Riverdale S3, Episode 15 review – Meet the New Joneses

Riverdale stars Lili Reinhart, KJ Apa and Cole Sprouse
It’s FP Jones’ 50th birthday, and the town of Riverdale is ready to celebrate something for a change.

FP reminds Betty (Lili Reinhart) of the birthday party she threw for Jughead  (Cole Sprouse) in season one.

The speech Jughead gave about his father was one of the most touching moments of season three. It brought me back to season one, and it was moving to see how far the Jones family has come.

Sadly, Veronica  (Camila Mendes) told Betty, who told Jughead (now it feels like high school!) that Gladys, Jughead’s mom, is taking over the Fizzle Rock market in Riverdale.

Jughead confronts Gladys, and she confirms she is in the drug business. Gladys tells Jughead that her drug money allowed her purchase the Cooper house in cash. Gladys says FP always wanted to live on Elm Street, and she did what she had to for her family.

It’s great to see this show discuss moral relativism. Of course, it’s easy for a privileged person to say “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.”

Establishment feels like it’s always been there, and it will always be there. The truth is, it’s a house of cards. If our society was rocked heavily enough, it would be every man for himself. Poorer people aren’t “evil” or “stupid” for doing what they have to in order to survive. If the breadwinner of the classic American white picket fence family lost his job and got an eviction notice, what kind of thoughts would run through his mind? What would he consider doing to keep his family fed? His mind would go to some dark places real fast.

Wealthier people are not more “decent” than poorer people. It’s just easy to be civil when all your needs are met.

On that note, Archie has decided he wants to confront all the G&G players who want him dead.

Ugh.

OK. So in storytelling we have set up and payoff. Archie beating 20 bozos one by one in a boxing ring was not a satisfying payoff. Why? Because it wasn’t set up!

Season 1 established Archie (KJ Apa) as a musician and football player. At NO POINT was the G&G storyline foreshadowed in seasons one or two.

If Archie had managed to record a great album and received great press, or was able to lead the football team to victory, it would have warranted Betty’s adorably enthusiastic scream of delight when Archie defeated the prison guard who used to pick on him in juvy.

Also, where was Josie? I thought those two were dating.

Speaking of dating, Veronica gets called out by Reggie (Charles Melton) for treating him like an object. Not just sexually, but even in business. Reggie feels like an errand boy. She even admits they wouldn’t have started dating had they not opened a speakeasy together.

Veronica remedies this by buying Reggie’s car back from Gladys. The two are now even.

Cheryl and Toni share a steamy sex scene at the speakeasy during FP’s birthday bash. Shortly thereafter, the two agree moving in together was a hasty move, and Toni decides to move out.

As great as the birthday bash was, I couldn’t help feeling like they were setting up FP’s death. Call me crazy, but when FP told Jughead he was so happy just to be alive, it felt ominous.

I think the FP death will be a way to spark interest in the show. Now that Archie’s free from G&G, the stakes are pretty low.

This could be the writer’s attempt to make Riverdale feel more like season 1, but I think that ship has sailed.

If Archie starts playing music and football again, and has a love triangle with Betty and Veronica, it would feel saccharine because there’s been no build up to it this season.

It would have to gradually move back towards season one, and focus less on plot and more on the chemistry between our characters.

A great place to start would be JB, Jughead’s sister. She’s barely spoken a word this season. Why don’t we get to know her? Who are her friends at school? What are her interests?

Where do you see this season going? Let me know in the comments ~Yanis Khamsi

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