Riverdale Season 3 Ep 16 Recap Letting the Theatre Kids Out to

first_img SDCC 2019: ‘Riverdale’ Cast Spills Details on Core ‘Mystery’ for Season 4Top Movies and TV Panels to Keep on Your Radar for SDCC 2019 Is this going to be an annual thing now? Are we going to get a new musical episode every season on Riverdale? Because if so, no complaints here. I thoroughly enjoyed last year’s Carrie: The Musical episode. Despite its awkward placement in the events of last season, it was a fun musical homage that eventually moved the story forward in a meaningful way. This year’s Heathers episode, despite the logistics of the show being even more improbable, was better in every way.Heathers just fits the world of Riverdale better than Carrieever did. Like Heathers, Riverdale is a teen drama blown out to ridiculous extremes. It dips its toes into horror occasionally, but it’s usually more dream-like Lynchian horror than anything resembling Stephen King. As a result, last night’s Heathers was a more tightly plotted and all around better musical than its predecessor. (To be fair, there may be some bias showing through here. Heathers: The Musical remains one of my favorite live theatre experiences ever, and this episode had me jumping up and down with excitement during every song.) The songs are motivated by the characters feeling particularly strong emotions, which is exactly what good musical theatre does. It certainly helps that all the recent relationship drama is the perfect catalyst for said strong emotions.Vanessa Morgan as Toni — Photo: Dean Buscher/The CWThe episode leans heavily into the idea of showmances. Strong feelings developing between actors in any given production are both common and often a terrible idea. Sounds like the perfect recipe for some Riverdale drama. The strongest of the three romantic subplots comes from Cheryl and Toni. They just broke up last week, but apparently that wasn’t going to last. The show forces the quarreling ex-lovers together when Kevin hires Toni to choreograph the dance-heavy show. Cheryl reacts with probably the best line in the entire episode. “Does anyone have a chainsaw because what the f—.” Man, now I want to rewatch Heathers.The justifications for some of the songs gets a little flimsy when it comes to Cheryl and Toni. Especially the part where co-director Evelyn Evernever tells Cheryl that Toni’s wearing red… for some reason. Cheryl is apparently really protective of that color and has decided nobody, especially not her ex, should ever wear it. I’ve seen better beef justifications in pro-wrestling matches. What this show instantly reminds us of though, is that this episode is more musical theatre than TV. And as long as it gets the characters to a strong emotional place, the justification doesn’t really matter all that much. And Vanessa Morgan plays the hurt and betrayal so well, you really believe there’s no other way she can express those emotions but sing. We knew Riverdale had great singers among its cast, but last night we got to see them show off their musical theatre chops.Lili Reinhart as Betty and Madelaine Petsch as Cheryl — Photo: Dean Buscher/The CWOf course, singing isn’t the Toni’s only coping mechanism. She also tries to arrange a threesome, which ends up being more of an excuse to justify the musical’s more explicitly sexual lyrics. What boning there was in this episode already happened during the “Big Fun” cast party scene, so they needed some reason for that “take off those tighty whities” line. She doesn’t go through with it though. She realizes that casual sex with two practical strangers won’t fix her problems. Also getting down right in the middle of a stage with a spotlight on you probably isn’t the best idea. Principal Weatherbee overlooks a lot of questionable things, but that might be just a little too hard to ignore.Cheryl and Toni are the only couple that gets a traditional musical theatre ending here. Even without a song to guide them through their feelings, they talk things out. Toni learns why Cheryl felt so threatened by the possibility of being left alone. They kiss and make up just in time for Cheryl to kiss some makeup on Toni right before opening night. It’s adorable and incredibly cheesy, just the way you want a musical to be.Ashleigh Murray as Josie and KJ Apa as Archie — Photo: Katie Yu/The CWThe other relationships… don’t get that. Veronica and Reggie hook up again after Veronica learns her parents are separating. Hiram found out about Hermione selling his drugs and hiring someone to murder him. That will put a damper on a marriage. Veronica decides she needs some love in her life since she’s starved for it at home. That’s not enough for Reggie. He doesn’t want to just be a warm body Veronica uses for affection. Archie and Josie fare a little better, but not much. After cozying up to each other at the cast party, their secret is out. Josie isn’t all that comfortable calling it a relationship just yet, but the power of song (and Archie’s arms) convinces her. So they end up together by the end of the musical as well, but we all know this relationship is doomed.Betty and Jughead get some couple’s bonding time after spending almost the whole season in their own stories. Jughead’s dad tells him their old trailer went missing. FP isn’t too broken up about it. To him, it’s sub-par housing he was forced to keep his family in for too long. For Jughead though, it’s where he grew up. He’s determined to find it, and with Betty’s help, he does. His mom, he discovers, has turned it into a fizzle rocks lab. They (what else?) sing a song together and figure out a plan. Right before the musical opens, they set the trailer ablaze. This is the second instance in recent memory of Betty solving her problems by lighting them on fire. If this is where her character is going, I’m all for it. More of this side of Betty, please.Zoe De Grande Maison as Evelyn Evernever and Casey Cott as Kevin — Photo: Katie Yu/The CWIt’s a fairly busy episode for Betty, as she instantly catches onto the musical’s true purpose. This is what really makes this Heathers episode so much more successful than Carrie. It fits into the plot of the season so much better. Carrie’s only real story development was tacked on at the end of the episode with Midge’s death. Here, we begin with the knowledge that the musical is sponsored by The Farm. Even if the school isn’t doing Godspell like The Farm wanted, there’s still a whole bunch of suspicious cult-like stuff happening. Evelyn as co-director guides the cast through warm-ups and method acting exercises that are eerily similar to The Farm’s recruitment tactics.The thing is, real-life acting isn’t too far off from that. Join any devised theatre group or start taking acting classes, you’ll notice a lot of ritualistic, borderline religious behavior. There’s a reason a certain real-life cult has been able to recruit so heavily in the entertainment industry. It definitely tracks the Evelyn would see a musical, even one as dark and subversive as Heathers as the perfect opportunity to induct new members into The Farm. It appears to work too. After the cast performs the finale, which looks more like the beginning of Act 2 of Rent than anything I remember from Heathers, no one claps. (I mean, not that the dancing warranted it. Maybe if Cheryl hadn’t spent so much time being mean to her ex, Toni would have had time to choreograph a real dance.)KJ Apa as Archie, Camila Mendes as Veronica, Madelaine Petsch as Cheryl, Lili Reinhart as Betty, Cole Sprouse as Jughead and Casey Cott as Kevin — Photo: Dean Buscher/The CWA man we haven’t seen before stands up and starts a slow clap. At first, I groaned. Are we really doing the slow clap build to applause for that? But Riverdale is smarter than that. The clap never sped up. And as select people in the audience stood up, all wearing the same white clothes the first man was, all clapping in steady unison, the truth became clear. That was our first look at Edgar Evernever. The musical was a recruitment tool. And looking at all the audience members joining in the clap, including Principal Weatherbee, it worked. It’s a rare occasion where the final scene of Riverdale doesn’t tell us what to expect next week. It’s all the more chilling for it. What better way to bring such a fun musical to an impactful close?Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.Previously on Riverdale:Riverdale Season 3 Episode 15 RecapRiverdale Season 3 Episode 14 RecapRiverdale Season 3 Episode 13 Recap Stay on targetlast_img

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