After solving the mystery of just who killed Jason Blossom, Riverdale went out with a literal bang in season one, leaving the life of another character hanging in the balance.
Fred Andrews found himself on the receiving end of a bullet, and fans were left wondering just what would happen next. The upcoming second season promises more thrills and an even bigger mystery, but before it premieres this month we’re taking a look back at the first 13 episodes.
The drama was inspired by the Archie comic books that debuted in 1941, and as a result, there are almost as many Easter eggs hiding in a Riverdale episode as there are in a superhero show.
The pilot episode provided plenty of fun nuggets for the audience to link back to the comics– like the school being founded the same year the comic book was first published– but the writers and producers didn’t stop at episode one.
The entire first season is full of fun Archie and other pop culture references as well as moments foreshadowing just what was to come on the series.
Check out these 17 Things You Completely Missed In Riverdale before we all dive into season two!
17. The Real Miss Grundy
When Miss Grundy was revealed to be played by Sarah Habel, and then as Archie’s love interest in the pilot episode of the series, some fans cried foul. Where was the Miss Grundy of the comics with matronly ensembles, white hair, and plenty of sarcasm? Turns out she was waiting in the wings.
As the teacher’s past is slowly revealed (an abusive ex husband, changing her name and running away, and even previous relationships with students), Betty uncovers the obituary of the real Miss Geraldine Grundy, who looks a lot more like her comic book counterpart.
16. Clifford Blossom’s Wig Is Missing
That now iconic closet full of red wigs that audiences see later in the series? The idea for it didn’t even exist in the pilot episode.
Instead, Barclay Hope had his hair dyed red for the pilot to fit in with the rest of the Blossom family. Unfortunately, he had an allergic reaction to the dye, so he couldn’t continue dying his hair for future episodes. He was given a wig to use, and despite the great hair and makeup team on the show, it just wasn’t up to par.
Producer Sarah Schechter revealed that with the bad wig, they decided to just “lean into it” in an interview with Yahoo, and the closet full of wigs was born. Fans who constantly remarked on the state of Clifford’s hair on social media were rewarded for their snark with that creepy closet reveal.
15. That Small Town View
If you thought the overhead shots of Riverdale looked like a town you’ve visited before, you might not be far off! Riverdale shares stock footage with two other popular dramas.
Stock footage is filmed footage that producers are able to use from studios without taking camera crews out and filming whole new sequences. It’s why the outside of a high school might look exactly the same across different shows with just the sign being digitally altered.
In the case of Riverdale, the overhead shot of the small town has previously been used on Gilmore Girls and Pretty Little Liars. That’s not all, though: the shows have even shared some of the same set pieces when not shooting on location.
14. Episode Titles
The episode titles for the first season might sound familiar if you know your classic films. Most episodes share their title with a classic thriller or drama.
The pilot episode, for example, was called “River’s Edge”, the name of an ’80s film that also featured a high school student’s murder. Others included “The Last Picture Show”, a nod to a film (and book) about life in a small town where a woman had an affair with a teenager, and “Touch of Evil”, which took inspiration from a ’50s film about corruption, murder, and kidnapping.
Season two will continue the tradition as all of the episode titles so far, which showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has been releasing on twitter, are also names of movies. The season will kick off with “Chapter Fourteen: A Kiss Before Dying.”
13. Cheryl Does Have A Twitter Account
In the first episode of Riverdale, Cheryl Blossom introduces herself to the audience with a twitter handle, and it looks like it might be legit.
Cheryl’s twitter handle @CherylBombshell has been claimed but by a fan or a CW employee? It doesn’t have any of the tweets in its timeline that appeared in the show. Instead, there is only a single tweet from joining the site.
What’s interesting about this account though is that the show’s writers and publicity team might still have plans. Why? The account is followed by a few other important twitter accounts like the showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and the Riverdale writers’ room. The only accounts followed by @CherylBombshell are the official show account and that of Madelaine Petsch, the actress behind the character.
12. Kewpie Dolls
Betty Cooper doesn’t just look like an angel while she hides a few secrets: some of her dolls do too.
Kewpie dolls became popular in the ’40s and ’50s, just like Archie and his friends. Considering the show likes its nostalgia (like a ’50s style diner in Riverdale getting the spotlight instead of your average fast food joint or coffee bar), it’s no surprise that Betty would have an affinity for something like a Kewpie doll.
Though they look like little cherubs with their sweet smiles, Kewpie dolls are made staring off to one side as though trying to keep a secret from you, and Betty has them hidden in her room. There are more there than just the nightlight that ends up as a gift to her sister.
11. Jughead’s S
In the comics, Jughead is known for his crown (which the show homages with a knit cap) and the S on his t-shirts. The show has placed that iconic “S” on his clothing, but also on a few other things.
In addition to a t-shirt appearance, the “S” is on his laptop, and pops up on his sweater in a dream sequence in episode seven. The dream sequence made the main characters look more like their comic book counterparts, however briefly, but it also made fans wonder just what the S might stand for.
In the dream, in addition to Jughead’s “S,” Archie was sporting an “R” on his sweater, just like he usually does on his letterman’s jacket, leading to some to speculate that the “S” might mean Seaside (as in Serpents), just like the “R” is for Riverdale.
10. Betty And Jughead’s Romance
Though Betty is interested in Archie when the series kicks off, she finds love with Jughead about half way into the season. That love is foreshadowed with a couple of references to one of the most well known romantic dramas.
In episode two, Veronica mentions that Romeo and Juliet were the exception to romance, not the rule. Romeo and Juliet, as everyone knows, fell hard and fast for one another despite their feuding families and eloped – as teenagers.
Fast forward to episode six, and as Jughead climbs into Betty’s window to talk about their investigation, he jokingly greets her by saying, “Hey there, Juliet. Nurse off duty,” alluding to the balcony scene in Shakespeare’s play. The two share their first kiss later that episode.
9. A Twin Peaks Reference
Riverdale saw a lot of Dawson’s Creek meets Twin Peaks comparisons when critics watched the pilot episode, and that comparison wasn’t without merit. Madchen Amick, who guest starred in the former and was a regular in the latter, even rewarded fans with a fun Twin Peaks reference on the show.
When Archie visits the Cooper household on evening, Mrs. Cooper offers him and Betty a slice of pie. Seeing Amick, who played a waitress at a diner known for its pie on Twin Peaks, offer up the pastry to a couple of teens might have been reference enough, but that wasn’t all.
8. A Dancing Trio
In the pilot episode of the series, Veronica creates a chance for Betty to attend a dance with Archie, and work up the courage to tell him how she feels. Her idea? All three of them attend the dance together. This trio is then mirrored by Archie’s father Fred with his wife and Veronica’s mother ten episodes later.
As Veronica, Archie, and Betty walk into the dance arm in arm, Veronica remarks, “Well, it’s not the Met Ball.” The three have a good time, but by the end of the night, it’s not a happy one as Betty discovers that Archie doesn’t feel the same way.
In episode 11 as Hermione, Fred, and Mary walk into another dance as chaperones, Hermione echoes her daughter’s sentiments from the pilot. Of course, this dance is different as Mary and Fred are already separated, and she makes it clear that Fred can date whomever he wants. Neither woman is using the dance as an excuse to get close to him.
7. A Drowning Person Drags Archie Down
Fred gives Archie some metaphorical advice about not letting a drowning person drag you down, but the metaphor becomes a reality.
What Fred actually tells Archie is: “Son, when someone is drowning, you can try to save them, but not if they’re going to drag you down with them.” The advice is in reference to the relationship the Andrews family has with the Jones family. Fred and FP had a partnership that soured, but Archie and Jughead, despite numerous fights, have remained close.
Archie has done a lot of terrible things on the show, but ignoring his father’s metaphorical advice to save Cheryl Blossom when she was literally drowning in the frozen Sweetwater River was probably one of his best decisions.
6. The Main Characters Have Signature Colors
Comic books commonly dress their characters in the same color family in order to maintain consistency when different artists take over. Children’s programs like to do that as well (just see Power Rangers as an example). Riverdale has given its five main characters signature colors as well.
Cheryl grabs attention in red, while Betty is demure in pinks and blues. Veronica is regal and sophisticated in black and purples, Archie is all-American in red and blue, and Jughead is the outsider, wearing colors from the other side of the tracks with green and black.
Times when the characters aren’t in their signature colors tend to be dramatic moments for them, like Cheryl in white when Jason disappears, as well as at his funeral, or Betty in black when she tortures Chuck.
5. Jewelry Is Important
Clothing colors aren’t the only signatures for the ladies of the show. Veronica’s pearls play an obvious role in her story as a symbol of her devotion to her father, but other woman also have important pieces of jewelry.
Cheryl has an affinity for brooches not usually seen in modern teenagers. In addition to jeweled cherries that she wears, she also has a fondness for spiders. Scenes where she has the spider brooch pinned to her clothing involve truths uncovered. She also gifts her brooch to Jughead when apologizing to him for believing a lie.
Alice Cooper also loves a good brooch, but hers tend to have a floral motif. She wears blossom brooches long before she begins talking about her hatred of the Blossom family, but it’s possible her choice in jewelry foreshadowed the familial connection between the Coopers and the Blossoms.
4. Sabrina’s Cameo
It’s been announced that Archie comic book character Sabrina Spellman will be the subject of a Riverdale spinoff series, but in season one, she got a bit of a sneaky cameo in the show.
While no actress was cast (casting is currently underway), one of her comic books did appear. While FP is being held in jail for the murder of Jason Blossom, he’s got a comic curled up in his hands. That book is none other than Chilling Adventures in Sorcery #1.
That particular comic has three different stories in it, but the stories themselves aren’t important. What is important is that Sabrina Spellman was their narrator. These days, her comic book series (and her possible spinoff) gets its title from that original comic as she now stars in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
3. Matching Milkshakes
Throughout the first season of the show, the teens show a preference for milkshakes from Pop’s. Everyone has their preferences – Veronica usually gets something chocolate and Betty usually goes for vanilla – that emphasize their personality traits.
In the final episode of the season though, the foursome at the center of the story make some adjustments to their drink choices. Veronica gets her usual chocolate and Archie, now officially dating her, gets one as well, even though he had previously gone for vanilla.
When Betty gets vanilla this time around, there’s an added splash of color to it with a strawberry as a garnish. Why? It matches Jughead’s strawberry shake order, showing the audiences, however subtly, that these pairs are made for each other.
2. A Trip To San Junipero
The season finale also has a fun pop culture reference for those who have enjoyed the anthology series Black Mirror. As Joaquin heads out of town after telling Archie and friends what he knows about the murder of Jason Blossom, his bus is headed for a familiar destination.
San Junipero is the location, and the city is also the title of one of the most popular episodes of Black Mirror to date. In it, there’s a virtual world for the dead and a happy ending for the love story of the two women at the center of the story.
The episode aired at a time when television audiences were tired of seeing female characters, especially lesbians, killed off on their favorite shows, so it hit a sweet spot in pop culture and hopefully, set the tone for writers to give those characters less tragic ends.
1. The Shot Heard ‘Round Riverdale
In the finale episode, Fred Andrews finds himself in what seems like a robbery gone wrong. Shot by a masked assailant in Pop’s, the final image of the season is of Fred bleeding out while Archie holds onto him.
That final image is an homage to Death of Archie, a comic book storyline that saw the adult Archie also shot in Pop’s. Though, in that case, Jughead now owned the diner, and it was him holding Archie’s body.
The shooter himself might be another Easter egg for comic book fans though as his appearance in the finale is very similar to the modern version of the vigilante the Black Hood who got his start in Archie Comics in the 1940s. Now, he’s got his own series.
Did you catch something we missed in the first season of Riverdale? Let us know in the comments!
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