‘Riverdale’ Season 1, Episode 1 Recap: Chapter 1: The River’s Edge


The series premiere of ‘Riverdale’ gave us the lay of the land in Archie’s small town. While on the surface the town seems like it’s your typical slice of Americana, there’s a darkness lurking beneath the surface.

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Riverdale gave us a darker take on the beloved Archie comics characters. Life in a small town turns out to be far darker than expected. As Archie (K.J Apa) begins his sophomore year of high school, the town is still reeling from the death of its beloved Jason Blossom (Trevor Stines).

The Last Day of Summer

Our introduction to Riverdale comes via voiceover. Jughead (Cole Sprouse) gives us our introduction to Riverdale, the seemingly small, idyllic town. The town is still reeling from the death of Jason Blossom, though some people are far less upset about it than others. On July 4 the Blossom Twins, Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) and Jason, took an early morning boat ride. Cheryl is found several hours later, claiming Jason fell overboard, panicked and drowned. Though the police searched for his body, they never found it. But the town is about to get a new piece of gossip as Hermione Lodge (Marisol Nichols) returns to town with her daughter Veronica (Camila Mendes) in tow on the last day of summer.

Photo Credit: Riverdale/The CW Image Acquired from CW TV PR
Photo Credit: Riverdale/The CW Image Acquired from CW TV PR /

Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart) preps to finally tell Archie about her feelings for him. The best friends have dinner at Pop’s Diner. While discussing their summers Archie tells her about his newly discovered love of music. It’s something that he wants to pursue. Betty goes to tell him her feelings but Archie becomes distracted by Veronica’s entrance. Once at home, Betty’s mother is putting a lot of pressure on her about school. Her mother doesn’t want her to make the same mistakes as her sister Polly did. It seems most of Polly’s mistakes started when she dated Jason Blossom.

The First Day of School

Betty is the one who gives Veronica a tour of the school. Despite Veronica’s interest in Archie, the girls get along well.. Once she learns from Betty’s friend Kevin (Casey Cott) that Betty has feelings for the redhead she encourages Betty to go after him. Archie tries to show his music to the popular local band, Josie and the Pussycats, but they aren’t interested in it and tell him to get lost. Archie does get to play his music for his friends and they’re very encouraging of it.

Cheryl Blossom is the queen bitch of Riverdale who clearly has a special hate for Betty. When Cheryl invites Veronica to try out for the cheerleading team Veronica insists that Betty does as well. Archie is determined to pursue his interest in music and wants the music teacher Ms. Grundy (Sarah Habel) to tutor him. This task would be easier if the pair hadn’t slept together over the summer. He also has no one to talk to about an evident that the pair heard. Turns out they were also at the river the day Jason Bloom died. They heard a gunshot but didn’t tell anyone. Still Ms. Grundy tells him no about tutoring him in music.

Photo Credit: Riverdale/The CW Image Acquired from CW TV PR
Photo Credit: Riverdale/The CW Image Acquired from CW TV PR /

Hermione visits Fred Andrews (Luke Perry) and asks about the bookkeeping job that’s open at his construction company. As it turns out the pair used to date back in the day until Hermione picked the rich kid over him. He wants to help her out but can’t. Her husband is on trial back in New York for fraud and embezzlement and hiring her wouldn’t look good to his clients.


Archie tries out for the football team while Betty and Veronica try out for the cheerleading team. Archie gets an unexpected shock when he’s offered a spot on the varsity team. He tells his coach he’ll have to think about it since varsity means more practice and away games keeping him away from helping his dad out with the family business. Which is strange considering he told his dad that he wouldn’t be able to help out much because of football.

Photo Credit: Riverdale/The CW Image Acquired from CW TV PR
Photo Credit: Riverdale/The CW Image Acquired from CW TV PR /

Cheerleading tryouts go far worse for Betty and Veronica. Cheryl isn’t impressed with their tryouts. The red-devil takes things a step further and tries to goad Betty into causing a scene. Betty’s sister, Polly, had a nervous breakdown and now resides in a group home. Some seem to think that Jason was to blame for it. Veronica stands up for her new friend and takes Cheryl down a couple of pegs. Veronica informs her that she and Betty come as a package. So, in the end, both girls end up on the cheerleading squad.

School Dances are Always Terrible

Betty asks Veronica why she’s being so nice to her. Veronica explains that she used to be Cheryl back in New York. After what happened with her father, she’s taking her move to Riverdale as a fresh start. Veronica tells Betty that she needs to invite Archie to the upcoming dance. Betty ends up asking Archie to escort both her and Veronica to the dance. I’m sure this won’t end badly at all.

Betty’s mother is not thrilled when she finds out that her daughter is a cheerleader and is planning on going to the school dance. Betty stands up for herself and informs her that she does everything for everyone else, but she’s doing this for herself. Betty isn’t the only one that ends up having an awkward parent conversation. Fred asks Archie why lied to both his coach and father about being too busy. Archie tells him about his newfound love for music. Although it’s clear Fred has a certain path he wants Archie to follow, he tells his son that he can do what he wants. He also tells him that the choices he’s making now will shape who he becomes and those choices have consequences.

Photo Credit: Riverdale/The CW Image Acquired from CW TV PR
Photo Credit: Riverdale/The CW Image Acquired from CW TV PR /

At the dance Veronica once again encourages Betty to make a move on Archie. She does but Archie doesn’t respond the way that she wants him to. Determined to stir up trouble, Cheryl throws an after party at her house. During a game of 7 minutes in heaven, Veronica and Archie end up in the closet together. They talk and eventually kiss. By the time they make it out of the closet an upset Betty has taken off.

Archie goes to find her. His first stop is the diner where he runs into Jughead. The pair used to be friends until something happened. Jughead is writing a book about the events that surrounded Jason Blossom’s death. Though friends no longer, Jughead tells Archie to be honest with Betty. It’s what he had wanted before their friendship ended. Archie ends up outside Betty’s house and the blond asks him if he loves her. He tells her yes but not like that. He explains that he’s not good enough for her. A heartbroken Betty goes back inside the house without responding.

Photo Credit: Riverdale/The CW Image Acquired from CW TV PR
Photo Credit: Riverdale/The CW Image Acquired from CW TV PR /

Kevin and a closeted Moose end up down at the river for a more personal after party. Things don’t go too far, though. The pair stumbles over the body of Jason Blossom who was clearly shot. According to Jughead’s voiceover by Monday the coroner will complete the autopsy. By Tuesday the first arrest will be made.

Thoughts on the Episode

  • I won’t lie, Luke Perry is ninety percent of the reason I wanted to watch the show. But the show’s first episode has me hooked. I have a feeling I’ll be sticking around.
  • Cheryl Blossom might not be the antichrist but she could be. That girl is kind of evil. Did anyone else find it creepy that she called her brother her soulmate?
  • Who do we think killed Jason? I don’t think that Cheryl was the one to pull the trigger.
  • Josie’s ‘Justin Gingerlake’ line was the best thing I’ve heard. Honestly she deserves a spinoff for that line alone.

What did you think of the first episode? Love it? Hate it? Let me know in the comments!

Riverdale airs Thursdays at 9/8c on The CW.