I have a pitch for a TV show, and stop me if you've heard it.
It's a comic book show on The CW, and the lead is a young, handsome guy with a serious aversion to shirts and a penchant for melancholy brooding.
He spends a lot of time exercising, and a fair amount of time dealing with the sins and mistakes committed by his father and his father's friends.
He also spends a lot of time solving crimes -- or at least his friends do, while he is pretty much the muscle of the group. This cute blonde girl-next-door type does most of the actual crime-solving, but that's okay: our hero gets the credit anyway.
He also has a sidekick who is way more loyal to the hero than our hero is to his sidekick. This leads, inevitably, to some awkwardness but it is usually handwaved by the next week.
...Nobody has done that yet, right?
In all seriousness, this season on Riverdale seemed to mirror a lot of what was going on in Arrow -- and since those shows, other than being comic book shows on The CW, are very strange bedfellows indeed we thought it might be fun to look at the hows and whys of it.
Star City might have Vertigo -- which made a reappearance this season after some time out of the spotlight -- but Riverdale has Jingle Jangle.
Also known as "The JJ," not to be confused with Jason Blossom, whose nick-name was "Jay-Jay" and whose father dealt Jingle Jangle, the drug was a major part of the first half of the season, but petered out as a major story point until the last episode or two, when it was teased as a motivator for one of the season 3 villains.
Named for a song by the novelty band The Archies (who, yes, were meant to be Archie Andrews's band), "Jungle Jangle" became a kind of viral gag around Christmastime, when the series was feating the drug and a snack tin bearing the same name popped up at Trader Joe's.prevnext
A Vigilante Team
One of the strangest things that Archie did this season was to put together a vigilante team of shirtless teenagers, whom he thought would somehow scare away a deranged serial killer by...I dunno, the power o abs.
What was arguably even stranger was when the Red Circle became the Dark Circle, and firebombed the car of a couple of mobsters on behalf of Archie and his boss Hiram Lodge.
Anyway, it's no Team Arrow -- but then again neither was Team Arrow this season, so you can hardly fault him for trying to fill a gap.prevnext
Man, that's some messed up family stuff
Very much like Thea Queen on Arrow, Betty Cooper just can't seem to catch a break when it comes to her family.
After discovering last season that her father's side of the family are Blossoms, and that the two had a Hatfields-and-McCoys style feud that went back decades, this season saw Betty try to make her mom happy by tracking down a child Alice had given up for adoption 20 years ago -- only to find out that he had been murdered by a creepy weirdo who tried to take the boy's place among the family.
No worries, though; he was chased off by Hal "the Black Hood" Cooper.prevnext
Partnering With the Mob
As we alluded to earlier, Archie had a very special relationship with mob boss Hiram Lodge, also the father of his girlfriend Veronica, this season.
It became increasingly disturbing, as Hiram essentially was a wedge driven between Archie and his father for much of the season before Archie suddenly decided that wasn't okay and changed course.
Of course, Arrow's relationship between its heroes and organized crime is a complicated one. While Oliver takes down mobsters (to make up for his dad working with them, at least at first), he has also worked intermittently with the Russian Bratva for years. This season saw him split with them at the start, but then call them in as the cavalry when things got really hairy toward the end.prevnext
The Police Are On The Take
Corrupt cops are a staple of Star City, where more or less the only reliably honest cops get killed eventually -- even poor Quentin Lance, who made it through six seasons before he succumbed to Ricardo Diaz this year.
And while there had been some theories in the first season that Sheriff Tom Keller might have been Jason Blossom's killer, he turned out to be a pretty stand-up guy (except for cheating on his wife, but that did not impact his professional life).
That just wouldn't do for Hiram, though, and he managed to generate fake outrage, get Keller booted from his job, and replace him with Sheriff Michael Minetta, implied to have ties to Lodge's organized crime dealings. It is he who helps make the big twist at the end of the season happen.prevnext
The Bad Guy Wins
...Yeah, that's right. The CW had two shows this season where the bad guy won.
It was pretty depressing, to be honest.
While both Ricardo Diaz and Hiram Lodge kind of felt like they had run their courses, they weren't killed or arrested like big bads generally are at the end of a season. Instead, both of them got away with their crimes, built a criminal empire they could rule next season, and prepared for what was next...prevnext
The Hero Goes to Jail
...Oh, yeah. And both Oliver Queen and Archie Andrews went to jail in the final moments of their seasons.3comments
Oliver made a deal with the FBI agent who had been pursuing him all season, getting clemency for his team in exchange for surrendering himself, becuase he is the one who had actually murdered people.
Archie, however, did not murder anyone, but did leave a kid to be killed by one of Hirams capos after that kid had pulled a gun on Archie. Apparently that kid's unsolved murder was left dangling for weeks while the res of the season played out, before Hiram and his dirty cop pal managed to pin it on ol' Arch.prev