‘Riverdale’ Recap: Students Get Musical in Season 4, Episode 17 “Chapter Seventy-Four: Wicked Little Town”

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Drew Ray Tanner, Charles Melton, Casey Cott, Madelaine Petsch, and Vanessa Morgan in Riverdale. Image courtesy of The CW.

Riverdale is finally back after a month-long break, and it’s time for their annual musical episode. Season 2 saw Carrie: The Musical, and with it came a murder. Season 3 had Heathers: The Musical and the introduction of Edgar Evernever and The Farm. Now, season 4 has Hedwig and the Angry Inch in a variety show. The episode is full of musical numbers from the popular Broadway show as Kevin wants to do a song from the musical for the school’s variety show, and things start to get heated for Archie and Betty.

Find out everything that happened, including almost every amazing detail from the talented cast’s take on Hedwig, and a surprise ending that could bring us closer to who could be sending out the tapes in Riverdale‘s musical episode for season 4, “Chapter Seventy-Four: Wicked Little Town.”

As the town of Riverdale is slowly getting back to “normal,” another round of videotapes are sent to the residents. Residents are watching the tapes in their homes, at Pop’s, wondering what’s next while also simultaneously singing the episode’s opening number, “Wicked Little Town.” The following day, Betty and Jughead are in the Blue and Gold office, and Betty tells Jughead she’s figured out a way for him to catch up on all of his classes. Jughead’s so far behind on every topic; is it even worth trying to catch up at this point? Betty just wants to make sure Jughead graduates with her. What is more important than that?

Kevin turns in the latest variety show sign-up list to Principal Honey. Honey says most of the acts seem fine, with one exception; Kevin’s. He tells Kevin he won’t be allowed to do a number from Hedwig and the Angry Inch as the show is inappropriate for students and families. “It was on Broadway. There’s a movie version of it.” An R-rated movie version, Honey points out. He suggests that Kevin do a number from a classic musical, like Oklahoma! or Carousel, “instead of some niche-downtown cabaret show that would be more appropriate for pre-Nazi Berlin.” Kevin tells Honey that Hedwig is not a niche show.

“It celebrates identities, genders, expressions of all kinds, and it speaks to my entire generation.”

They’re Generation Z. Kevin begins singing “Random Number Generation,” followed by a classroom full of students, including Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Cheryl, wearing blue and yellow-numbered shirts. The students take their song and dance to the hallway, with full choreography and everything, trying to convince Principal Honey.

KJ Apa and Madelaine Petsch in Riverdale. Image courtesy of The CW.

Even after the musical number, Honey doesn’t give in. Kevin can either pick a different song or take himself out of the variety show and all of his attendant duties. Effective immediately.

Kevin tells Fangs that he’s now singing “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” from Oklahoma! for the variety show, and Fangs wonders what happened to Hedwig. Kevin says that Honey nixed it for being too controversial. Fangs tells Kevin that if he wants to do Hedwig, he should. Honey would yank him off stage before the first note but Fangs doesn’t even think he should wait for the variety show; Kevin should go rogue.

The next day, Archie meets Betty, Jughead, and Veronica in the student lounge, bringing coffee and breaking the news that he signed them up for the variety show to perform as a band. Obviously, Veronica is completely in, and yes, Jughead has a lot of work to do, but Betty thinks he can take a little time out for this. It’s senior year, and they promised they were going to start taking advantage of that, and Veronica agrees. Does this band have a name? It’s The Archies. Just then, Kevin’s voice comes over the PA system. “What’s up, Riverdale? Are you trying to tear me down?” Kevin is in the office, wearing a full-on Hedwig outfit. “Well, sorry, I’m the new Berlin Wall, baby. Now get your asses to the music room.” Everyone goes to the music room, finding Kevin, Fangs, Toni, and Cheryl all performing “Tear Me Down” like a mini-concert. Honey, however, is less than thrilled to find Kevin performing yet another song from Hedwig, this time with even more students. Honey cuts the power just as the song ends and tells Kevin he’s done.

Casey Cott in Riverdale. Image courtesy of The CW.

That night, Betty, Veronica, Cheryl, Toni, and Kevin are having a sleepover. However, Kevin is not in a very sleepover mood. Working on the variety show made him feel like he was reconnecting with the old, pre-Farm Kevin. Honey didn’t just take that away; he made Kevin feel like he was nothing, like he didn’t matter. Betty says, “you know something that makes me feel better?” and starts singing “Wig in a Box,” but Kevin’s still not feeling it after the first verse. He hears what she’s saying but is not sure a makeover montage will help. Cheryl, Veronica, and Toni join in, singing and dancing around, trying on wigs, all trying to cheer up Kevin. After their wonderful makeup montage, Betty suggests they all perform songs from Hedwig. “Yeah. As a sign of solidarity.” And as President of the Student Body and Riverdale High’s LGBTQIA Alliance, Cheryl promises Kevin she will sit down with Honey and make this right.

The following day, Cheryl, Toni, and the Vixens meet Honey at Pop’s. “On behalf of Kevin Keller and the entire Student Body, we urge you to hear our plea.” Cheryl tells Honey that Hedwig is not some fringe, down-beat musical. Toni adds that it’s fun; it’s an old-fashioned, red-blooded American musical comedy with something for everyone. “Including those of us who are more … straight-laced.” Pop turns on the jukebox, and as “Sugar Daddy” starts, Cheryl, Toni, and the Vixens get into formation. Cheryl and Toni start singing the upbeat duet while the Vixens serve as backup dancers, trying to convince Honey, but he keeps telling Cheryl that’s enough. After the number, Honey tells Cheryl she just proved his point. Did she even listen to the lyrics she just sang? Hedwig and the Angry Inch is highly sexualized. Toni suggests to Honey that if every student of Riverdale High changed their variety show act to a number from Hedwig, what would he do then? Honey would make the following announcement, “any student who performs a song from Hedwig will be barred from Senior Prom.”

Archie meets with Veronica, who is worried because Hiram collapsed. He says he missed a step and stumbled, but for her, it’s still scary and confusing. He’s been going to the doctor. He just told them that he’s getting better. Archie confesses that Hiram’s been hanging out at the gym and the bar slipped when he was bench pressing. He doesn’t think Hiram’s been going to the doctor as regularly as he says. Why hasn’t Archie told Veronica this before? Hiram says it was nothing, and when Hiram Lodge asks you to shut your mouth and mind your own business, you do. This is Veronica’s life, her father’s life. How could Archie be so short-sighted?

Meanwhile, Jughead’s in the bunker looking through tapes when Betty comes down. She came to surprise him with a study break. Is this what it looks like? Jughead’s not lying to her about doing his homework while he tries to crack some new unsolvable mystery? Jughead’s doing both, but Betty says she went to the mat for him, with Honey and with all of his teachers. Jughead didn’t ask her to do that, but Betty’s just trying to make sure that he graduates. “I’m trying to make sure that we stay together, that we have a future.” In what future are they not together? Jughead’s sorry; he’s different now. Jughead and Betty use “Exquisite Corpse” to get all of their anger out, kicking and throwing things in the bunker. Back with Archie and Veronica, Archie tells her he was trying to do the right thing, but she tells him he wasn’t thinking. “Give me a break, Veronica. It’s been a crappy year.” The two of them join in “Exquisite Corpse,” the Core Four all getting their anger out. Betty leaves the bunker, and Veronica leaves Archie’s room, both in rage.

Lili Reinhart and Cole Sprouse in Riverdale. Image courtesy of The CW.

At Riverdale High, Honey finds nearly the entire Student Body in the hallway, wearing Hedwig costumes. “Consider this a peaceful protest, Mr. Honey.” Clearly, they are all very passionate about what they’re feeling. “But hotheads lead to unpredictability and anger. Violence.” Honey’s afraid the most prudent action to take place at the moment is to cancel the variety show.

Betty shows up at Archie’s, apologizing for being late but Archie had forgot to text them that rehearsal’s canceled. Archie admits he kind of screwed up with Veronica, and Betty confesses that she and Jughead also got into a fight. Betty tells Archie that just because Veronica and Jughead aren’t there doesn’t mean they can’t rehearse. Archie starts playing guitar and sings “The Origin of Love,” Betty soon joining in. Veronica starts singing at the Pembrooke, and Jughead sings at the bunker after looking through another tape. Archie and Betty start getting closer, having flashbacks of the two of them, and they kiss.

Lili Reinhart and KJ Apa in Riverdale. Image courtesy of The CW.

Jughead comes into Betty’s room, who is still thinking about her kiss with Archie. Jughead brings in one fully researched, thoroughly proofed, MLA formatted essay on the Salem Witch Trials. Jughead apologizes, saying he shouldn’t have been as ticked off as he was that Betty had faith in him. Jughead tells her he needs to finish his essay on The Call of the Wild, but Betty can distract him whenever she wants. Betty starts crying after Jughead leaves. Archie is having the same thoughts when Veronica comes back, bringing him cupcakes from Pop’s. Veronica’s sorry. She was scared and lashing out at the wrong person. Archie didn’t need to come clean to her, but he did. Thanks to that, Veronica got a doctor who said it was lucky he saw Hiram when he did. It could have been much worse than a fall. And some more good news, though Honey canceled the variety show at school, Kevin called Veronica with an amazing idea to host it at La Bonne Nuit. The Archies will get to perform after all. “The show must go on,” as they say, “even in our wicked little town.”

After Veronica leaves, Archie sees Betty looking through her bedroom window, and the two of them start to sing a reprise of “Wicked Little Town.” Archie and Betty are brought back to the dance sophomore year, switching back and forth to the dance and just slow dancing and singing in Betty’s room. Betty and Archie both look at each other out of their bedroom windows, wondering what this means for them.

At La Bonne Nuit’s variety show, Cheryl introduces, for the first time ever, The Archies, Kevin included, and they start playing “Midnight Radio.” Everyone soon stands up, singing along with them. They take things outside; The Archies are standing on Pop’s roof, everyone else waving candles, watching them from the ground, waving their hands. During the performance, Jughead notices something, or someone, in the crowd.

“There’s a problem that comes once you get caught up on your homework. Your mind wanders. An evil creeps back in.”

Was the mysterious videotape voyeur somewhere amongst them in the crowd, playing his long game? That night in the bunker, Jughead puts in another tape, and it’s a person wearing Jughead’s clothes, wearing a cartoon Jughead mask. Someone wearing Betty’s clothes, wearing a cartoon Betty mask, comes up behind him and hits him in the head with a rock multiple times.

“Lift up your hands.”

Another Riverdale musical is in the books! What does this mean for Betty and Archie? What does that ending mean about the videotape voyeur? The show is off next week but tune in when it returns on Wednesday, April 29 at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on The CW to see how Barchie will deal with their rekindling romance.

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By Megan
Megan has been passionate about writing since she was little and has been passionate about all things pop culture and nerdy since almost as long. Joining Nerds and Beyond in 2019, she also graduated from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts in Multimedia Journalism. Megan is constantly binge-watching shows and finding new things to obsess over. 9-1-1 and Marvel currently reign as the top obsessions. You can find her on Twitter @marvels911s if you ever want to discuss some certain firefighters.
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