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I Watched The ‘Riverdale’ Flashback Episode With My Mom & Here’s What Happened

Spoilers for Riverdale are contained in this article. Read at your own risk. 

Two of the things I love most in this world are Riverdale and my mom. So, given that last night’s episode of Riverdale was focused on the parents of Riverdale and featured flashbacks to their time in high school, I thought it would be appropriate to watch this episode with my mom. 

But there was one catch—she has never seen an episode of Riverdale.

Cathy (my mother) is pretty cool when it comes to pop culture. She sees a ton of movies, loves Marvel and watches shows on The CW, like The Flash, every week. And since she also watches NCIS religiously, I thought she might get into Riverdale

As we watched and learned all about the secrets of the Midnight Club, I made a note of all the questions and comments Cathy had, and asked her for a full review after the episode. Here we go…

“What’s Griffins and Gargoyles?” 

A key component of this season has been the role-playing game Griffins and Gargoyles, which has contributed to the deaths of multiple students at Riverdale High. Last night we learned that Alice, Fred, Hermione and the rest of the parents found and played an original version of Griffins and Gargoyles in their youth, which resulted in the death of their principal. It made sense that Cathy had no idea what Griffins and Gargoyles was (since she’s never watched the show), but I got a laugh at the fact that it took her a full hour to realize that G&G is a play on Dungeons and Dragons. 

“Oh, it’s like the Breakfast Club in Riverdale!”

When the parents started playing G&G in detention, they became friends and formed a club called the Midnight Club where they continued to play together. I will admit with shame that I did not pick up on the fact that Midnight Club was a parody of Breakfast Club. Cathy, however, caught on instantly. I guess we’re even now. 

“This is a little risqué!”

This was by no means the steamiest episode of Riverdale, but between the Fizzlerocks (which I believe is OG jingle-jangle?), and a brief glimpse of young Alice and FP hooking up (which resulted in Alice’s pregnancy), Cathy was not impressed. She was also troubled by the fact that we learned that Penelope Blossom was adopted to become Clifford’s sibling, then life companion (read: Cheryl’s parents started as adopted siblings, then got married). If there was any confusion before, we now know that Riverdale is not your mom’s Archie comics.

“Where is Kelly Ripa’s husband?”

Because Cathy is ~of a certain age~ she has no recognition of names like Lili Reinhart and KJ Apa—but one name she does recognize is Mark Consuelos. Consuelos plays Hiram Lodge, and is also the husband of TV personality Kelly Ripa. Needless to say, since adult Hiram was not featured in last night’s episode, Cathy was a little disappointed to see no celebrities that were recognizable to her. 

“Which one is Jughead?” 

Throughout the entire episode, Cathy repeatedly asked me who was who, which was confusing last night since I had to give answers like, “Well, that’s usually Veronica, but tonight she’s playing a high school version of Veronica’s mom.” That mostly answered her questions, but Cathy was very concerned about who Jughead was. When I identified Cole Sprouse on screen for her, her immediate reaction was, “What have I seen this actor in?” We determined that she remembered him from his days on the Disney Channel show, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody

“This is no Archie comics that I know! The cartoons that I watched were nothing like this. Did I forget something from the originals?”

This was a recurring statement during last night’s episode. According to Cathy, when she was younger, she was familiar with Archie comics and read/watched them occasionally. But the darker tone and thematic elements of Riverdale made it hard for her to get into the show when she had such strong memories of the original.

*looks very confused when I explain the Jason/Polly/Blossom/Cooper/Black Hood storyline*

At one point in the episode she asked a question about the Blossoms and Betty’s father, which meant that during commercials I had to try my best to summarize all of the drama surrounding Jason and Polly and the Blossom/Cooper feud, and The Black Hood. I feel like this might have been too much information because Cathy just looked very confused.

*confused look during the musical number*

Being that this is an episode of Riverdale, we have to have an out of place musical number. Last night we got to see Fred Andrews musical talent when he and the rest of the Midnight Club played a song while trespassing in Riverdale high under the influence of Fizzlerocks. Cathy wanted to know if these out of place musical numbers are the norm. Sadly, yes. 

“This is the longest show I have ever watched…and it makes no sense.”

I laughed out loud when Cathy said this, because even as a diehard Riverdale fan, I often feel this way. 

Overall review: 

First, a general note about this episode: I know it was teased as an episode that would answer questions, but honestly the reveals weren’t that big. We learned that the parents played the game and their principal died. We also learned that both Alice and Betty have seen the Gargoyle King in person. The biggest reveal might be what happened in the final minutes—Jughead and others are now hooked on G&G. We’ll see how that plays out next week. 

As for Cathy’s review, she summed it up pretty concisely, “It’s not something that I would choose to watch.”

Between all of the characters and bizarre plotlines to keep up with, and her preconceived notions of the Archie characters, she just can’t get into Riverdale. As the credits rolled, she even asked, “I don’t have to watch this again, do I?”

Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.

Sarah Shevenock is a graduate of The College of William and Mary, where she served as a staff writer and Campus Correspondent for Her Campus William and Mary. Currently, she is a National Contributing Writer and Entertainment Blogger. In her free time, she enjoys reading voraciously, watching morning news programs, and keeping up with the latest television and movie news. She loves to talk about anything and everything related to theatre, cheer for her beloved Pittsburgh Penguins, and drink fancy coffee.
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