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Welcome to my little night gallery, I like to call it, where the depths of the human psyche are plumbed, and all manner of nightmares are summoned up and bound to canvas.

"Chapter Ninety: The Night Gallery" is the fourteenth episode of the fifth season of Riverdale and the ninetieth episode of the series overall.[2] It premiered on September 1, 2021.

Synopsis

MÄDCHEN AMICK DIRECTS THE EPISODECheryl enlists the help of Archie, Kevin, Fangs and Reggie after she learns there is palladium underneath her maple groves. Meanwhile, Betty and Alice confront a trucker who may have been involved in Polly’s disappearance. Elsewhere, Jughead and Archie each confront events from their past.[3]

Plot

SPOILERS AHEAD


Minerva arrives at Thornhill

On a dark and stormy night, Minerva arrives at Thornhill at Cheryl's request. However, she warns Cheryl that she's alerted the auction house of her whereabouts, so there's no point if she's thinking about sacrificing Minerva to her crimson gods. Cheryl insists that she would never do such a thing and apologizes for their last encounter. Minerva recalls Cheryl saying that she finished a new series of paintings, and that's the only reason she came. Cheryl takes Minerva into her night gallery. She shows Minerva a portrait of Archie with a pickaxe, explaining that it's about a hero who's plagued with the trauma of his present.

Dr. Winters treats Archie

Archie meets with a therapist to discuss his vivid nightmares as of late. He describes the nightmares as being confusing and jumbled up. Dr. Winters informs Archie that it's simply his subconscious trying to make sense of the senseless. Given the trauma he's endured, Archie's anxiety is normal, but Dr. Winters wants to prescribe some anti-anxiety medication, which Archie declines. So, Dr. Winters suggests EMDR instead, which is eye movement desensitization and reprogramming. Essentially, Archie will recount his memories of war while she moves her hand back and forth, and he follows her hand movement with his eyes. They begin, and Archie immediately recalls Private Butler, who they called Bingo. He then remembers letting Bingo die after he was trapped in no man's land while Archie was trapped in a foxhole with Eric. Tears start to fill his eyes as he recounts the memory. Dr. Winter stops moving her hand and tells Archie that repetition takes power away from the memory, before resuming and telling Archie to tell her the story again.

Cheryl asks for Archie to open her mines

Archie returns home from his meeting with Dr. Winters and thanks Eric for recommending her. Frank asks if Eric is also doing EMDR with her, but she has him on a drug regimen instead, and he claims that the side effects are nothing too serious. Archie then receives a surprise visit from Cheryl, who has just discovered that the largest deposit of palladium in Riverdale sits beneath her family's maple groves, which is why she needs Andrews Construction to open the mines and harvest the palladium before Hiram steals it. Archie initially turns her down given his lack of experience, but considering that he's been a soldier, a fireman, a football coach, a teacher, and a bounty hunter, Cheryl has faith he'll figure it out. Frank adds that it is in fact doable, as he ran a crew in Alaska for a spell. After thinking it over, Archie eventually agrees to help run the operation.

Cheryl blesses the crew

Archie, Frank, Eric, Fangs, Kevin, and Reggie begin immediately on the mining for palladium. With Nana Rose at her side, Cheryl would like to offer her blessing as ministress and asks that everyone gather around and join hands as she blesses them. After the prayer, Reggie gives Nana Rose a discreet wink while heading into the mines.

The boys return to the trailer for lunch and Frank for a nap, but when Reggie informs Archie that Kevin stayed behind to continue digging, Archie rushes to find him, as no one works in the mines alone. While searching for Kevin, Archie finds himself back in war, surrounded by gunfire and Bingo simply staring at him in another one of PTSD-induced flashbacks. When he comes to, he runs into Kevin, who has uncovered the palladium.

Cheryl recovers palladium

Archie, Frank, and Kevin bring Cheryl a small piece of palladium as proof of their hard efforts. She thanks them for their time thus far and sends them back to work.

Archie has another successful session with Dr. Winters. Afterwards, he asks hypothetically what she would prescribe him if he did agree to take drugs for his PTSD. She explains it would only be a low dose of anti-anxiety medication. He's asking because of the recent flashback he had in the mines. She hands Archie the medication and insists they will help.

Fangs talking about the Mothmen

While Eric sleeps on the couch, Reggie asks Archie, Fangs, and Kevin if they ever heard of the Mothmen. Archie recalls that Jughead was investigating them, but they were just a hoax, Archie presumed. However, Fangs isn't so sure. He's heard some stories from the truck drivers who worked in the mines when they were open, and every so often, they'd talk about these humanoid creatures that lived underground with big red eyes to absorb as much light as possible, not to mention they were cannibalistic.

Archie sees a Mothman

While working in the mines, Archie starts to have another flashback. He hears Eric calling out to him for help. When he finally finds Eric facing a wall, Archie approaches, only to discover that it is in fact a Mothman, or at least he thinks that's what he saw before fleeing the mines. Frank follows Archie into the trailer to check on him. Archie claims that someone is messing with his head and rushes to see Dr. Winters to ask about the pills she gave him, claiming that she's experimenting on him. He becomes enraged and asks who she works for, assuming Hiram Lodge or some government corporation. She asks him to leave, which he does reluctantly, but only after another vet intervenes.

Archie returns home and warns Eric to stop seeing Dr. Winters, as she's dangerous. He claims that she's using them as guinea pigs. However, Eric has no plans to stop seeing her, and he doesn't think Archie should either, as he has more baggage than he lets on. Losing as many men as Archie did at war is not easy to cope with. Eric is glad it didn't break him.

As Archie sits in the trailer, staring at a picture of him with his dad, Frank enters and after talking it over with the crew, they all think Archie should take the day off. But if Archie insists on sticking around, Frank suggests he stay in the trailer and help out with payroll rather than going into the mines.

Frank tells Archie that they've been exposed to gas

From outside the mines, Archie hears shouting and a dog barking. He rushes inside the mines, calling out to his uncle Frank. He finds Kevin and Fangs in some kind of hallucinogenic state; Kevin is repeating over and over "He loves me. He loves me not." Meanwhile, Fangs seems to be experiencing some kind of head pain, claiming that "Tommy Knockers is singing in my head." Reggie suddenly joins them, exclaiming that there are monsters in the mines. Archie snaps Reggie out of it and tasks him with getting Kevin and Fangs out of the mines. Archie then goes searching for Eric and Frank. He finds them in a separate set of tunnels, with Eric choking Frank while claiming he's a devil. Archie intervenes and knocks him out with a single punch. He then checks on Frank, who reveals that they've been exposed to some kind of gas in the mines.

Archie and Frank tell Cheryl about the gas

Archie and Frank report to Cheryl that the tunnels are full of carbon monoxide. If you breathe enough of it, it causes hallucinations and violent outbursts, which they've all experienced. Cheryl asks how they can fix it. Archie believes they can hook up a pump to make sure there's fresh air. And so, Cheryl pushes for them to do just that, as she needs for work to resume immediately.

Archie returns to Dr. Winters to apologize for his attack on her and pleads with her not to cut him loose, as he needs help. He's been withholding from her that a lot of men died under his watch and that he's been seeing Private Bingo. But now, he's seeing all the men he lost at war. However, Dr. Winters is genuinely scared to be alone with Archie after their previous encounter. And if he's truly experiencing such extreme levels of hallucinations, she doesn't think it's safe for him to be around anyone right now.

Minerva is impressed with Cheryl's paintings. Her subject matter is even more haunted than before. Her next portrait was inspired by Betty, who is holding a chainsaw and surrounded by a multiple-eyed creature in the painting, which wrestles with the question of who is the true monster — the ghoul she's hunting or the girl hunting the ghoul.

Tabitha tells Betty to be careful

Betty and Tabitha sit in a booth at Pop's and discuss the killer they've captured. Tabitha isn't as used to such activities as Betty, unsure how to deal with the fact that they just caught the man who may be the Highway Killer. She questions if they should hand him over to the police, but Betty doesn't want to be cut out of the investigation, especially if he did kill Polly. She assures Tabitha that she can get the information from him. However, she thinks it would be best if Tabitha bow out. She reluctantly agrees but reminds Betty that she's always there as backup, as she doesn't want any other girls dying, which includes Betty.

Betty chains up the killer at the school

Betty has the killer chained up in her shop class at Riverdale High. He reveals that his name is Martin Tucker, which is a stolen identity, as the real Martin Tucker died almost 50 years ago. She suggests that he start telling her the truth about all his victims, as she's with the FBI. If that is the case, he questions why he's in a shop class instead of a jail and then requests a phone call. He exclaims that he has rights as a citizen of the United States. Betty replies "Well, actually, you're not in the United States anymore. You're in Riverdale." She welcomes him and explains that killers of women have no rights. And if he's thinking of yelling for help, Betty reveals it's a long weekend, so there'd be no point. Martin suspects that she's one of those women who run around entrapping men and asks who hurt her, possibly a bitter boyfriend. These words resonate with Betty, resulting in flashbacks of her time with TBK.

Betty asks Martin why he kills women

Betty heads to the field office, where she gathers the files of multiple missing women, which happens to include their photo. She shows each of their photos to Martin, who seems to almost recognize Polly. When Betty shows him a photo of a woman named Allison McCall, he admits to knowing her. Betty punches him and demands to know her location. Martin reveals that there's an old hikers' trail in the northeast corner of Swedlow Swamp, where Allison is buried underneath a sycamore tree. However, when Betty goes to confirm this, all she discovers is dog bones. Martin then refers to her as "Agent Cooper" despite Betty never giving her last name. Martin reveals that there's been stories up and down the highway about a rogue FBI agent looking for her sister. Betty demands to know Polly's whereabouts. He says that if he knew and if he told her, then she would do what every other woman does and cast him aside after getting what she wants. Betty then asks why did he start killing women. Martin simply wanted to know how it feels, which isn't much different from when he's hunting with his family. Betty tries to explain that he's hunting humans with families who miss them, but Martin only sees his victims as prey.

Betty goes home to inform her mother that she may have captured the Highway Killer. Betty believes that if he saw Alice as a grieving mother and Polly as a human being, he may confess. So, Alice agrees to meet him.

Alice tries to appeal to Martin's humanity

Betty returns to shop class with Alice, who holds up photos of Polly while recounting memories of her, like how she was a baton twirler and liked to swim. However, Martin isn't moved. In fact, he tells Alice that Polly squealed like a pig when he slit her throat. Alice is consumed with rage and begins punching Martin repeatedly until Betty intervenes.

As Alice soaks her hand in ice water, Betty contemplates their next move after failing to appeal to the Martin's humanity. Rather than dealing with him any further, Alice suggests that Betty simply kill Martin, as she's all but certain that he killed Polly, though Betty attempts to convince her mother otherwise. She tells Alice that she wants to try one more thing first before resorting to murder.

Martin kills himself

Betty continues to interrogate Martin in the garage of Riverdale High. She's accepted that Polly's dead and asks Martin one last time to tell her where Polly is. When he refuses, she threatens to start carving pieces off of him. She's going to start with a chainsaw on his feet. She'll cut them off and cauterize the wounds. And then she'll cut his legs at the knees and do the same with those wounds, and simply continue upwards. In fear of what Betty may do next, Martin caves and asks if Polly had blue eyes, a tattoo of the infinity symbol, if she ever went by the name of "Patty" instead of Polly, which she did. Betty asks if he remembers her. He replies "Not in the least." Betty heads into the hall to figure out her next move. There, she begins to recall her time with TBK. She pleaded with him to simply kill her, but he had other plans in mind. TBK intended to do to Betty what she just threatend to do to Martin -- carve pieces of her, starting with a chainsaw to cut off her feet. Betty then goes to retrieve the chainsaw from the garage and returns to Martin only to discover that he's dead.

Betty and Alice discuss Martin

When Betty returns home, Alice asks if she killed Martin. Betty reveals that he killed himself by biting off his own tongue and swallowing it, causing him to choke to death. Now, they have to wait and see what Dr. Curdle Jr's autopsy reveals. Betty then asks her mother if she feels Betty. Alice admits that she does, as she believes that some lives were saved tonight. However, based on a few things he said, Betty believes that there is a family of killers hunting together.

Cheryl shares her portrait of Jughead with Minerva. The portrait of a young writer caught between fact and fiction, memory and madness, truth and trauma. It's about the stories they tell themselves to survive and addiction.

Jughead attends a meeting

Jughead attends an AA meeting at Riverdale High. He introduces himself as an alcoholic and shares his story with the others in attendance. After high school, he joined the Iowa Writer's Workshop. He thought Iowa would be an escape, but he actually found himself more bored than anything else. So, he focused on his craft. Every afternoon at dusk, he'd segue from coffee to whiskey before starting to write. From those late nights came a few chapters of a novel, which Jughead sent off to about 100 literary agents in New York. Samm Pansky got back to him and told Jughead to call him the next time he's in the city.

Jughead meets Samm

Jughead took Samm up on his offer and went to meet with him. Sam was impressed, based on what he read. As a gift, Samm gave Jughead a bottle of alcohol to celebrate their union as client and agent. Jughead called Betty with the good news and told her about getting an agent. Betty congratulated him and hoped that his friends were taking him out for a drink.

Jughead then moved to New York, specifically a cramped apartment in the East Village, where he was hit with a lethal case of writer's block. Luckily, Jessica knew where to score some maple mushrooms. Jughead ingested the shrooms and began to trip, which allowed the doors to his mind to swing open; he wrote 200 pages that night, and from that first draft came "The Outcast."

Jughead took his draft of "The Outcast" to Samm, who informed him that it had the potential to be a "monster YA hit."

The year leading up to the publication of the book was a whirlwind. Jughead was drinking steadily, along with Jessica, who had moved in with him. Despite Jessica moving in, Jughead was still holding on to Betty, who he had texted and asked if she was still coming to his book release. Betty responded while in bed with her partner and assured him that she wouldn't miss it.

Jughead leaves Betty a voicemail

The night of Jughead's book release finally arrived, but it quickly began to derail after he got a call from Betty saying that she wasn't going to be able to make the book release after all. So after a few more drinks, Jughead stumbled his way in the general direction of his party and called Betty, leaving her an angry, drunken voicemail about how she's been blowing him off for years and how she cheated on him with Archie, hurting both him and Veronica deeply. Additionally, he called Betty a "cold, fake, duplicitous bitch" and said that everyone would see that when they read his book. Jughead then dropped his phone and vanished into an alleyway, where he was swallowed up by the dark.

Jughead wakes up in the hospital

One moment, Jughead was stumbling in a back alley, and the next moment he was waking up in a hospital room three days later with Jessica at his side. Jessica told him about how he went on an epic bender before ending up at St. Vincent's. Jughead recovered, but his relationship with Jessica only continued to deteriorate due to all the drinking and fighting. So, when Archie called him, he decided to come back home to Riverdale. Although, he continued to drink, and shortly after that, he hit rock bottom on Skid Row. He figured he needed to go back to New York and find out what happened during those three days he lost during his bender.

Jughead meets the Rat King

Jughead went back to St. Vincent's and requested a copy of his discharge records, which said he had been treated for a rabies infection. Jughead then went to go see Jessica, who revealed that the doctor's said when Jughead came in, he was raving and ranting about a "Rat King." A man that lived under the streets of New York. The night of Jughead's book release, he never even made it to the party. After he left that voicemail for Betty, he fell down a sinkhole into the sewers. He thought to himself that he could stay there, given how horrifically his life was falling apart. So, he formed a cot to sleep on until the Rat King showed up, claiming that he was the king of the underworld and that Jughead was trespassing. He pulled a knife and asked what does Jughead do. Jughead replied that he was a writer and read his copy of "The Outcast" to the Rat King, who loved the book and applauded Jughead, who he believed was a born storyteller and was worthy of staying down in the sewers with him.

Betty appears to Jughead

There, away from his responsibilities and expectations, Jughead was eager to join the Rat King's domain, but that night, an illusion of Betty came to him. She warned him that he was in danger, as the city floods the sewers once every two weeks, which was scheduled to happened at any moment. Jughead took her hand and the two of them made it back to the surface and into some back alley in East Village. The cops found him and took him to St. Vincent's Hospital. Betty essentially saved Jughead from the darkness.

Jughead imagined the Rat King

Jughead felt that he needed to return to the physical site of his core trauma. After two days, he found the alley and the sinkhole that was now paved over. Next to it was a sewer grate, which he pried open and entered. The sewer was indeed familiar, and his presence their prior was confirmed when he found a copy of his book. Scribbled in the margins was the story of the Rat King and his captive, that Jughead had made up. Going to the source of his trauma allowed him to understand that the Rat King was just a fiction he conjured to distract himself from what really happened down there. The night of his party, Jughead was angry and drunk. He fell into a sinkhole, and when he came to, he couldn't scream for help because he was covered in rats. He was afraid if he opened his mouth that they would crawl into it. The worst part is that the ordeal made him realize how alone he was. The night was supposed to be one of his greatest triumphs, and he was in a dark hole. And no one missed him. And that's what he's dealing with now — the wreckage of his life. Step one is to get his drinking under control.

Cheryl kisses Minerva

Cheryl saves the best portrait for last. She painted herself and Minerva as Psyche revived by Cupid's kiss. Minerva loves the painting but recalls that the last time she was at Thornhill, Nana Rose suggested sacrificing her to an angry Eldritch Terror. That said, Cheryl is only interested in Minerva's feelings for her. Despite their last encounter, she does admittedly still have feelings for Cheryl, but she's about to leave the country tomorrow on an art buying trip to South Africa. "That still leaves us with tonight, doesn't it?" Cheryl asks. The two ladies then proceed to kiss.

Cast

Starring

Guest Starring

Co-Starring

  • Kamar Burke as Hulking Vet
  • Peter Kelamis as Samm Pansky
  • Ramon Terrell as Group Leader
  • Anthony Timpano as Benjamin "Bingo" Butler

Trivia

  • This is the second episode directed by Mädchen Amick after "Chapter Seventy-Six: Killing Mr. Honey", also written by James DeWille.
  • The episode title, as well as its general plot structure, comes from 1970s supernatural anthology TV series of the same name.
  • This is the first episode in the series to not feature Veronica Lodge or her portrayer Camila Mendes. Due to this, no character has appeared in every episode, although Lili Reinhart has appeared in every episode, albeit as various characters.
  • Cheryl's paintings, which take anywhere from three to thirty hours to create, were actually crafted by Vancouver based artist Oksana Gaidasheva.[4]
    • Prior to Gaidasheva painting the portraits, first a digital image is created by the Riverdale art department. When she finally receives the reference image, "It has undergone meticulous adjustments that fit the exact mood the writers and directors want to convey."[4]
    • After her first pass at painting Jughead's piece, Gaidasheva was asked to make the rats creepier, as she initially made them "too cute."[4]
  • Jughead's story of falling into a sinkhole and being covered in rats was inspired by a true story that showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa had heard about.[5]

Gallery

Promotional Images

Screencaps

Videos

References

Episode Guide

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