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Well, it's the Auteur again. Seems like they've moved on from recreating a killing to re-enacting a metaphoric murder. Us and our friend getting Mr. Honey fired. And there is one other thing. I wrote a story Killing Mr. Honey, within which was a fictionalized version of this cabin. I don't think that's a coincidence.
Jughead and Betty to Charles

"Chapter Seventy-Seven: Climax" is the first episode of the fifth season of Riverdale and the seventy-seventh episode of the series overall.[2] It premiered on January 20, 2021.

Synopsis

PROM NIGHT INTERRUPTED - Betty and Jughead's investigation into the auteur leads them to the discovery of a secret underground for red-band screenings. Elsewhere, in order to impress the visiting Naval Academy Commandant, Archie agrees to participate in a boxing exhibition against another candidate – KO Kelly. Meanwhile, as Cheryl prepares for prom, she stumbles upon a major secret that Toni's been keeping from her. [3]

Plot

SPOILERS AHEAD


Jughead and Betty inform Charles of the Auteur

Betty and Jughead have called Charles and the FBI after discovering the latest video from the Auteur, a re-enactment of Mr. Honey’s supposed death. Fortunately, Charles is able to confirm that Mr. Honey is alive and well and that the video they recovered was merely a faux snuff film. It would seem that the Auteur has moved on from recreating a killing to re-enacting a metaphoric murder — Betty, Jughead, and their friends getting Mr. Honey fired. Furthermore, Jughead reveals that he also wrote a story called Killing Mr. Honey, within which was a fictionalized version of the cabin. However, Jughead only told his story to a couple people. An agent then recovers four ticket stubs from Blue Velvet Video, leading Jughead to suspect that the shop keeper, David, is somehow involved.

Veronica finds Archie's song for Betty

Archie returns from an early morning run. While he was out, Veronica came across a new song that he wrote. Unbeknownst to Veronica, Archie wrote the song for Betty. He balls the song up and tells her that it’s not worth him performing. Veronica then gets a message from her father, requesting that she return home.

Veronica arrives at the Pembrooke, where Hiram informs her and Hermione that he’s beating his disease. However, Veronica doesn’t believe him and proceeds to call his doctor for reassurance. Hermione questions how Hiram is recovering so quickly. Hiram claims that he’s been trying a new workout regimen, which in reality, simply consists of him beating up thugs. Veronica confirms that her father is indeed recovering and decides to celebrate.

Charles has brought David in for questioning, but he’s not talking. He also claims that he’s never seen those ticket stubs before either. Jughead isn’t certain that David is the Auteur, but he can’t shake the feeling that David is profiting from the videos.

Betty asks Ms. Bell about the Auteur's video

Betty questions Ms. Bell about the Auteur’s latest video, though she insists that she has no knowledge of Betty and her friends killing Mr. Honey. Mr. Weatherbee interrupts, having been reinstated as principal. Betty asks how he’s dealing. Weatherbee remarks that he makes it through most nights without waking up screaming.

Veronica proposes that Archie box KO

Archie and Veronica inform Commandant Carter how Archie owns both Andrews Construction and the community center. While the Commandant is impressed, he reveals that he has also begun to consider another candidate for the Naval Academy. Much like himself and Archie, this other candidate is a boxer, so Veronica suggests that Commandant Carter decide who will earn their place with an exhibition fight. Commandant Carter agrees and reveals that his other candidate is KO Kelly. Veronica is thrilled, as KO is dating one of her best friends, Katy Keene.

Cheryl scares Kevin away

Toni asks Cheryl why she wants to be prom queen so badly. As far as Toni is concerned, the only royalty worth competing for is Serpent Queen. Kevin joins them at the sign up table for prom king, prepared to add his name at Fangs' behest, but Cheryl turns him away, explaining that she and Toni are campaigning to be co-queens and that it’s been her destiny to wear the prom crown since birth.

Veronica tells Archie that after their fight, she’s booked them a suite at the Five Seasons. It’ll be just the two of them and a bathtub full of rose petals. KO then walks through Pop’s doors and is greeted by Veronica and introduced to Archie, who has graciously agreed to have KO stay with him while in town.

Jughead and Betty asks Bret about David

Betty and Jughead decide to pay Brett a visit at the Lodge Detention Center. They inform him of how the owner of Blue Velvet Videos keeps coming up in their investigation of the Auteur, but he’s not talking to them, so they need leverage. Bret questions why he should tell them anything. Jughead reveals that fellow inmate War Baby is a friend of his and that he hates no one more than preppies. Brett concedes and gives them the leverage they’re after. He informs Betty and Jughead that some of David’s customers prefer underground, immersive red-band screenings. However, in order to be invited, they have to be on the list or prove to David that they’re the real deal by bringing him a tape, preferably a snuff film.

Archie challenges KO

Archie seeks counsel from Mr. Keller, who notes that KO has at least 50 pounds on Archie. Tom proposes psychological warfare. While Archie may be smaller, Tom believes that he’s also stronger. So, Archie and KO make a side bet and compete to see who is stronger through various exercises, all of which Archie out performs KO in. Afterward, KO admits that Archie has more endurance, however, he believes that he has more brute strength and will prove it during their match.

Jughead and Betty ask Cheryl to be their scream queen

Betty and Jughead contemplate their next move. Jughead suggests rather than finding a snuff film that they make one using the equipment from the AV Club and Jellybean’s fake blood. They need a brute to play their murderer and a scream queen for their victim. So, they seek out Cheryl and explain that they’re investigating the Auteur and that they need her help creating a snuff film. Cheryl agrees, motivated by the fact that the Auteur re-enacted Jason’s death.

Betty and Jughead film the snuff film in the chapel of Thistlehouse, with Cheryl, who is wearing a jet black wig and Reggie, dressed head-to-toe in leather. Jughead explains that Reggie is going to kill her in the most brutal way possible, and he’ll film it.

Veronica sings Archie's song

Veronica hosts a party at La Bonne Nuit. In honor of KO’s visit, who sits at a table alongside Archie, Betty, and Jughead, Veronica sings the song that Archie initially wrote for Betty. Afterward, Veronica escorts Archie and KO out of Pop’s. She kisses him goodbye and says that she loves him.

Cheryl proposes that she and Toni host a dinner party at Thistlehouse before the dance. Cheryl wants to invite Toni’s family specifically, however, Toni claims that her grandparents, who love her, aren’t quite ready for some "big gay Prom dinner party." Cheryl questions what happens when she meets them at graduation. Toni replies that it may be better if she pretends that they’re not dating.

KO asks Archie why he's looking into the Naval Academy

As planned, KO sleeps over at Andrews house, lying on the floor just a couple of feet from Archie’s bed. KO questions what made Archie seek out the Naval Academy. Archie reveals that he missed college applications. But then he got a second chance from the Commandant. Archie remarks that the academy is a good place to start over. KO then mentions his relationship with Veronica and how Katy says that they’re "In it to win it." However, Archie sometimes worries that he’s holding Veronica back. KO feels the same but says that it's ultimately up to the ladies to decide.

The following day, Betty and Jughead call Kevin into the Blue and Gold and explain that they’re trying to sell a snuff film to Blue Velvet Videos and that they need him to accompany Betty. Jughead would go himself, but David would recognize him from the time he raided the store with the FBI.

Nana Topaz tells Toni to break up with Cheryl

Toni approaches her Nana, prepared to inform her that she has a girlfriend, but Nana Topaz is already aware of her relationship with Cheryl, who is outraged not because Toni is dating a girl but that the girl is a Blossom. Nana Topaz reminds Toni how the Blossoms have taken everything from them over the decades. Toni retorts that Cheryl is nothing like her family, but Nana Topaz would beg to differ. She refuses to allow Toni to date a Blossom.

Betty and Kevin bribe David with a tape of Betty's father

Betty and Kevin approach David with the faux snuff film she and Jughead created. However, after only viewing the film for only a few moments, he says that the snuff is a fake. Betty has come with a backup film that she insists is the real deal. It’s the home video of her father being groomed by his mother to become the Black Hood. David is overwhelmed and asks for her permission to screen the tape to an audience. Betty agrees to allow him to screen the video at his upcoming rave so long as she’s invited.

Archie faces off with KO. Veronica, Kevin, Fangs, Mary, and Brooke cheer him on from the crowd.

Betty and Jughead spot the Auteur

Betty arrives at the rave and greets David at the door. He tells Betty that her father’s film is playing in room 317. Betty enters and then sneaks Jughead in through a back door. The pair walk room to room in hopes of crossing paths with the Auteur. Eventually, they find themselves in a room playing all of the Auteur’s snuff films, concluding that they must be near. Jughead starts questioning those within the room, though none provide answers of use and shove him away when approached. Betty is then approached by a raver, who refers to her as "Ponytail Playmate," in reference to the sex tape that Bret secretly filmed and sold to David. This angers Jughead, who punches the raver. Betty and Jughead then exit the room to find the Auteur wearing an owl’s mask and standing at the end of the hall filming. However, their pursuit is stalled when they discover that Jellybean is at the rave. So, Betty goes after the Auteur while Jughead stays behind with his sister, who claims she was merely attending the party with friends.

KO defeats Archie

Archie and KO’s fight has come to an end. The first judge scores in favor of KO. The second judge scores in favor of Archie. The last and final judge, Commandant Carter, rules in favor of KO, meaning that Archie will not be heading to the Naval Academy. After the fight, Commandant Carter tells Archie to reapply in the fall, and he’ll see if they can work something out. However, Archie turns down his offer.

Toni contemplates her relationship with Cheryl

Toni confronts Cheryl for going to see her Nana. Cheryl was under the impression that Toni didn’t want her to meet her family because she was a lesbian, but in actuality it’s the Blossoms that Toni’s family hates. And now, Toni’s Nana is begging Toni not to go to prom with Cheryl. She says that it would dishonor their family. Cheryl apologizes and says that she hopes they can still go to prom together, but Toni isn’t so sure.

Betty and Jughead take Jellybean to Pop’s and ask why she was at the screening. Jellybean claims that she was with her friend, Lauren, and Lauren’s older brother heard about the rave via email. Jughead makes Jellybean promise that she won’t be at anymore X-rated raves.

Archie and Veronica plan for prom

Veronica finds Archie in the locker room. She regrets ever suggesting the fight in the first place but tells Archie that the Naval Academy wasn’t his only option. Veronica then proposes they blow off prom, but Archie doesn’t want to miss the last dance they’ll have with their friends.

At Thistlehouse, Cheryl gets ready to leave for prom but not before Nana Rose takes a few photos. Toni arrives at the last moment to escort Cheryl out, though the pair manage to take a few photos together first.

Veronica and Archie take prom photos

Archie heads over to the Pembrooke with his mom and Brooke. While they chat with Hermione, Archie speaks to Hiram, who has learned that Archie failed to get accepted into the Naval Academy. Should Archie decide to stay in Riverdale, Hiram would like to hire Archie as his deputy mayor to oversee community outreach. They are joined by Veronica, who is wearing a dazzling dress. The two snuggle up as Mary and Hermione take photos: "Smile and say endgame."

Jughead and Betty take prom photos

Jughead waits downstairs with Jellybean, FP, and Alice as he prepares to leave for prom. Betty comes tiptoeing down the steps in a beautiful gown and gives him a kiss. Alice then takes a photo of the two.

Archie and Veronica, Betty and Jughead, Cheryl and Toni, Kevin and Fangs, and KO and Reggie arrive at the dance. Kevin proposes a toast to surviving Riverdale and making it a night they’ll never forget.

Archie reveals that he kissed Betty

Archie and Veronica slow dance, during which time she reveals that she is aware that her father offered him a job as deputy mayor. Veronica goes on to tell Archie that she intends to defer college for a year to be with Archie, who isn't as happy as she expected, as he doesn’t want to hold her back. In fear that he’s dragging Veronica down, Archie reveals that the song Veronica found was for Betty. He wrote it for her after they kissed during Hedwig.

Toni and Cheryl are crowned prom queens

Mr. Weatherbee takes the stage with Ms. Bell and crowns Cheryl and Toni Riverdale’s first openly gay Prom Queens. However, no queenship is complete without a court, so Cheryl invites Archie, Veronica, Betty, and Jughead to join them for the traditional promenade court dance. However, the lights suddenly shut off and the prom comes to a halt when the Auteur makes their next move, playing on the big screen a snuff film of what appears to be David being killed by several individuals wearing masks while tied to a chair in the back of the Blue Velvet Videos store. Jughead shuts off the video while Betty gets the lights.

Toni says goodbye to Cheryl

While they didn’t get to finish their ceremonial dance, Cheryl is overjoyed that they were crowned prom queens. Now, a carriage awaits them to Thistlehouse. However, Toni can’t leave with Cheryl. Her Nana said that if she didn’t return home by midnight then she would never speak to Toni again. With no other choice, Toni parts ways with Cheryl, who thanks her for a memorable prom. Toni promises Cheryl that they’ll work it out eventually.

Archie and Veronica break up

As tears run down her face, Veronica asks Archie if Betty told Jughead about their kiss, which she hadn’t. They had sworn that they wouldn’t. Veronica believes they should keep it that way to spare Jughead the pain. Their last two weeks of high school will be fraught, and Veronica doesn’t want them overshadowed by infidelity, so after graduation, they’ll go their separate ways. Veronica will go to Barnard and Archie will do whatever feels right for him.

Betty and Jughead arrive at Blue Velvet Videos only to find an owl mask and a camera left behind.

Hermione consoles Veronica

Hermione finds Veronica crying on the couch. Veronica reveals that something happened between Betty and Archie. Hiram stands in the doorway, visibly upset and concerned for his daughter.

Nana Rose consoles Cheryl, who is distraught over her strained relationship to Toni. Once again, she is a victim to the Blossom family curse and can no longer outrun her fate.

Charles informs Betty and Jughead that David is missing

Charles informs Betty and Jughead that they have an APB out for David. He won’t get far, but that’s assuming he was the Auteur. However, if he wasn’t, then he could be dead somewhere. All they can do now is continue their search for David and wait for the next video to drop.

Archie returns home to find a tape on his doorstep. It’s a re-enactment of his traumatizing first encounter with the Black Hood at Pop’s, which resulted in his father getting shot.

Cast

Starring

Guest Starring

Co-Starring

Soundtrack

  • Collective Soul - The World I Know
    • Scene: Archie reveals to Veronica that he wrote Carry The Torch for Betty.
  • Mazzy Star - Fade Into You
    • Scene: Cheryl and Toni invite Archie and Veronica, and Betty and Jughead to dance with them as their prom court.
  • Talking Heads - Psycho Killer

Trivia

  • This episode was initially titled "Stand to Reason" and intended to air during the fourth season as episode 20. However, production was shut down indefinitely due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.[4] [5]
    • This episode had three days left of filming when production was shut down back in March. Lili Reinhart also confirmed a few finer points and joked during an interview on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon that it will be easy to tell which parts of season 5’s premiere were filmed before the pandemic. "When we go back, we have to finish three days of one episode that we were filming in March," she said. "So we're all going to be significantly tanner... maybe I've gained weight during quarantine so I'll look a little different."[6]
  • The episode title comes from Gaspar Noé's 2018 psychological horror film of the same name.
  • Betty references American actress Jamie Lee Curtis and her many horror film roles, such as Laurie Strode in the Halloween franchise.

Gallery

Promotional Images

Screencaps

Videos

References

Episode Guide

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