Riverdale Season 3 Episode 16 Review: BIG FUN

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Dim the lights and pull the curtain: it's time for Riverdale's next musical episode on Riverdale Season 3 Episode 16.

Croquet mallets, plaid skirts, and '80s hair mean that we're heading into the world of Heathers, the teen dark comedy. And just like a musical, the songs infused itself into the plot of Riverdale. 

Was the performance a showstopper or did it need to pull the curtain?

Heather Chandler - Tall - Riverdale Season 3 Episode 16

"BIG FUN" was Riverdale's second debut with a full musical episode; the first was the Carrie musical on Riverdale Season 2 Episode 18.

But this time around, the musical didn't light up the stage like its predecessor.

You could say that it didn't provide ... big fun. (*crickets* You didn't like the play on words? Fine!)

Ram and Kurt - Riverdale Season 3 Episode 16

Overall, the musical numbers looked clunky and missed the same sheen/glow that Riverdale typically puts into their performances.

Whereas the cast connected to their roles in the Carrie musical, I felt the awkwardness here.

In particular, the dancing looked uncomfortable and didn't have the same pep in its step.

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And Riverdale included a strange whipping noise whenever someone did a hard turn or whipped their hair and arms.

That sound took me out of the moment. Toni performed "Dead Girl Walking" amazingly; she didn't need an emphasis on hitting it hard.

I bounced back and forth between the editing being the problem or the choreography or the tone. But, it's the picture overall.

Heathers The Musical - Riverdale Season 3 Episode 16

Another reason for the awkwardness could be the musical itself.

I love the Heathers and Carrie musicals. (I've watched both of their performances.)

While they both have the same dark comedy undertone, they each have different vibes.

Carrie The Musical has a light-hearted air of hope in-between the sinister tension forming.

Heathers The Musical, on the other hand, is darker with its mix of campy one-liners and exaggerated inappropriateness. 

For example, "In" and "Beautiful" are two songs that sound the same, but their lyrics, tone, and purpose are vastly contrasting.

So, to have the Riverdale cast try to perform a peppy dance number to "Beautiful" didn't work. The same uplifting magic couldn't be captured.

Heathers is a musical that's best enjoyed as a complete show.

You pick up on all the nuances of the characters, the growing tension at Westerberg High, and the jokes in context to the story.

Riverdale should take a break from doing another musical episode since this felt shoehorned in for the gimmick than necessity.

Betty: I know what you’re up to.
Evelyn: Lowering Sweet Pea’s solo?
Betty: Cute. This entire musical is just one big recruitment drive for you, isn’t it?
Evelyn: I’m sorry, I don’t follow.
Betty: The Farm is sponsoring the play. You strong-armed your way into co-directing, your warm up sermons, exercising trauma through art … screams cult recruitment!
[Evelyn places her hand on Betty’s hand. Betty glares at her]
Evelyn: Betty, dissect these trust issues.
[Evelyn pulls her hand back]
Evelyn: The Farm is producing and I’m co-directing for one simple reason: to have BIG FUN.

Though, not everything turned out bad. Some of the performances were fun, and Madelaine Petsch killed it in her portrayal of Cheryl as Heather Chandler.

Similar to Carrie, Cheryl embraced the role and exuded her inner Heather. If you went to high school with this Heather, you would be scared too. That's how powerful she played it.

In addition to that, I loved that Betty and Veronica were Heather Duke and Heather McNamara, respectively. They played their mean girl roles perfectly, and they exuded the same elitist energy.

Regarding the music numbers, the best of the night was "Candy Store," "Lifeboat," and "Dead Girl Walking."

The "Heathers" brought their A-game with the most seamless dance number of the chapter, and Toni came to slay with her musical numbers.

Veronica's solo, on the other hand, captured her heartbreak in a touchingly soft performance.

The Heathers - Riverdale Season 3 Episode 16

Hiram and Hermione's separation is a smart and beneficial move for the couple.

Their marriage was filled with a parade of bad decisions and a growing resentment towards each other.

From criminal activities to affairs to genuine daily fear, their marriage defined the art of toxicity.

Plus, we can't forget that they've threatened each other, and Hermione tried to murder Hiram ... twice! If someone is planning a murder, that seals the deal of the relationship. No do-overs or second chances; they needed to separate ASAP.

There are relationships to root for on Riverdale, but this is one that will be better off for everyone involved when they end.

Hiram will have peace of mind. Hermione will be happier.

Bad News - Riverdale Season 3 Episode 16

So, with that being said, why on earth would Veronica hate the idea of her parents separating?

Even going as far back as Riverdale Season 1, Veronica knew about the troubles in her parents' marriage.

She tried on MANY occasions to convince Hermione to leave Hiram because he, in her words, was a "bad guy" and "evil." Hermione needed to leave him so that they could escape his world of crime.

Those pleas amounted to nothing since family life grew worse by the day. And with everything that happened, like the Gargoyle King/drug trade, framing Archie for murder, and the dissolution of her relationship with Veronica, Veronica suddenly decided this was the worst thing in the world.

Related: 17 Breakups That Were Cause for Celebration

I've had issues with Veronica's inconsistent character development lately during Riverdale Season 3.

For the longest time, she stood against her parents for the evil they created in Riverdale and framing Archie. But now, she's reunited with her family like the past didn't even matter.

Tragedy helps reevaluate priorities, but this complete change didn't feel seamless.

And the concern isn't so much about the separation itself; she's their only child so that she would have some thoughts of it. However, it was her reaction to the news and how it affected her that raised the red flags.

Betty: Arch, are you and Josie dating?
Archie: Well, I mean…
Josie: Uhh…
Reggie: Did you know about this?
Veronica: What? No, I had no idea.
Reggie: The fact that your ex boo has a new girlfriend has nothing to do with you suddenly being all in with me?
Evelyn: Veronica, do you have something to share?
Veronica: I just found out that my parents are separating. My family is unconventional, to say the least, but I always thought no matter they’d stay together.
[Betty moves to comfort Veronica]
Evelyn: And that is what in the theater we call a “breakthrough.”

If she always thought her parents would be together, why did she spend so much energy trying to get Hermione to leave him?

The change came across as plot convenient, as well as her using Reggie for the hookup.

Veronica needs to step back and take a break from all this chaos.

A clear head will do wonders in sorting out her baggage.

Sweet Music - Riverdale Season 3 Episode 16

The same goes for the love triangle mess between Archie, Josie, and Sweet Pea.

Sweet Pea needs time to reflect on his value and not dwell on the past.

Josie made it clear what she wanted out of their romance; it's not her fault he caught feelings. The terms were set pretty clear.

Regarding Archie and Josie's fling, trouble looks to be heading their way. (Come on, Archie, you in danger girl!)

Josie didn't want a commitment and made it known.

If someone said they only got together because of loneliness and convenience, that's not a great sign for longevity. We know who reached and who settled.

Archie can push all he wants, but Josie wants more than Riverdale. Their duet in the boxing ring confirmed they've got an expiration date coming.

Jughead, The Singer - Riverdale Season 3 Episode 16

I'm going to miss Jughead's family home in the trailer park.

Throughout Riverdale's run, the home housed the Southside drama and symbolized the reunion in FP and Jughead's relationship.

But all sets must come to an end someday.

With Jughead and the Serpents moving to the Northside, the trailer no longer had a purpose. A relic of Riverdale's past that would've merely shown where the characters had been before.

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Jughead setting the place was symbolic and showed that his past was gone.

He would need to move forward with the changes made.

Hopefully, he gets his revenge on Gladys for ruining that memory. 

Seriously, the Jones family barely moved out of the trailer before she turned it into a drug lab! If FP ever finds out, he'll have a fit of anger for which we might not be prepared.

The Ex - Riverdale Season 3 Episode 16

"Choni's" couple drama was quickly swept under the rug after Riverdale dialed up the tension exponentially.

Why can't these couples ever talk about and work on their issues before reuniting?

Cheryl's animosity toward her (then ex) girlfriend reached levels of a tyrant.

If someone went as far as banning an ex from school over wearing the color red, you knew that serious issues were going on between them.

And it's not like this frustration developed over several weeks. They just ended things on Riverdale Season 3 Episode 15!

Kevin: Given how much dancing there is in Heathers, Evelyn and I felt that we should bring on a choreographer. So, give a big Heathers "hello" to Riverdale’s very own Fly Girl, Toni Topaz!
[Everyone claps as Toni walks onto the stage]
Cheryl: Ummm … does anyone have a chainsaw? Because WHAT. THE. F…!

Don't get me wrong; I'm ecstatic that Choni got back together. They were passionate, and they looked very cute together in the dressing room after reuniting. However, Choni needs character growth.

Let's hope they tackle these issues off-screen. We don't want them to repeat the same problems in a few weeks. 

Cheryl: Ummm, did you have a lobotomy for breakfast? You’re wearing my signature color!
Toni: You don’t own the color red. Red existed before you.
Cheryl: Not at Riverdale High. Here, I invented red. I am red.
[Cheryl snaps her fingers and two girls stand behind her]
Cheryl: Sorry, but this school is not big enough for the both of us, faux-pink lady. And I was here first. Go to Centerville High or Westerberg, I don’t care. But you have until first bell Monday to clear every trace of yourself out of these halls. Copy?
[Cheryl flips her hair in Toni’s face and walks away]

Betty needs to do something ASAP about The Farm's influence in Riverdale. The cult has spread far and fast throughout the town. And they're growing in big numbers!

Both Principal Weatherbee and Fangs fell to the brainwashing attempts. Evelyn's party tactics and share circles seemed to be working; she preyed on their insecurities to win.

Related: Riverdale Season 3 Episode 14 Review: Fire Walk With Me

Based on the creepy applause at the end, it's clear that everyone became aware of the trouble forming in town.

They can't stick their heads in the sand anymore. Edgar Evernever is here, and he's come to lead. The group needs to team up with Betty to save Riverdale before it's too late to free the victims.

Farm Recruitment - Riverdale Season 3 Episode 16

Last Thoughts From Sweetwater River:

  • How is it in the Heathers musical episode that Josie played the lead "Veronica Sawyer" and still didn't get a solo? The injustice!
     
  • No one clapping for the Riverdale High students was a petty choice. Even if you're not a fan, you still politely applaud to show some respect.
     
  • Penelope Blossom looked majorly unimpressed after the musical. She should've taken the stage and belted out her own version "Seventeen."
     
  • Kevin and Fangs' ritual with The Farm looked super creepy. The fact that all of the followers wore 3D glasses as they sang "Our Love Is God" raised all the red flags.
     
  • Does this mean a romance will spark between Fangs and Kevin? Their kiss said one thing, but Fangs moving slightly back as Kevin sang said another.
     
  • Toni didn't even have to argue for a threesome; Sweet Pea and Peaches were so down for it. Their confusion when it didn't happen was the best sike gag.
Veronica Sawyer - Riverdale Season 3 Episode 16

Now, over to you, Riverdale fans!

What did you think of "BIG FUN"?

What does the arrival of Edgar Evernever mean for the town?

Will Gladys retaliate after her lab went up in flames?

What song was your favorite of the chapter?

If you missed the latest episode of Riverdale, you can watch Riverdale online via TV Fanatic.

Come back here and share your thoughts in the comments below.

Chapter Fifty-One: BIG FUN Review

Editor Rating: 3.7 / 5.0
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Rating: 2.9 / 5.0 (27 Votes)

Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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Riverdale Season 3 Episode 16 Quotes

Betty: I know what you’re up to.
Evelyn: Lowering Sweet Pea’s solo?
Betty: Cute. This entire musical is just one big recruitment drive for you, isn’t it?
Evelyn: I’m sorry, I don’t follow.
Betty: The Farm is sponsoring the play. You strong-armed your way into co-directing, your warm up sermons, exercising trauma through art … screams cult recruitment!
[Evelyn places her hand on Betty’s hand. Betty glares at her]
Evelyn: Betty, dissect these trust issues.
[Evelyn pulls her hand back]
Evelyn: The Farm is producing and I’m co-directing for one simple reason: to have BIG FUN.

Kevin: Given how much dancing there is in Heathers, Evelyn and I felt that we should bring on a choreographer. So, give a big Heathers "hello" to Riverdale’s very own Fly Girl, Toni Topaz!
[Everyone claps as Toni walks onto the stage]
Cheryl: Ummm … does anyone have a chainsaw? Because WHAT. THE. F…!