Archie Comics

Wicked Wednesday: Archie’s Weird Mysteries ep 1.1 “Attack of the Killer Spuds”

I watched the premier episode of Archie’s Weird Mysteries nearly a month ago. The intention was to write about it here before I left on my annual summer trip to Wisconsin.

If you couldn’t tell from my lack of posting this month, that 100% didn’t happen. But despite all the time apart from each other, I can recall “Attack of the Killer Spuds” pretty well. Mostly because it really lives up to it’s name: this show is really weird.

Archie’s Weird Mysteries was a US/French co-production originally airing from 1999-2000. It took Archie and the gang through a mystery-of-the-week-style romp. Clearly a soft predecessor to later Archie releases (Archie vs Predator, Riverdale). From the episode title alone, it’s pretty clear that an admiration for 50s b-movies is in every aspect of this show. “Attack of the Killer Spuds” was one part Attack of the Killer Tomatoes with a side of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

After Jughead wins a radio contest, he receives a curious-looking potato trophy from the radio DJ. Soon the spud somes to life and makes a clone of Juggie. This evil clone leaves Jughead in a vegetated state. He spreads the spuds around, slowly creating clones and turning everyone else into mindless beings.

So it’s up to Archie to defeat the evil spuds when they take over all of Riverdale. He and Dilton Doiley team up to take down the radio tower that’s sending microwave transmissions to the spud army. After climbing the tower, Archie is able to defeat the giant spud leader. The town of Riverdale returns to normal and the spaceship carrying the potato aliens flies away.

This show wears its inspiration on its sleeves, and clearly has a lot of fun doing so. It’s pretty strange seeing Archie reimagined as a hero. He’s usually such a hopeless buffoon. But everyone else here is pretty by-the-numbers classic Archie Comics. Just throw in a dash of Scooby Doo and I guess you’re halfway to a show.

I had intended to watch all the episodes of Archie’s Weird Mysteries (there’s fourty of them). But I…don’t think that will happen anymore. While this is a cute show, it felt really long for something with a 20-minute run time. Perhaps this wasn’t the best episode to start with? If anyone is a mega fan, hit me up.

This certainly won’t do the job for anyone looking to fill the Riverdale void until October. And it’s definitely not better than The Archie Show. But I think anyone who watched this show as a child will find revisiting it fun. For the rest of us, we can watch for the references.

Advertisements

Riverdale ep. 3.20 recap “Chapter Fifty-Five: Prom Night”

“Prom is this weekend? We still do things like that here?”

Yes. Yes you do, Ronnie. But as ever, in the most Riverdale of fashions, with serial killers, a Ren Faire theme and rigged Prom Queen elections.

This week Riverdale took a little bit of time to get back to its roots again: high school. And while the kids faced the usual unusual, there was also a bit of the kids being a bit, will, like the 17-year-olds they supposedly are.

The largest and most obvious reminder of how young these kids are was the presence of Molly Ringwald again as Mary Andrews. This episode marked the first after Luke Perry’s death. Her entrance is clunky (she gets more screen time in this episode than Perry did all season), but how on earth could it have gone smoothly?

Fred takes off on a business trip, leaving Mary to head from Chicago to watch over Archie. She realises his growing fondness for boxing and shows some reasonable reluctance towards the latest hobby.

Behind his mom’s back, Archie signs up for a big fight. Of course this leads to issues when Mary introduces him to her friend at a Naval academy. She tells Archie about their boxing program, and he only seems slightly interested. But to please his mom, he agrees to an exhibition fight. Conveniently this conflicts with the regional classic that he signed up for in secret.

Meanwhile, speaking of sneaking, Betty begins investigating her father’s fate after the bus that was transporting him crashed. When she speaks to the coroner, she learns that he can confirm her father’s death.

But let’s face it: none of us are convinced here. Including Betty.

Betty gets another call from the coroner, this time to see a body. The coroner shows her and Jughead the boy’s back, which is covered in G&G tattoos.

They go to a tattoo artist (presumably the only one in Riverdale?) and ask him about the marks. He tells them that he did a similar one for another man a year earlier. One with sandy hair and blue eyes. Betty immediately assumes that it’s Edgar Evernever, but it’s pretty clear her prejudice is making her jump to conclusions. It also describes her own father…and Chic.

Jughead shows Betty the book he had fond on the Gargoyle’s bus. It’s a sort of Gargoyle King “gospel”. They discover that there is a way to lure the king out by crowning a queen (and who better than Betty?).

At the most delicious 80’s Fantasy Prom, the couple get to work. Using the Pretty Poison’s help, they rig the Prom Queen election in Betty’s favour.

But she’s called away via fancy invite by the Gargoyle King, and she isn’t even there for the crowning. Like her mother years before, Betty goes into the ladies’ toilets and finds the chalices. She leaves the bathroom and comes face-to-face with the Gargoyle King AND a Black Hood WITH A HOOK!

For what might be the first time ever, Betty is shook. Turns out scared Betty isn’t totally convincing, but as she stumbles across body after body of fellow classmates, her fear increases. She’s eventually found by Jughead, and all the excitement ends for the night.

But with two serial killers on the loose, Betty doesn’t feel safe. She goes to find Alice, and before she can convince her mother to go into hiding, Edgar offers her security inside The Farm. And Betty actually accepts it.

So who is the real Black Hood this time? Is it Hal? Did Hal cause the bus to crash a la Michael Myers and manage to get a hook? Is it Chic? Is it Edgar? (He has shown off his clean, and sculpted, back.)

I don’t know. MTV was at my prom, and even I can’t say that was half as much fun as Riverdale’s.

Riverdale ep. 3.18 recap “Chapter Fifty-Three: Jawbreaker”

If any parents matter more to me on Riverdale than Archie’s, it’s the Coopers. And thankfully, both Hal and Alice got to take the main stage this week.

“Chapter Fifty-Three: Jawbreaker” Betty finally gets down to business in cracking Alice Cooper’s mind. She tries her best to shatter the illusion that Alice is talking to her dead son, but to no avail. Betty takes her to a cemetery to see ‘Charlie Smith’s’ grave, and when that doesn’t work, well, she does what every good daughter would do: knocks her mom out with chloroform.

When Alice wakes up, she’s chained to a bed in the bunker (of course). Betty forces Alice to look at old photos of the family, but Alice just burns everything instead.

But Betty has other trouble, including Toni. Turns out getting Toni’s girlfriend involved in the Farm wasn’t a great idea. But Toni is actually rather forgiving of Betty when she explains what is happening with her own mother (once again proving that Toni is probably one of the best characters this show has to offer).

Cheryl, meanwhile, is forced to choose between Toni and ‘Jason’. Ethel spends most of her week getting pushed around (literally) by Toni and Betty. Apparently it gets a bit tiring. But when Cheryl goes to break the news to Toni that’s she’s chosen ‘Jason’ instead, Toni quickly suggests joining the Farm herself.

Girls that sleep together, stick together? Anyway, it’s seemingly the end for Betty’s support, but apparently Toni is her new inside girl. A much better choice than Cheryl. Cuz we all know Toni is one strong-ass girl.

Speaking of strength, this boxing thing is still a subplot. Mad Dog returns to Archie’s gym and tells the boys that he’s entering a Golden Gloves competition for Elio.

Archie then decides it’s time for his rematch with Randy. It’s Veronica’s idea to get the gym on television to force Elio’s hand. Elio is indeed forced to allow the rematch. But before the fight, Mad Dog warns Archie that Randy is juicing with something to make him more…lively.

Archie manages to win the fight against the Fizzled-up Randy. But not before taking a beating. The fight is nearly called off when he notices how frantic Randy’s fighting is…and the fact that he’s literally foaming at the mouth. But when Randy gets knocked out, he doesn’t get back up again.

The foam-mouthed druggies are the newest problem for FP and his side-kick Jughead (or is it the other way around?). After finding one of Archie’s pals in the park with no teeth, FP backtracks on last week’s message and asks for Jughead’s help. They notice that the killing style is familiar, but the fact that the body had all of its teeth removed makes this murder a touch special.

The autopsy reveals that there’s a matchbook for the Maple Club down the corpse’s throat. The Jones boys head to the brothel where they actually find Penelope Blossom in a welcoming mood. But before they can really learn anything, a man breaks in, foaming at the mouth.

Both Jughead and FP encounter more of these people. They both discover that all of the victims have been taking “G” versions of Fizzle Rocks. They’re able to talk to the people brought in after they’ve recovered from their dosage. They’re able to trace the drugs back to Jughead’s nemesis Kurtz.

During their questioning of Kurtz, the Jones boys are told that little Jellybean is the Gargoyle King’s next target.

But even more unsettling than corpses-without-teeth is Betty’s growing relationship with her father, Hal. Betty eventually lets Alice go back to the farm, seemingly allowing her mother go for good. Not sure it’s all for show, as she now has Toni on the inside for her.

Alice’s divorce from Hal becomes final. While Betty could just leave both of her parents, we see her going to Hal for advice on more than one occasion.

When she listens to her mom’s tapes (the ones recorded during the Farm interview), she hears Alice voice her fears over Betty’s natural “darkness”. One, apparently, very similar to Hal’s.

Betty has proved time and time again that she’s clearly on team “I try really hard”. But we have to take the Farm down in the next few weeks here (there are only four episodes left in season 3). Will Betty win? Of course she will! But how she does it will be interesting. Maybe opening up to her dark side will pay off for the better good.

Riverdale ep. 3.16 “Chapter Fifty One: Big Fun”

“She’s my best friend. God, I hate her.”

I love Heathers. It’s a truly oddball one-of-a-kind movie that has a black comedy that many movies have tried since to duplicate and failed. Now I have never seen Heathers: The Musical but I would assume it has all the components that put it in the same, twisted vein as its source material.

In last week’s episode, Cheryl demanded that Kevin change the musical to Heathers in order to get out her mean girl frustration. The Farm gets behind it, funding much of the musical. That also means that Evelyn Evernever finds herself chosen as Kevin’s co-director (much to Betty’s dismay).

And speaking of dismay, Cheryl learns that Toni is in charge of choreography. The two former-girlfriends begin to battle it out for territory in a power struggle both on and off the stage.

The Farm hosts a cast part before the show (which is just wrong) in which the actors are all encouraged to wear their costumes for the show. This is easily the most out-there detail of Riverdale yet. Name ONE show in the history of theatre that ever allowed the actors to party in their costumes before they even hit the stage.

At the party, the kids get loose. Veronica gets cozy with Reggie again after she learns the news that her parents are splitting up. And Archie and Josie make their canoodling public.

This, of course, leads to more complex discussions. Reggie isn’t entirely pleased with being Veronica’s go-to. But Archie and Josie begin to make their relationship more official (and I am HERE FOR IT).

Jughead, meanwhile, continues his quest to end his mother’s attempts at making a foothold in the Riverdale drug trade. He soon discovers that Gladys has turned their former trailer into her drug lab.

Together, Jughead and Betty go to the trailer together and burn it down. Betty has proven yet again that the kids in Riverdale have an unhealthy relationship with arson.

Evelyn spends much of her time using her power to force the actors into vulnerable places. She’s a total creep, but in an approachable way. An approachable creep from a cult. That’s actually a thing, I guess.

But Betty knows that the Farm is just using the musical as a way to indoctrinate more people into the cult. And at the very end of the performance, we see the cult in all their white-garbed glory in the audience.

To be honest, Riverdale hasn’t done a very good job at explaining why the Farm is so appealing. I think it’s supposed to be something about salvation and belonging, but it never seemed convincing. Now that we’ve see Chad Michael Murray revealed as cult leader Edgar Evernever IT ALL MAKES SENSE.

Overall, Heathers: The Musical was probably the perfect choice to cement Riverdale’s attempts at returning to normal. It suited the storylines very well. That being said, though, I did have more fun with the Carrie musical episode. But you know, I prefer murder over arson.

PS: Why the HELL is there some kid at the cast party dressed like the Gargoyle King?

Riverdale ep. 3.8 “Chapter Forty-Three: Outbreak”

One thing Riverdale is good at is topping its own insanity. Kill off one boy? Try a serial killer next season. Caught the serial killer? Test the waters with drug-induced visions of Gargoyles.

This show loves to out-do itself so how do wrap up mid-season? With a quarantine, obviously!

The seizures in Riverdale have begun to spread at a more rapid pace. Namely hitting the entirety of the Vixens all at once (minus Cheryl). This prompts the Lodges to try and persuade Veronica that she needs to leave to go to NYC. Of course she doesn’t want to. She’s Veronica. So she begins to do some digging on why her parents are acting to desperate.

They even get the school quarantined, and all the Fizzle Rock-addled students have to be dragged out.

She and Cheryl work together, crashing an emergency school board meeting. Veronica confronts her father about the things we now know as truths: he’s a drug dealer, the prison-builders are making those drugs, and the drugs are being tested on the children at the Sisters of Quiet Mercy.

But before the girls can get to the bottom of anything, Penelope Blossom has a seizure. She’s ok, though, and the girls later torture her with maple syrup for information on Hiram.

In the land of the convent, Betty continues the good fight (surprise, surprise she wasn’t as broken as she appeared last episode). She eventually gets Ethel to join her side by locking Ethel in the Gargoyle King’s room until the drugs wear off her. Betty later explains to Ethel that while there is likely a real GK out there, he doesn’t live in the convent.

Together, the girls work to capture Sister Woodhouse. They manage to get her to admit the truth behind G&G. She explains to them that the children in the convent invented the game to cope with the trauma that they faced – particularly when they were in a room with a creepy gargoyle statue.

One they know the truth, they decide to get the other children out. They begin to role play – the only way to get the other girls to listen. Betty poses as the Gargoyle Queen, which goes down great! All the teens in the building leave, with no place to go.

But the other two wanderers, Archie and Jughead, end up at their final destination: with Jughead’s sister and mom. Gladys Jones seems pleased to see her son and his friend, but the reunion is awkward. Things become even more strained when Penny Peabody arrives after stalking the boys. I mean, I know there’s a bounty…but isn’t she a legit lawyer? Doesn’t she have better things to do?

Gladys tortures Penny (as is the theme of this week’s episode) and learns that Hiram is planning something massive for Riverdale. Not only is he after Archie, but anyone who helps him. That means Jughead…and Fred, who later arrives to help his son over the border into Canada (I think).

Archie dyes his hair dark and heads off into the woods with only Vegas at his side. FP (who arrived with Fred) takes Jughead back to Riverdale, but they’re told to go away.

Hermione and Hiram pulled the trigger and quarantined the entire city. Without outside interference, it appears as though the fate of the town lies solely with the Lodges.

It’s revealed that Hiram is indeed in cahoots with the Gargoyle King, who appears to just be chilling in Hiram’s office, enjoying the soft fireplace glow? It’s certainly one of the strangest directions Riverdale has ever gone in. Hiram, who at one point seemed simply surface-level ass hole, has now fully upgraded to being 100% mad.

This is why we’re all here, isn’t it? If we made it through season 2, all of us who are left are just those of us who enjoy this show at maximum crazy. And really, where can they even take it after this?

But it feels like we’re a lot less deep into the mystery than usual at mid-season. I imagined the Farm to be much more relevant than it has so far. But anyway, I’m intrigued. What will happen to the Jonses? Will they adopt Fred so that they can get up to shenanigans alone?

Who knows! I sure will never be able to guess. See you all in January.

Riverdale Ep. 35 recap “Chapter Thirty-Five: Brave New World”

After a solid run of episodes, Riverdale rounds up season 2 with a sleepy, predictable finale.

Unsurprisingly, Jughead is not dead. And neither is Fangs, which is one of the biggest cop-outs ever. FP claims that the deputy that called him with the news was lying as a ploy. He tells his son, who appears to be in the same hospital bed where the doctor was killed, that the Serpents don’t exist any more as a gang.

This is a complete lie. As FP is completely determined to send himself and Jughead away to Toledo to meet up with the rest of the family. But when Jughead gets out of hospital, he learns that most of the gang is living in the Whyte Wyrm after the sale of Sunnyside Trailer Park. The place where, incidentally, Hiram Lodge is planning his next acquisition.

Cheryl learns from her mother (who is, again unsurprisingly, in cahoots with Hiram) that Hiram is planning a raid on the Wyrm via his lapdog, Sheriff Minetta. Archie, Jughead and Cheryl manage to get the remaining Serpents out of the Wyrm and into the North Side where they get refuge in the Andrews house.

I feel like the biggest victim in all of this is poor Fred Andrew. He and Archie learn that the man that attacked them in their home was Tall Boy, the former Serpent who was being paid by Hiram Lodge. This, of course, confirms to Archie that Hiram is a horrible man. Because we haven’t already been beaten over the head with this one!

The core four then proceed to try to take down Hiram in their own ways. Veronica blackmails her father into giving her the million dollars back that she got through a shady ransom. She then buys the Whyte Wyrm (because she’s like, what, 17?) and dangles it in front of her dad. She makes him an offer: the Whyte Wyrm, the last remaining piece of the Southside he doesn’t own, in exchange for Pop’s – the one place that her friends still can call their own.

Hiram agrees to Veronica’s terms, but with one last addition: she gives up her share of Lodge Industries as well as her trust fund and allowance. The girl agrees.

FP agrees to stay in Riverdale, but retires (for real) from the Serpents, offering his still-teenage son the role of the head of the gang. These children are way too young to be leading gangs and buying real estate. Right? Or have times changed that much? (I’m not that old.)

Fred eventually loses the election to Hermione. Just incase you were wondering if everything in Riverdale had to be horrible. But the two shake hands and seemingly that makes things ok? But Archie isn’t happy.

He goes to confront Hiram, vowing to take him down once he has the correct evidence. This is such a Bad Move that it deserves to be treated as a proper noun. It’s hardly surprising when Hiram later has Archie arrested for the murder of that random dude at the lake (‘memba that?). But as this is Riverdale, I highly doubt that we will be spending season 3 watching Archie live his life out Orange is the New Black-style.

This is supposedly Hiram’s big idea to tear the core four apart. Not sure how this will work, but they hardly seemed to have got along this season and they still did pretty well against him. But with Archie out of the way for the summer, Hiram can move his plans into action. The plans to destroy all of Riverdale! Open brothels (thanks to Penelope Blossom), sell drugs (thanks to Claudius Blossom and the Ghoulies), just tear shit apart!

Why? Because this is the most cartoon-ish villain a show based on a cartoon can manage.

Betty’s plotline was one of the more boring this week. She’s been a personal favourite of mine, but she did at least have some great moments. With Polly’s insistence, she goes to visit Hal in prison. In a very Silence of the Lambs-moment, she tells her father that “You have no power over me” in which she suddenly finds she has exited the Labyrinth.

The darkness, is of course, not really in our dear Betty, but in Polly. The elder Cooper daughter is still with her weird cult and makes her moves to get Alice involved. I do hope the ‘Farm’ or whatever is a big role in season 3. It’s one of the more intriguing mysteries left in the show.

It’s a big of a shame the show couldn’t go out with a roar like it did last season. Much of the episode was left floundering, trying to wrap up plotlines that would have otherwise been deemed plot holes (student body president – ahem).

I am so sick of Hiram Lodge as a baddie. It’s pretty clear that he’s going to be front and centre yet again next season.

If this nonsense is to continue, the least they can do if allow us one punch to Hiram’s face. Just one. That’s all I’m asking for a satisfactory season 3.

But, kids, this is the end! A pretty limp way to end a really hit-and-miss sophomore season. It’s been fun. It’s been not fun. But it will all start again in October. See you then.

Riverdale Ep. 27 Recap “Chapter Twenty-Seven: The Hills Have Eyes”

Oh Riverdale you beautiful, beautiful mess. What the hell is going on with you?

“Chapter Twenty-Seven” was complete shambles. The show has slowly reached so-bad-it’s-kind-of-good territory. What started as a tongue-in-cheek, smart show has escalated to fan service and boring plot lines.

Much of this week’s episode focused on our four core characters as they travel to the Lodge lodge for a weekend away. Hiram invites the kids up himself. He tells Archie in an aside that he plans on gathering the families from New York to ease the tensions from Papa Poutine’s murder. Hiram also tells Archie that their chauffeur/body guard Andre will be hanging around incognito.

Of course nothing can go smoothly. As soon as the kids arrive, Jughead gets a call from Cheryl. In retaliation to not being invited to their couples get-away, she tells him about the kiss Betty and Archie shared during their Black Hood adventures.

Though he initially says he is “fine” with it, Jughead harbours some resentment against his ginger “best friend”. But B&J talk it out. They do argue, though, about Jughead’s persistent questions about Hiram’s business practices. Getting the wrong end of the stick, Veronica assumes the couple are arguing about the kiss and invites everyone into the hot tub. Jughead and Veronica kiss each other to “level the playing field”.

And I’m using so many sarcastic quotes it is making my head hurt.

That following morning, Veronica catches Archie talking to Andre in the woods. Veronica becomes angry, considering her father had promised that they would be left alone that weekend.

Veronica takes her anger and Betty shopping, leaving the boys to bond with each other. These scenes (while incredibly brief) were at least nice because at least we got to see proof that these kids are actually supposed to be friends. When was the last time we saw them doing anything fun together?

When the couples are reunited, Jughead receives another phone call. This time from FP. His dad gleefully tells him that Hiram has bought the trailer park, but has allowed everyone living there to stay. While this should be good news, Jughead sees only cynical, suspicious intentions. Betty gets a phone call, then, from her mother, saying that Hiram has bought The Riverdale Register, a pretty shady move. This sparks an argument between the two couples.

But during their argument, they hear the glass shatter and masked men enter the house to rob them. Veronica realises that one of the robbers is a shop assistant who helped her that morning in town. She agrees to go with him to get her wallet. But before she passes it over, she discreetly bumps a panic button.

Before the men can steal anything, the alarm sounds, telling them that they have 30 seconds before security guards arrive and shoot on the spot.

The men flee, but Archie chases the shop assistant. But before he can do anything, Andre shows up, telling Archie that he will “take care of it”. As Archie walks away, he hears the gunshot confirming that the Lodges are ruthless.

And yeah, there are a lot of subplots in this one. The affair between Mayor McCoy and Sheriff Keller. Cheryl coming out to Toni. Kevin dealing with his ‘relationship’ with Moose. And really, none of it feels very consequential.

Which begs the question, where the hell is Riverdale going? It’s kind of cute that the show is giving so many winks and nods to fan ‘ships’ but the show seems to sidetracked doing that to actually remember that there is supposed to be a plot here.

This show has been floundering. The show needs to have something bigger, and Hiram’s plans are just too ambiguous to be compelling. We need another Jason Blossom or Black Hood. I don’t mean another murder mystery plot, but just something that makes you think “I can’t fucking wait until next week.”

Ultimately, I think Riverdale meant to make something momentous happen. But it didn’t. Cheryl’s coming out moment was completely ruined with the worst segue ever. Seriously, this plug for Love, Simon movie is one of the worst things I have EVER seen in anything ever. Dear Lord, please make it stop.

At least they were drinking jalapeño  margaritas. Those are my favourite.