Riverdale recap: Archie and Toni have a plan to save Riverdale
If last week set the table for where everyone is post-time jump, this week's Riverdale was about truly reuniting everyone and seeing how dynamics have shifted in their time away. It's safe to say some things are different, and others... not so much.
The episode starts with a quick catch-up for our former couples: Betty and Jughead discuss why Betty didn't reach out and she tells him that she didn't think he wanted her to after the voicemail he left on the night of his book launch. Then there's Archie and Veronica. One of them is married and the other hasn't had a real relationship since they were in high school. Long story short, everyone can't stop talking about how they need to get back to their lives, which means that over the course of this episode, we'll learn why they can't.
At the end of the night, they each head home. Betty's at her house, where Polly seems to be staying out late a lot, Archie's sleeping at the community center, Veronica's back at the Five Seasons, and Jughead has returned to the bunker, comforted only by his debt and the blank page staring back at him.
While Kevin and Betty start to clean out the FBI field office, Veronica meets with Hiram. She says she wants back in on the family business. It seems she and Chad are considering buying a weekend home in Riverdale. But Hiram explains that he moved the rum business to Miami and sold La Bonne Nuit, so there's nothing for Veronica to get in on. (He's mad about many things, one of which being that Veronica never told him that she was marrying Chad.)
At the Whyte Wyrm, Jughead asks Toni for a job when he discovers that the Serpents — Sweet Pea and Fangs included — are mad at him for the way they were portrayed in his book. Apparently he mocked some of their traditions. So instead, Jug tries his hand at Pop's. Tabitha Tate is in need of a new waiter, but it appears she also isn't Jug's biggest fan.
At the high school, Archie meets with Principal Weatherbee about the program when Weatherbee drops the bomb that the school might not even open next week. Hiram has cut the budget and they'll be voting on everything at the upcoming school board meeting.
Speaking of Hiram's master plan, he goes to Toni and offers to give all of the Riverdale High students scholarships to Stonewall Prep. And to sweeten the deal, he offers her a counselor position. But Toni stands her ground.
Archie then shifts his focus to his childhood home. He wants the Ghoulies out, and Betty offers to use her FBI training to help any way she can. Archie then goes to Tom Keller, the sheriff and sole cop in town, and asks him to prepare some gear. Apparently, Reggie runs Hiram's private security force, but Keller warns Archie that Reg is in with the Ghoulies.
And, as Kevin's hot dad always is, Tom's right. Archie asks Reggie to do a walk-through of the house, but they don't find any drug paraphernalia because it's clear Reggie tipped them off. But Archie does find one thing in the house... Polly.
While all of this is going on, Veronica is fielding a job offer to be a sports agent in L.A. when she realizes Chad has frozen all their credit cards. Furthermore, Smithers spots a car parked out front and lets Veronica know she's being followed. It seems her new husband is a bit controlling.
When Betty's nightmares wake her up at 3 a.m., she hears something downstairs. But it's only Polly. Over a cup of tea, the sisters make amends and agree to be there for each other. Betty says once she finishes at the academy, she'll be home a lot more. As for what Polly does for work, she claims to waitress at a nightclub. But once Archie tells Betty the truth, well, let's just say Betty is more than willing to help him beat up some Ghoulies.
Together with Sweet Pea, Fangs, Kevin, and Tom, Betty and Archie bust into his old house and rough up some Ghoulies. And when Kevin discovers Jingle Jangle and a drug lab in the bathroom, it's enough to put them all behind bars, Polly not included, though Betty does confront her later. It does not go well.
Also not going well? Jug's job search. During his interview with Pop — he agreed to write a speech for his retirement party — a couple of debt collectors show up looking for him. He ducks behind the counter and Tabitha lies for him, and weirdly, it's just the thing to land him the job? Seems she's a bit like Pop after all.
In more bad news, two Riverdale High teachers defect to Stonewall Prep, and I swear, "Dammit Ms. Crouton" is one of the funniest lines in all of Riverdale history. Apparently, Hiram is putting forth a vote to un-incorporate the town, a.k.a. take its money, a.k.a. dissolve Riverdale. The only way to save the high school if he does that is to go private, and Toni has a plan.
Speaking of Hiram, after Veronica talks to Reggie, she decides to ask her father for help with her controlling husband. She wants daddykins to talk to him, but Hiram says no. He hasn't forgotten the way Veronica spoke to him seven years ago.
Cut to Betty and Archie giving off a VIBE as they clean up Archie's house. I have to say, I'm a fan of the way FBI Betty fits with more mature Archie. And when the two of them had steamy sex in the shower? I cheered! No matter how you feel about the ships on this show, I was very happy that they didn't have Betty and Archie kiss once seven years ago and then ignore it. Something more had to come of it! And maybe that time apart was the thing they needed to finally have a chance together. Plus, it's just nice for the show not to immediately snap back to the same relationships we've seen before.
After the hot, hot sex, they agree that they're still just friends, but despite the fact that they're single adults, they feel the need to keep this a secret? That doesn't feel like the right call if you ask me.
At Pop's retirement party, Jug gives a heartfelt speech and Pop finally gets his due, after which Toni asks Cheryl to be Riverdale High's investor. With her money, they could make the school private. And though she's reluctant at first, Toni pulls the "if our love ever meant anything to you, help us" card, and Cheryl caves.
As for Jug's speech, it just landed him his next book? He sent it into his agent and now his publishers are hooked. Apparently stories about dying small towns are all the rage right now!
After the party, the core four return to the high school lounge to hear Archie's big plan: That they all teach at Riverdale High. Betty's instantly in. As for Veronica, she could commute to the city, and Jug does his best writing at Pop's anyway. So, now we have an answer to the question of why they're going to stay put. At least for now.
At the school board vote, Toni breaks the news that Riverdale is going to be a tuition-free private school adding four new teachers. But her victory is followed by the board voting to dissolve the township of Riverdale. So they saved the school, but not the town... yet.
The episode ends with Veronica threatening to wage war with Chad if he doesn't reactivate their credit cards, and Betty and Archie texting. At least until Jughead knocks on Archie's door and asks to move in with him. So more shower sex might have to wait.
But the final moments of the episode are where things get dramatic: When Polly isn't picking up her phone, we see her running down the street being chased by the truck with a skeleton on its grill. And if anything's going to force Betty to whip out her FBI training, it's a serial killer targeting her family.