Greg Berlanti, aka the god of the CW, has given fans a lot to be grateful for. Riverdale, his reimagining of the classic Archie Comics is a major hit, as it gives us fresh twists on the iconic characters we grew up with and thrilling stories shrouded in darkness.
But Riverdale isn't perfect by any stretch. Viewers have bemoaned the bloated seasons, random sex scenes set to overly synthesized pop music, and the lackluster musical numbers. We're more than a quarter of the way through Season 4 and so far it's proving to be a mixed bag. Here is Riverdale: 5 Things We Like About Season 4 (& 5 We Don't).
10 Like: The Fred Andrews Tribute
Fans and cast members alike were heartbroken at the news of Luke Perry's tragic death. The actor passed away in the middle of filming Season 3, and production temporarily shut down to allow the cast and crew to grieve. The season continued on without killing Fred Andrews off, his absence explained as work-related.
The premiere episode of Season 4 was an exquisite tribute to both the character and the actor who played him. Perry's Beverly Hills 90210 co-star Shannen Doherty guest-starred as the woman whom Fred helped, losing his life in his last charitable act. It was a classy touch not tying Fred's death to any of the usual serial killer-related fare the show is known for. He died in a tragic accident being a good Samaritan. As Archie drives his father's body back home to Riverdale, the police escort led by FP Jones and the rally for Fred warmed the hearts of many a fan.
9 Don't Like: The gang divided
A big complaint about last season was that the Riverdale High gang spent so much time apart. Sadly, it looks like Season 4 is following suit. It's a shame, because the dynamic of the teens, particularly the Core Four, is what fans like about the show. Giggling over milkshakes at Pop's, angsty sexual tension, pulling off a zany scheme — we want it all.
If the flashforwards are any indication, the gang will be thrust together again — albeit without Jughead. But do we have to wait for the end of the season to get Archie and company in the same room? Season 4 marks their senior year. Is it so much to ask for them to be onscreen together before they graduate?
8 Like: Mr. Honey
It's about time we got a villainous authority figure at Riverdale High. Principal Weatherbee commanded about as much respect as his name suggests, but his successor (played by Dawson's Creek alum, Kerr Smith) is out to rule the school with an iron fist. He's pulled rank on Cheryl more than once, igniting her already short fuse. Mr. Honey has also set his sights on Reggie, whose character is finally getting the depth he deserves. With a principal as a potential major antagonist for the season, we might see the teens actually spending time in school. What a concept.
7 Don't Like: Hiram's resurgence
From a fresh villain to a totally stale one. Hiram Lodge proved himself to be one formidable antagonist in Season 2...and then again in Season 3. We really don't need anymore of the Hiram-Veronica tit-for-tat dynamic that has already taken up way too much screentime. And for the love of Sweetwater River, what's Hermione doing renewing her vows to this deranged sociopath? It's time for both her and the show to let Hiram go. It's high time this gangster sleeps with the fishes.
6 Like: Stonewall Prep
As much as we're dying for more Bughead, we dig Jughead's literary prep school storyline. For one thing, it gets him away from the played-out Southside Serpents and all the subsequent knockoff gangs popping up around Riverdale like Whack-a-Moles. This plot also serves to give Jughead a type of enemy he's never squared off against before in the volatile, hyper-privileged Bret Weston Wallis. (We also adore Riverdale's off-brand names for people, places and products. In this case, an obvious take on controversial author Bret Easton Ellis.) But even more lethal than Bret is the deceptively named Donna Sweett, who drugged Jughead. We look forward to more creepy shenanigans from the pupils at Stonewall Prep.
5 Don't Like: Pureheart the Powerful
Greg Berlanti has given us plenty of awesome superhero shows on the CW — Riverdale doesn't have to be another one. True, Archie Andrews has a savior complex and a penchant for vigilante justice — a perfect superhero combination — but that's what makes him one of the show's more annoying characters? Can we not get through an episode without him rescuing some hapless orphan or decking some lowlife in the face? We already suffered through the Red Paladin — please don't make us endure Pureheart the Powerful as well.
4 Like: Thistlehouse
Tonally, anything Blossom family-related does not match Riverdale whatsoever. The series is an outlandish teen soap, whereas the Blossoms appear to have fallen from the pages of a V.C. Andrews novel. And guess what? We're here for it.
Every time there's a Thistlehouse scene, you know you're going to shudder. From Cheryl's disturbing obsession with Jay-Jay's corpse to Julian's "haunting" to even more dastardly members of the redhead clan showing up to wreak havoc, Thistlehouse could be its own spin-off. Berlanti, are you listening?
3 Don't Like: OTT Edgar
We get it. Riverdale has never been rooted in realism. But when you have Chad Michael Murray in an Elvis suit about to evade the law via rocket ship, you really have to question whether the show has officially jumped the shark. And before Edgar and his blue suede shoes were about to launch themselves to who knows where, he also strapped a bomb vest to Polly, intent on bringing even more death to the good people of Riverdale. Luckily, Betty was able to defuse the bomb with her trusty hairpin. (We swear we're not making this up.)
Thankfully, Alice is one heck of a shot and it appears we'll never have to see Edgar Evernever on our TV screens ever again. But he still ate up way too much of Season 4.
2 Like: The flashforwards
Even if some of the storylines this season find us rolling our eyes, we're still hooked on the juicy flashforwards each episode provides, as we get more and more clues to what looks like Jughead's potentially grim fate. Did his own friends turn on him? Or was it the Stonewall Prep crew? Maybe they were in cahoots. Were Archie and Bret Weston Wallis working together? Seems unlikely, but stranger things have happened. This is Riverdale, after all.
1 Don't Like: Jughead's potential death
As much as we may be itching to uncover the mystery surrounding Jughead's potential death, we're gearing ourselves up for disappointment. While Riverdale is no stranger to death, the Grim Reaper seems to have spared the Core Four, and we don't think he'll change his mind now. This is all likely leading up to a big "Gotcha!" moment that will be dragged out over the course of Season 4. That, or Jughead really is dead as a doornail. If that's the case, what does Riverdale look like without its hamburger-loving writer? Do we even want to know?