Identity reveals. Plenty of deaths. The conclusion to longstanding mysteries.
Many loose threads and plots were tied up on Riverdale Season 5 Episode 2.
“Chapter Seventy-Eight: The Preppy Murders” delivered on giving us the solutions we had been waiting for all this time. Though, not all of the reveals were as shocking or juicy as we might’ve hoped.
The VHS mystery built a strong momentum since Riverdale Season 4.
The reveal of each new tape added more to the anticipation. Then, the rave party’s discovery during Riverdale Season 5 Episode 1 provided this layer of a cult-like vibe. The possibility of followers enacting the crimes raised the stakes of what this solution could be.
Plus, with the discovery of Bret’s, Joans, and David’s dead bodies, the threat of the auteur heightened the seriousness to capture the villain. We had reached the point in the movie where the killer brought their art to life at the climax.
After all, was said and done, the answers paled in comparison to the anticipation that was built.
The reveal of the killer and the auteur might be Riverdale’s most lackluster reveal yet.
Firstly, let’s start with the reveal of the auteur and the reason behind the VHS tapes.
Jellybean being behind the tapes is a nice answer, but it’s not the most satisfying. Mostly this is due to the motivation behind why the tapes appeared in the first place and why they kept coming.
Simply stating it was a reason to keep Jughead in town and that it was a fun prank/hobby undercuts the twists before it. It’s like a Scooby-Doo mystery: no real harm was done because it was all fake with a goal in mind.
Sounds to me like you two are planning a hostile takeover. I am so in!
The tapes did not affect anyone getting hurt (we’ll get to Charles in a bit!), there wasn’t a deeper mystery behind it, and it offered no stakes to the characters. Take the recent murders away, and all you have left is a bunch of teens playing a prank.
In one fell swoop, “Chapter Seventy-Eight: The Preppy Murders” turned a season-long mystery into filler.
The show tried to justify Jellybean and her friends not understanding the seriousness of creating murderous tapes. They knew; the look on Jellybean’s face summed up that she knew she was in trouble.
Now, onto the biggest problem: Charles. Was anyone else not surprised he was a serial killer?
Riverdale already revealed his serial killer gene and that he still had a relationship with Chic. And that Charles was bugging the house to listen to calls. So, when Betty and Jughead learned the truth, it wasn’t surprising in the least.
We as viewers shouldn’t be ahead in the answer compared to our mystery-solving pair. This solution meant that Betty and Jughead had to catch up to where we all were a year ago.
Betty: That’s what Bret was going to tell us. That you and Chic were still in deep.
Charles: True love knows no boundaries.
Plus, Charles’ recent string of murders seemed abrupt and tacked-on. He murdered Bret, Joan, and David in the span of one chapter.
Why didn’t Riverdale stretch out his serial killer activities across multiple chapters?
This tactic would’ve helped make the auteur/VHS tapes tied to a grander scheme and Charles’ reveal at not being the auteur more shocking since we would’ve had more time to be invested in the killing aspect. Instead, the a-ha moments didn’t land as strong as they should have.
At least with the Blossoms dying, their surprise poisoning came with Riverdale’s trademark soapy nudge-and-wink.
Penelope may be a cold-hearted murdering psychopath, but she has her moments of motherly love. Granted, the motivation for overdue revenge pushed her to kill the extended Blossom family. However, part of it was due to her love of Cheryl.
Previous Penelope wouldn’t have helped Cheryl attain the power position within the Blossom company. New Penelope is all about quick action and bringing power to her family.
Cheryl being in full control of the company is a great development because it will lead to many new character plots.
The five-year time jump is coming, and future-Cheryl could become a leader in the revamped Maple business. A good or evil CEO? That will be left to be revealed, and her potential reunion with Toni since she can now make amends for her family’s past crimes.
Archie coming face-to-face with his anger and frustration was a strong turning point for him. It’s something he needed to do if he ever wanted to become a healthy adult.
Ever since Fred died on Riverdale Season 4 Episode 1, Archie pushed off his feelings and reacted in heated or destructive ways. (Even more “Archie” than he ever did.)
Destroying the VHS and the TV with the baseball bat was a clear sign that Archie dealt with a lot more than just grief. Be it the culmination of loss, heartache, PTSD, and anger; everything came to a boiling point.
Archie needed to let it all out and put his frustrations into something. Surprisingly, fighting Uncle Frank was the solution, even though he’s a boxer and punches people/bags every day, but whatever works for Archie.
Hopefully, writing the letter about Jeffrey Augustine will give Archie peace and the strength to move on.
Veronica and Hermosa’s surprising new partnership was a far cry from their earlier sisterly scenes. The two seemed to get along and act like sisters.
Hermosa saving Veronica’s life like it was no big deal was an understated moment we love to see between the Lodge sisters. The same goes for their team-up of taking over Lodge Industries.
Your astrological sign might be the scorpion, Daddy. But in fact, you’re like a dog. A dog who needs to be trained. When a dog soils a carpet, you know what you do? You rub his nose in it.
Taking down Hiram was the gift that kept on giving!
Beautiful, satisfying, and so worthy of rewatching the scenes over and over again. Particularly the scene of Veronica calling Hiram a dog and that he needed to learn his lesson. The Lodges are deliciously petty and vengeful.
If Veronica and Hermosa don’t turn on each other, this could be the start of a strong family business. (But this is Riverdale, something bad will most likely happen in the five-year time jump.)
Though, let’s give a big round of applause for Hermione!
Hermione has won Riverdale (if this were a competition). Her twist was the long con, and she played for keeps.
Hermione: See, I’ve also decided to make a life change.
Hiram: To do what exactly?
Hermione: Three years ago, Andy Cohen asked me to become a Real Housewife of New York; I turned him down to focus on my family. Remember? But really, Veronica, I did it to protect you. Honey, the ONLY reason I got back together with your father in the first place was to keep you safe, but now you’re going off to college and Hermosa is back in the picture. So, I really don’t see any point to put my ambitions on hold anymore.
Hermione: So, Hiram, I’m divorcing you. I’m moving back to the city and I’m becoming a Real Housewife, for real.
Veronica: Wow Mom, you win!
[Veronica taps Hiram]
Veronica: But do take that trip to the Caymans, Daddy. You need a break from Riverdale and Riverdale most definitely needs a break from you.
Good for her for getting the last word and shutting down Hiram in a blaze of glory. The looks on everyone’s faces at her decision for divorce were so beautifully blown away that if Hermione could, she would save it as her screensaver.
Leaving Riverdale to join The Real Housewives of New York is a fitting and hilarious end for her character if that’s her ambition; congrats to her for going for her goals!
Last Thoughts From Sweetwater River:
Is Jonathan alive or dead? Everyone forgets about his character, even serial killer Charles.
Jughead is going to the University of Iowa! That solves the next steps for his character path.
- Where did Jellybean and friends find a bunch of masks that resemble all the characters from Riverdale?
Hiram starting a fight with Archie in broad daylight at Archie’s gym wasn’t his smartest idea.
Cheryl yelling at Ms. Bell for a crimson robe at graduation was the height of a Cheryl mood.
- Not shipping it or anything, but wouldn’t it be romantic if Charles and Chic end up at the same prison and cell together?
Now, over to you, Riverdale fans!
What did you think of “Chapter Seventy-Eight: The Preppy Murders”?
Did the reveal of Charles being a serial killer surprise you? Did the reveal of the auteur live up to the hype? What will Cheryl do now that she owns all of the Blossom business?
If you missed the latest episode of Riverdale, you can watch Riverdale online via TV Fanatic. Come back here and share your thoughts in the comments!
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.