Riverdale Season 2: Five questions we have after House of the Devil, like do the writers even know what the male gaze is?

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So, this episode sees a lot of the cast, quite literally – Veronica topless at the start, a pretty superfluous scene where Cheryl and Josie have just got out of a shower (one of their only two scenes in the episode), and even managed to contrive a pole dancing sequence where Betty strips down.

They keep name-checking ideas like misogyny and sexism – Cheryl calls out the male gaze while clearly subject of it – but that doesn’t really account for much when you’ve got these over the top sequences for no particular reason at all.

This one, actually, I very nearly span off into its own article: “Just because Riverdale mentions the male gaze, doesn’t mean it’s free from it.” Or something like that. I never did, in the end, because… well, a couple of different reasons, I guess. In part because I’m generally less confident in my knowledge of camera techniques and stuff, so I didn’t want to go immediately into a big polemic about something I didn’t quite understand; thing is, though, the shelf life on articles about any one episode of Riverdale is short, so the content cycle moved on quickly.

Anyway, this episode contained the most egregious examples of Riverdale finding reasons to get the cast to take their clothes off, which was made all the more ironic by the fact that this was the one that actually namechecked the male gaze! Totes, as the kids would say, ridic. (That’s not “as the kids say”, kids don’t say totes ridic anymore, but I say it constantly.)

So, yeah, I think there’s a bit of criticism to be issued there. I wouldn’t be surprised, perhaps, if that male gaze comment was an attempt to lampshade things, or someone critiquing the rest of the episode from within it. Thankfully, Riverdale toned things down a bit going forward – as above, this episode (and the one immediately prior, if I recall correctly) was the most egregious example of such. But if ever it comes up again, I’ll be sure to revive this article. In the meantime, I’ll go and read about the male gaze and the female gaze and such.

(This is still a five questions we have after piece, incidentally; other questions include speculation about FP Jones, the Black Hood, and whether or not Veronica is pregnant, because there was a weird line of dialogue that seemed to imply it, and honestly you know the show is gonna have a pregnancy plotline by the end of season 3 anyway.)

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Babylon Berlin is an absolutely mesmerising piece of German noir

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Babylon Berlin recently finished its first season, and was absolutely stunning from start to finish. It’s a complex paranoia thriller, a noir mystery set against the backdrop of political intrigue, police corruption and revolutionary fervour – drawing each of its threads together into a compelling and skilfully executed larger story. The series carries itself with a certain confidence, and it’s an entirely deserved one.

There’s something almost relentless about Babylon Berlin – not in terms of pace, where the show is considered and measured, but rather in its zeal and dynamic. At times it’s positively electric, centred as it is at the eye of the storm at a time when the world is changing. With its focus on rising extremism from both sides of the political spectrum, Babylon Berlin depicts a way of life the audience knows will soon be cut short – something that adds to the current of urgency that underpins the series.

I absolutely loved Babylon Berlin – it was one of my favourite shows of 2017, and I think the close of the second episode is probably one of the best TV moments ever. Genuinely, it was like I was in a trance state watching that.

I’ve not yet had the chance to watch the second series – it’s sitting taking up space on the television planner right now – but I’m massively, massively looking forward to getting around to it eventually.

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