Riverdale is finally back and its fifth season is bringing out everything. The season 5 premiere features the gang getting ready for prom and their future, while Jughead and Betty try to set up their mysterious auteur at his own game. However, secrets come out and some relationships don’t last through prom. Meanwhile, a familiar face shows up in town to give Archie the fight of his life.
Keep reading to see what happened in the season 5 premiere of Riverdale, “Chapter Seventy-Seven: Climax.”
Beginning where season 4 left off, Charles has shown up to the cabin with the FBI and he tells Jughead and Betty that Mr. Honey is fine, no one has tried to kill him. “Well, for now, at least.” Catching Charles up, Jughead says it’s the Auteur again, it seems like they’ve moved on from recreating a killing to re-enacting a metaphoric murder. Betty continues that it was them and their friends getting Mr. Honey fired. Jughead tells Charles he wrote a story, “Killing Mr. Honey,” within which was a fictionalized version of the cabin. “I don’t think that’s a coincidence.” Unless Jughead is being watched or hacked, only he and Betty knew about the story. An investigator gives Charles some evidence, ticket stubs — tickets to watch the tapes. Charles points out that the stubs have “B” and “V” on them and Jughead figures it’s Blue Velvet Video, as in the one place that all roads keep coming back to, that video store and that crypt-keeper, David. If he’s not the Autuer, Jughead knows he’s connected to them somehow, or at least he’s a fan. Charles tells his siblings he’ll bring him in and call them in the morning.
David is being questioned while Charles and Jughead are waiting outside the office, watching it all go down. But he’s not talking, unless movie quotes count. David has never seen those ticket stubs before in his life. Jughead doesn’t know if this creep is responsible for making the videos, but he can’t shake the feeling that somehow he is profiting off them. Betty, meanwhile, is following up on another lead. At school, she’s asking Ms. Bell if she made a videotape of Betty and her classmates murdering poor Mr. Honey and Principal Weatherbee comes in, saying things haven’t changed much. He’s back, just in time for senior prom and graduation. Betty asks him how he is, after what happened with The Farm, and Weatherbee says he makes it through most nights without waking up screaming.
Archie and Veronica give the Commandant from the Naval Academy a tour of the center but he tells Archie that when it seemed like he was no longer interested in the Naval Academy, he started looking at other candidates: a young man from Queens who has been training rigorously for the Academy, who is also a boxer. And as Archie knows, they have a proud boxing tradition in the Navy, he’s looking for a champion. Veronica suggests that if he’s considering Archie and someone else, why not decide it with an exhibition bout at the El Royale. The Commandant does feel like Archie and the young man are otherwise evenly matched and agrees. He’ll have his office reach out to K.O. Kelly (Katy Keene fans!) to see how quickly he can hop a train to Riverdale. The realization hits Veronica, K.O. is only dating one of her BFFs, Katy Keene.
Betty and Jughead are talking in the Blue & Gold office, going over their dead ends. Jughead does have an idea of someone they could talk to who might be able to give them dirt on David. “The only caveat being he’s tried to kill me.” Later, Betty and Jughead are visiting Bret in prison, who never thought he would see them again. Jughead cuts to the chase, telling Bret they know he sold his sex tapes to Blue Velvet Video. The owner, David, keeps coming up in an ongoing investigation they’re conducting but he’s not talking. They need a way in, leverage. Betty tells Bret that someone is making videos of them and their friends doing disturbing and violent things. They think this David person is connected to them. Jughead asks if David ever mentioned or hosted any screenings with the videos in stock, but Bret says some of David’s customers prefer shared experiences. Underground, immersive, red-band screenings. In order to attend, they have to be on the list or prove to David that they’re the real deal, bring him a tape, something to make him sit up and take notice, like a snuff film.
“Okay, I know this is Riverdale, but where do we get a snuff film in which someone gets murdered on screen?” Betty, asking the important question, she thought those were just urban legends. Well, not according to Nicolas Cage movies. Jughead says they can just make one, a facsimile of one. It just has to be convincing enough for David to let his guard down. They can even borrow the equipment from the AV club. Plus, Betty says that Jellybean probably still has that fake blood left over from Halloween. Who’s their murderer, who’s their victim? Jughead tells Betty they just need a brute and a scream queen.
Betty and Jughead meet with Cheryl, who immediately says no, she won’t help them. Betty tells her that it’s not an actual snuff film. It’s an act, a way to get closer to the Autuer, the person who has been creating those re-enactment videos, including the one with Jason and her father. “I do want to expose that defiler.” Cheryl asks what the movie is about and Jughead says it’s a classic tale, one as old as time. “Girl meets boy, boy promises to make girl a star, and then the boy kills the girl.” Cheryl saying what everyone else is thinking, “Charming.” She agrees, but she’ll need a wig. She doesn’t want anyone to recognize her by her signature red mane. Betty, Jughead, Cheryl, and Reggie get together in Thistlehouse’s basement and Jughead films the hell out of their fake snuff film, with Reggie killing Cheryl in the most gruesome, exploitative way.
At school the following day, Betty and Jughead get their tape ready and Kevin comes into the room. Jughead tells him they are trying to sell a snuff film to a video store, but he can’t go in there because the owner will recognize him from the time he raided the place with the FBI. He doesn’t want Betty to go in alone, so… “You had me at snuff film.” Betty thanks him, they just have to stop by her house and grab her backup, just in case. At Blue Velvet, David tells Betty and Kevin they both look familiar to him and Kevin says they’ve never been in there, shockingly. Betty tells David that a classmate of hers from prep school said that he buys videos, underground videos. They saw this video at a party last weekend, and they boosted it. It’s of a girl getting killed for real. David watches the video and tells Betty and Kevin they were conned, or they’re trying to con him. But that snuff is a fake. Betty says they were worried that this tape might not be authentic so she brought a backup, that she knows for a fact is the real deal. David inserts the tape and it turns out to be a home video. “The birth of the serial killer.” The Black Hood as a little boy. David asks Betty if he could screen this at a little film festival/rave he’s organizing and she says yes, as long as they’re invited to the screening.
Betty shows up to the screening and once in, lets Jughead in through an emergency exit. “Welcome to The Film Society.” She asks Jughead what exactly are they supposed to be looking for and he tells her they’re seeing if any of the Autuer’s movies are playing or if anyone is a fan of his. They start looking through each room, slightly watching each movie that is playing and they finally get to a room where all of the Auteur’s films are playing. They begin searching for him but Jughead nearly gets into a fight after someone comes up to them and recognizes Betty as Ponytail Playmate. They get back out into the hallway and see someone with a mask filming that has to be him, and they start running towards him. Jughead runs into someone, who turns out to be Jellybean. Betty goes after the guy while Jughead stays with his sister, soon getting out of there.
Everyone is having a ball at prom, laughing, dancing, and Reggie even pours some Fizzle Rocks in the punch bowl. The gang, including K.O., gather around a table and Kevin proposes a toast. “To surviving this crazy town and making it a night we’ll never forget.” While slow dancing, Veronica asks Archie if he and her father had a nice chat. Hiram might’ve mentioned that he was going to ask Archie to be deputy mayor since the Naval Academy didn’t work out. Veronica’s big idea, though, is that she’s going to defer Barnard for a year so they can work together, side by side. Archie doesn’t think it’s a good idea, he couldn’t live with himself if he know he was holding her back that way. But he’s not, Veronica is choosing to be with him. “This is my decision.” Archie doesn’t want to be dragging her down. Veronica would rather lose one meaningless year than be out of sync with him, maybe forever. Archie finally comes clean, and tells her, “Carry the Torch,” the song she found in his room and sang at the speakeasy, was written for Betty. Archie admits they kissed, once, during Hedwig. That’s it, they didn’t want to hurt her and Jughead.
Principal Weatherbee and Ms. Bell come on stage to announce Prom King and Queen, or rather, Prom Queens. Cheryl and Toni have rightfully won, being named Riverdale High’s first openly gay royal couple. During the promenade court dance, with Cheryl and Toni, Betty and Jughead, and Veronica and Archie, the music cuts off and the lights go down. A video is shown on the screen of a rave and soon, it’s of the gang, in masks, supposedly killing David from Blue Velvet. Jughead smashes the projector on the ground and Betty turns on the lights, everyone horrified. Betty and Jughead leave to check out David. Meanwhile, both Toni and Cheryl, and Veronica and Archie, have put their relationships on hold. Toni’s nana told her she wouldn’t speak to her again if she stayed with Cheryl and Veronica and Archie are going their separate ways after graduation, no big drama, no fireworks. Veronica will go to Barnard and Archie does whatever feels right to him.
Betty and Jughead get to Blue Velvet, the camera still up and the chair in place but no one around. “Why does every one of our dances turn into a Jamie Lee Curtis movie?” The camera, however, is still on. At the Pembrooke, Veronica tells Hermione that something happened between Betty and Archie, Hiram standing by the doorway, clearly upset. Cheryl is heartbroken as well as Nana Rose tries to comfort her. She realized that she and Toni won’t end up together. “Once again, I’m a victim of this family’s curse. I can no longer outrun my fate.” She is a Blossom, destined to be alone.
Charles tells Betty and Jughead he has an APB out on David. If he’s behind the videos and he’s fleeing, he’s not going to get far. But what if he wasn’t the Autuer and he was really killed? Jughead points out that the video shown at prom was an actual snuff film. Charles says they can continue their search for David, or, Jughead suggests, they wait for the next video to drop. “Pray that it’s not the straw that breaks the camel’s back.” Archie finds another video at his doorstep and puts it in. It’s Pop’s, and a recreation of when he was held at gunpoint before his father saved him.
Catch Riverdale every Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on The CW! New episodes stream free the next day on The CW app.