It’s been seven years since the gang has seen each other. They all have their own lives away from Riverdale. Will they go back to their new lives, or will this blast to the past become permanent? Can you ever truly get away from your past or does the past always catch up with you? Stay tuned as I review episode #505 of The CW’s Riverdale titled “Chapter Eighty-One: The Homecoming”.
Things Not What They Used to Be
The Riverdale crew is trying to find their roles in helping Archie save their town, but things are much different for everyone now. Jughead’s friends have turned on him due to his portrayal of the serpents in his book, Riverdale High may not open due to cut funding by Hiram Lodge, and Betty is still having nightmares from her past traumas since graduation. These are just a few of the problems in Riverdale. Seems that the gang has quite a task on their hands as Riverdale risks being unincorporated due to Hiram Lodge, the mayor.
Where Are We Now?
Toni is a strong voice now in Riverdale, as part of the board of Riverdale High and she also bought the bar from Hiram Lodge. When not serving the Riverdale High Students as a guidance counselor, she is trying to keep the town afloat after Hiram Lodge has tried to completely take over. Will her attempts at fighting against Hiram pay off?
Archie’s house has been overrun by the Goulies and his job as the Riverdale High ROTC’s instructor hangs in the balance, as Riverdale High may not be able to open due to Hiram Lodge draining the school of funds. Hiram is instead putting all his money into Stonewall Prep where he is now on the board. The first step for Archie saving his hometown, iis to take back his home from the Goulies. He does so with the help of some of his friends.
Veronica is still trying to make a name for herself, without her father or husband’s influence. Upon learning about her husband’s distrust of her, she takes matters into her own hands. Veronica, unsure of how to move forward, goes to her father for help, but he is not willing to help her anymore.
Betty comes home to learn that her sister, Polly, seems to be in some trouble. Major spoiler alert following- Longtime fans of the show and Barchie fans alike will be very happy about what follows upon Betty and Archie’s reunion. I’ll just say, things get…steamy.
Jughead is having a rough time adjusting, has debt collectors at his doorstep, and an agent who is pressuring him for pages for a new book. He eventually decides to stay in Riverdale and moves in with Archie. So we know Archie and Jughead will be there for a little while longer, but what about the others? You just have to watch to find out.
So what did I think? I think that the show feels completely different now. In fact, it almost feels like a new show entirely. We are used to the gang being high schoolers, and now they are adults. Another thing that changed was the tone. Before the time jump the show felt much darker. Now, post time jump, it feels lighter. Maybe lighter is the wrong word choice. The darkness now lies in the town of Riverdale being a sad place, filled with people too poor to leave or the people who are corrupt. One thing I appreciated a lot, however, is it seems as if you can see the light at the end of the tunnel in Riverdale now. Not sure that’s a feeling anyone has had in awhile.
I give this episode a 4.5 out of 5. I know that probably seems high, but I am a big fan of the direction it is going. As someone who is no longer a teenager, and in fact a working class American adult, it is nice to see the gang deal with more mature problems. It is not a direction you get to see a show such as this take unless in a series finale. Well done, Riverdale.
Will this change continue to pay off? What does the rest of the season hold? Will Cheryl get over her fear of leaving Thornhill in fear of her family’s curse? Only time will tell. Until then, join me every week as I breakdown the episodes and watch for yourselves Wednesdays on The CW at 8 PM or Thursdays via CWTV.com or the CW app!