I will be taking half of whatever blood money you get from this inbred cesspool of a family. Yeah, that’s right, I said inbred.”
That vicious outburst, which Alice Cooper spat out after crashing the reading of Richard Blossom’s will, was the standout moment of Wednesday’s Riverdale Episode, “Chapter Twenty-Eight: There Will Be Blood.” She’s there so she can yell at her soon-to-be ex-husband Hal, but manages to find time to insult Penelope, who she calls “half-melted, ten cent trollop”, and slam the entire Blossom clan. It’s a great scene, not only because it’s a riotous showcase of Riverdale’s brilliantly cast adult stars, but because it’s a reminder that one of the show’s strengths is never forgetting the adults living in the town of Riverdale. The parents don’t live in a separate, less-ridiculous and melodramatic adult world, as is often the case on teen dramas. Instead, they’re right next to their children during each wild moment and shocking twist.
It’s not even the only example within the episode. “There Will Be Blood” balances Jughead’s battle with Hiram and a handful of storylines centering many of the adults of Riverdale. There’s Hal’s attempt to get a divorce from Alice, a new Blossom showing up in town, and Hiram’s attempts to convince Fred Andrews to run for mayor in the newly announced special election. The parents are front and center this week.
As audiences got to know the teenagers of Riverdale, they were also drawn into a connected web of adults who quickly proved essential to the fabric of the series. Not as just the parents of the central teens, but also as childhood friends, enemies with generations of conflict between them, and exes. It’s an expansive web, as the parents don’t just interact with one another, but they also interact with teenagers that aren’t their kids. When Jughead meets with Alice Cooper to talk about Hiram’s plans, or Archie and Hiram build a relationship, Riverdale shows that it’s utilizing all its characters, no matter their age.
Teen dramas of the past have typically focused on just a single set of parents (usually the main character’s mom and dad), or else they sparingly drop in adults in when they are necessary for a specific story. Riverdale, meanwhile refreshingly finds interesting ways to make characters who are old enough to vote be part of the action. Alice, Hermoine, and the others not only show, up but often steal scenes. Mädchen Amick’s Alice is one of the standout characters of the series, throwing bricks through windows and bursting into rooms all over town armed with her vicious tongue. After a season waiting for her husband to return, Hermoine showed us all when she revealed she’s a crime boss in her own right working alongside him in Season 2.
There’s a lot going on in the town of Riverdale, given how horny Archie and his schoolmates are, so it wouldn’t be that crazy if the show just focused on the teenagers and left the adults behind. Luckily for us all, Riverdale respects its elders. At least enough to use them.
Riverdale airs on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern on The CW.