And Riverdale is not looking too hot.

By Samantha Highfill
February 10, 2021 at 09:06 PM EST
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If you told me that this episode was the pilot of a Riverdale reboot, I'd believe you. Obviously, I know these characters, and it still has that Riverdale feel, but the time jump has just changed so much. And I think that's a good thing. Part of the way into a fifth season, it's exciting to change things up. So, let's catch you up on what everyone's been up to in those seven years away.

Credit: The CW

Archie

Archie wakes up from a crazy dream in a VA hospital in Yonkers, NY. As per usual, it's unclear what year we're in, but we're going with it. It seems Archie was injured at war, though his buddy Corporal Jackson took the brunt of it. As for Archie, they're sending him back home to Riverdale to relaunch the ROTC program at Riverdale High. After apologizing to Jackson, who lost a leg in the mystery accident, Archie hits the road. But what he finds doesn't look like the Riverdale he left behind.

The parking lot at Pop's is filled with motorcycles, the culprit of which is La Bonne Nuit. Because it's now the new Whyte Wrym, and a pregnant Toni is the new Serpent Queen. She's on stage with Fangs and Sweet Pea when Archie arrives.

Archie and Toni sit down to catch up, and she makes it clear she's not telling anyone who the father of her baby is. She tells him she and the Serpents bought the bar from Hiram. As for why Archie's home, she assumed it was about Pop. And want to know what this show has done to me over the years? I instantly assumed Pop got murdered and was about to be SO MAD. Thankfully, he's just retiring, so Toni thought Archie returned for the party.

As Archie catches up with everyone, we learn that Toni is the new guidance counselor at Riverdale High, where Kevin works as the drama teacher. He and Fangs are still together, and Sweet Pea helped revive the Serpents when Toni returned from college. Both Fangs and Sweet Pea now drive trucks for cash. It's the Serpents' main way of bringing in money nowadays.

As for Cheryl, Toni tells Archie that they don't really talk anymore. We get a flashback to the time Toni visited Cheryl when she returned from college, only to discover that Hiram and his righthand man Reggie were trying to buy Cheryl's maple groves. She said no before asking if she could paint Toni. (Oh yeah, Cheryl paints now.) Toni essentially tells Cheryl that her plan worked, that her family approves of them being together now, but Cheryl says it's still not enough. Cheryl, obsessed with the Blossom curse, says she's doomed to a life of unhappiness. She now sees herself as the new Sarah Winchester of Riverdale, keeping her home under constant construction so that the family curse can't find time to consume her. She tells Toni that she deserves to be happy, and that's that. Now, Toni's painting hangs on a wall at the Whyte Wyrm and Cheryl continues to spend her days… trying to replicate original paintings? There's definitely more to that story.

At the end of their chat, Toni agrees to take Archie on a tour of the town tomorrow, but first, he has some calls to make. And that brings us to…

Betty

Betty is an FBI trainee! Although, she's not exactly out in the field working cases just yet because it seems her teen years of disarming bombs made her a bit too confident. In therapy, Betty is busy lying about not having nightmares about that time the Trash Bag Killer captured her and held her for two weeks. It seems she didn't wait for backup — because she's all cocky about how "I caught serial killers in high school" — and found herself in a terrifying situation. (He's called the Trash Bag Killer because he cuts up his victims and puts their body parts in… trash bags.)

So, while Betty is stuck doing desk work, we meet Glenn, her boss and boyfriend? She honestly doesn't seem very into the relationship, so when Archie calls her, she happily tells Glenn she has to go back to Riverdale for a few days (and Glenn asks her to clean out Charles' satellite office). As for Glenn, he agrees to take care of her cat, Toffee, while she's gone.

Veronica

In New York, Veronica is celebrating one year of marriage with her husband, Chadwick, but it becomes very apparent very quickly that they're not on the same page about their life plan. Chadwick is happy to have a wife that works at Lacy's and wants to have kids soon. If only he realized that his wife — whom he met on the trading floor when she was called the she-wolf of Wall Street — is secretly working at an underground jewelry store à la Uncut Gems and isn't anywhere near ready for kids.

When he finds out the truth about her job, we learn about "the accident." Apparently, these two almost died in a helicopter crash, and ever since, Chadwick's been really focused on having a family.

After Veronica discusses things with her mom, who's recording her intro for the next season of Real Housewives, she returns home to an apology. Chad gives her a Glamergé egg of all things, which she swiftly sells at her jewelry store. And that's when Archie calls.

Jughead

Jughead was always a writer, but it seems the years have made him… messier? Suffering from some writer's block, his apartment is filled with pizza boxes and takeout containers, and his girlfriend, Jess, isn't happy about it.

Out to lunch with his agent, he finds out he didn't get the staff writer job at The New Yorker, and quite frankly, he's taking too long to write his second book. It seems his first one was a success but that was a long time ago. And because he's just having an all-around terrible day, he returns home to an eviction notice on his door and Jess leaving him.

So, while he drowns his sorrows at a bar, he meets a grad student who's a big fan of his book, The Outcast, which sounds like it's essentially the story of his life and particularly his love story with Betty. Jughead then sleeps with the grad student — revealing a new chest tattoo! — only to discover she has an ulterior motive: She wants Jug to read her novel and maybe give it to his agent.

When some debt collectors knock on his door, she agrees to get rid of them… if he reads her book. Jughead caves, but just as he starts reading, Archie calls him.

The reunion

The next day, Toni shows Archie the town, which no longer has a fire station and its entire police force is just Tom Keller? Riverdale is lawless now, Toni says, and anyone that could afford to move, has. So, why did it get so bad? Long story short, Hiram is destroying Riverdale all in the name of building up SoDale.

As for Archie's house, the Ghoulies now rent it out, so you can imagine how great that looks.

At Pop's, Archie finds Veronica, Betty, and Jughead all waiting for him in their usual booth. As Toni sits down with them, Archie explains that even though he called them here for Pop's retirement party, he needs their help saving Riverdale.

And it's not going to be an easy task. The episode ends with Squeaky — real name Lynette Fields — hitchhiking her way out of Riverdale never to be seen again. (To be fair she willingly got into a truck with a skeleton on the front of it, but either way, we have the beginnings of a new mystery/serial killer.)

This episode certainly felt like a reintroduction to the characters we once knew — like, last week — but I'm most curious to see how things shake out now that they're all back together.

Video courtesy of The CW.

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