|“||Her name is Lynette Fields. Squeaky, to her friends. Not that she has many, mostly she keeps to herself. She came to Riverdale two years ago for a fresh start that never happened. Now, she was 21, and it was time to go. "Maybe things will be different in San Francisco," she thought. "Maybe I'll be happy there." Unfortunately for Lynette, she'll never make it to California.||”|
SEVEN-YEAR TIME JUMP — After spending seven years away from Riverdale, Archie returns to find the town is now under Hiram Lodge’s grip and on the verge of becoming a ghost town. When Toni catches him up on what’s been going on, Archie reaches out to the rest of the gang to return home.
Archie dreams that he’s back home in Riverdale, specifically the boys locker room at Riverdale High, giving a pep talk to the Bulldogs before the big game. He tells Reggie and his other teammates that Bulldogs never give up. General Taylor approaches and explains that their mission is to penetrate the enemy’s defenses, retrieve their fallen brother, and return safely to base. And within a moment’s notice, Archie, now dressed in military gear and armed with a rifle, storms the field with the Bulldogs, dodging gunfire and explosions. Archie is then knocked to the ground. He looks up and briefly sees Cheryl and the River Vixens cheering them on. Archie gets back to his feet and retrieves Jughead, who lays wounded on the ground. Not too far off, Betty, Veronica, Kevin, Fangs, Sweet Pea, and Pop Tate flag Archie down, calling him over. However, with Jughead draped over his shoulders, Archie finds himself defenseless at the end of Hiram’s gun, who then proceeds to pull the trigger.
Archie awakens from his slumber at the VA Hospital. General Taylor informs him that he’s been discharged and is being sent home after seven years of service. Archie seeks to continue the fight, but General Taylor instructs him to return to Riverdale, where he hopes Archie will resurrect the RROTC program. That evening, Archie reads A Farewell to the Arms to an unconscious and paraplegic Corporal Jackson. The following morning, Corporal Jackson awakens just as Archie is preparing to leave for Riverdale. Archie looks over to Jackson and apologizes for his injuries, though he’s grateful to be alive, thanking Archie for rescuing him. Before parting ways, Archie gives Jackson his card and says to look him up once he checks out the hospital.
Archie arrives in Riverdale to find the town sign burned and Pop's Chock'lit Shoppe filled with truckers and Southside Serpents. Tabitha Tate works at the front and offers him a seat at the counter. She also welcomes him to head downstairs to the Whyte Wyrm, where Archie finds Toni, Fangs, and Sweet Pea performing on stage.
After the performance, Archie and Toni catch up after seven years since their last encounter. Toni, who is now pregnant, says that she’s keeping the identity of her child’s father a secret. Archie then asks about the Wyrm, which is officially owned by the Serpents. They put their cash together and purchased it from Hiram Lodge. Archie notes that the bus ride into town felt different and that Riverdale doesn’t feel the same, leading him to ask about Pop Tate, who Toni reveals is retiring.
Betty is on an early morning run through the woods in Quantico, Virginia, where she works as an FBI trainee. Afterward, she meets with Dr. Starling, a therapist. She asks about the nightmares, which Betty claims she hasn’t had in weeks. She’s ready to get back to work. Dr. Starling remarks that she’s suffered severe trauma, to which Betty retorts that she’s been capturing serial killers since high school. "Not like the Trash Bag Killer,” Dr. Starling rebuts.
Betty shares her findings with a fellow trainee named Glen. She explains that there were a set of multiple murders in Odessa, Texas that simply stopped without explanation. Two months later, in North Dakota, there was a similar string of killings, and just like before, the killings stopped for no reason. Betty suspects that they have a migrating serial killer. However, Glen tells her to stop and reminds Betty that she’s on desk duty and is supposed to be logging cold cases. He also reminds her that the last time she followed a hunch, it involved the Trash Bag Killer, and that went horribly wrong.
Betty returns home, where she continues to look over casefiles of the Trash Bag Killer, during which time she has momentary flashes of when she was captured by the maniac. That night, Betty wakes up from her sleep in search of her cat. She follows the sounds of her cat meowing into the hallway, where she finds bloody limbs wrapped in trash bags scattered along the floor. She then turns around and sees the killer charging towards her with a chainsaw. This scares Betty awake, where she finds herself on the couch, having fell asleep in front of the TV.
The next day, Betty goes back to therapy and lies to Dr. Starling about having nightmares. However, she knows that Betty is lying and that she is withholding information. Betty reveals that when she got to TBK’s lair, the victim was already dead. It wouldn’t have mattered if Betty waited for backup, as she was already dead. While this is true, Dr. Starling points out that with backup, Betty wouldn’t have been captured and the Trash Bag Killer wouldn't have escaped. Betty hasn’t spoken much about those two weeks she spent in captivity. Dr. Starling wonders how often she thinks about it. Betty replies that she’s only concerned with catching TBK. She then gets a call from Archie.
After her session with Dr. Starling, Betty informs Glen that she needs to return to Riverdale for a few days. While she’s there, he tells her to pack up the FBI satellite office, where she and Charles worked. In return, Betty tells Glen to watch after her cat and gives him a kiss goodbye.
Veronica resides on the Upper East Side of New York City with her husband, Chad, with whom she is celebrating her one year anniversary. The only thing they’re missing is a child, Chad remarks, but Veronica isn’t so keen on the idea of having babies just yet. He proposes that she cut back at Lacy's, but Veronica insists that she’s fine. In fact, she misses being on the main floor with him at Wall Street.
The following day, Veronica heads to work at Gilmore Gems & Jewels. She assists Vinny, one of her customers, with an apology gift for his wife. While assisting T Dub, another customer, Veronica gets a call from Chad, who confronts Veronica about lying to him, as he was under the impression that she had been working with Katy at Lacy’s.
Veronica returns home, where Chad continues to express his frustrations. Veronica explains that Lacy’s was lacking edge and rather unchallenging. Chad also reminds Veronica that they're supposed to be working towards a baby, which Veronica isn’t as hopeful for. She then reminds him of the passionate sex and their power couple status at work when they first met. Veronica asks what changed. Chad replies "the accident," in which Veronica almost died. So, he didn’t want her going back to Wall Street because it was too stressful, to which she reluctantly agreed but that was admittedly a mistake. Veronica lastly tells Chad that he needs to accept her for who she is.
Veronica watches as her mother does a promotional scene for the Real Housewives of New York. Hermione explains that after everything they’ve been through, filming is not even a challenge. She then asks Veronica when she and Andy Cohen can expect her to join them for an episode or two. However, Veronica is reluctant to put her life on display given recent events with Chad. Veronica fears that Chad wants to turn her into a housewife, but she wants to be the She-wolf of Wall Street. Hermione recalls how Veronica would outperform Chad regularly when they both worked at Wall Street. She suspects that Chad is threatened by this. Hermione then goes on to say that every marriage has its ups and downs and that Veronica may not have as much time as she thinks to start a family.
Veronica arrives home to find Chad and a bouquet of flowers waiting for her. He apologizes for the fight. Chad explains that when their helicopter went down on the way to Martha’s Vineyard, he said a prayer, hoping that Veronica would at least survive the crash. And then they both survived, and he realized that there was so much that they hadn’t gotten to do. Veronica understands his perspective, but she reminds him that they’re partners and that she’s fully capable of making her own decisions, which she hopes Chad will have faith in. As an apology gift, Chad gives Veronica a Glamerge egg, informing her that a new one comes out each year. The very next day, Veronica sells the egg to a couple at Gilmore before getting a call from Archie to return to Riverdale.
Alphabet City, New York. Jughead is a struggling writer. He slams his fists down on his typewriter in a fit of rage. His girlfriend, Jessica, approaches after hearing the commotion. Instead of sharing his troubles with Jessica, Jughead meets with his agent, Samm, who informs Jughead that he’s no longer in the run for the staff writer job at the New Yorker. Sam then asks Jughead about his next book. Jughead states that he has writer’s block, but Sam accuses him of having a terrible work ethic and toxic relationship, along with drinking too much. A year ago, Jughead could’ve had a story published anywhere, but now he’s spoiled goods. To make matters worse, their publisher is threatening to take back their advance unless Jughead produces pages for his next book.
Jughead returns home to find an eviction notice on his door and Jessica on her way out. She no longer wishes to be with Jughead and is leaving to stay with a friend. She also informs him that debt collectors stopped by. Jughead pleads with her to stay, but she leaves, wishing him luck on his book, as it’s the only thing he cares about.
While having a drink at his favorite bar, Jughead is approached by a fan of his novel The Outcast. Cora is an English grad student at NYU. She admires his writing and goes back home with Jughead, where the two proceed to have sex. The following morning, Cora awakens and puts on one of Jughead’s S shirts. On his wall, she finds a framed photo of Jughead from the New York Magazine. They called him the "New Brat Pack." Cora then reveals that she’s read the article numerous times. It’s how she knew the bar was his usual hangout. While she is a fan of his book, she had an ulterior motive when approaching him at the bar. She hopes that he’ll read her novel, and if he likes it, he could give it to his agent. Suddenly, there’s a knock at the door. It’s the debt collectors. In exchange for reading her book, Jughead asks Cora to cover for him and send the debt collectors away. Should Jughead fail to uphold his end, she threatens to call the debt collectors herself. Just as Jughead sits down to read her novel, he gets a call from Archie.
Archie reconvenes with Toni, Kevin, Fangs, and Sweet Pea at the Wyrm to catch up for lost times. Toni had a job lined up after graduation with Riverdale Social Services, but their offices got shut down. Fortunately, Riverdale High needed a guidance counselor. Kevin also works at Riverdale High as the drama teacher. He got his BA from Carnegie Mellon and Pittsburgh, where Fangs graduated from the University of Pittsburgh. Kevin and Fangs remained boyfriends throughout that time, and now they live together with Toni in an apartment on Cloverfield Lane. As for Sweet Pea, he held down the fort while they were gone, and then when Toni returned, they revived the Serpents, under Toni’s leadership, who was crowned the Serpent Queen. Archie then asks about the influx of truckers. Sweet Pea explains that the Serpents drive trucks to make cash, including himself and Fangs. Archie then asks about Cheryl. After Toni got back from Highsmith, she checked on Cheryl a couple of times, but it didn't amount to much.
Toni arrived at Thornhill one day, which was in the midst of being renovated. Cheryl had taken up painting and asked Toni to return when they were less busy. Before leaving, Toni asked Cheryl if she was okay. Cheryl claimed that she was perfectly fine. Toni eventually went back, but she wasn’t Cheryl’s only visitor. That time, Hiram Lodge was talking to Cheryl along with his righthand man, Reggie. They were looking to convince Cheryl to sell her family’s maple grove, but she refused. Cheryl and Nana Rose sought to be buried among the trees. After Hiram left, Cheryl explained to Toni that Hiram came by weekly to attempt to buy her land. Cheryl then asked Toni if she could paint her. Toni agreed, during which time, she stated that no one had seen Cheryl in town for years. Cheryl insisted that she was fine and that she didn’t have a reason to leave Thornhill. Toni asked if Cheryl wanted to hear about her after all their time apart, however, Cheryl had kept a close eye on Toni since their breakup. She knew that Toni graduated with a 3.9 GPA after majoring in social work and a minor in photography. She also did extensive charity and was pregnant. Toni herself revealed to Cheryl that she was out and open with her family. They talked about Cheryl, who her family recognized for her attempts to make up for her family’s sins. Toni believed that they would approve of them being together, but Cheryl explained that the Blossom curse ran too deep for them to get back together. Cheryl was doomed to a life of unhappiness. Cheryl explained to Toni the story of the Winchester House. How Sarah Winchester came from a family of rifle makers, and one by one, the family members suffered painful and horrific fates, cursed by the deaths brought on by their family’s stock and trade of rifles. Only Sarah survived. So, she started to build a house, the Winchester House, and she believed that as long as it remained under constant construction, the curse couldn’t consume her, which was why Cheryl was rebuilding Thornhill. Cheryl continued to paint Toni for another 12 hours and a week later, sent Toni the portrait.
Archie is surprised that Cheryl didn't keep the portrait of Toni, who surmises that Cheryl didn’t want it, but in actuality, Cheryl made a duplicate, one for her and one for Toni. After replicating her own work, Nana Rose questioned if Cheryl was capable of replicating the art of a master, such as Rembrandt.
Archie asks Toni what she meant when she said that Riverdale had changed. Rather than telling him, Toni offers to show him tomorrow. But for the night, Archie will be crashing at the El Royale since his mom rented out the house. After Toni leaves, Archie makes a call to Betty.
As planned, Toni meets up with Archie at El Royale, which is in complete disarray. Toni then proceeds to give Archie a tour of the rest of the town, starting with the fire station. It was already burned up by the time she returned form college, and with the town’s entire funding having been pulled by Hiram, it’s impossible to rebuild it. The sheriff station is also down to one man, Sheriff Keller. Riverdale is essentially lawless. Toni then takes Archie to Pickens Park, which is also a wasteland. The only people left are those who were either too poor or proud to move on. They then make their way to Skidrow, where the homeless has gathered, as well as packs of rabid dogs. Archie then gets on the back of Toni’s bike, and she takes him to a bus stop, one of many that have been burned down. The buses don’t even pass through Riverdale anymore. Toni’s trucks occasionally come through but hardly ever at night. Bad things happen after dark on the Lonely Highway. Archie questions what Hiram has to gain by dismantling Riverdale. SoDale, Toni explains. He’s building a turnpike that leads to SoDale about half a mile east. Hiram is catering to the rich and wealthy, who can commute into the city, essentially strangling Riverdale to boost SoDale. And their kids will attend Stonewall Prep, for which Hiram was able to buy a seat on the board. Lastly, Toni takes Archie back to his childhood home, which has been taken over by the Ghoulies.
Archie and Toni return to the diner, where he greets Pop Tate, who has missed him over the years. Archie then looks over and sees Betty, Jughead, and Veronica sitting in a booth. He reunites with his friends after seven years apart. While he may have lured them back for Pop’s retirement party, he’s hoping they’ll stay to clean up Riverdale. He fears that Riverdale is dying and believes that only they can save it.
Tabitha attempts to convince Squeaky to stay, even offering her more shifts at the diner, but Squeaky remarks that she is done with Riverdale before parting ways with Tabitha. That night, Squeaky hitch-hikes out of Riverdale. She finds herself on the Lonely Highway, where she is picked up by a trucker with with a skeleton tied to the front of his truck.
- Count Moran - Trash and Tumbleweeds
- Riverdale cast ft. Drew Ray Tanner & Vanessa Morgan - After Dark
- The Muggs - 6 to Midnite
- Scene: Archie and Toni catch up.
- Nick Waterhouse feat. Leon Bridges - Katchi
- Scene: Jughead and Cora have sex in his apartment.
- Plague Vendor - New Comedown
- Scene: Archie, Toni, Kevin, Fangs, and Sweet Pea discuss the last seven years.
- Goldminds - Deadwood
- Scene: Archie and Toni make plans to tour Riverdale.
- Jackie Shane - Cruel Cruel World
- This episode was initially intended to be the fifth season premiere. However, production was shut down indefinitely due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in the final three episodes of season four being pushed back.
- A picture from Archie 1941 was used for the poster draft of the episode. The 5-issues miniseries released in 2018 focused on Archie enlisting during WW2 and how the conflict impacted those left in town.
- A seven year time jump occurs during this episode.
- Betty's experience during her FBI training is a reference to the plot of Thomas Harris' 1988 novel Silence of the Lambs. Betty read Harris' novels throughout the previous seasons.
- Dr. Starling counseling Betty takes her name from Clarice Starling.
- Jughead references well-known alcoholic writers Kerouac, Hemingway, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
- Kevin references Carnegie Hall, a concert venue in New York City also mentioned by Ms. Grundy in "Chapter Four: The Last Picture Show", in the first season, and by Jorge Lopez in "Chapter One: Once Upon a Time in New York", the pilot of Katy Keene.
- Cheryl mentions Sarah Winchester, heiress of a wealthy rifle-making family and her haunted family past like that of the Blossom family.
- Cora Carter's novel, The Rules of Distraction, is a pun on The Rules of Attraction, a novel by Bret Easton Ellis. He's the inspiration for Bret Weston Wallis' name.
- February 2021 - Network Prelims, Finals and Cable Numbers Posted - SpoilerTV
- Episode Title - RobertoAguirreSacasa (@WriterRAS) - Twitter
- Riverdale - Episode 5.04 - Purgatory - Press Release - SpoilerTV
- Riverdale Shuts Down Production on Season 4 After 'Team Member' Comes in Contact With Coronavirus Patient - TV line
- Archie 1941 - Archie Comics
- Major 'Riverdale' MARRIAGE Bombshell Revealed! - Clevver News