Riverdale has a long history of being A Whole Ass Lotbut somehow the series has managed to even top “hey we’re just creating an Archie multiverse now” with its recent horror-tinged crossover event with Chilling Adventures of sabrina. If you thought last night’s episode would be a return to… what’s considered normal for the series? Well, you were in for a surprise.
So let’s get this out of the way: I think Riverdale might be another CW superhero show now? Perhaps.
“Unbelievable,” the technically-sixth episode of the show’s sixth season—the aforementioned crossover formed the first five late last year—picks back up in the, god, I can’t even believe I get to say it, “Prime” Riverdale reality. More specifically, it picks back up in the wake of the season five finale, which concluded with Archie and Betty about to get it on as it was revealed to the audience that Veronica’s dad, Hiram, had left a bomb planted in Archie’s room after being exiled from the town. beaktotoy’know, that’s just a thing that happens on Riverdale. Anyway, the bomb went off, destroying the Andrews household… but miraculously, Archie and Betty madand it out largely unharmed.
Not everyone is unscathed by the blast. Jughead, who was nearby, eventually discovers that the blast has largely rendered him deaf, and Archie’s poor dog Bingo has all his legs broken, crushed under the debris of the destroyed Andrews home. But yeah: Archie and Betty are largely safe, because, as they learn over the course of the episode… the bomb gave them superpowers. Archie gets the most traditional super-overhaul here, complete with the mandatory “somehow gets even more of a CW show protagonist jacked body” overhaul that gives him enhanced strength alongside a weight increase, and, in a riff on the episode title, a nod to Mr. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable in the form of impenetrable skin, explaining how he managed to survive the blast and protect Betty, who only suffered a few bone-breaking injuries.
In the hospital recovering, she learns that she too got powers, a sort of spider-sense-esque aura-detection that allows her to spot people who are threats. An absolutely incredible power to give to someone who has also, because this show is this show, been an FBI agent for a few years now. But anyway, she and Archie use their abilities to stop a murderous orderly that gave Betty bad vibes. Oh, and did we mention Bingo got a healing factor, miraculously recovering from his broken legs in just a handful of days? Yeah. Sucks to be Jughead I guess, near enough to be injured but not near enough to get superpowers, unless he’s about to become Riverdale’s equivalent of Clint Barton or something.
There’s a lot more going on in “Unbelievable”—Hiram may actually be dead after Veronica put out a hit on him (!!!) that she immediately regretted (!!!!!!) only to find when she tried to do a take -backsies on a contract killer (!!!!!!!!!!) that the job was purportedly already done (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), oh and Cheryl might be possessed by an evil ghost now? But really, the point here is that literally just after having its own off-kilter indulgence into genre elements, Riverdale is now plunging ahead just completely doolally. It’s hard to say if this will be revealed as another alt-timeline like the events in Rivervale, or if this really is just the status quo for the show now, which is really funny considering the “weird” thing about Riverdale when it started was that Archie was sleeping with his teacher. But for now, Riverdale is… is it too mean to Agents of SHIELD to say it’s Agents of SHIELD with even less budget?
Which, to be fair, is just largely taking a page from the Archie comics even more at this point. Archie has been around for so long that it’s given us superheroes, big franchise crossovers, zombies and werewolvesand of course, a particular Teenage Witchso Riverdale itself just embracing the utter insanity of the source material, especially when it’s done such a grand job of being so insane itself previously, is more of a lateral move than some huge leap. Screw it, have the Predator show up or something! Hell, make that new comic real and have comics Archie meet Riverdale Archie! now that‘d be fun.
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