SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for "Riverdale"
Reviews of the third season of "Riverdale" have been mixed, to say the least. Many people found the addition of cult activity odd and perhaps straying too far from the show's original path. While "Riverdale" has always been bountiful in murder and mystery, the latest season definitely had some twists. All things considered, I didn't dislike them—at least, not for the reasons I've been hearing about.
Focusing primarily on the new-to-town (or is it?) game Gryphons & Gargoyles, and The Farm (mentioned only briefly in preceding seasons), this season shook up the regular drama of serial killers and family secrets fans had become so used to, but many didn't seem to take well to the change. Before watching it myself, I heard from several people that this season dragged the show downhill and was generally weird. After watching, I have to agree that the storyline is lackluster in comparison to the first two seasons, and there were too many plot holes for my liking.
That said, I'm still an avid "Riverdale" fan and will follow this show wherever it takes us (because I'm addicted). From what I can tell, bringing cult activity to Riverdale would be a pretty smart way to set things up for a crossover with Sabrina Spellman and her friends. I mean, we already know that "The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" takes place in the Archie comic universe and that "Riverdale" mentions Sabrina's town of Greendale many a time. In fact, Riverdale is brought up in "Sabrina" as well, and Ben Button even makes an appearance as a pizza delivery boy on the show. All signs point to the shows' respective gaggle of teens running into one another eventually. It's important to note, however, that it seems there's still no plan to have a televised crossover — only in comic form. I'll have to keep an ear out for that one and report back.
Enough about speculations regarding where the show might go; let's talk about season three itself. These are purely my opinions on the matter, of course. First and foremost, there was wayyyyy too little emphasis placed on the characters' relationships with one another. It seemed like everyone was sort of doing their own thing, and I seriously missed the attention previous seasons placed on the couples, B&V as the iconic BFF duo, and the core four as a whole. As a serious supporter of Betty and Jughead, I was upset to see that this season didn't show much evolution in their relationship. And the same can be said for my disappointment with how little interaction we were given between everyone else in the inner circle.
Moving on to Penelope Blossom. We learn that she poisoned Clifford "before he hung himself," and in the first season, Cheryl threatens her mother by saying she'll tell the truth about what happened in the barn that night. My question is, how did two petite women manage to hang that man before the cops came? Or, who did they hire to do so? I'm assuming the police didn't arrive terribly long after Betty called to warn Cheryl about her father's murderous nature.
As it turns out, Penelope is also quite deadly… Mommie Dearest on steroids, some might say... and she tries to kill the core four in the last episode. And then she escapes, leaving the door open for her drama to unfold again in another season. I'd personally like to see the ghosts of seasons' past die off for good.
All in all, I enjoyed the third season of "Riverdale," and I even appreciated its strangeness. However, it felt incomplete and a bit rushed. I think there could have been a more cohesive storyline, with more emphasis placed on the characters' interactions among each other. Critiques aside, I'm still a superfan and can't wait to see what the fourth season brings.