Review: Riverdale Season 2 Episode 5 “Chapter Eighteen: When a Stranger Calls”

There is an argument that the intense melodrama this show regularly serves up is indicative of teenage rebellion, angst and adolescent temper. However, while the characters also regularly make simply idiotic decisions, the writers do at least attempt to showcase some maturity and desire to take action. It’s a difficult balance to deliver and possibly why I am so conflicted in enjoying this show so much, despite it’s evident flaws derived from the characters’ hasty decision-making and dramatic approach. This episode particularly tries to find that balance, quickly taking predictable but entertaining stories of teen romance or attempts at adulthood and turning them much more serious. The styling works particularly well, especially in capturing the horror, slasher genre. Thematically, though, the show gets lost in discussing class divide with the North and South. While Alice Coopers vendetta against the South is certainly that, the show continually justifies it by highlighting the Southside Serpent’s use of violence and intimidation. It’s an odd perspective to take and further makes the viewer inclined to stand with Alice, undermining other characters’ wish to see the North and South unite. 7.8/10

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