Riverdale S01E10: The Lost Weekend
Director: Dawn Wilkinson
Starring: K.J. Apa, Lili Reinhart, Camila Mendes, Cole Sprouse
Writer: Britta Lundin, Brian E. Paterson
A review by Amelia Wellman
Episode ten of Riverdale, titled The Lost Weekend, has come and gone and I’m exceedingly glad it has. If I have to see one more attractive white man look a girl in the face and say that they’re too different and brooding to change themselves or understand her (ie Jughead and Betty) I think I just might scream!
The Lost Weekend has Archie and Veronica mad at their parents, Betty throwing Jughead a surprise birthday party, Jughead wanting anything but a birthday party, and Cheryl and the now returned Chuck plotting a melodramatic act of revenge against the Archie gang that ends in a kegger at Archie’s and a game called Sins that is just everyone saying nasty shit to each other. If The Lost Weekend were a game of teenage clichés bingo, you’d have the card completely filled by the end of the episode.
Let me pretty much start and end this review (because it’s literally all there is to comment on) with how much this episode’s script needed another pass. This isn’t the first episode that’s dealt with stereotypical topics you’d see in teen dramas but it’s the first one to, you know, not do it well. Everything is so basic and lazy. The teenage kegger thrown in a drunken rebellion by the kid that’s mad at his parents. The kegger ending in drama and a fist fight because the antagonistic high school assholes start something. Two of the main characters hooking up because they’re both tipsy, attractive, and sitting beside each other lamenting about “deep” stuff. Adults think that epiphanies are the greatest of the aphrodisiacs for the sixteen to eighteen crowd.
Through all the party nonsense, Jughead gets more and more upset that Betty couldn’t just respect his wishes that he didn’t want to celebrate his birthday. This I completely understand. Betty didn’t listen to what Jug wanted and did something that she wanted because she’s obsessive and controlling like her mother. Then comes the scene where Jug confronts her face to face about why he doesn’t want this. I’m sure you’ve all seen the tweets mocking that scene by now. Jughead more or less stands there and vomits out all the usual crap that hacks write characters saying. He’s “different”, and “from the wrong side of the tracks”. Things won’t work about for those reasons and not because he’s not really to make things work. He’s too artsy to change.
Imagine how great this episode would have been as a starting off point to Jughead’s canon asexuality? Produced subtlety and it could have been a very poignant scene where Jughead realizes he just isn’t interested in being a boyfriend. As it’s presented, it’s just laughable. Especially since you can tell the writers were going for something big and meaningful behind it.
Then there’s a scene where we see drunk Archie dealing with his drunkness and… I can’t even. I’m sorry I had to go full on white girl there, but it’s the only way to describe my hate for this scene. They strapped a camera low down on Archie and then just had him look vaguely sweaty and ill while he spun around. Then he drunk dialed his father to tell him not to officially divorce his mother, then he went back to drink some more. Yes, I am judging it more harshly because it’s an Archie moment, but taken with the whole episode, it’s yet another immature moment in a full forty minutes of rookie teenage drama mistakes.
The episode ends with Jughead and Betty still together, Archie and Veronica maybe being together, Molly Ringwald being introduced as Archie’s mom, and everything being exactly the same as it was at the beginning of the episode. That’s my biggest problem with The Longest Weekend, how useless it is within the narrative of Riverdale. It’s a rehashing of information we already know, both within the story, and within character development. We don’t need to see Archie have a drunken hissy fit because we’ve already seen how selfish he is. We don’t need to see Jughead explain to us why he and Betty are a bad idea because we’ve already figured that out. And we definitely don’t need Cheryl and Chuck to walk us through the plot points of the nine episodes that have come before!
The season is only twelve episodes long as it is, why does your third to last episode have to be complete and utter filler?
Riverdale is down to the wire of season one and while I didn’t really care about The Lost Weekend (at all), I’m excited to see where the last two episodes of the season go. Will we learn who Jason’s murderer is? Will we see any of the supernatural elements that Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa originally wanted to include and is still hinting may appear? Will Archie stop being a prat and will Jughead be given better lines? Hopefully, all will be relieved when episode eleven returns on April 27th. Keep watching for that!