This week’s episode of Riverdale involved life-changing announcements and life-changing relationships. When Cheryl gets the gang together for one last party before they get to actual adulthood, their 30s, it’s Spin the Bottle sophomore year all over again, though this time with keys. Not every relationship makes it through the episode but some new ones blossom, as well as some old ones.
Keep reading for a recap of the newest episode of Riverdale, “Chapter Eighty-Four: Lock & Key.”
Betty gets a call from Sheriff Keller, who tells her they found another body in Swedlow Swamp. Once she hangs up, Betty tells Alice that Tom said it looks like the other bodies, it’s been there for a while. At the swamp, Betty calls Alice to tell her it’s not Polly. Dr. Curdle says the remains are over a year old. Alice feels relief wash over her and hope. This means Polly is still out there, she’s still alive. Betty’s hopeful about it, too.
In the school lounge as Archie and Veronica are going over plans for a remodeled Pembrooke, Jughead and Betty come over. Cheryl soon joins them and wonders why they’ve been summoned. As if on cue, Toni, Kevin, and Fangs walk in. Kevin and Fangs announce they are engaged. They then announce they are having a baby. “There’s still more.” They are having the baby, Toni’s baby, with her. She is having their baby. The three of them plan on raising the baby together. “Just one, big, happy, non-traditional family.” Cheryl, however, is the least thrilled.
“And they call me Cherry Bombshell.” Cheryl struts into Toni’s office and she wonders if it occurred to her to give her any advance warning about her offspring’s lineage. Toni admits she wanted to tell her, not just as her co-captain but as her friend. Based on Cheryl’s recent behavior, Toni wasn’t sure if they had that relationship anymore. Toni confesses that when she was a junior at Highsmith, she found out she has a medical condition that makes it hard for her to get pregnant the older she is. Cheryl’s attitude completely changes as she sits down and apologizes to Toni. Toni continues to say that the doctor told her if she really wanted to have kids, she should do it while she’s still young. Cheryl understands, “but Kevin and Fangs?” Fangs is like family to Toni, they got initiated into the Serpents together. Then Fangs and Kevin started talking about adoption and they were looking for a surrogate mother. Toni volunteered. Splendid, Cheryl says. Toni gets an “insta-family” while she’s withering away at Thornhill. Toni may be having a baby with Kevin and Fangs, but she still cares about Cheryl deeply. If she wants, maybe they can still try to make this work. Cheryl doesn’t see how that’s possible anymore. “But congratulations, I am very happy for you.”
Cheryl gathers the gang for some drinks at the Whyte Wyrm. She asks Toni for a do-over and Toni agrees, telling her that her support means the world to her. Cheryl asks if she will let her host a modest celebration for her, Fangs, and Kevin and Toni gives in. Cheryl gets on a pool table and gets her friends’ attention. Now that everyone is swan diving into sad adulthood with babies and marriages and arthritis, etcetera, she announces she’s throwing a party. One last hurrah to celebrate their wild, misspent youth. One final chance to recall their reckless teenage selves. “I mean, who could forget my iconic Spin the Bottle parties of yore?” This party, however, will be a key party. A classic American and oh-so-adult round of sexual switcheroo. They’ll draw keys and pair off and if the spirit moves them they are strongly encouraged to act on any and all animal impulses. Without waiting for answers, Cheryl whips out her phone and texts everyone the details. To bring their keys for her bowl and their “well-oiled libidos.”
Betty comes home to find her sister on her bed. Betty immediately runs up to Polly relieved at the sight of her but horrified about what she could have gone through. Polly, scared, tells Betty she can’t be there. He’ll find her. Who will? TBK. Just then, the serial killer comes up behind Betty and slits her neck. Betty wakes up in a sweat and sees Archie’s bedroom light on so she texts him. He comes into her room soon after and comforts her.
The next day, Betty finds Alice in the kitchen. Alice tells her that Polly called, she’s alive. Betty tells her mother to walk her through what happened and Alice says the phone rang, she picked up and it was Polly. She was hysterical and talking a mile a minute. Alice tried to keep her on the phone but she was scared. Betty asks Alice if she’s sure it wasn’t just some crank and Alice says yes. She was scared, she couldn’t see, she was being kept somewhere dark. Betty breaks the news that with most of the missing persons cases after two days chances of the victim being found alive are almost nothing. Polly’s been gone for weeks. Alice doesn’t believe it. Her daughter is alive and she called, she’s calling back.
While working on the Pembrooke remodeling, Archie and Veronica get to talking about Fangs, Kevin, and Toni’s announcement. Veronica says she’s starting to realize all the things she’s missing in her life. She asks Archie if she’s crazy or is he feeling the same way, too. Archie’s not sure what he’s feeling. “Things are changing, fast.” What happens if they get matched at the key party? Archie says he doesn’t know, but then asks if Chad’s coming. He is, Veronica says. And although he doesn’t say much except for “That’s a good thing,” Archie’s expression shows disappointment. As does Veronica, who agrees.
Everyone arrives at Thornhill for the key party and the atmosphere is already getting tense between the guests. Cheryl gathers everyone and thanks them for coming. “You came, which means you all feel it. The impending crush of true adulthood.” Their 30s and soon after, mortality. The big sleep. Cheryl says the key party is the bold rejection of death and she quickly gets into the house rules. Consensual, no redrawing, and they have a free pass to do anything they wanted ever. Veronica chooses first and she picks Archie’s key. Veronica makes her way to Archie but Chad stops her. Archie tells him to get his hands off her and to respect her. Veronica gets in the middle, not wanting to be fought over by two Tarzans. She goes over to the bowl and takes out Chad’s key telling him they’re leaving.
A very drunk Jughead volunteers to go next, stumbling as he walks to the bowl. Tabitha tells Cheryl she’s taking him home but Cheryl tells Jughead he has to pick a key. He coincidentally picks Tabitha’s key, it was meant to be. The two of them leave after Tabitha gets Jughead’s keys. Reggie chooses Fangs, Kevin chooses his cruiser crush, Rick, and soon it’s Betty’s turn. She picks Archie’s key and the two of them head off, leaving Cheryl with Toni. “How did I know this was going to happen?”
After making this night all about Toni, Cheryl says she knew they would end up together. Although Toni doesn’t believe in fate she does believe Cheryl is a master manipulator. Cheryl has Toni follow her into a room that looks like a nursery. It’s a place they can be together, with or without Kevin and Fangs, Cheryl tells her. Toni puts the pieces together and asks Cheryl if the party was just to hurt them. To show her how fragile some unions can be and Cheryl says yes, but to also show her to look forward. All those years, Cheryl has been compelled to restore Thornhill without ever truly understanding why. Now she sees it so clearly. “It was to make a sanctuary for your child. If not ours.” Toni tells Cheryl she is not bringing her baby into this House of Horrors. She was already trapped at Thistlehouse with Cheryl’s two dead brothers, she’s not going to let her bring her down the mountain. Toni trying to have a normal friendship with Cheryl was a mistake. She tells Cheryl she should have left their relationship where it was, the past. She’s sorry she led her on and agreed to this stupid party. “I really, really am.”
After having gone on their separate key dates, Kevin and Fangs meet each other at home. Kevin tells Fangs that he loves him so much but he’s not ready to get married. Fangs, already looking heartbroken, asks why. If it’s because he doesn’t want to stop cruising in the woods, that’s okay. It’s not about the woods, Kevin says. It’s about him, where he’s at. What about Toni and the fact that they’re having a baby together? Kevin’s not sure yet. Fangs wonders why he’s imploding them, especially when he pushed for all of this; being open, starting a family, getting married. Kevin admits it’s messed up and he’s sorry before leaving.
Here they are, a free pass to do anything they want, but Archie and Betty are still just talking and not doing anything. They’re right on the edge. That’s what it feels like. Archie tells Betty that he has to be honest with her before they do anything. He admits he still has feelings for Veronica. He shouldn’t, but he does. Betty says they should make sense. “The All-American Boy and the Girl Next Door.” But deep in their cores they are such different people, Betty tells him. Getting closer to Archie, she knows she doesn’t want her darkness to overtake him. It’s been saving her sanity to escape with him, but what’s coming next for her mom and Polly will probably be the darkest thing Betty’s ever faced. “So you get to face whatever’s coming alone? No way.” Wiping away tears, Betty says not alone. Still with him, as a friend, because that’s what she thinks she’s going to need more than a lover, more than an escape. A friend. “A window of light in the dark.” Archie takes Betty’s hand, telling her that’s what he’ll be.
Veronica meets Archie at the gym that night and breaks the news that she and Chad are getting a divorce. He’s on his way back to New York for good. Veronica thinks in her heart of hearts she knew it had to happen. Archie says he was devastated when he found out she was married, but that was nothing like the pain he felt seeing her unhappy. More than anything he just wants her to be happy. Veronica tells him good because she might know a way he can help her with that. Archie tells her about him and Betty hooking up and Veronica wonders if it was just two lost lonely souls looking for a connection. “Something like that.” The truth is that they’re just friends. He thought she should know. The way Veronica sees it, the past is in the past. She’s only interested in what they want now, in the present. They kiss and most likely take it further than that.
Alice and Betty are in the kitchen as the phone rings and they both race to answer it. Betty accepts the charges and it’s Polly on the other end. She tells Betty she’s at a payphone in the middle of nowhere. She doesn’t know where she is, she ran as fast as she could. Polly says she’s on the Lonely Highway and Betty tells her she’s going to hang up but to call back on her cell phone. Polly pleads with her sister to hurry, they’re coming. Betty and Alice start driving down the highway, trying to find any sign of Polly. Alice spots the payphone and they both get out. Alice calls out for Polly but when they get to the payphone it’s smashed and bloody. There’s no sign of Polly anywhere.
Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on The CW, streaming free the next day on The CW app!