Riverdale S01E08: The Outsiders
Director: David Katzenberg
Starring: K.J. Apa, Lili Reinhart, Camila Mendes
Writer: Julia Cohen
A review by Amelia Wellman
It’s been two weeks since we last saw the Riverdale gang but they’re back this week with episode eight, titled The Outsiders. In which everyone is yelling at everyone else except for Veronica who they seem to have run out of things to have her say.
The Outsiders spends its runtime focused on the Coppers, the family I personally care the least about. I like Betty, it’s hard not to like a Betty that threatens Cheryl’s life and breaks into cars. But the others? The mother is a screeching harpy, the father has one emotion, that of perpetual surprise, and Polly? I just really, really, really, rrr-eee-aaaa-llllyyyy don’t like Polly (read that in the voice of Dr. Cox from Scrubs because it’s how I said it when I commented on the episode).
Let it be known that I don’t hate Polly herself, but I hate the Polly they’ve introduced into Riverdale. Making her pregnant with Jason’s child? Now she doesn’t get to be a character in her own right. Now she’s the pregnant one, so the unborn fetus is the character and she’s the doe-eyed host that ugly-cries a hundred times an episode. This is a personal bias, that I will acknowledge right away. I hate kids so much that anything related to baby-drama immediately makes me roll my eyes and I lose interest. Female characters deserve more than simply being fertile. So far, I haven’t gotten anything but that from Polly.
I want more of Betty and Jughead interrogating people as they look into a murder of a classmate. I want more of Veronica standing up for her fellow girls. I want more of Reggie being an asshole (really just more Reggie in general at this point). And Archie? Well, Archie continues to be at the level I want him at, which is mostly background noise. The characters that I really want to see more of are the Jones family. Jughead is estranged from his dad, who’s in a biker gang and drove away Jughead’s mom and little sister Jellybean. Give me more of that and less of the Coppers. And yes, I’d really like for Jughead not to be dating Betty either.
Speaking of Archie, this kid sure is good at jumping to conclusions and running into places and situations where he has no business going, isn’t he? The yellow and blue letter jacket to the biker bar on the wrong side of the tracks? Immediately assuming all those bikers are horrible criminals just because they’re bikers? And jumping on Jughead for daring to defend his own father? How dare anyone in Archie’s life care about anyone more than him, Archie-goddamn-Andrews!
Apa is playing an Archie that’s honestly one of the worst Archies I’ve ever seen. He’s all hot-head, shortsightedness, and none of the bumbling charm that’s sustained Archie all these years. So listen Archie, we get it, they’re called Archie Comics, but chill dude. Maybe think some things through before running in to save the day. The day doesn’t need you. No one needs you.
The Outsiders most constant presence were the parents of Riverdale. Archie’s dad is being screwed over by the Blossom’s father because Veronica’s father screwed him over, and Betty’s mom is just getting into everyone’s face about everything because she’s uber-bitch #1. Jughead’s dad is also making sure that he falls further down the rabbit hole of assholery but is also looking for redemption, and Betty’s dad? A lot of subtle (but not really at all) talk of abortions coming from him. Why are the parents of this town the cartoon characters and the children the level-headed, manageable ones? I really wish Veronica had more to say throughout this episode because she is turning into the one voice of reason in this nut-show of a town!
Riverdale, please don’t do this to me. Please don’t take your first six amazing episodes and dull their vibrancy with a bunch of bullshit in the second half of the season. Make me continue to care! I’m afraid The Outsiders, much like the episode that came directly before, does not grip me. Am I going to see the season out? Most definitely. Riverdale is still compelling and entertaining, and I’m no closer to knowing Jason’s killer than I was at the beginning of the season, but it’s hit a slump, and I’ve been known to find other things to entertainment myself when slumps occur.