Welcome back Riverdale fans! Technically tonight marks the beginning of Riverdale’s season five as COVID cut the season short last season. Tonight, we learn where the gang has been since high school. Yes, we know Archie went to war and Betty to the FBI. Jughead became a writer and Veronica seems to have made herself at home on Wall Street (I thought she and Hermarosa were running daddy’s business). But something evil is ruining Riverdale and it seems to come from Hiram. The good news is that Toni is going to have a key role this season. So let’s prepare for the relaunch of Riverdale – six years later and it is 2021.
What, no narrator? Oh, that’s right! We don’t know Jug’s future yet. Archie’s future is quickly revealed. Yes, he joined the army and became a sergeant. As we open (and I knew it was a dream), Archie is mixing up a football game and a battle. First, he is in his fatigues then his uniform. He thinks Reggie is there as he sees Cheryl off at the side cheering. Then the battle gets intense and they try to retrieve one of their comrades. People fall all around and, in his dream, he sees all around cheering him on. He falls (I thought he was hit) and gets up to see Hiram Lodge with a gun in his face. He shakes it off, retrieves his fellow soldier, and makes it off the field.
Archie wakes up to find out that he’s in the VA hospital in Yonkers, New York. He is being sent to Riverdale to be the ROTC teacher at a reactivated group at his old high school, Riverdale. The roommate at the hospital is the man he saved, Jackson. Archie apologizes and says he wishes he was the one in the bed. Jackson tells him that he wouldn’t have been alive if it wasn’t for Archie. Archie tells him he’s going to be in charge of an ROTC group in his hometown. Jackson says it sounds nice and Archie gives him his address. Jackson salutes but Archie wants a handshake.
Returning to Riverdale, he finds a quiet, strange town. At Pop Tate’s there is no Pop but he’s directed to the club downstairs. It is now a Serpent club called Whyte Wurm that Toni and her gang bought and she’s singing. And I do mean sing! Toni can sing! (She’s also in a great costume). Veronica’s club is now the biker’s club and Kevin and Sweet Pea are there also. After the song, Toni comes off stage to Archie’s table. He notices she is pregnant but she will not reveal the daddy. They talk and . . .
Betty, FBI Trainee
Betty is running the obstacle course. She has made it into the FBI and is a trainee. She is also is coming out of a traumatic case. Seems she was trying to catch a serial killer known as the “Trash Can Killer.” It takes us forever to even get a glimpse of why she’s seeing a therapist and riding the cold case desk. She had tracked the killer to a shack but the victim was dead. Evidently, she was trapped by the TCK (the nickname) because she went in alone and suffered “trauma.” She wants back in the field but no one thinks she’s ready except for Betty. Oh, and she likes to remind people she was solving serial killer cases in high school.
Later we meet her boyfriend/partner (think Mulder and Scully of X-Files). He doesn’t think she’s ready to return either. She does have a theory that the TCK is migrating. She also has a dream where the killer is in her house with his chain saw. In the dream, she hears her cat and goes outside the apartment door where she sees a dismembered body with her cat licking it. She turns around, sees the killer, and wakes up.
Betty’s life doesn’t seem to be what she wants when suddenly she gets a call from Archie. She packs up and tells her partner/lover goodbye and leaves him to care for the cat.
Veronica has married Chadwick (Chad for short). When we see them, they are celebrating their one-year anniversary and he asks when they will have children running around. Ronnie wants to return to trading and get out of Lacey’s. Chad doesn’t want her to be stressed because of the "accident." In true Veronica style, we get: “It’s 2021, haven’t you heard. A woman can have it all.” Apparently, she was a stock trader before said "accident."
The next day, we find that Ron’s not working at Lacey’s but a high price jewelry store where she can make any sale she attempts while foiling shoplifting. That night, Chad confronts her about her work location. He had been to Laceys and saw Katie (as in Keene, remember the show) and learned she no longer an employee. The next day, Ronnie visits Hermione who is now on the “Real Housewives” show and living with Andy in New York City. Instead of being the “she-wolf of Wall Street,” Veronica feels like no one understands her and her life is over because of fear of stress. Hermione points out that they were worried about her after the "accident."
Returning home, Chad is waiting to try a do-over on their anniversary celebration. He explains that he almost lost her in the helicopter crash while they were traveling to Martha’s Vineyard and he wants everything life has to offer them. Then she gets a call from . . . Archie.
Jughead (Forsyth) Jones
Jughead has had one bestseller book (The Outcast). He had it made, but now he can’t seem to get things together. He has a bad case of writer’s block and a toxic relationship with Jet. (I think that’s her name. She’s not there long enough to get to know her.) His agent/manager has heard he is looking for a newspaper job and tells him that the publisher may take his advance back because Jughead can’t produce. Jughead goes home and finds a note on his door and the old girlfriend leaving. And evidently, he’s about to be evicted as there was some type of note on his door.
Jughead goes to a bar where he can think about his life. Let’s say he gets set up by a girl who “loves his writing.” (He used to be smarter than that!) They go home and have a wild time. (Jughead what are you doing? You aren’t old enough for a mid-life crisis). Oh, she’s smart. She’s figured out a way to get her book read because she covers for Jughead when the bone crushers (I mean bill collectors show up). He will now read her book and give it to his agent. If he doesn’t, she’ll call the bone crushers and tell them where he is. Jughead gets a call from Archie!
Archie asks Toni about her and Cheryl. Toni got her college degree and is also teaching. She had worked at the club. After Toni revived the Serpents, they bought Veronica’s club out and opened it up as the Whyte Wurm. Sweet Pea and Kevin back her up. Kevin has a degree in drama and is teaching also at Riverdale High.
Archie asks about Cheryl and we learn that Toni has visited her twice. The first visit found Cheryl dressed primly in black. On the second visit, Hiram is there with his assistant, Reggie (well, at least he is back). Hiram wants Blossom’s property and Cheryl won’t put it on the market. Toni and Cheryl have a talk while Cheryl paints her portrait. As a recluse, Cheryl lives quietly and paints. Toni wants to know why she doesn’t come to town. Cheryl knows all about Toni finishing college (with a 3.9 average) and Toni’s life. Cheryl is glad that Toni’s grandmother will accept her now but will not get back with Toni because of the curse.
First an accident and now a curse. Cheryl tells Toni that she thinks the family is cursed because of the sudden deaths of her relatives (which her mother caused). She is seeing herself like the Winchester lady who built the Winchester House in California. She feels that the Blossoms are cursed like that family. Toni asks her if that is why she is building onto the Blossom home. Cheryl doesn’t deny it. After Toni leaves, she finishes the portrait and sends it to Toni. What Toni doesn’t know, is that Cheryl has copied it exactly. Nana is impressed and wonders if Cheryl could make a perfect copy of say – a Rembrandt. Oh, goodie – a fake art story.
Archie can’t move home because his mom has rented the house (which has been trashed). He’s living out of the gym. The town is a dump and Toni gives him a tour. Most of the town has moved on because there is no funding for things like a fire department due to – guess. That’s right! Hiram is running things now. Everyone is leaving, Toni explains, as they walk down what was known as Sketch Alley. Now it is Skid Row where the homeless live and dogs are rabid. (Maybe that’s what happened to Reggie. He got bit by a Hiram Lodge rabid dog.) As they tour, Toni comes to the old forest which smells of smoke. Something is burning there every night because Hiram is opening a new development nearby. He is shutting down Riverdale for a turnpike going to the new multi-million dollar home project.
And the Gang Reunites
After the tour, Archie wants to go to Pop Tate’s. Pop’s back and gets to tell Archie the rest have gathered. When Toni starts to leave the old gang of four alone, Archie tells her to stay. She’s a part of their group which now numbers five. As they talk, a young waitress goes up to the new waitress and quits. She’s leaving the restaurant (which doesn’t seem to have many customers thanks to Hiram).
And the New Mystery Starts
Well, it can’t be Riverdale without a mystery. That young waitress that left? She sets up the mystery when she gets in a tractor-trailer heading to San Francisco. Make a guess at what happens because she doesn’t make it! I think I know where the TCK is!
Veronica returns to her waitress job in her blonde wig
Archie decides they must take the town back.
Betty and Archie gets his house back
Hiram finds a new enemy.