Warning: Spoilers for Daybreak are ahead.
Netflix has become the go-to place for teen-centric shows. So, it’s newest original Daybreak, based on a graphic novel fits right in. The fantasy series is all about what life would be like for teenagers living in a post-apocalyptic Glendale, California told through the perspective of high school outsider Josh Wheeler (Colin Ford). Everyone under the age of 18 has settled into their former high school cliques like cheerleaders and gamers. The most powerful of these groups is the jocks, led by the always intimidating Turbo Bro Jock, played by Riverdale actor Cody Kearsley.
Fans of Riverdale will surely recognize actor Kearsley, but it might take some time for them to adjust to seeing Kearsley act like a ruthless warmonger, the complete opposite of his darling Riverdale High student Moose. Yeah, this guy looks nothing like Moose:
Just in case you aren’t familiar with the CW mystery series, here is a Moose-specific, “previously on Riverdale” recap to catch you up. Kearsley’s character was a student at Riverdale High School and a member of the varsity football team. Before he left the show (only temporarily, if you've seen the Oct. 23 episode of Riverdale!), he had a secret relationship with one of Riverdale's main characters, Kevin (Casey Cott), but was afraid to make their relationship public. Fash forward to the end of season 3 and Moose is practically forced to admit he is attracted to men to his father. His father isn’t accepting of Moose's sexual orientation, so Moose decides to move to Glendale to live with his aunt.
Turns out Moose actually did leave for Glendale — just not the one most people would recognize.
And believe it or not, under all that armor and anger, Turbo shares a few connections with Moose. Turbo is the star quarterback on the high school football team and he is also having a secret, passionate affair with teammate Wesley Fists (Austin Crute). But, unfortunately for Riverdale fans who grew attached to the lovable jock, the similarities stop there.
In flashbacks to his life before the apocalypse, Turbo is shown to be both a bystander and a bully who participates in physically attacking Josh. When we first meet Turbo in episode 1, Wesley sums up his cryptic lover and how he gained power saying, “Turbo gathered all the jocks into one tribe. Football, baseball, golf, et cetera. He’s the bad guy.” The first five episodes show a little bit more of Turbo’s character and backstory. But, honestly, it doesn’t make him look any better.
Throughout the next few episodes, Turbo becomes obsessed with finding and killing Josh since the outcast “defeated” him by avoiding capture. He also spends his free time, alongside his right-hand woman Mona Lisa (Jeanté Godlock), ordering the execution of a lot of people for what at first seems like random reasons. He shoots the lead singer of a band after a high-stakes version of American Idol. (The dystopian twist? The musicians' lives are at risk!) After pretending to form a real connection with a STEM punk over missing his father pushing him to achieve greatness, he has the genius killed.
Halfway through the season, there is a Wesley-centric episode epically narrated by RZA (yeah, that RZA) that reveals what motivates Turbo. He actually forced Wesley to pick between him and his cousin Emmett before the blast, encouraging Wesley to injure his family member in a game. Wesley finally realizes that Turbo wants Josh killed and has taken others’ lives because he is jealous of anyone who gets close to Wesley. His toxic love for Wesley fuels his rage and the two prepare to duel at the end of episode 5. Oh, and Wesley has to voice all of this because some injury has left Turbo unable to speak, so he can only communicate through grumbling.
It's a lot, so you might want to keep this Instagram of Kearsley being a "good boy" handy while you watch:
Yes, gone is compassionate guy who protected his friends in Riverdale and occasionally made an unintentionally comical remark. In his place is someone who is much more difficult to connect with. However, both characters’ main storylines are tied to their relationship (although it is a very unhealthy version of love in Daybreak) and protecting that person.
As Daybreak has proven, not everyone is who they claim to be. If Wesley can be redeemed, then maybe Turbo can too.