Riverdale recap: Archie fights fire with a fire department
This is going to be a fun one. For starters, this week's Riverdale began with Jughead quickly explaining how he and Archie put out the massive fire that was surrounding the entire house. The answer? TWO FIRE EXTINGUISHERS. Kids, if you're reading this, please know that two fire extinguishers cannot save you from a massive inferno. If that were true, we wouldn't need firefighters.
Speaking of firefighters, Archie decides he's going to reopen Riverdale's fire department because you can't fight fire with fire, but you can fight it with a fire department. (See what he did there?) What happened to Riverdale's fire department, you ask? Hiram firebombed it! But here's my question: Could they not... put out the fire?
When the former fire chief tells Archie this is a "young man's battle" — an excuse I can't wait to use later in life — Archie tries to recruit his friends, including his injured Army buddy Eric Jackson, who's now staying with Archie. But neither Fangs nor Kevin seems very interested. Archie's RROTC students, however, are up to the task, because nothing says being a teenager quite like fighting a fire!
Thankfully, Veronica calls in Katy Keene's roommate's ex-boyfriend — did you follow that? — who just so happens to be an expert firefighter from NEW YORK. I love how this show talks about anyone from New York as if they're obviously the best at what they do. It's 100 percent how small-town grandmothers talk about New York.
This NEW YORK expert then gives Eric, Archie and Archie's students a firefighter bootcamp, but as soon as he says the first rule of fighting fires is working as a team, I laughed. Has he met Archie?! This guy only knows how to run into dangerous situations without backup. And guess what? That's what he does!
The first burning building they get, Archie runs right in! Afterward, as Archie recovers in the hospital, Eric learns all about the terrible Hiram Lodge. Cut to Archie having to stop Eric from literally storming off with his gun and shooting Hiram. Instead, Archie convinces him to stay in town and become the commander of his fire department. Archie says he can't think of anyone better than this untrained, clearly unstable man. So this will go well.
By episode's end, Archie and Eric are joined by Kevin and Fangs, who had a change of heart, and even the former chief, who's willing to help with training. Then there's Veronica, who bought an old fire truck and delivered it to the station.
Speaking of Veronica, she spends the episode trying to reinvigorate Riverdale's economy... by creating her own currency? Veronica puts $50,000 worth of River Dollars into the community, money that can be used within the town. The idea is that money is then reinvested into the town over and over again. It's how she plans to pay her students for their help remodeling her jewelry store.
But V's plan backfires when her students print too much money, thereby devaluing it. Here's where we get my favorite quote from Veronica, the teacher: "Well done, class. F's for everyone." But really, she tells her students they can work it off by helping clean up the town.
That brings us to Cheryl, who finally emerges from Thornhill to try and take the Vixens back from Toni the only way she knows how: With a dance-off. A very pregnant Toni has one of the Vixens serve as her proxy, and yes, we get a dance-off. A few very awkward minutes later, Cheryl and Toni agree to share the Vixens, though that doesn't stop Cheryl from scheduling secret practices and yelling things like, "I've seen a porcelain doll possessed by my deceased brother move faster than you lot."
In the end, Toni gives Cheryl a very serious talking to, letting her know she needs to take a long hard look in the mirror. Cheryl then returns home to discover that her forgery of Jason's portrait has been discovered. In other words, Cheryl had a very bad day.
Also having a bad day is Betty. After the body she, Kevin, and Alice found in the swamp is decidedly not Polly, Alice returns to the swamp and Betty starts to try and figure out the girl's identity. Her first guess is someone named Margaret Harper, an old case of Toni's when she was a social worker, but this girl doesn't have braces, which means it's not Margaret. Translation: There are now three missing girls in Riverdale, and three is a pattern.
Betty puts together a larger search party to return to the swamp after Alice finds Polly's phone, but as soon as they hit the SoDale border, Hiram stops them. That's when Betty realizes she needs back-up. But when she calls Glenn to ask for help, he tells her that the Trash Bag Killer has re-emerged in Tulsa.
In order for Glenn to deal with TBK, Betty agrees to handle this on her own, which apparently means wandering into the swamp alone. There, she finds Reggie and his trusty rifle. (Does he just live there now?) But Reggie actually helps this week! He tells Betty that he found another body, and this one IS Margaret Harper. And she appears to have been killed by a wrecking ball?
Reggie then convinces Hiram to be the "hero" and let them search the swamp. He can build his turnpike later. By episode's end, Toni and Tom identify 21 missing girls in and around town. Riverdale, shockingly, is looking at another serial killer.
But Betty wasn't the only one dealing with bodies this week!
Jughead, now obsessed with the Mothman mystery, finds a story in which Pop's is an eye witness. He and Tabitha then sit down with Pop, who tells them all about the night 50 years ago that the jukebox started playing and a bright light filled the diner. Some thought it was aliens, others said it was military testing from a nearby base. Pop then points them in the direction of another eyewitness... Nana Blossom.
Nana, naturally, thinks it was aliens. Sorry, she knows it was. Because a few weeks after the light event, she found a misshapen body in the forest. THEN she talked to a Mothman and lied about the body being cremated when in reality she preserved it in a barrel of maple syrup? Sure, why not.
Nana then delivers said barrel to Pop's, where Jughead casually says the corpse smells like "maple syrup and decay." THEN, just when you thought this story couldn't get any weirder, we get a glimpse of the skeleton, and it does in fact have an "alien" skull. And by that I mean it looks like the aliens in Spice World. If you know, you know.
At 2 a.m., Jug experiences the light phenomenon, after which he claims he woke up in a booth four hours later. Tabitha thinks he was drunk or dreaming or both, but when they go to check on the body, it's gone.
Guys, is Riverdale doing aliens?! And if it's not, how are they going to explain this all away?! Hey, at least they'll have a fire department to fight the aliens, if that day comes. (And I truly hope it does.)