Summary: Jason Blossom, brother to Cheryl tragically died on July 4th in Riverdale. New student Veronica arrives and meets Archie and Betty who become her closest friends. Betty is in love with Archie but Archie doesn't feel the same way for her. At a school dance Betty asks Archie to go with him, but he ends up kissing Veronica after a game of spin the bottle. The 2 have a falling out. The stereotypical gay guy Kevin is on a date with Moose and finds Jason's dead body and concludes he was shot.
The Good: Everything was introduced well enough by the end of the episode. I have a good idea of which character is who and I can tell that this show will be a sort of murder mystery with some high school drama tinged into it.
The Bad: But for the most part this episode was a critical failure as a TV pilot. The purpose of a pilot is to hook the audience. Provide us characters and a gripping story to get us into the show from the beginning. This episode didn't come close to accomplishing any of this. I don't care for the story, the characters are bland and generic and I find myself irritated by a lot of things and impressed by pretty much nothing.
The success of almost every show hinges on the quality of its characters. To say the least, this episode really didn't deliver with its characters. All we get is a boring stereotype for each character and honestly nobody seems likeable so far. Each character seems to behave in just one specific way which makes them horribly dislikeable with the exceptions of Archie and Veronica. Those 2 characters are dislikeable for a whole other reason: they are introduced as Mary Sue characters (Marty Sue for Archie?) which makes them completely uninteresting and irritatingly perfect. These characters desperately need some depth and motives to make them at least somewhat likeable going forward.
The dialogue and writing of the show is similarly poor. The writers have produced some generic and sometimes just poor dialogue. Often times scenes feel forced and none of the dialogue feels right. It doesn't help that the line delivery from the actors and actresses is poor for almost everybody. There are a lot of character relationships that are attempted to be fleshed out but the poor dialogue and writing make pretty much every single one of these scenes fail miserably and as a result we can't care about these relationships. Add on the fact that we don't care about the characters either and we have a pretty deadly combination that can make for some bad television.
The poor dialogue has also done a good job at making these characters feel completely unreal. Everybody seems to have no real restraint in what they say. So many characters just say downright mean and aggressive things and nobody seems to be able to hold in what they feel. If this is because the show is trying to accurately portray teenagers then clearly it doesn't understand how teenagers work. Teenagers are human too not just idiotic and offensive all the time. This could very well be a long term problem in the show if it isn't rectified. It's a big part in why everybody is so unlikeable.
There were a couple specific plot points that I thought were poor too. I didn't like the missing bag thing. It seems very unrealistic that this man who is apparently in prison is able to just send money like that. How did he get people to do this for him? How did nobody open the bag, see money inside and just take it? It's unrealistic. Similarly unrealistic was the discovery of Jason's body. He was dead in a river and his body must have flowed away with the water because the cops couldn't find it. But then it just turns up on the shore at the same place? What? That makes no sense. Also Betty's mom saying that Jason got what he deserved was absolutely terrible. Who would see a dead teenager and say "good riddance"? How does she get away with saying that? The show couldn't have made a worse first impression if it tried with that awful piece of dialogue.
The ending was very bad in my opinion with Archie and Betty falling out. I was nowhere near caring about the characters and their relationship bored me to death. And they were so awkward around each other too
The Unknown: The big question is who killed Jason? The obvious answer is Cheryl so it can't possibly be Cheryl or that would be totally unsatisfying. Could it have been Betty's mom? Doubtful because then it would have been stupid for her to say that awful line I mentioned above. Surely there is something bigger going on here.
What happened to Veronica's father? What did he do? What part did Hermione (no not the one from Harry Potter) play in whatever he did? Why is she on trial for it?
Best Moment: Probably Veronica talking to Betty about how she has changed. It felt unnatural like almost every other scene but at least the show got some basic character motivation done there.
Character of the Episode: Veronica for the aforementioned scene.
Conclusion: This was very poor and I can't say it did anything to make me interested in the show. I sure hope the season gets better so I don't have to suffer through a poorly written, acted and executed show. On the brighter side it will have to work hard to be worse than this, so hopefully that won't happen. I will stick through all of season 1, but if the show doesn't impress by the time season 1 is done, I may drop it. Here's to hoping that this is the series' low point and that everything will get better from here on. I have my doubts though.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.