Riverdale season 1 opened with a brand-new scandal for the small town, a murder. Throughout the course of season 1 it became obvious that Archie and the gang weren’t the first group of teenagers to get into some soapy shenanigans. After countless hints and references to the past, a picture emerged that Fred Andrews was nearly as prolific in his teenage years as his son. The history between the parents of Riverdale has been a big factor in the story but it has only been talked about, not really seen. It might ruin some surprises down the line but Riverdale should consider adding in flashbacks for season 2.
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Keeping Mystery Alive
There is an argument to be made for Riverdale staying completely in the moment. Part of the reason that Riverdale season 1 was so addictive is because it was a very tight and contained story. Every episode dovetailed nicely into the next one and there was never any wasted downtime. It’s unclear, as of this moment, how many episodes will be in Riverdale season 2. If season 2 has the same number of installments as the first, and it hopefully will, flashbacks could interrupt the pace.
It is understandable, other than pace issues, why season 1 didn’t include flashbacks. Season 1 was so much about the characters and the audience figuring out the past and it all came together in the finale. With flashbacks, the big surprises of the Blossoms being related to the Coopers, Alice Cooper having another child and the biggest revelation of all, Cliff killing Jason, would have been spoiled. Most of these reveals also came out in organic and natural ways. The show hinted at them but it wasn’t overkill. Flashbacks weren’t needed for anything concerning Jason’s death other than F.P.’s confession.
Riverdale did struggle though in explaining the relationships between the older generations. When characters like Alice Cooper and F.P. Jones came face to face, their interactions did not flow in any sense. It was heavy on exposition and very light on human emotion. The same goes for Mary Andrews meeting up again with Hermione Lodge. The characters didn’t talk like human beings or even the stylized, somewhat campy, human beings of Riverdale. It was just an info dump of getting as much backstory out in as little time as possible. This is where flashbacks could help and since Hiram Lodge is coming to season 2, flashbacks might be necessary.
Filling in the Blanks
In Riverdale season 1 Hiram Lodge became one of the most important characters on TV who never actually appeared. Hiram was seemingly connected to everyone and everything during the first season. Some of these connections were part of the larger mystery of Jason’s murder but most were borderline ridiculous. It is not hard to believe that Hiram has history with everyone in Riverdale but it was strange how the show inserted talking about that history. Characters constantly took breaks to explain things that they should already know. It was hard to buy into this deep backstory between Hiram and Cliff or the old “love square” of Mary, Hiram, Fred and Hermione with so much being explained to us rather than being seen.
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Some of this awkwardness might be alleviated by Hiram appearing in present day but Riverdale could fill in some very important gaps with flashbacks. Flashbacks shouldn’t be included in every episode. This would almost certainly change the pace of the show and there probably isn’t enough story to justify that much time set in the past. But one or two episodes devoted to the younger lives of Fred, Hiram, Hermione, Mary and even Cliff and Hal could really enhance Riverdale.
There would be no more instances of Riverdale characters having to repeat their history together to each other for the audience’s benefit. Everyone would finally be on the same page. Considering the fact that Fred Andrews’ life currently hangs in the balance after being shot in the season 1 finale, a flashback could allow the show to have Fred interact with Hiram even if the character dies.
But what do you think? Do you want to see flashbacks on Riverdale? Should the history continued to be talked about but not seen? Which character’s backstory are you most interested in learning about? Would flashbacks hurt the pace of the show?
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(Image courtesy of The CW)