Riverdale fast-forward seven years into its latest episode, beginning with what is arguably the best scene in the series thus far.
WARNING: the following contains spoilers for Season 5, Episode 4 of Riverdale’s “Chapter Eighty: Purgatory,” which aired Wednesday on The CW.
In the latest episode of Riverdale, Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica, and the rest of their friends graduated from high school. The episode was meant to be the last before a seven-year time jump that would carry the cast of the series into adulthood, with new lives and careers away from Riverdale. By the end of the episode, all the characters went their separate ways: Archie joined the army and Betty, Veronica, and Jughead headed to college. Although the four friends made a pact to meet once a year at Pop’s, sadly that never happens.
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Now, “Chapter Eighty: Purgatory” picks up seven years later. But to begin with, the episode begins by featuring a different kind of scene, and it easily ranks as one of the Riverdalethe best moments in history.
The latest episode of the series plunges viewers into the future with a scene that is intended to be some kind of dream or vision. Archie is in the Bulldogs football team locker room, surrounded by his friends. But something’s wrong: Instead of a coach, a drill sergeant is yelling orders. And instead of footballers, some of his friends are soldiers. When the order is given, they run out into the field, but it functions as a war zone. Archie and his fellow soldiers run across the field, not to score a touchdown, but to fight.
Explosions explode left and right and bullets fly around them. The soldiers are beaten and fall. The scene is dramatic and haunting. It mixes two different moments in Archie’s life, before and after the timeskip, showing the difference between the two and also where they could overlap. Archie leads the charge and is there to help his friends. But now he is doing it amid the horrors of war.
The scene is beautifully shot and given a very cinematic feel thanks to its widescreen presentation, a format that lasts only for the duration of the opening scene of the episode.
Having the seven-year time jump starting with this vision is unexpected but it works extremely well. The violent and poetic nature of the scene makes its inclusion inspiring. It’s confusing and completely wild, but that’s it Riverdale In one word. This is a perfect representation of what the series does so well. Sure, it often baffles the logic, but the result is something unlike anything else on television, and this opening scene is the perfect example of Riverdale firing on all cylinders.
Riverdale starring KJ Apa as Archie Andrews, Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper, Camila Mendes as Veronica Lodge, Cole Sprouse as Jughead Jones, Madelaine Petsch as Cheryl Blossom, Casey Cott as Kevin Keller, Mark Consuelos as Hiram Lodge, Charles Melton as Reggie Mantle, Vanessa Morgan as Toni Topaz, Mädchen Amick as Alice Cooper, and Erinn Westbrook as Tabitha Tate. New episodes of season 5 air Wednesdays at 8 pm ET / PT on The CW.
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