinners” as the Black Hood.

As a society, we’ve agreed that murder is wrong unless it’s for self-defense.

On that note, Archie (KJ Apa) murders a man trying to kill Hiram. Yay! Psycho-Archie’s gone. Do you think he’s going to date Josie? I sure as hell hope so. Anything to get him back on track.

Archie is supposed to be the avatar for the male viewers of this show, and a romantic hero for the female viewers. He should be the most popular guy in school. He should be the rock of this show.

“But, but that’s boring! There wouldn’t be any conflict!” What? Of course there would. The interpersonal drama of young people dating each other while trying to juggle being athletes, musicians, students, journalists and struggling with mental health isn’t exciting?

Instead of making Toni, Cheryl and Kevin’s sexuality A-OK with everyone, why not be more realistic. There are bound to be some homophobes in Riverdale. Instead of presenting a wholesome utopia where no one except the evil Blossoms and wicked Sisters of Quiet Mercy hates on the gays, why not make an otherwise beloved character a homophobe who slowly learns to tolerate gays.

This character would never fully accept gays, because people can’t change that much, but they’d learn to at least tolerate them. What an insightful character arc.

It could be somebody like Fred (Luke Perry) or even Pop. Think of the incredible scenes we’d get with Archie and his dad.

Instead of psycho-nuns, why not have a religious character. This show claims to be “woke,” but none of the characters are religious (the Gargoyle King doesn’t count).

Why not have a Muslim character, or an Orthodox or Conservative Jewish character (i.e., more than a neurotic nerdy character who loves bagels).

Also, why is the Lodge family considered an ideal representation of Latinos? They’re a family of criminals who sell drugs!

“But, but they’re rich.”

Ya, from selling drugs!

Even if you made them working class people, where is the shame in that? Have them earn an honest living. Give the dad or the mom an accent. “But, but that patronizes Latinos, they’re just as American as white people.”

OK, but the whole point of representation is diversity. If nothing about Veronica’s family is Latino save for a few words in Spanish, that’s not really diverse. You want to show how the Lodges are Latino in their values. Some of their values would be commendable, while others would clash with the values of Riverdale.

Now that’s diversity!

In real life, Camila Mendes has admitted she’s frequently late and that it’s a bad habit that’s common in Brazil, saying she’s working on it. Great. Why can’t that be a quality of Veronica’s?

“Because that would perpetuate negative stereotypes of Latinos!”

Not if the character overcomes it. It would also make the show feel less saccharine. Diversity is not about homogenizing everyone, or saying things like “I don’t see color.” It’s about understanding that every culture has different values and traditions. Seeing these different cultures clash, rather than simply ignoring them, would be an organic source of conflict instead of everyone ignoring each other’s race, age and sex while having seizures and fighting the Gargoyle King.

I like this new direction, but if and when Archie and Josie get together, if Josie’s mom or Archie’s dad doesn’t initially approve of their relationship, we’ll know this show is on the right track.

Do you agree with my opinions? Let me know in the comments. ~Yanis Khamsi

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Comments & Discussion

  1. Nadia • February 4, 2019 @ 6:12 PM

    Loved the film noir aspect! Hermione was such a bad ass this episode but I totally agree with your point about diversity, they need to step it up!!

  2. Shema • February 5, 2019 @ 10:28 AM

    Yea yea

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