RECAP: Riverdale S6E1 – Chapter 96: Welcome to Rivervale

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This week starts a 5 week Riverdale event that caps off with episode 100. People! We have watched nearly 100 episodes of Riverdale! I’m not sure how I feel about that. I’m just kidding of course, I love the show. There’s no shame in my Riverdale game. But at the same time, I don’t want to mull over that statistic all that much. Did I say Riverdale? I’m sorry, I meant Rivervale, with a V.

Riverdale Rivervale Title Card

Both the town and the show’s title card both have a new name. Thankfully they didn’t change the actual show name. That would really mess with people’s DVRs. Side note: do people still have DVRs? We cut the cord in 2009 in our house and never looked back.

But back to Riverdalevale. Where did this new name come from? Well, things have changed since season 5 ended a few weeks ago. Jughead (Cole Sprouse) steps out from behind his typewriter to narrate Rivervale, now addressing the viewer like he hosts a Twilight Zone-like show. But to me, he sounds more like Robert Stack from Unsolved Mysteries than Rod Serling.

Jughead checks us in with the residents of Rivervale. Toni (Vanessa Morgan) and Fangs (Drew Ray Tanner) are experiencing the sheer exhaustion that is life with a newborn. As the father of an 11-month-old, I relate hard. Tabitha (Erinn Westbrook) just bought a house with Jughead. I’m guessing Tabitha is paying most of that mortgage. Veronica (Camila Mendes) and Reggie (Charles Melton) take calls on his and hers side-by-side treadmills, which seem like the worst place to take calls. “Hey Ronnie, let’s set up these noisy machines next to each other and try to talk over each other on separate calls while we’re catching our breath!” “Great idea, Reg!”

Over at the Cooper house, Uncle Frank fixes Alice’s dishwasher. Next door, Jughead pays a visit to Archie (KJ Apa) and Betty (Lili Reinhart), at Archie’s house. Archie, shirtless, duh, wakes up from a nightmare about a bomb. Neither of them look scarred by burns or shrapnel from the closing moments of season 5. What gives? Archie explains his dream, of the season five finale bomb, but “the weirdest part,” as he puts it, is that town was called Riverdale, not Rivervale. if I had a dream about a bomb going off under my bed, I don’t think I’d be hypothesizing about town names right after. Betty blames it on Twilight Zone marathons and suggests sex as a way of forgetting bad dreams. She’s interrupted by Kevin Keller calling on the phone though.

Archie and Betty meet up with Kevin in the woods. He’s come across a deer that looks like it was ritualistically sacrificed. Runes painted in blood surround it, and the deer’s heart is missing. Before they can examine it further, Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch) shows up with her Thornhill girls and tells them, at arrow point, that they’re trespassing.

Dr. Curdle, the resident coroner, diagnoses baby Anthony with colic. Toni and Fangs have no other options for pediatricians in this town? He prescribes an old folk remedy of putting a live toad in baby Anthony’s mouth and I again question their choice of doctor.

Archie helps Jughead move his comic book collection, many many boxes, into his new place and I can once again relate so hard.

Veronica is calling around looking for casino investors, and one of her old Wall St pals calls her out saying it’s just a time waster until she comes back to Wall St. Weren’t these same guys saying she was too toxic to hire after killing her ex-husband?

Tabitha freaks out over a spider in the house, and then freaks out again over Jughead killing it. She explains it’s bad luck, which Jughead laughs off, which never ends well in any movie or tv show ever.

Since Cheryl’s land is no longer part of Rivervale, Archie pitches a plan at the town meeting to have every house in town plant a maple tree sapling provided by the town. At Thornhill, Cheryl theorizes that her maple trees have withered away because they’ve all forgotten the old ways. “Ahhh, the old ways,” says Nana Rose in traditional creepy old lady fashion. Cheryl as super crunchy hippie wiccan might be the most annoying Cheryl in the history of Riverdale.

Archie gets a call from his mom, wanting to know when she’s getting a grandchild. Betty is down and they get right to work.

Jughead’s cereal box is full of bugs. Those are not the crunch berries you’re looking for! He sends them down the trash compactor.

Cheryl shows up at the Rivervale maple tree giveaway day demanding 13 trees. Archie reminds her that she seceded from the town. No trees for you, town traitor!

Dr. Curdle is also Betty’s OBGYN??! I feel like he’s at least 10 steps below a nearby City MD. Okay, maybe Rivervale doesn’t have any other doctors, but these people can all drive a town or two away to not be seen by the coroner, right? Dr. Curdle gives Betty the bad news that she’s not producing any viable eggs, and that the likelihood of her conceiving a child is slim. He says she’s the fifth young healthy woman to come see him with this issue. Maybe it’s a town curse, or maybe Betty should really get a second opinion.

Fangs’s grandmother has a home remedy for colicky babies: leave the baby overnight on a tree stump in the woods and let him cry it out. Fangs thinks it’s a great idea. Amazingly, Toni doesn’t throw Fangs out the door immediately.

Veronica leads Reggie into their bedroom, to a bed covered in cash. She says she’s always had a fantasy about this. I never considered myself a germaphobe until I winced watching her say this. Reggie has no such objections though.

Veronica's Dirty Money Bed on Riverdale

It turns out that Alice and Uncle Frank aren’t a couple, and she’s getting a bit frustrated about it. When he goes to return home to Archie’s house after dinner at hers, she propositions that he stay the night, but he politely declines. I think that’s the last homecooked meal you’re getting at the Cooper house, Uncle Frank.

That night, Betty suggests adoption to Archie, but Archie wants them to make a baby together. Betty doesn’t share Dr. Curdle’s diagnosis with Archie.

Toni actually brings baby Anthony out into the woods. Fangs doesn’t even accompany her? Give me a break, Fangs! Cheryl comes across them on a late night walk. Get out of there, Toni! Cheryl rubs her hands Mr. Miyagi style, holds baby Anthony to her and he calms down. She credits it to her perfume that she concocted. She offers some to Toni in exchange for Toni joining her in “embracing Rivervale’s oldest of old ways.” That doesn’t sound creepy at all.

Tabitha wakes up, feeling like she’s covered in bugs, but there’s nothing there. A little while later though, both she and Jughead are covered in bites. Scabies? Bed bugs? Whatever it is, Tabitha is calling an exterminator.

Cheryl has her girls craft twine poppets to post creepily where Archie wants to plant the town’s maple saplings. Archie starts pulling them out of the ground, but the other guys are all spooked. When he shows it to Betty, she says she’s seen this before, in an old cold case evidence box.

Veronica shows off the casino blueprints to Veronica. Reggie quickly notices that he doesn’t have an office and walks out. Whoops.

Kevin calls Archie. Someone ripped all the saplings out of the ground. Archie confronts Cheryl at a town council meeting but is rebuked. Toni even calls Archie “out of line.” Is he though?

Betty finds the cold case file, with photos of a dead body on top of an altar similar to that the deer was found earlier this episode. She notices the doll Archie gave her has the initial RB sewn on it, Rose Blossom aka Nana Rose.

Cheryl returns home to find Betty waiting for her. She wants to talk about the deer in the woods. The man in the old photos Betty found? A drifter sacrificed with a poppet jammed down his throat. She wants answers from Cheryl.

Frank offers an explanation to Alice, saying she’s not the problem, he is. Frank isn’t ready to open his heart up to someone after the tragic end his wife and daughter met. Alice suggests taking it slow, going to the maple harvest festival together.

Cheryl offers Tabitha an ancient cleansing formula to get rid of her bugs in exchange for her and Jughead’s participation in all her maple harvest events.

Cheryl then cooks up a special sin pie that will absolve the whole town’s sins. But the person who eats it needs to be strong enough to shoulder the sins of the entire town. Who is Cheryl’s chosen one for this sin pie?

Maple Harvest Festival Day arrives and the whole town shows up. Jughead recruits Archie for the pancake-eating competition. In a surprise upset, Archie beats Jughead 119 to 116. When they embrace after, it really looks like Jughead is going to vomit at least 114 of his pancakes back onto Archie.

Riverdale Pancake Eating Contest Jughead vs Archie

Cheryl gets in the middle of everyone’s troubles, offering Veronica a way for Reggie to get over his insecurities and offering Alice and Frank a way for Frank to get over his trauma.

Cheryl’s machinations are put on hold for shirtless log sawing: Archie vs. Reggie. Reggie finishes off his log right after Archie does. It’s Archie’s day.

Riverdale Log Cutting Contest Archie vs Reggie
Archie just ate 119 pancakes mere minutes before this but his abs are still popping??

In the final competition, it’s Archie vs Betty in ax throwing. Whoever wins gets the Maple King or Queen title. Archie points out he already won two rounds, but apparently, round 3 is worth more. Archie makes a good shot, but Betty nails a bullseye, taking the crown. Archie gets the sin pie as a runner-up prize.

That night, Betty reveals to Archie that the poppets are actually fertility dolls. I’m not sure how she found that out while sleuthing around during the Maple festival while Archie was distracting everyone in the first two events. But she suggests putting it under their bed tonight. But then she and a post sin pie Archie have sex on the dining room table. It’s cool though, the poppet is next to them. But for real, where did Betty find out this fertility doll info? Did she question Nana Rose and just take her word on everything? Was she in the library doing research? Just Googling on her phone as she walked around?

Later that night, Archie has another bomb dream but is woken up by Kevin calling from Betty’s phone. Betty isn’t in bed. Kevin says she’s been taken by Cheryl and they’re performing some crazy maple ritual at Thornhill. Archie rushes over there. Everyone is there, including Kevin. Why the subterfuge, Kevin? Cheryl announces they have to make a sacrifice. Both she and Betty are in crazy get-ups. Betty, sounding stoned and looking crazy-eyed, gleefully announces she’s with child. Cheryl lets Archie know women can’t be sacrificed, only men. Archie retorts that he’s not a virgin, to which Cheryl makes the best “Yeah, no kidding” look in response. Cheryl pitches to Archie that he’ll be a martyr to his cause of saving the town. I guess Archie doesn’t accept quickly enough, because Veronica then whacks him on the back of the head with a rock.

Archie wakes up bound and crowned. Betty tells Cheryl, “He’s awake, do it now.” Cheryl then plunges a knife into Arche’s abs and pulls out his still-beating heart. Everyone dances, as you do.

Cheryl with Archie's still beating heart on Riverdale
Even in death, Archie’s abs remain flexed.

Narrator Jughead brings the episode to a close saying “So ends the heroic life of Archie Andrews, born 25 years ago in the sleepy town of Riverdale, died tonight in its shadow town Rivervale.” And that “we’re just getting started.” That’s when I notice the town sign behind him says Rivervale is “the town with heart,” something Archie doesn’t have anymore. Also, the motto changed from the start of the episode, when it was “You’ll never want to leave.” Rivervale Town Sign 1

Rivervale Town Sign 2
The changing Rivervale mottos.

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