Our story is about a town, a small town, and the people who live in the town. From a distance, it presents itself like so many other small towns all over the world; safe, decent, innocent. Get closer, though, and you start seeing the shadows underneath. The name of our town is Riverdale.


"Chapter One: The River's Edge" is the first episode of the first season of Riverdale. It was first screened at San Diego Comic-Con and premiered on January 26, 2017. It is also the series premiere.

Synopsis

SERIES PREMIERE — As a new school year begins, the town of Riverdale is reeling from the tragic death of high school golden boy Jason Blossom. Archie Andrews is still the all-American teen, but the summer's events made him realize that he wants to pursue a career in music — not follow in his dad, Fred's, footsteps — despite his forbidden relationship with Riverdale's young music teacher, Ms. Grundy. With the weight of the world on his shoulders, Archie must look for a new music mentor and turns to Josie McCoy but she is focused solely on her band, Josie and the Pussycats. Weighing heavily on his mind is also his fractured friendship with budding writer Jughead Jones. Meanwhile, girl-next-door Betty Cooper is anxious to see her crush Archie after being away all summer on a writing internship, but she's not quite ready to reveal her true feelings to him. And Betty's nerves, which are hardly soothed by her overbearing mother Alice, aren't the only thing holding her back. When a new student, Veronica Lodge, arrives in town from New York with her mother Hermione, there's an undeniable spark between her and Archie, but Veronica doesn't want to risk her new friendship with Betty. And then there's Cheryl Blossom, Riverdale's "Queen Bee", who is happy to stir up trouble amongst the others even though she’s keeping a few secrets of her own.[2]

Plot

SPOILERS AHEAD


Cheryl is found by the edge of the river, soaking wet

Just after dawn on July 4th, the Blossom twins, Cheryl and Jason,drive out to Sweetwater River for an early morning boat ride. However, the trip ends disastrously with Jason supposedly drowning as he attempted to retrieve Cheryl's glove that had fallen into the water. Cheryl is later found by Dilton Doiley and his scouts, soaking wet and crying her eyes out by the river's edge.

The Blossoms are brought to shore

Law enforcement drag the river for Jason's body but it is never recovered. By the river's shore, Hal and Alice Cooper stand among others. Alice expresses joy in Jason's demise: "May he burn in hell," she says. Meanwhile, the local authorities bring Penelope and Clifford Blossom back to the shores of Sweetwater River upon retrieving their daughter, Cheryl. One week later, the Blossom family bury an empty casket, and Jason's death is ruled an accident. Jughead recounts these events while typing on his laptop at Pop's Chock'lit Shoppe.

Veronica and Hermione arrive in Riverdale

On the last day of summer vacation, Veronica and Hermione Lodge arrive in Riverdale, pulling up just outside the Pembrooke. They briefly gaze upon the building, and judging by their reactions, it does not seem to compare to the life of luxury they are accustomed to. Hermione reminds her daughter that while it may be small, the apartment is of top quality. Not to mention that it is the only piece of property in her name and not her husband's. Upon entering the building, they are greeted by the doorman, Smithers, who welcomes Hermione back home as they exchange pleasantries. Veronica then becomes acquainted with Smithers, whom she has never met. Feeling a craving for one of Pop Tate's cheeseburgers, Hermione and Veronica head down to the shoppe soon thereafter.

Kevin and Betty look at Archie through the window

At the Cooper house, Betty gets dressed for an evening out at Pop's Chock'lit Shoppe with her best friend, Archie, after being apart for the entire summer. She is both nervous and excited. Kevin reminds Betty that while nerves are acceptable, she must follow through with revealing her true feelings towards Archie. Kevin knows that Betty likes Archie, and he suspects that Archie has the same feelings toward her as well. However, according to Kevin, Archie has to be told what he wants, like most "millennial straight guys." Kevin looks out Betty's window to the sight of Archie getting dressed in his room, just one house over. Apparently, Archie matured over the summer, becoming more attractive and muscular since the last time they'd seen each other. This is, by all accounts, a game changer, says Kevin, providing Betty with even more incentive to pursue Archie and grab the "ginger bull by the horns tonight."

Veronica meets Archie and Betty at Pop's

Archie and Betty meet up at Pop's, where she breaks down the highlight of her internship, telling him about the Toni Morrison book release party she organized and the advice she received from her aforementioned literary hero. While Betty was having the time of her life, Archie was stuck in Riverdale, pouring concrete for his father's company all summer, although this was not without benefit. Archie informs Betty of his newfound desire to pursue a music career. Working on his music offers Archie a new perspective on life as well as what he should be trying to do with it. Betty is excited for him, and she would like to hear his songs. Betty, who harbors more than just platonic feelings for Archie, is on the brink of confessing her love for him when they are interrupted by the arrival of a new girl in town — Veronica Lodge. Archie is immediately intrigued by this new arrival from New York, who will be starting at Riverdale High School the next day, and Betty, noticing this, stays silent about her feelings. Veronica then exits the shoppe after exchanging pleasantries with Archie and Betty since her mother is just outside waiting for her.

The following morning, before heading out, Fred asks Archie to stop by the worksite after school. They need to get Archie situated in the office, so that next summer he won't have to work alongside the crew. Unfortunately, Archie has football try-outs, meaning the family business will have to take a back seat for the time being.

Alice prepares Betty for school

Meanwhile, at the Cooper house, Alice preps Betty for her first day of sophomore year. The 10th grade will be very critical for colleges; grades, extracurricular, and athletics will all play a major role. But most importantly, she must maintain a decent character. With Betty accomplishing so much already, Alice doesn't want her to end up like her eldest daughter, Polly, whose trouble began after she started a relationship with Jason Blossom. Much like Betty, Polly also had a bright future ahead of her. Betty reminds her mother that she's her own person and that Polly's decisions should not be projected onto her. Betty admits to being with Archie the previous night, who also has red hair, but is nothing like Jason. Alice begs to differ, saying that all boys are the same as far as she is concerned. Alice claims to only want the best for her daughter, but for that to happen, Betty must remain focused. She then hands Betty her prescription of Adderall before exiting the room.

Reggie and Archie at school

Reggie joins Archie by his locker as he secretly reads over his handwritten song lyrics. He immediately notices Archie sudden increase in stature and build, suspecting that he may be taking performance-enhancing drugs, but as Archie explains, he worked on his father's construction site the entire summer. They are joined by Moose, who offers little in conversation but appears to show interest in Reggie's line of questioning, mainly if Archie had sex with any older women while working on private homes. Archie retorts that sex with older woman sounds closer to a fantasy of Reggie's.

Betty gives Veronica a tour the school

Betty gives Veronica a tour the school, during which time Veronica notes just how old the school seems. Betty then introduces her to Kevin, who inform Veronica of the club scenes − a strip club called the Ho Zone and a tragic gay bar called Innuendo. Friday nights, there are football games and then tailgate parties at the Mallmart parking lot. Saturday night is movie night, regardless of what's playing at the Bijou. Based solely off this one interaction, Veronica immediately concludes that Kevin is gay, and she hopes that the two of them can be best friends. When Kevin inquires about her father, who had been arrested for fraud and embezzlement, Veronica stands by her father's side. School had just started yet she's already the "Blue Jasmine of Riverdale High," Veronica remarks.

Josie and the Pussycats during rehearsal

Archie interrupts Josie and the Pussycats' (Josie McCoy, Valerie Brown and Melody Valentine) rehearsal for an upcoming event. He is hoping to talk to Josie about a couple of songs he has written, though she is quick to stop him in his tracks. She first addresses the fact that he's rudely staring at their costume shop, pussycat ears. She then goes on to explain how she and the Pussycats are building a brand, creating a signature look, and telling a story while doing so. Last year, they won Rockland County's Battle of the Bands, and Josie wishes to build on that success by continuing to tell their story with songs they write. In other words, Archie is wasting his time by coming to them as the Pussycats only seek to perform their own music.

Veronica, Betty, and Kevin tour the school

As the tour continues, Veronica catches sight of Archie and expresses an interest in him. However, Kevin explains that Betty has feelings for Archie. Having said that, Veronica encourages Betty to ask him to the back-to-school dance, though Betty is unable to muster the courage. Not to mention the increasing likelihood of the dance being canceled due to Jason's tragic death. They would come learn more at the assembly, whilst Cheryl speaks to the entire school. Many of them were lucky enough to know Jason personally, and each and every one of them meant the world to him. Cheryl loves her brother. He was and always will be her soulmate. Cheryl speaks with the confidence only a twin can have in saying that Jason wouldn't want them to spend the year mourning his death. He'd much rather they move on with their lives, which is why she asked the schoolboard not to cancel the back-to-school semi-formal but rather allow them to use it to heal collectively and celebrate Jason's short life.

Geradline and Archie have sex

During the assembly, Archie briefly makes eye contact with the music teacher, Ms. Grundy, with whom he secretly had an affair with over the summer, where an offer to drive him home ended with sex in the back of her car. This led to a passionate romantic relationship between the two that lasted throughout the summer. After the assembly, he calls out to Ms. Grundy several times in the hallway, but she does not respond. She only chooses to acknowledge him once he calls out to her by her first name, that being Geraldine. He is seeking her help in music, and so she agrees to see him, but only if he makes an appointment during her official office hours, as she is trying to create boundaries because the sexual relationship between them both is forbidden given that it is statutory rape.

Fred talks to Hermione

Hermione wastes little time in seeking out employment, starting with Fred Andrews at Andrews Construction. She noticed on his website that he is in need of a seasonal hire because his usual guy is on a paternity leave. Fred is surprised to see her back in town. Hermione mentions that her daughter is attending school with his son. Then, they briefly discuss their complicated past, where they dated for a brief moment until she left him for the rich kid, i.e. Hiram. Now they're faced with a reversal of fortune considering that she is seeking employment from him. Hermione asks about Mary, completely unaware that she and Fred had separated a while back and that Mary had moved to Chicago, but they remain civil. Fred is more interested in how Hermione is holding up after Hiram's arrest. She has a little money saved up, but she's hoping that Fred is willing to hire her. Fred explains that if it was up to him, he would hire Hermione. However, he can't have the wife of Hiram Lodge, who is currently on trial for fraud and embezzlement, balancing his books.

Cheryl joins Veronica, Betty, and Kevin

Veronica joins Archie, Betty, and Kevin at lunch as Archie plays a voice recording of his singing. Kevin thought they were going to have to pretend to like it, but he is quite impressed as are Veronica and Betty. Veronica's arrival at Riverdale High does not generate as much interest as she had expected due to the lingering shadow cast by Jason's death, which Cheryl ensures nobody forgets. As Archie leaves the table, Cheryl comes over and introduces herself before urging Veronica to try out for the River Vixens, Riverdale High's cheerleading team, which Cheryl is senior captain of. Kevin questions the relevance of cheerleading in today's society, leaving Cheryl to wonder the relevance of the stereotypical gay best friend, a role that Kevin is so clearly filling. Some people say cheerleading is retro, but Cheryl believes it's eternal and iconic. At Spence, Veronica sat at the top of the Elites' pyramid, meaning that she is more than qualified to make the squad. Before leaving, Cheryl tells Veronica to follow her on Twitter @CherylBombshell. Veronica encourages Betty to try out with her as well by throwing compliments to her appearance and intelligence, even offering to assist her in preparing should she agree, which she does.

Archie and Geraldine's meeting

Archie attempts to persuade Ms. Grundy into tutoring him in music. She notes his songs as being real and personal. though she can't envision a scenario where the two of them being alone together would be a good thing. She is reluctant and tries to put distance between them, but with Ms. Grundy's experienced background in music, she is the only person in Riverdale in which he truly stands to gain help from. However, Ms. Grundy can't help but wonder if this is Archie's attempt at rekindling a romance that never should have existed to begin with. He assures her that his only reason for being there is his passion for music and the fact that he needed to talk to someone about what they heard; on the 4th of July, during one of their early morning rendezvous at Sweetwater River, Archie and Geraldine's romance was interrupted by the sound of a gunshot firing. She claims that the sound they heard was in fact fireworks, but Archie knows better. Although, if they did report the gunshot, how would they explain why they were together at Sweetwater River at 6:00 AM? Keeping quiet is the only thing that ensures their safety. They are both going to have to live with that choice. Geraldine thinks that he should pursue his music but not with her.

Veronica and Betty at cheerleading try-outs

As planned, Betty and Veronica try out for the cheerleading squad together, but Cheryl, Tina and Ginger shows little interest, finding their routine to be dull and boring. This prompts Veronica to kiss Betty in an attempt to save their routine, though Cheryl is still ultimately unimpressed. Moving onto the interview portion of the audition, Cheryl brings up Betty's sister, Polly, and her disastrous relationship with Jason, which led to Polly's breakdown and her placement in a group home. Cheryl wants Betty to unleash all her anger onto her. As Betty's anger builds, she begins clinching her first so forcefully that her nails dig into her palms, leaving bloody scars. Fortunately, Betty maintains her composure, unclenching her first and giving her condolences to Cheryl and her family over their recent loss. With that being said, Cheryl welcomes Veronica to the River Vixens but tells Betty better luck next time, which Veronica refuses to accept. She stands up for Betty and tells Cheryl that she use to be just like her in many ways, trafficking in terror and behaving like an over-privileged brat, but there is always a reckoning, Veronica says, and it may even be her. And with that, Cheryl is forced to relent, accepting Betty onto the squad.

Archie during try-outs

At football tryouts, Coach Clayton hands Archie Jason's old jersey, offering him Jason's old spot on the varsity squad. Usually, sophomores only play JV, but with Jason's death, they had an open spot, and from what Archie's been displaying on the field, Coach believes that he's in the position to fill it. However, Archie is reluctant to take it, telling Coach Clayton that his father wants him to work at his construction company. It is their family business, and he is being counted on to help after school, despite previously telling his father that he would be focusing his time in football.

Veronica and Betty after cheerleading try-outs

Meanwhile, in the girls' locker room, Betty asks Veronica why she is being so kind to her. Betty is aware of the crowd Veronica used to hang with in New York, and they were nothing like the girl standing before her. Veronica reveals that she was once a mean girl, much like Cheryl and that she is trying to turn over a new leaf. When her father got arrested, they received letters and e-mails saying terrible things about them, that her dad was a thief, her mom was a clueless socialite and that she was the spoiled rich-bitch ice princess. And what hurt the most about it was that everything they were saying was true. So, when her mother said they were moving to Riverdale, she made a pact with herself to use this as an opportunity to become a better version of herself. Betty sees this as good of an opportunity as any to further elaborate on the falling out between Polly and Jason. Their relationship meant everything to Polly but nothing to Jason. It became intense and toxic, which led to their mother turning on Polly. Alice said that Polly wasn't her daughter anymore, among other awful things. Jason may have hurt Polly but it was their mother that broke her. Veronica then spots Archie on the field and calls him over in an attempt to force Betty's hand in asking Archie to the dance, but as he approaches, Betty's courage and confidence fails her. Out of fear of rejection, she invites him to go with both her and Veronica as friends to the dance, which he accepts.

Alice disappointed in Betty

The next day, with Archie agreeing to take her (and Veronica) to the back-to-school semi-formal, Betty joyfully dances around her room in her new cheer uniform. However, her celebratory dance is brought to an abrupt end as Alice enters the room to express her disappointment in Betty's decision to join Cheryl's cheer squad. After all Jason had done to Polly, Alice will not stand for Betty having any affiliation with the Blossom family due to the ongoing feud between her family and theirs. Tired of maintaining the stressful image of being the perfect daughter, sister, and student, Betty tells her mother that not only will she remain a Vixen but that she's attending the dance with Archie and Veronica, the daughter of Hermione Lodge, who Alice appears to hold a personal grudge against.

Hermione enters the Pembrooke that morning to discover a black duffel bag awaiting her return. A spot of good news, Smithers says. The car service found Hermione's so-called missing bag and dropped it off at the apartment. However, Hermione never reported a missing bag. Inside the duffel bag is a large sum of money. Hermione immediately realizes that this is Hiram's doing.

Fred confronts Archie

After receiving a call from Coach Clayton, who was under the impression that Archie couldn't play football because he was being forced to work for Andrews Construction, Fred confronts Archie on about these claims because of Archie's previous statement that he couldn't work for the company due to the fact that he would be playing football. Fred wonders who was being lied to, him or Coach Clayton. Both, Archie says. He reveals that he no longer shares his father's desire to work for the company and take over the family business. He wants to study and write music. Archie goes on to speak on how this past summer has changed him, however, Archie is obviously holding back. Noticing Archie's hesitance to be truthful with him, Fred grows aggravated. While he respects Archie's decision to pursue his passion in music, Fred is upset that Archie wasn't being honest about his latest change in plans, as Archie's decisions have consequences. He wants Archie to know that whatever path he takes, he should be confident enough in it that he doesn't have to lie about it.

Veronica, Archie, and Betty arrive at the dance

The night of the semi-formal has finally arrived, and as previously agreed upon, Archie, Betty, and Veronica attend the event together. However, with Veronica off getting punch and Archie talking with Ms. Grundy, Betty makes conversation with Kevin, who had just been propositioned in the men's restroom by Moose. Meanwhile, Archie walks over to Ms. Grundy as she sits alone by the food stand. She thought they had an understanding, but Archie corrects her by saying they have a secret, multiple secrets in fact. He reflects on the morning of July 4th when they heard the gunshot. Maybe they could've done something to save Jason or maybe they couldn't but regardless of that unfortunate incident, he needs Ms. Grundy's help, pleading with her to tutor him once more. The only thing that kept him sane during the summer was his music. He proposes an independent study with Grundy, as many mornings a week as she can spare, with him promising that's all it will be. Should she agree, he promises to tell no one about July 4th. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 7:30 AM, she says. She'll set it up and look into getting him credit.

Cheryl takes the stage at the Semi-formal

As Reggie and Moose spike the drinks, Cheryl takes center stage as honorary chairperson and de facto queen, where she introduces the night's main entertainment, Josie and the Pussycats. To know them is to be obsessed with them, and though they usually only perform their own material, they're making an exception and debuting a cover of the song that Cheryl's parents claim they were listening to the night she and Jason were conceived. "This one's for you JJ," Cheryl states.

Archie and Betty dance together

Archie joins Betty once again, and they go onto the dance floor, swaying to the song, All Through the Night. With Veronica's plan to set the perfect opportunity for Betty to make her move on Archie in motion, she leaves the two of them to their own devices as she dances with Kevin nearby. Archie explains to Betty that everything is falling into place; he'll study with Ms. Grundy before school, football practice will be after school, and he'll work with his father on the weekends. With some encouragement from Veronica and Kevin to take the next step, Betty finally works up the courage to confess her feelings to Archie, in which she imagines the two of them together as a power couple. Unfortunately for Betty, Archie seems unenthusiastic at the confession of her feelings toward him. While this takes place, Cheryl observes from afar, telling Tina and Ginger to ensure Archie, Veronica, and Betty's attendance at her after-party. She is in the mood for chaos.

Veronica and Archie make out at the closet

At the after-party hosted by Cheryl at Chez Blossom, she conspires to worsen the situation. Cheryl uses the party game Seven Minutes in Heaven to force Archie and Veronica into the closet together all the while knowing it will upset Betty. Veronica initially refuses to enter the closet, but should that happen, the alternative will be Archie in the closet with Cheryl. In order to keep Cheryl away from Archie, Veronica joins him in the closet. She acknowledges the fact that Cheryl's brother died, but this does little to take away from the fact that they view her as the anti-Christ. They try to fight their attraction for each other out of respect for Betty, engaging in small talk to pass the time. They take turns asking soul probing questions, such as Archie's affections towards Betty. She is his best friend, but he never felt for her what she clearly feels for him. Despite their effort to spare Betty of anymore heartache, Archie and Veronica end up kissing. When they return to the party, Cheryl gleefully informs them that Betty has fled, and so the two of them go looking for her.

Veronica goes home and finds her mother perched on the sofa sipping on white wine while surfing the internet. She lays her head on her mother's lap, exhausted from the night behind her.

Jughead at Pop's

Elsewhere, Archie sets out to find Betty, stopping by Pop's to see if she's been around. Pop Tate informs him that she hasn't. Archie then sees Jughead on his laptop in one of the booths and asks to sit down. Curious, Archie asks what Jughead is working on, to which Jughead just replies that he is working on his novel about that summer and Jason Blossom. Seventeen years old and how will Jason be remembered? Archie wonders if he was doing everything he wanted to do or if he even knew what that was. Coach Clayton stopped by the shoppe earlier that day to talk with Pops. From him, Jughead learned that Archie made Varsity, making him Mr. Popular football god, though Archie couldn't care less about any of the accolades. He is more concerned with the fact that he may have lost his best friend. Jughead instructs Archie to just talk to Betty, as it will go a long way. It would've gone a long way with Jughead.

Betty is in tears after the Semi-formal

After an awkward encounter with his former friend, Jughead, at Pop Tate's, Archie finds Betty at her house. She walks down the narrow path toward him in tears with no intentions on asking him what he did in the closet with Veronica. Betty only wants to know if he loves her. Archie explains that he does in fact love her, but he can't offer the answer that she wants. She is perfect, and he feels that he isn't good enough for her and that he never will be. As the tears continue to roll down her face, Betty turns away, walking back into her house. Unfortunately, Jughead's advice proves to be ineffective in this particular instance. Defeated, Archie walks away.

Jason's corpse at Sweetwater River

Not everyone leaves the party in a state of despair. Kevin heads to Sweetwater River for a liaison with closeted jock, Moose Mason, but their revelry grinds to halt when they stumble upon a horrifying sight: Jason Blossom's washed up corpse, complete with a bullet hole in his head. Soon, everyone would be talking, texting, posting about Jason's murder. The world around them has changed, maybe forever. Riverdale is no longer the same town it was before. It is now a town of shadows and secrets. That morning, the town gathers at the Sweetwater River to witness as they drag Jason's body off the shore. A police investigation opens up as the mystery of who killed Jason Blossom begins. On Monday, an autopsy of Jason's body would take place, and on Tuesday, halfway through the 5th period, the first arrest would be made.

Cast

Starring

Guest Starring

Co-Starring

Soundtrack

Trivia

  • This is the first episode of the series.
  • The episode title comes from James Leicester's 1957 noir adventure, crime, and drama film of the same name.
  • Hiram Lodge is mentioned for the first time.
  • The episode concludes with a dedication to producer JB Moranville, who died three months prior to the premiere.
  • The Riverdale One Shot comic identifies the present day events of the episode as taking place either after or during August 13, 2017. 
  • This episode marks the first kisses of the series as a whole: Betty and Veronica, as well as Archie and Veronica.
  • Veronica makes several references:
    • Blue Jasmine — A 2013 film directed by Woody Allen. In the film, Cate Blanchett portrays the character Jasmine, a wealthy Manhattan socialite that falls on hard times and has to move in with her working class sister. Notably, Jasmine's husband is arrested for fraud as well.
    • In Cold Blood — A journalistic novel by Truman Capote detailing the murder of a farmer's family in Kansas.
    • Ansel Elgort — An American actor best known for his part as Augustus Waters in The Fault in Our Stars. He also has a music career under the name Ansolo, his most notable hit being the single Thief.
    • Our Town — A 1938 metatheatrical three-act play by American playwright Thornton Wilder.
    • Beyoncé (Queen Bey) — An American singer, songwriter, dancer, actress, and businesswoman. She is one of the world's best-selling music artist.
    • James Franco — An American actor, filmmaker, and college instructor. He is well known for his roles in 127 Hours and Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy
  • Kevin references Betty Draper, a fictional character on AMC's television series Mad Men, who was portrayed by January Jones.
  • Veronica refers to Cheryl as the Antichrist. In the Archie Horror comic miniseries, Blossoms 666, Cheryl and Jason compete for the title of Antichrist.

Gallery

Promotional Images

Screencaps

Videos

Episode Guide


References

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.