Chapter Thirteen: The Sweet Hereafter
S5 E16
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I think I've identified what Riverdale's problem is as of late: Although the time jump was super exciting at first, and I thought it worked well, what it has done is left everyone very disjointed. And the show has yet to give us a story that brings everyone back together. So for weeks now, we've watched Archie deal with one thing, Cheryl with another, Veronica with another, and so on. Not only that, but a lot of the stuff they're dealing with is stuff that happened over the time jump and therefore, it's hard to be invested in. Sure, we've seen flashbacks to Archie's time in the army, but not being there for it affects the story's impact.

So, let's take this one story at a time, shall we?


When Archie finds out that General Taylor is retiring from the Army will full honors and is no longer under investigation, he wants to bring the issue before a military tribunal. He even confronts Taylor face-to-face, which results in a scene full of threats from both sides. (Good to see that Archie still loves going toe-to-toe with someone three times his age.) But once Archie is alone with Frank, we finally get the full story of what happened, which we sort of already knew. Taylor ordered Archie's platoon into a firing zone to deliver medical supplies to civilians. But Taylor was actually trying to kill someone, and although Archie told him it was a suicide mission, Taylor forced them to move forward with it.

Immediately, they needed backup. Archie left his platoon in the trenches to reach higher ground and call for help, but when he returned, they were all dead, except for Bingo, who'd die before the choppers arrived, and Eric, who lost his leg.

Arch then spends much of the episode asking his platoon's families if they support the military tribunal. And then, we find out that Eric partially blames himself for what happened because Taylor had promised him a promotion if he killed the target. And when Archie went to call for help, Eric left the unit unprotected.

In the end, Eric agrees to testify, and the military tribunal decides to discharge Taylor without honors. So, it's over, and I'm still struggling to care.


When Chad — who apparently still uses Skype?! — calls Veronica and offers to help her pay off his investors, she shuts him down, which prompts him to call the SEC on her. Suddenly, she and Reggie need an influx of cash, and they need it fast. Veronica's idea? Steal daddy's stash of palladium.

Reggie claims Hermosa will know where it's hidden, and apparently, he and Hermosa dated during the time jump. So after a flirty phone call, Hermosa gives up the location. With Cheryl's help, Veronica then melts the palladium into doubloons and sells them at an auction that Hiram crashes. But she ignores her father's final bid, gets the money she needs, and defeats Chad all on her own.

But when Chad tells her about his new company, Copter Cab — a.k.a. Uber for the most privileged of the privileged — Veronica sees an opportunity. She attends Chad's party for the company going public, at which point Chad gets word that the stock is crashing. It seems Veronica called the press and let them know that Chad, an investor in a helicopter company, had been in a helicopter crash. Honestly, he didn't think that was a good idea, did he?! Why did she ever marry this idiot?

So, Veronica walks out the victor, also screwing over Hiram in the process, and we love to see it, though, again, I'm not invested in any of this.


Jughead is seven days sober, so he's started the apology tour, which, for the record, would not begin that early. That's barely sober! Go take some time to yourself, dude! (He's also terrible at reading social cues because when Alice goes by Betty's house, she's clearly depressed, and he just turns around walks away.)

Anyway, he apologizes to Weatherbee, who puts him on administrative leave. Then he apologizes to Tabitha before asking about his manuscript. When he finds out Jessica has it, he panics. It won't be good for his (again, very fragile) sobriety to track down Jessica. So instead, when Sam calls and demands some pages, he decides to open a bottle of booze and read the manuscript that Cora Carter, the grad student, had given to him many episodes ago. Honestly, it's hard to root for any of these people right now! I mean, I root for Archie, but his stories are just too boring.

Anyway, Jughead does what you think he's going to do and sends in the book pretending it's his own. Don't worry, he doesn't go through with it, and when he tells Sam the truth, Sam drops him.

As for his apology tour, he apologizes to Betty about the voicemail... while still drinking. So yeah, that apology sucks. But Betty barely notices; she's too obsessed with her own addiction to serial killers. It seems hunting down serial killers as a teen has messed her up in life. WHO WOULDA THUNK. Now, she's more comfortable studying serial killers than she is socializing with normal people. Well yeah, you spent your formative years leaving school dances to track down murderers. Riverdale messed you up, girl!

She tells Jughead that's why she missed his book release party: She had to choose between Jug and the TBK task force, and Betty's going to choose a killer over any man.

In the end, Tabitha calls Jughead out for the alcohol on his breath, and while he goes back to an AA meeting, she heads out on the Lonely Highway with Betty. Because Tabitha, now the best character on this show, refuses to let Betty do this alone.

Madelaine Patsch and Casey Cott in 'Riverdale'
| Credit: The CW


Okay, guys, I saved the most insane for last. After Penelope rains on Cheryl and Kevin's parade by claiming that Jason commands "no more singing" in the ministry, Kevin suggests Cheryl upstage her mother by performing three miracles and thereby qualifying for sainthood. I'm going to let you read that sentence again. Ready? Cool.

First, Cheryl changes water into maple syrup. A true miracle for sugar-lovers everywhere. Then, Cheryl manifests the collective pain of her congregation as her hands bleed from wounds that look a lot like the wounds Jesus suffered on the cross!!! So naturally, after that, the third miracle would be: Bees. Sorry, what?

Yep, for Cheryl's third miracle, she places her hands into a tank filled with bees and doesn't get stung. And when Penelope tries to call her out in front of the congregation — which seems to meet every day? — Cheryl, with honey in her once-wounded hands, brings her bees over to her mother and tells her to "be gone from my temple or I will smite thee, for I am Cheryl Blossom, queen of the bees." And I'm out. I cannot. Cheryl threatening to smite people?! What is the point of all this?!

And to make matters worse, she's apparently drinking her own Kool-Aid. She later tells Kevin that something has shifted inside of her and, "I'm not saying I'm the first-ever living saint, but what if I am?" I'll say this: If you are, Cheryl, then we're all screwed.

It's all either too boring or too insane, and much like Betty, I miss the days when they were all just dealing with serial killers.

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Chapter Thirteen: The Sweet Hereafter
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