Review: Riverdale Season 2 Episode 7 “Chapter Nineteen: Death Proof”

In this mostly sudden shift from the horror-intensive main narrative, ‘Riverdale’ attempts to place thematic messages in the foreground, yet at the same time also devours character consistency. Beyond the ridiculousness of Jughead nearly immediately returning to norm with his relationship with Archie after last week’s fallout, similar to Betty and Veronica, the characters dip and duck between tones to suit plot. One minute the show is proposing an authentic analysis of sexual assault and the spiralling repercussions it can have on victims through differing perspectives, the next moment the same characters are joyfully crusing at a car race with no concern for these serious pressures. Cheryl is an evident example of this, as while her main journey is a core emotional beat, the character is also pushed into situations that undermine her fragility. One may even suggest this undermines the magnitude of the sexual harassment aspects to the story. For the most part though, the conflict between North and South is still good erratic and often vicious drama, with the absurdity of the Black Hood retaining some serial labour. This is ‘Riverdale’s’ best attempt at balancing melodrama with realism in many episodes, but the show needs to be careful in changing directions too quickly, as may lead to some characters falling off their line. 8.4/10

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