Just when you thought Riverdale couldn’t get any weirder, it proves you wrong.
Over the years, shows have largely benefitted from a time-jump that moves characters out of high school and into the college years and beyond, but Riverdale’s attempt was more bizarre than everything that transpired during their teen years. After this episode, it doesn’t seem as though the show is going to make the best of their “reset,” but I’m giving it a chance to see where it goes.
It wasn’t all bad, however. It was nice to see these familiar characters tackle new and unexpected material. Prior to Archie, Betty, Jughead, and Veronica’s return to the small-town, it almost felt like a brand new series, so that has to count for something, right?
The past seven years have been rough on everyone, so let’s break it down individually by character!
After the trailer for the time-jump was posted, many fans pointed out that the “war scenes” were filmed on a high school football field. Strange? Yes, until you realize that they aren’t war scenes but nightmares from Archie’s post-war PTSD.
The nightmare gives audiences a glimpse into the trauma of fighting in a war for seven years and leading his men, some of who didn’t come out unscathed. We briefly meet Jackson, a man who arrives at the hospital with both his legs amputated but remains thankful to Srgt. Andrews for ensuring his survival. Archie always was a leader.
To his dismay, the army has decided to send him back to Riverdale to lead the ROTC program at his old high school, which is where we realize that the Riverdale he and his friends left behind seven years ago no longer exists thanks to Hiram Lodge.
It’s unclear why the footage of Archie returning home from war looks like he’s been fighting in the 1940s, but I guess that’s always been a part of Riverdale’s esthetic. For seasons, the show has kept the time period purposefully ambiguous so that the series remains “dreamlike” and “timeless,” but this is the first episode where Veronica confirms that it’s “2021.” And those three-camera iPhones prove it!
Upon arriving back home, Archie gets a tour of the town from Toni Topaz, who is getting a lot more screentime this season! More on this later.
Betty is living in Quantico training to be an FBI agent. After hunting down several serial killers in Riverdale, she’s pretty much destined to be a sort of serial killer hunter. Though, when we catch up with our Elizabeth, we see that she’s been benched after enduring severe trauma at the hands of the latest serial killer with a cheesy name — the Trashbag Killer also known as TBK.
From what we gather through Betty’s therapy session and the disturbing nightmares plaguing her, she hunted down TBK and found her friend and/or co-worker, Teresa, already dead in his lair. She didn’t wait for SWAT or backup before infiltrating, which ultimately led to her two-week captivity and TBK’s escape. So, there’s a serial killer on the loose that has it out for our not-so-sweet Betty.
Betty is also dating a co-worker named Glenn, and yeah, I don’t see that lasting too long.
Ronnie is a married woman living on the Upper East Side. When we catch up with her, she’s celebrating her one-year wedding anniversary with her husband, Chadwick, who keeps talking about having little “Veronica’s or Chadwick’s” in the near future and telling her she needs to cut back her hours at Lacy’s. (Ah, I love the Katy Keene callbacks… such a shame the show was canceled!)
But while Hermione Lodge is a TV housewife, Veronica has no interest in being domesticated.
She’s ambitious and wants to be the “She-Wolf” of Wall Street, and apparently, she’s good on the trading floor, which is where she met Chadwick in the first place.
We also find out that she’s been lying to Chadwick about working at Lacy’s and instead, works at some high-end jewelry store.
Her mother informs her that maybe it’s time to start thinking about having a family since the “accident” that they all keep referring to is proof that they don’t have all the time in the world. We later learn that Chadwick and Veronica were in a helicopter crash on their way to Martha’s vineyard, which put things in perspective for Chadwick about wanting to start a family.
It seems like the perfect marriage until he gifts her a Glamerge Egg, a sign that Veronica has found herself in a marriage just like Hermione and Hiram’s. There seems to be more love here, but this isn’t the life we envisioned for our girl Ronnie at all.
She pawns the Glamerge Egg off to a customer at work… could this be the first sign of her marriage ending?
Sadly, Jughead’s story is the most cliche of them all. He’s a published writer living in Alphabet City, New York who is on the verge of becoming a “one-hit wonder” due to his writer’s block. Everyone knows the block is because the true inspiration for his novels always came from the messed up town of Riverdale, but I digress.
Jughead, with a little facial hair and swooping hair, has been pouring himself into these pages and neglecting his girlfriend, Jess, so it’s not really a shocker when she ups and leaves him. Because he hasn’t written anything, there’s also eviction notices piling up and debt collectors pounding on his door.
One evening, Jughead goes to his favorite bar where a fan named Cora approaches him to get an autograph. Again, in the most cliche of ways, Jughead hooks up with Cora only to realize that she stalked him so that she could give him her novel in hopes that he’d pass it along to his agent. Shoot your shot, Cora.
After seeing Riverdale crumble, Archie reaches out to his friends to call them back home. Based on their surprised expressions, they haven’t kept in touch over the years.
Prior to their return to Riverdale and their booth at Pops (some things never change no matter how much time has passed), we learn more about the demise of the town at the hands of its constant villain.
Archie goes downstairs to what is now the Whyte Worm, a Serpent bar owned by Sweet Pea and Toni, the new Serpent Queen. Live music is still alive as a pregnant-Toni serves as the band’s lead singer. It’s definitely a different vibe from La Bonne Nuit but in a way, more fitting.
Everyone catches up over drinks and if you thought Betty, Veronica, and Jughead’s lives were strange, just wait till you hear what’s been happening on the home front.
As I mentioned, Toni is pregnant but she doesn’t reveal who the father is when Archie asks. My guess is that the series hasn’t exactly figured it out just yet and/or doesn’t want to further upset #Choni fans.
I say further because things between #Choni are, well, strange. Cheryl has been fully consumed by rehabilitating the Blossom image, but though she initially wanted to do so in order to prove to Toni’s family that she was worthy of her love, it’s since evolved into some weird “damsel in distress” situation where she hides out at Thornhill because she’s avoiding the Blossom curse.
I really hoped Cheryl would pull it together during these seven years, but alas, it seems like her character is headed down a path of continued self-destruction. She’s also into painting, but it seems as though her interest in the arts wields a greater plan as she’s “replicating” famous works of art possibly to sell dupes and make money?
The Blossom family continues to be shady. I’m not keen on the storyline already, and I don’t even know what’s fully happening.
During the tour, Toni mentions that everyone who had the money to get out did so a long time ago, which begs the question of why Toni, Kevin, and Fangs (who are the only couple still together) decided to return to Riverdale after attending prestigious colleges.
Why would Kevin choose to come back to a town with absolutely no promise to teach drama at Riverdale High? Why would Toni return if being a “woman in Riverdale” is hard these days?
None of it really makes sense.
As for Riverdale, well, it’s a town that needs saving. Everything that Hiram Lodge has touched has turned to crap, and he’s investing all his time and money into a rich neighborhood, SoDale, next door. This means Riverdale is neglected, sans job opportunities, and full of things that go bump in the night.
The most heartbreaking is that Archie’s house has now become Ghoulie’s headquarters. I can’t believe Mary allowed this to happen!
Archie is hoping that his friends can come back and restore Riverdale to all of its glory (if that was ever even a thing), but considering Jughead, Betty, and Veronica all seem uncomfortable around each other, will his plan work?
We also meet the new characters in town including Tabitha Tate, Pop Tate’s granddaughter who is taking over Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe as Pop retires!
There’s also Lynette Fields, known as “Squeaky” to her friends, who arrived in Riverdale and was leaving for California for a “fresh start.”
Jughead’s voiceover explains that she “never makes it to California,” which sounds like a new mystery for the Pop’s squad and quite possibly, the next inspiration for Jughead’s brand-new novel! As I said, he always did get his best material in the murder capital of the U.S.!
What did you think of the “new” Riverdale? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
Riverdale Midseason Finale Review – The Pincushion Man (5×10)
I wish I had some maple mushrooms cause maybe then I’d be able to make sense of what transpired on the midseason finale of Riverdale.
Things just keep getting weirder and weirder on this series for absolutely no reason, but I’d be lying if I said I don’t tune in solely to see how absurd things get.
Everyone made some pretty questionable choices during “The Pincushion Man,” which, much to my surprise, is not the name of a new serial killer in town.
Honestly, the only one who made any reasonable decisions was Archie, who stood up against his General and refused to follow a direct order opting to go with his instinct instead.
It helped that a reporter for the New York Times made him aware that the mission, which General Taylor wanted to celebrate him for, may have been dirty.
Once he informed Taylor that he would not accept the Silver Eagle medal, Taylor’s true colors came to the surface as he threatened to make Archie a scapegoat.
Archie stood his ground and said that he was at peace with his decision, even if it meant he had to go in front of a judge and relive the experience.
Archie has faced off against Hiram Lodge on several occasions, so he’s definitely not intimidated by a General.
In fact, they’re still dealing with Hiram’s wrath as he purposefully freed all of his inmates to cause havoc in Riverdale. He really just cannot let it go.
At least now we know why Hiram is so hellbent on destroying his former hometown (aside from the fact that he just enjoys it) — he’s after palladium, a precious rare metal that’s more than gold.
Releasing the inmates interrupted parent-teacher night, and it’s shocking that Riverdale High still has any students enrolled. Then again, Professor Weatherbee said wanted to show the parents that they could protect the kids, and Archie delivered by singlehandedly taking on the inmates.
Two unexpected visitors from the prison — Charles and Chic — also crashed Juniper and Dagwood’s birthday party for absolutely no reason, and the whole thing was kind of bizarre.
Betty and Alice didn’t call the police because, in case you forgot, Riverdale only has a Sheriff who was nowhere to be found while the town was being overrun by criminals, but that’s beside the point.
The weirdest part was that Alice was accommodating of her guests and still seems to care about Charles despite all the pain he’s caused the family. Plus, she was devastated when she shot him in self-defense. Why? I understand that he’s her son, but stop being naive and putting your family in danger, Alice! What a blindspot!
I think Chic is finally dead, but I can’t confirm that.
And the twins definitely have some kind of serial killer gene coursing through their veins. They didn’t even feel remorse for hurting their classmate. The smiles on their faces were beyond creepy.
I’m glad Betty stood up for them and didn’t allow Juniper to stab Glen because it could’ve triggered something.
I don’t really understand why Betty gave Glen another chance, almost as much as I can’t comprehend why Veronica would allow herself to get wooed by Chad one last time, but I guess the heart wants what it wants?
They both realized the error of their ways almost immediately. Glen revealed that he was more into examining Betty’s family and their predisposition to murder than actually solving Polly’s disappearance and the case of the missing girls along the Lonely Highway.
This man didn’t see an issue with using his girlfriend’s toxic family for his dissertation!
I hope this is the last we’ve seen of him.
Betty connected her father Hal aka the Black Hood to “Nedslist,” which is how women and truckers get hooked up on the Lonely Highway. Do the murders have something to do with him? Or was that just Glen’s attempt at learning more about her family history?
As for Veronica, she fell into the “one last night” magic when she visited Chad only to learn the next morning that he wasn’t interested in giving her a divorce and used her jewelry business for some bad investments that caused them to go into debt.
Additionally, he threatened to testify against her if they divorced and blame her for all the dirty deals, which basically backed Veronica into a corner.
Again, why would Veronica trust a man who openly blackmailed her with photos of her and Archie? He’s clearly a master manipulator and was never going to let her off the hook that easily.
Ladies, get it together!
Even worse than hooking up with the husband that you plan on divorcing is cheating on your current boyfriend.
And Jughead… well, he was on quite a trip with those psychedelic mushrooms.
Though Tabitha was initially hesitant to babysit him while he took them, she eventually agreed to do it when she realized he wouldn’t change his mind.
However, she probably should’ve stuck around the whole time.
Jughead successfully wrote his novel, which was the goal all along, but everything that transpired while he was high was quite a mess.
He hallucinated his ex Jess before having an intense experience with Betty who kept apologizing for the pain she caused him senior year. That paired with Jughead’s confession to Tabitha that he isn’t ready for a relationship cause he never moved on from his breakup with Betty was definitely enough to give Bughead fans hope for the future. And I can’t say I’m not happy that the series won’t be using Tabitha as a tool to reunite Jughead and Betty.
That is if Jughead survives. When Tabitha returned at some point during his drug-induced trip, she found the bunker covered in blood and Jughead nowhere to be found.
It’s unclear what, if anything, Jughead hallucinated was real, but there was a whirring sound that indicated he had an encounter with the mothmen.
Did they abduct him? Did he try to search for them?
Moral of the story: drugs are bad kids.
Hiram didn’t just stir up trouble at Riverdale High, he also tasked Reggie with getting the maple groves from the Blossom family. Apparently, the palladium is nestled right under the trees.
Nana Rose was all too willing to sell because of the Blossom curse, but Cheryl basically said: “over my dead body.”
So, Reggie went to the extremes and set the groves on fire. We thought Reggie was on the right path when he turned on Hiram and supported the Bulldogs in the previous episode, but he’s right back at being Hiram’s lackey again.
Penelope, who also broke out of prison, explained that they needed to call upon the wind to redirect the fire, and after they prayed to their satanic altar, a windstorm appeared and spared at least half of the groves.
Riverdale always does this weird thing where it tries to dabble in the supernatural but never fully crosses the line into that world. It’s annoying. Either you’re embracing the magic or you aren’t. You can’t have it both ways!
Other Midseason Musings
- Min-Min and Cheryl are definitely over, right? Minerva had the right idea when she made a break for it because I have no doubt Nana Blossom would try to sacrifice her.
- Kevin Keller with a blade? It was a look.
- Toni’s absence was explained as bed rest due to pregnancy. I’ll let it slide simply because the series has made it a priority to integrate her into more episodes, and we know she was actually pregnant so maybe she really needed the break.
- Betty is now taking Polly’s case into her own hands, but what’s her plan? Is she going to drive the truck and look for clues?
What did you think of the midseason finale of Riverdale? Let us know in the comments below!
Riverdale Review – Destroyer (5×09)
And we’re back to the old Riverdale.
You know, the one where weird, unexplainable things happen as Betty and Jughead work a case together.
There was a rush of endorphins as the former couple teamed up to get some much-needed answers. In my previous Riverdale reviews, I said that it was only a matter of time before the duo’s cases crossed paths.
There’s too much overlap when it comes to the mothmen/mothman (I really can’t tell if it’s one entity or multiple anymore) and Polly’s disappearance. The main connection is the Lonely Highway, which is where the mothmen seem to be located, where Polly and other girls have gone missing, and now, where Lerman, Jughead’s student, was drawn to while sleepwalking.
Lerman’s story was very similar to what Old Man Dreyfus told Jughead previously, so while it seems unlikely that aliens would be inhabiting this small town, all signs are pointing in that direction.
He wouldn’t recount being operated on in a spaceship unless it happened… and why did Principal Weatherbee get so upset that Jughead questioned whether a student was in distress? Isn’t that a teacher’s job?
Though, I’d likely agree that these aliens are sort of like the Gargoyle King where it’s someone dressed up as supernatural entities.
It’s unfortunate that Lerman’s parents moved him out of Riverdale before Jughead and Betty had a chance to ask him any concrete questions.
I don’t think Polly is dead. She could’ve been injured, which would explain why her blood was smeared all over the telephone booth, but if she was dead, they likely would have found her body right next to it. I kept thinking Betty would walk into the house and Polly would be there with no recollection of what happened.
Betty’s decision not to tell Alice the truth about Polly was partially because she didn’t want her mom to crack, and partially because she’s holding out hope and still believes Polly is out there somewhere.
Also, who missed Dark Betty? She almost killed John for preying on these innocent girls. Thankfully, she was saved by the bell.
Now, Glen… that dude is a problem.
He didn’t care enough to get involved in the case before, but after Betty chewed him out, he took it upon himself to come to Riverdale, tell her mom, and remove Betty from the case.
He clearly doesn’t know her as well as he thinks he does.
Also, can Alice ever learn from previous mistakes of trusting “agents” over her own family?
She barely knows Glen, so why isn’t she wearier about his sudden involvement?
Betty and Jughead worked well together, even if she did think his alien-theory was a little too far out there at first. And who could blame her? In Jughead’s defense, weirder things have happened in this small town.
What’s problematic is the teaser for next week showing Jughead and Tabitha getting close as she’ll likely only be a plot device to bring Jughead and Betty back.
If that’s the case, Tabitha deserves better.
As usual, while Betty and Jughead were dealing with the oddities in Riverdale, Archie and Veronica were hoping to inspire a little town spirit in a place that had absolutely none.
The Bulldogs, despite Archie’s best attempts, weren’t winning games, which meant that the town wasn’t rallying behind them.
If they stood any chance at saving Riverdale from Hiram’s grasp, they needed the team to step it up.
Veronica did plenty to incentivize the team including offering $10,000 to the first person to score and bringing a professional football player to give them a pep-talk. She also organized a pancake breakfast at Pops. Meanwhile, Cheryl came out of retirement to entertain the masses.
I’m never a fan of musical numbers on Riverdale, but Cheryl’s still got it. Also, where was Toni? I hate when shows don’t explain a character’s absence.
With a little help from Archie’s Friday Night Lights approach, the Bulldogs managed to score once during the game, which was more than enough to inspire confidence in the team and the town.
You can just see that Archie has his students’/players’ best interests at heart, while Hiram is just out there for himself.
Archie didn’t get mad at Derek for switching to Stonewall Prep’s team because he understood that it was better for college applications. Though, you better believe Derek would’ve probably have benefitted from staying on the Bulldogs and having a coach who cares about him.
Hiram only cares about himself and his own interest. Look how quickly he turned on Reggie, who, in turn, threw in his support behind the Bulldogs.
It just goes to show how weak alliances are when they’re only superficial and surface-level.
Also, why is Hiram such a toddler? He’s a grown man who literally picks on children. Even Reggie realized there was a line he wouldn’t cross.
Kevin dealt with the fallout of calling it quits with Fangs, which meant that he had to get very honest with himself.
While he couldn’t talk about his issues with Fangs, after hitting on a man in the steam room and getting beat up, he finally confided in his father about being ashamed to be gay.
It was a heartbreaking talk, especially as he blamed his mothers’ offhand comments about his sexual orientation for his desire to cruise.
Kevin has hidden his emotions for quite some time, but until he really confronts them and deals with them, he’s probably right in putting off the wedding and having a baby.
And while I think these storylines are important to address, Kevin does feel a bit forced simply to break up a couple that was standing on solid ground.
Personally, I think it would be awesome to see Kevin, Fangs, and Toni raise a modern, unconventional family, so I’m hoping Kevin eventually arrives at a place where he feels comfortable and secure.
What did you think of tonight’s episode?
Sound off in the comments below, Cravers!
Riverdale Review – Lock & Key Party (5×08)
Cheryl was responsible for a little chaos on Riverdale Season 5 Episode 8 that put into question plenty of relationships.
While a lot can change in seven years, a lot can also stay the same.
At the top of the hour, Kevin and Fangs made a huge announcement – they were engaged. And not only that, but they were also expecting a baby with Toni as part of their nontraditional family.
The fact that Kevin and Fangs turned out to be Toni’s baby daddies was probably the least surprising thing about the episode. The trio has formed such a close-knit bond that it only makes sense.
When Cheryl found out about it, she was furious and decided to throw a “Lock and Key” party to meddle in the relationship.
And everyone was down for one last hurrah where they get a free pass to do whatever they want.
However, the party turned out to be quite the dud. Cheryl tried to make amends with Toni by showing her a nursery at Thornhill, but Toni has matured past this type of behavior.
She didn’t want to be manipulated by Cheryl again, and after so much time apart, she saw how toxic things with Cheryl were when they were younger.
Look, I’m always going to be a #Choni fan, but I have to admit, Cheryl is not okay these days. She’s cooped up in Thornhill with absolutely no sense of reality, while Toni is out there in the real world thriving. She has a career, she’s helping women, she’s running a bar, and she’s about to become a mother.
Her priority now is to protect her baby at all costs, and a life locked up in Thornhill is not the life she wants for her child.
The series has done quite an overhaul with this time jump, and I wish they would have picked a better path for Cheryl.
After being rejected by Toni, Cheryl found solace in the arms of Minerva, who is sticking around cause she wants a Cheryl Blossom original after figuring out that she’s been selling forgeries as the real deal.
Personally, I don’t trust Minerva, but I’m also not quite sure what her angle truly is.
Betty and Archie delivered a rollercoaster of emotions. As she experienced night terrors connected to the TBK, she called her hook-up buddy Archie for comfort.
But sadly, #Barchie fans had to give up on that dream by the end of the hour because Archie was developing feelings for Veronica again. And Betty was scared that the closer she and Archie got, the more her darkness would consume him.
In blatant terms: the clock was running out on being friends with benefits, and they decided it was better to just be friends.
I know it’s upsetting for many fans, but at least their short-lived romance was smoking hot while it lasted.
By the end of the hour, Ronnie and Chadwick agreed to a divorce and she was back in Archie’s arms… just like the good old days.
Does it seem too easy? Absolutely. Chadwick was a manipulative and jealous husband, so the chances of him just surrendering and agreeing to a divorce are slim.
And bringing Veronica and Archie back together feels like the show is falling back on its crutches and undoing all the progress it tried to make with a time jump.
Maybe it would’ve made sense if Archie and Ronnie remained friends for at least half a season before giving in to their feelings.
The good thing is it doesn’t seem like Betty and Jughead are going to get back together anytime soon as they’re both battling their inner demons.
Betty’s dealing with the trauma of the TBK, which she kind of pushed aside by coming back to her hometown, but it’s resurfacing as she deals with another serial killer/ kidnapper who has taken hold of Polly.
Something tells me, however, that Betty and Jughead’s paths will cross as they are dealing with the same monsters.
Polly’s frantic phone call gave Alice hope as it means her daughter is still alive, but Polly’s description of her captor and her surroundings don’t give off the vibe that she’s dealing with something human.
Firstly, she said “they’re coming” as in a plural suspect. Secondly, Alice mentioned that the place she was being held captive sounded like a spaceship.
I wouldn’t think twice of it if Jughead wasn’t seeing aliens and contemplating whether or not he’s going “crazy.”
Maybe Polly has been captured by the Mothman, the rumored legend in Riverdale.
After Jughead had his “encounter,” he’s been haunted by images of aliens. Sure, it could be repressed trauma, but where’s the fun in that?
And it would just make sense for Betty and Jughead’s paths to cross as they both investigate these eerie cases.
After all, they always did some solid detective work.
Tabitha makes for a good sidekick, but she’s no Betty. Though, I’m not opposed to Jughead pursuing a relationship with Tabitha for now because she seems good for him.
Veronica and Chadwick and Archie and Betty weren’t the only couples/friends with benefits to call it quits. Following Cheryl’s party, Kevin, who was clearly having doubts about this next step in his life, informed Fangs that he wasn’t ready to get married. As Fangs said, he basically imploded their relationship of eight years because he got cold feet. I’m not pleased with this decision considering Fangs and Kevin always made it work in a way that worked for them. Fangs was even willing to remain in an open relationship if that would make Kevin happy! What happened?
Though, I guess it’s better to be honest about your feelings than pretending everything is okay and leading someone on. Good on Kevin for doing the right thing even if it hurt like hell.
- That Reggie and Fangs kiss almost knocked me off the couch!
- We finally got a quick peek at Juniper and Dagwood!
- Katy Keene lives to see another day! While I’d rather see Lucy Hale reprise her character, it was great to hear her voice on the other end of the line!
- Are Betty and Veronica even friends anymore? I miss the B&V bond!
What did you think of the episode? Is Riverdale headed in the right direction?
Are you into the Mothman storyline?
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