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There's an old adage, "You can't go home again," which was certainly ringing true for us. Archie had been in a war, Betty was an FBI agent, Veronica was married, Toni was Queen of the Serpents and I was a published writer. So why were we only talking about how the town of Riverdale had fallen and Archie's pipe dream to somehow save it? Probably because it was easier than the conversations that awaited us.

"Chapter Eighty-One: The Homecoming" is the fifth episode of the fifth season of Riverdale, and the eighty-first episode of the series overall.[2] It premiered on February 17, 2021.

Synopsis

THE FIGHT FOR RIVERDALE HIGHToni, Alice, Archie and Kevin fight to keep Riverdale High’s doors open after learning that its budget had been cut by Hiram Lodge. Veronica gets creative when she discovers Chad is having her followed. Jughead starts a new job after debt collectors show up in Riverdale.[3]

Plot

SPOILERS AHEAD


Betty and Jughead discuss their time apart

After their reunion at Pop’s, Betty and Jughead walk home together and discuss their time apart. Jughead asks why she never reached out. Betty didn’t think he wanted her to after he left her a voicemail on the night of his book launch. Jughead insists that wasn’t his intention and says that he likes seeing her again despite it being weird for the both of them being back in Riverdale. They both note that after all this time, Archie hasn't changed a bit, still insistent on saving Riverdale and everyone in it.

Archie walks Veronica home

Archie points towards Veronica's ring and inquires about her husband. Veronica claims that he’s a kind man under all his bravado. She then asks about Archie, who says that the last real relationship he had was with Veronica. She advises him to have as much fun now as he can because everything will change once he’s married.

Betty returns home to find her mother cleaning the house. Betty asks about Polly, who Alice says is out late working, though Betty seems suspicious of her whereabouts.

Veronica arrives at the Pembrooke

Veronica returns to the Pembrooke, which has been vacant for the last seven years, whereas Archie lays his head at the community center for another night.

Jughead arrives in the bunker, where he receives a couple voicemails; one from his agent, Samm Pansky, who asks about Jughead’s location and the pages to his next book, and another from the debt collectors who reveals that Jughead has over $9,000 in debt and that he only has 24 hours to pay the outstanding balance.

Betty finds Charles' old recordings

The following day, Betty and Kevin pack up the FBI field office. Kevin asks about Betty’s reunion with Jughead. She says that it went about as well as it could have considering how it ended. She notes that she wasn’t as fortunate as Kevin in regards to being able to remain together with her high school sweetheart. Betty then comes across Charles' files, including Betty’s taped phone conversations. She plays the recording from Halloween night of Betty calling Polly.

Veronica wants back into the family business

Veronica enters the Mayor’s office and expresses her desire to rejoin the family business. As it so happens, Veronica and Chad are looking for a weekend home, possibly in Riverdale. Unfortunately, Hiram reveals that Hermosa moved the rum business to Miami, and he sold La Bonne Nuit to Toni years ago. However, back on the subject of a weekend home, Hiram offers her property in SoDale, but Veronica declines his offer.

Toni warns Jughead to watch his back

Jughead heads down into the Whyte Wyrm, where he asks Toni for a job. However, she reveals that the Serpents haven’t been fond of Jughead for many years, including Sweet Pea and Fangs. They accuse Jughead of making the Serpents look like fools in his novel. Jughead claims that the "Vipers" were the protagonist and that he didn’t use their actual names, though it wasn’t difficult for Sweet Pea to decipher that he was "Pop Eye" and that Fangs was "Toothy." Additionally, Jughead mocked their Serpent traditions and codes, so Toni turns him away, but not before advising Jughead to watch his back.

Staff meeting at Riverdale High

Archie approaches Principal Weatherbee hoping to relaunch the RROTC program, but Weatherbee informs him that Riverdale High is likely to be shut down. Like everything else in town, their budget has been cut significantly by Hiram Lodge. Archie asks if there was anything he could do to help and decides to sit in on the staff meeting with Toni, Kevin, Alice, Weatherbee, and Ms. Bell. Alice reveals that the school board has doubts about keeping the school open given their low staff. Kevin alone is teaching five classes: drama, debate, biology, gym, and sex-ed. However, other members of the board would like to see the school stay open but only if they can prove that they have the personnel and resources that are required.

Tabitha turns Jughead down

Writer’s block getting the best of him, Jughead sits in a booth at Pop’s struggling to come up with a premise for his latest novel. He approaches Tabitha and offers to fill the waiter position at the diner. However, Tabitha states that he’s over qualified. She then goes on to tell him that he can’t sit around the diner all day. He actually has to order and pay for food. While Pop Tate may have run the diner a certain way for years, Tabitha explains that she has rules of her own, the first being that there are no running tabs.

Hiram makes Toni an offer

Sweet Pea and Fangs circle Hiram as he approaches the bar at the Wyrm. Toni waves them off, assuring them that she can handle Hiram, who has come to hopefully convince her to give up the fight to save Riverdale High. With 100 or so students, Hiram is willing to offer each of them a scholarship to Stonewall Prep. However, with Hiram on the board at Stonewall, Toni doesn’t trust him or the school itself. He proceeds to offer her a counselor position at Stonewall with higher pay and a corner office, but Toni turns him down once more.

Archie and Betty spy on the Ghoulies

Archie and Betty spy on the Ghoulies inside his childhood home from Betty's bedroom window with a pair of binoculars. In a moment of transparency, Betty reveals that she and Kevin used to spy on Archie, hoping to get a glimpse of his shirtless chest. They observe the Ghoulies in possession of Jingle Jangle. Archie insists that he’s taking the town back, building by building if he must. Betty even offers to help.

Tom reveals to Archie that he's all that's left of the police department

Archie meets with Sheriff Keller at the sheriff station. He reveals that he’s all that’s left of the department after Hiram cut the budget. He’s covering the entire county by himself with the exception of Hiram's private security force that are corrupt and work out of SoDale. They’re led by Reggie, who Archie hopes can help with the Ghoulies squatting in his house. However, Tom warns Archie that Reggie will only tip the Ghoulies off, as he gets a kick-back from them. While Tom may not have any deputies left, Archie asks if he has any gear, such as kevlar vests and batons, as he intends to raid the house.

Veronica buys a revolver

While in Riverdale, Veronica begins seeking employment as a sport’s agent. However, it’s during her flight arrangements that she discovers that Chad has frozen all of their cards, though he claims that it's simply a misunderstanding with the bank, then asking Veronica when she intends to come home. Veronica says that Pop’s retirement party is two days, so she’s likely to return the day after. After hanging up with Chad, Veronica is approached by Smithers, who informs her that he’s noticed the same black Sudan parked outside for the last two days. He fears that she’s being watched. Veronica isn't surprised, though she does wonder whether it’s a gift from her father or a not-so subtle message from Chad. Veronica dusts off her old, blonde wig and heads into a pawn shop under the guise of Monica Posh. She sells a couple Glamerge eggs for $30,000 and buys a revolver.

Betty apologizes to Polly

Betty is awakened from her sleep after having another nightmare of the Trash Bag Killer. She suddenly hears a noise downstairs and goes to investigate, pistol loaded. She finds Polly creeping in at 3:00 AM and offers to talk over a cup of tea. Betty apologizes for not being there for Polly during the Farm dilemma and verbally attacking her over the phone during that Halloween call. Betty would like for them to go back to being real sisters, as would Polly. Betty says that she’s only in town for a couple days but that she’ll be back a lot more often after graduating from the academy.

Toni reveals that Hiram is trying to discredit her

Betty comes downstairs the following morning to find her mother making breakfast. Betty asks about Polly, who Alice claims works is a waitress at the Roving Eye. Betty questions if this is a good idea considering how sketchy the establishment has come to be known. Alice retorts that it’s not fair for Betty to come home and judge them, as they’re doing the best they can. Toni then arrives with the morning paper, which reads "Local school counselor runs seedy bar and snake dances." Hiram is attempting to ruin Toni’s credibility. Alice will play damage control and will call each member of the board individually if she must. In the meantime, Toni plans to retaliate against Hiram.

Archie asks Jughead to give a speech at Pop's party

Archie calls Jughead from the community center, under the impression that Jughead had taken up residence in the Five Seasons when in reality he was living in the bunker. Given that Jughead is a world famous writer, Archie proposes that he give a speech at Pop Tate’s retirement party.

Despite Tom’s warning, Archie calls Reggie and informs him that the Ghoulies have turned his childhood home into a drug den. Reggie agrees to enter with Archie to see if there are any merits to his claims. They check every room but come up with nothing. Archie suspects that Reggie tipped off the Ghoulies, but with no evidence of wrongdoing, he leaves, but not before spotting Polly in the kitchen.

Jughead hides from the debt collectors

Jughead sits across from Pop Tate in a booth at the diner. Pop admits that the thought of no longer working at the diner is a strange feeling despite all of the wild happenings of Riverdale. Jughead glances outside to see the debt collectors approaching the diner. He drops to the floor behind the bar and asks Tabitha to cover for him. The debt collectors enter moments later in search of Jughead. Tabitha looks over to Pop Tate before informing the two men that she hasn’t seen Jughead. After the two men exit, Pop Tate offers to pay Jughead’s debt, but he respectfully declines, as he doesn’t wish to take Pop Tate’s retirement money. On his way out, Tabitha concedes and tells Jughead that the waiter job is open if he’s still looking for employment. Jughead accept and asks Tabitha to call the two debt collectors in a couple of days to inform them that he’ll be paying them back with his earnings from the diner.

Veronica reunites with Reggie at Mantle Motor’s, his family’s car dealership. She needs to buy a car in good shape and excellent gas mileage with cash. He suspects that she’s running from her husband. Veronica retorts that she’s taking the path of least resistance. Reggie advises Veronica to talk to her dad if she’s truly in trouble.

Archie and Betty recover drugs in the Ghoulies' den

Archie informs Betty that he saw Polly with the Ghoulies. She’s infuriated and seeks to join Archie when he raids their den. And so, Archie and Betty convene with Kevin, Fangs, and Sweet Pea at the community center, where they discuss the plan. Sweet Pea is overjoyed, stating that it’s been too long since the Serpents have rumbled with the Ghoulies. Protected with kevlar vests and armed with baseball bats and batons, the five of them, accompanied by Sheriff Keller, raid the Ghoulies drug den. By the end of their assault, all the Ghoulies have been rounded up and their Jingle Jangle taken in as evidence.

Betty calls the Roving Eye posing as Polly. She discovers that Polly hasn't worked at the night club for over a year.

Toni proposes that Riverdale High become a private school

Weatherbee reports that two more teachers have defected to Stonewall Prep. Toni arrives not long after with Hiram’s secret agenda for the Town Hall Meeting, which one of her girls stole from his office. More than just closing down Riverdale High, Toni has discovered that Hiram intends to unincorporate the town. And based on his receipts, he has enough people bribed or terrorized to make it happen. Archie questions what this means. Alice explains that the town’s funding from the state will be cut off, essentially meaning that Riverdale will cease to exist. Kevin questions if they would be able to keep the school open even with the board’s support assuming Hiram is successful in unincorporating Riverdale. Alice replies that it’s possible, but it will require them to fight even harder. With that said, Toni tasks Alice with reporting Hiram’s plan. As for the problem of teachers or lack thereof, Archie believes that he can help. Alice questions if he knows of any qualified teachers with degrees because that’s what it takes to teach at a public school. Toni suggests that Riverdale become a private school, so that they can hire who they desire. Weatherbee explains that this means they would lose all government funding. So, they would need an investor if the plan is to make Riverdale High private. Fortunately, Toni may know of someone who can help.

Hiram declines to help Veronica

Veronica follows Reggie’s advice and asks her father for help. She reveals that Chad is threatened by her alpha-ness. Because of that, he can be possessive and controlling. He was having her followed, but she shot out his goons’ tires. Veronica is hoping that her father will have a chat with Chad to convince him to back off. Just to be clear, Hiram asks Veronica if she is officially asking for his help. She admits that she is. However, Hiram turns her down nonetheless. He recalls that she called him a dog and said that he needed to be taught a lesson. Now, it’s his turn to teach her a lesson, as he warned her that no one outside of their family would ever understand the Lodge ambitions. Veronica will have to deal with Chad herself.

Betty confronts Polly for being around the Ghoulies

Alice attempts to convince Polly to attend Pop Tate’s retirement party, but she claims that she has to work. However, Betty reveals that Polly no longer works at the Roving Eye and that she’s been hanging out with the Ghoulies. She asks how exactly is Polly making her money, which she uses to help out with the twins and pay the mortgage. She wonders if Polly is dealing or tricking, but Polly says that it’s none of her concern, especially since Betty deserted them.

While working on his speech for Pop Tate's party in the bunker, Jughead gets a call from Sam, who reveals that their publisher either wants pages or their money back. With nothing else tp offer, Jughead offers over his story of Pop Tate. His latest piece of work is called “To Pop Tate: A man, a myth, a legend.” He then proceeds to email his work to Sam.

File:RD-Caps-5x05-Homecoming-111-Archie-Betty.png

Archie and Betty have shower sex

Betty helps Archie cleanup his house after evicting the Ghoulies. After Pop’s party, Archie proposes that they gather Jughead and Veronica and that the four of them hangout like old times. Archie then offers to buy her pizza as a thank you for helping him clean up. However, he intends to shower first, as does Betty, both having gotten dirty and sweaty. And so, the two proceeds to head upstairs and have sex in the shower. While getting dressed after their unexpected shower hookup, Archie asks what this means for them. Betty replies that they’re simply friends; two single adults who are allowed to have fun. Archie proposes they keep this a secret. Betty agrees. With Veronica now married and her and Jughead having been separated for seven years now, there’s no need to tell either of them.

Pop's retirement party

The town of Riverdale or at least what remains, gathers at the diner for Pop’s retirement party. Archie gifts Pop Tate a Bulldog varsity jacket and expresses just how much he means to the town. Pop Tate reveals that he had to drop out in order to run the diner after his father died. He never got to graduate. Archie’s jacket means the world to him. Jughead then gives a speech in Pop Tate’s honor, describing how he gave shelter to the lost and wayward souls of Riverdale. Jughead credits Pop Tate and the diner as the only reason he made it through. The guests then raise their glasses.

Cheryl agrees to fund Riverdale High

Toni and Cheryl grab a booth and discuss whether or not Cheryl will agree to fund Riverdale High should it become a private school. Cheryl turns Toni down, reasoning that she only came to honor Pop Tate and that she can just barely afford Thornhill’s renovations. She fears that her hand in the matter will only corrupt it, as foretold in the Blossom curse. Still, Toni attempts to convince Cheryl to help. If she won’t do it for the town, Toni asks that Cheryl do it for her. And so, Cheryl reluctantly agrees.

Archie asks Betty, Veronica, and Jughead to help him save Riverdale

Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead reconvene in the student lounge, where Archie informs them of Hiram’s plans to unincorporate the town and wipe Riverdale off the map. Archie believes they can stop him if they keep the school up by becoming teachers. In time, Archie believes they can restore life in Riverdale, however, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead each have their own lives to get back to. Archie insists that it won’t take long, just enough time for Weatherbee to find suitable replacements. And so, the four of them come together and agree to save Riverdale.

Toni opposes Hiram

The town gathers at the town hall meeting, during which time Toni takes the stand. With Cheryl’s help, Toni reveals that Riverdale High will remain open as a private school, tuition free. They’re also bolstering their teaching staff with Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead. Toni states that Riverdale will not be at the mercy of Hiram Lodge’s destructive whims. Hiram then introduces a proposition to unincorporate the town of Riverdale. And unfortunately, Riverdale’s township is dissolved by majority’s vote.

Jughead gets a call from Sam

While cleaning booths at Pop’s, Jughead gets a call from Sam, who informs him that the publisher loved his story about Pop Tate, so much so that they want him to write an entire novel revolving around a tragic Americana, dying community. Jughead doesn’t wish to write about a dying small town, but Sam explains that he has no other choice.

Betty reveals that Polly has yet to return home. Alice isn’t too concerned, as she’s used to Polly storming off whenever there’s trouble.

Veronica threatens Chad

Veronica video calls Chad and reveals that she isn’t coming home just yet, as Riverdale High has fallen on hard times and needs her help. She then reminds him that she makes most of the money in their joint accounts and gives him 30 minutes to unfreeze them. Should he fail to comply, she threatens to return to Wall Street and tear out his throat in front of all the other alpha dogs on the floor come Monday morning.

Polly is hunted down by a trucker

Archie texts Betty, asking about Polly, who has yet to come home. He then receives an unexpected visit from Jughead, hoping to stay with him. Jughead claims that the Five Seasons is too rich for his blood. Meanwhile, Betty calls Polly, but she doesn’t pick up. Betty leaves a message apologizing to Polly for judging her. Admittedly, she had no right, especially not after leaving them. Unbeknownst to Betty, Polly is on the Lonely Highway, running for her life, as she is being chased down by a trucker.

Cast

Starring

Guest Starring

Co-Starring

Soundtrack

  • Luna Aura - HONEY
    • Scene: Archie and Betty have shower sex.

Trivia

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References

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