Things in the real world may be a bit unusual right now, but for the Riverdale High students, its “Back to School” they go!  Last week we got what I thought was one of the better episodes, but the same cannot be said about this week. This episode did a complete 180. So buckle up, because this episode jumped right back into the crazy, often ridiculous nature of the show.  It had some very cringe moments, but that is why this show remains a guilty pleasure to so many. 

The gang is teaching without certifications and appropriate education, Betty is using her FBI trainee status for her own agenda, Archie’s hair looks brighter red, and there’s a mole at Riverdale High.  Nothing can describe this episode better than “Welcome back to the chaos”.  Stay tuned as I dive into my review of The CW’s Riverdale, episode #506 titled- Chapter Eighty-Two: Back to School.

Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Grade: Needs Improvement

I want to preface this review with some of my thoughts first, because it will set the tone of this review.  I found this episode a bit chaotic.  This is due to a few factors, not excluding that a lot happened in this week’s episode.  If you blinked or stepped away for a split second you would miss some major details.  After thinking for a little while, I am giving this episode a 3 out of 5.  Going lower than a score of 3 seems only appropriate for when they had the whole cult plot line, and the musical episodes.  In the midst of a relatively strong transition thus far, it was the weakest.  I will elaborate more as to why I gave it this score as I go on.

Progress Report

Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

As stated earlier, it’s the first day back at school for the students of Riverdale High thanks to the contributions of Cheryl Blossom, and the efforts of Archie and Co. coming in to teach.  As any loyal fan of the show knows, we are used to unrealistic plots in Riverdale, and although I understand the makeover, none of these characters have any schooling or certifications to teach. 

Do rules not apply in Riverdale?  I think the only people qualified to teach are probably Jughead, Archie and Kevin, who as far as we know have degrees or training in the subjects they are teaching. (Kevin was also already working at the school prior to this season.)  What are the others’ degrees in?  Yes, I am aware it is a fictional show but even for fiction, this seemed very peculiar.  This is an odd choice but given the fact that last season Kevin was making tickle fetish videos, we really should not be surprised by anything anymore.  

Betty And Archie Forced Down Your Throat

I cannot help but feel like they are forcing the Betty and Archie plot.  Things once again got hot and heavy with the couple and honestly it was a little uncomfortable.  I am not sure if the uncomfortable feeling came from this plot feeling forced to make the two end up together, or as if the show is trying to push it into a more adult direction.  It does not feel organic, and instead feels like when a show piles in the sexual content in an opening season to draw in viewers.

Riverdale already has the viewers , however, so why was this necessary?  Are they trying to rebrand?  I said things got hot and heavy, well that was twofold.   While Betty and Archie were getting it on in a car in the shop classroom, they are surprised with some unexpected visitors setting a fire in the school hallway.  

Archie approaches the principal with his hopes to bring football back to Riverdale High and he offers to coach the team himself, however, there is no funding.  Archie has a mission to find a way to make the team happen, so he goes to Cheryl and then Veronica to ask for help.  Does he get the help?  Guess you have to watch to find out!

More Trademark Riverdale

Veronica’s husband comes to town.  This forces Veronica to make some tough decisions as to what she wants and how he fits in to her return to Riverdale.  At first it’s a happy reunion, and it appears they can make it work.  That is short lived. Riverdale tends to play a part in unhappiness and darkness after all.

Betty gets a tip from Toni about her sister’s disappearance and goes sleuthing to learn more and find her sister.  Betty can’t be happy without a mystery to solve after all.  She’s still wearing her FBI jacket and pretending she’s an FBI agent, even though she’s not actually FBI yet.  Is that even legal?  The legality and sketchiness surrounding her status aside, she apparently has a FBI friend helping her.  She finds herself along the truck route so many girls disappear from while tricking and dealing.  As for Polly, only time will tell what she discovers, and if they will find her.  

Jughead is researching his next book, because just like Betty, he loves a good mystery.  It also appears he may have a possible new love interest!  Things seem to be headed in that direction, and since Betty is no longer in the picture, why not?  Cheryl is still hiding away at Thornhill and trying to keep her family’s legacy alive and afloat.  Finances are tight, but Cheryl always has some sort of preposterous plan.  I doubt this time will be any different.


Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

So there you have it.  This was just a brief overview of what happened in this week’s episode, but I can assure you much more went down.  I was not a fan of this episode because it fell into the patterns we know all too well from the show.  One major factor being the cringe but also, the music.  Do not misunderstand, I love music and a good musical as much as any theatre nerd, but Riverdale has become too reliant on it.  Almost every episode has one of the characters singing.  It is a drama show, not a music show, so not sure why this has become so common, especially with Josie no longer in the show. 

I do hope they can cut back on the musical performances.  Now that the season is more established I feel I can make some predictions for what’s coming.  Barchie is not here to stay, that is just fan service and does not feel natural.  Veronica and Archie are going to get back together, even if only to break up again. Jughead will get a new love interest and once he writes this book, it’s not going to go well for him with the town and his friends. We will also most likely still get the almost always terrible, and in my opinion, dreaded, musical episode.  As for the rest, I think the last four years have shown us that in Riverdale, anything and everything is possible.  

To see all of the chaos and drama that goes on in Riverdale, tune in Wednesdays at 8 PM only on The CW, or Thursdays via or the CW app.