Season four of Riverdale is starting off exactly as you’d expect

The notoriously campy show proves as confusing as ever

Image by: Amelia Rankine
Riverdale's fourth season is just as wacky as the rest.

Riverdale kicked off its fourth season on Oct. 9 with a new but classically confusing plot, the same hyper-sexualized teenage characters, and all of its general ridiculousness.

After its cohesive (while still somewhat silly) first season, Riverdale quickly fell down the rabbit hole by intertwining a myriad of questionable plotlines that involved cults, drugs, murder, and unrealistic high school drama.

It’s as entertaining, and as hard to watch, as a car crash on the other side of the highway.

Season four is unsurprisingly bad. After a heartfelt tribute to the late Luke Perry, the actor who portrayed Archie’s father and who passed away in March, the show gets right back on track with its usual absurdity.

It begins to re-loosen all the plotlines that were tied up with a bow in last season’s finale. This season, Betty teams up with her half-brother (who’s also the half-brother of Jughead, her boyfriend) to find her mother, who’s undercover in a cult. All the while, Veronica deals with the paparazzi after her parents’ arrest.

Somehow, Archie and Jughead seem to, for once, be dealing with realistic problems as Archie mourns the loss of his father and Jughead starts at a new school. But knowing Riverdale, there’s no doubt that both plotlines will result in something nonsensical later on.

So far, this season seems to be the showrunners’ frenzied effort to keep their audience entertained. More than ever, the writers are attempting to cram as much into one episode as is humanly possible.

Each episode has so many plotlines, they just become chaotic and confusing.

It’s hard to tell whether the problem with this season is that they’re trying to appeal to every teen in their focus group, or if they just don’t think anyone has a long enough attention span to follow a realistic, well-considered plot or characters.

Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead have become caricatures of themselves without exhibiting any character development beyond getting increasingly traumatized by unbelievable events.

For those characters, their underaged hyper-sexuality is still one point of real concern. While the characters are portrayed by adult actors, the show’s 11th graders have more sex on screen than should be allowed.

It’s easy to forget that the characters are supposed to be 17 when you’re looking at 25-year-old Camila Mendes clad in lingerie singing onstage in her character Veronica’s speakeasy. Or when the 22-year-old KJ Apa spends the majority of his screen time as Archie shirtless and sweaty. But when you realize the characters are supposed to be high-schoolers, those scenes feel weirdly voyeuristic.

Riverdale doesn’t even let you dwell on its hyper-sexualizing of teenagers, because it reveals by the season’s fourth episode that an organ-harvesting cult leader is planning to launch himself into the stratosphere in a homemade rocket.

I can’t begin to understand what the writers’ room behind these episodes looks like. The team is either filled with absolute lunatics or geniuses, since they know how to keep people tuning in week after week.

Either way, these addictive, absurd plotlines somehow keep me—and a million other viewers—coming back for more.


Netflix, Riverdale

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