Riverdale’s craziest season yet has been the most political

Riverdale Season 6 (Photos from bottom left: Colin Bentley, Jack Rwand, Kylie Scheuerman, Jack Rwand/CW)

Riverdale Season 6 (Photos from bottom left: Colin Bentley, Jack Rwand, Kylie Scheuerman, Jack Rwand/CW)
Draw: Rebecca Fasola

Often, a thoughtless quote or plot line from Riverdale It finds its way into the cultural conversation and causes collective confusion. There was the town epidemic with a jingle sound, Archie’s rhetoric of “the epic highs and lows of football,” and the mysterious war he fought during a showtime jump, to name a few.

“You can tell me anything about this show and I think it’s common refrain of skeptics. They’re not wrong about how crazy the series has been since the teenage murder mystery in season one. (If there were any sharks in Sweetwater, Archie would surely have jumped on them by now.) But what non-viewers may find most surprising is that amidst seemingly every possible story being thrown against the wall, RiverdaleThe authors actually have something to say.

Trying to sum up his enthusiasm in one paragraph is an insult to the show, but that’s an attempt for beginners: Season 6 introduced the parallel universe of “Rivervale,” which is far more terrifying and supernatural than “Riverdale.” Due to scientific reasons, the universes began to bleed together, and the great explosion of the multiverse caused our heroes to become excellentHeroes with a variety of powers. It also brought in a villain in Rivervale, the immortal wizard and mind-observer Percival Pickens (Chris O’Shea), whose transition leads to the final battle between good and evil in Hellmouth under Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe (seriously). The gang eventually manages to defeat Percival, but as a last act of revenge, he magically alters the course of Billy’s Comet to destroy the city. In the finale of Season 6, which aired on July 31, the group’s combined superpowers manage to thwart the Comet with catastrophic consequences. (We’ll come back to that later.)

As crazy as it sounds (and he’s crazy), the season’s conflict is actually grounded in shockingly sharp political comments about real-world issues. It is usually easy to determine “good versus bad” Riverdale. (Archie is good, and anyone against Archie is bad.) but Evil, as Percival embodies, this season is defined in a very special way. Sure, he’s a magical lunatic, but his power moves are the power of a (literally) soulless capitalist.

Chris O'Shea as Percival Pickens in Season 6 of Riverdale

Chris O’Shea as Percival Pickens in Season 6 of Riverdale
picture: Kylie Scheuermann / The CW

His opening maneuver in the “Battle for the Soul of Riverdale,” in Jughead’s words, is to use his mind-control powers to expel the homeless population of Sketch Alley. (This reflects a real-life issue that, while not unique to L.A., has been relevant recently to activists Film production battles In return, Archie bands together to find a solution that will give the non-dwelling a place to stay. “Riverdale takes care of itself, and the people who live in Sketch Alley are citizens of this city just like us,” he says. “We need to show them that we care.”

Then, as the season continues, Percival uses his unholy influence to become mayor and seduces workers away from Andrews Construction into a non-union job on the railroad. (Fred Andrews, played by the late Luke Perry, has long been a “union guy,” something Archie often reminds us of.) In a continuous arc, Archie and Tabitha Tate (Erin Westbrook) lead dissident railroad workers on strike. At one point, to break through Percival’s mind control, they perform a musical “Bread and Rose,” a poem that has long been associated with women’s suffrage and the labor movement. Surprise: an old idiot Riverdale It is one of the most vocal pro-labor TV shows.

Of course, that’s not the first big bad thing. The series’ old villain was Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos), who had similarities to Percival on paper (became mayor by tricky means, trying to destroy the city). But unlike Percival, Hiram had moments where he showed honor, loyalty, and generosity. Veronica (Camila Mendes), his successor at Lodge Industries, proudly declares that her casino employees are “all citizens of Riverdale and earn generous living wages,” while Percival believes that “labor rights and equal rights… are lies.” The wealthy inns may have engaged in some low-level evil, but Percival ups the ante. In the episode titled Blue Collar, Jughead (Cole Sprouse) explicitly defines clash as “a struggle between good and evil, or in this incarnation, between those who work and those who exploit workers.”

Erin Westbrook as Tabitha Tate, KJ Apa as Archie Andrews, and Vanessa Morgan as Tony Topaz on Season 6 of Riverdale

Erin Westbrook as Tabitha Tate, KJ Apa as Archie Andrews, and Vanessa Morgan as Tony Topaz on Season 6 of Riverdale
picture: Colin Bentley / The CW

None of this says that Riverdale It became a serious political show. All of these surprisingly thoughtful moments are woven into the fabric of the show’s most sought-after season to date. For example, Percival’s non-union railroad job aims to build a “ghost train” that will bring spirits from “Sweet Hereafter” (recruited by his long-deceased predecessor of genocide) to Riverdale in order to help him fight in the final battle. (“Of course, one can’t tell people,” laments self-aware Cheryl Blossom, played by Madelaine Petsch.) RiverdaleLike the chemical weapons soap equivalent of veggies sneaking into a kid’s meal.

With the final season of next year approaching, we have to ask: How is it possible Riverdale Perhaps headlining its most politically advanced and utterly charismatic event yet? Well, this comet is “on the level of extinction” (which Cheryl stopped by a combination of her phoenix strength and the supernatural powers of her friends, given to her by a kiss from Veronica, natch) Riverdale A tough reset, restarting the town to before the show’s instigation incident into the murder of Jason Blossom. Likes road Before, right up to 1955, an era very similar to the original archery Comics – and only Jughead remembers the time “BC” (“Before the Comet,” of course).

It’s the show’s boldest move yet in a series of seriously big twists, and there couldn’t be any more fitting way for it. Riverdale to present a conclusion. While loyalists and skeptics alike may be distracted by the sheer audacity of the story, Riverdale The writers prepared some interesting themes for the final season. Will the events of the 1950s explore the pitfalls of nostalgia for a cunning “simpler time”? Is bringing characters back to high school a meta comment on television’s tendency to corner older actors into playing teens long after their debut period? Is there a bigger point made about storytelling that the fourth narrator, who breaks the wall, is the only one to keep his memory? There are a lot of exciting questions heading into the final stage. If there is one thing we can guarantee, it is that Riverdale It will have surprising (and hopefully surprisingly diety) answers.

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