Saturday, July 31, 2021

Recap: The Epic Highs and Lows of High School Football Are Back in ‘Riverdale’ Season 5, Episode 6 “Chapter Eighty-Two: Back to School”

It’s the epic highs and lows of high school football yet again, though not in the way it once was. In this week’s episode of Riverdale, the gang conquer their first week as Riverdale High teachers. Archie tries to bring back the football team and struggles to find funding. Meanwhile, Betty is desperately trying to figure out what happened to her sister, after that terrifying cliffhanger in last week’s episode. Keep reading for a recap of “Chapter Eighty-Two: Back to School.”

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It’s the first day of school and Toni, Kevin, Archie, Jughead, Betty, and Veronica are walking the halls of Riverdale High once again, as teachers. Toni and Kevin are used to it. While Veronica is as confident as ever, Archie, Jughead, and Betty are scrambling to find their classes. Veronica is teaching economics, Archie works on the RROTC, Betty is teaching shop class, and Jughead is teaching literature.

Hiram is not happy about Riverdale High being open, telling Reggie the school should be shut down, but instead he’s told there are over 100 students enrolled. Reggie wonders why he cares, he got what he wanted. Riverdale doesn’t even exist since he unincorporated it. Hiram tells Reggie that a high school offers hope and people are sentimental about Riverdale High for reasons that elude him. “And as long as it remains open, there’s a slight chance the town will grow back around it like a weed.” And that is bad for their business.

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Getting a break, Archie asks Betty how the first day is going and she tells him that they’re terrified of her. “Being that I’m the daughter of the Black Hood and all.” On top of which she can’t stop thinking about Polly. Alice did say that Polly does this sometimes, runs off then reappears, which is why Betty’s trying not to panic.

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That night, Archie and Betty are busy making out in a car but before they can go any further, the school’s fire alarm goes off. The two run in and see a bonfire in the hallway, kids with Stonewall Prep jerseys running away. Archie grabs the fire hose and Betty grabs the extinguisher, putting out the fire.

Archie, Toni, and Sheriff Keller are in Principal Weatherbee’s office in the morning, Archie telling them what happened, though slightly lying to cover up him and Betty seeing each other. Toni says it was probably football players — The Stonewall Stallions, Hiram’s team. He sponsors them, and in return, they do odd jobs for him. Keller says he can try arresting them but Hiram will have them out on bail within the hour. Archie says it’s because Hiram has the DA in his back pocket and Keller mentions that’s part of it. Weatherbee continues that the Stonewall Prep Stallions are the county’s best football team. The only ones who win games. “As much trouble as they cause, they’re the only thing people have to root for these days.” Bulldogs, Bulldog Pride, are things of the past. They’re star football players. Archie asks so what? They can’t be above the law.

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After paying a visit to Stonewall Prep and nearly getting into it with Reggie, Archie meets with Weatherbee and tells him he wants to bring Bulldog football back to Riverdale High, as a coach. He thinks having a football team would be huge for school pride and would help bring what’s left of the town back to life. Archie will get the money somehow, and he only needs 11 players. Weatherbee takes Archie’s offer.

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Toni tells Betty that earlier, Kevin mentioned that her sister’s missing. Betty wonders if she’s heard something and Toni brings up that Fangs and some of the other Serpents are truckers now. She asked around and some of the guys have occasionally seen Polly hanging out at this sketchy truck stop right off the Lonely Highway, either dealing for the Ghoulies or hooking up with the truckers, or both. Fangs said that some of the truckers hook up with women by posting on Nedslist. Toni doesn’t know if Polly has an account and Betty thanks her, saying she’ll look into it. Before leaving, she asks if she knows exactly where the truck stop is.

That night, Betty and Kevin do some research. Betty tells him that according to her mom, Polly doesn’t have a laptop, but she asked the twins and they said sometimes, she uses theirs. Polly doesn’t have a Nedslist account, but “Patty” does. Kevin tells Betty to check sent messages, see who the last person she contacted was. Someone named “TruckerBoy69.” Apparently, they arranged to meet up the night she disappeared. Either he knows something or he did something. Kevin says to send him a message asking to get together again. It’s sent and now they just wait.

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The next day, Archie proceeds to go from class to class, trying to recruit just enough students for football. After completing his team, Archie goes to Toni, who asks how much funding he’ll need: $20,000. There has to be some kind of sports budget. Toni says there is, but the little money that’s available is already earmarked for something else. Archie wonders about Cheryl but Toni already called in her one favor. But there’s nothing stopping him.

Archie goes to Thornhill and asks Cheryl for funding for the football team. Cheryl says she’s already done her part for the school “and at a great personal cost.” Archie just thought that given the fact her brother was a Bulldog, she might want to honor him. Cheryl’s head turns at the mention of Jason, telling Archie how dare he play her brother as if “he were a red king card.” Cheryl tells Archie to be gone and to never darken the halls of Thornhill again.

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Betty tells Kevin that TruckerBoy69 responded and he said it was so good to hear from her; he was afraid she was mad at him, asking if tonight was good. Mad about what? That’s exactly what Betty’s going to find out when she and Kevin go stakeout the truck stop he suggested right off exit 42.

Betty and Kevin are waiting at the truck stop, looking for any sign of TruckerBoy69. A truck pulls up and Betty notices the label, telling Kevin that’s him. Kevin asks if she’s sure but she doesn’t answer, she just leaves. Wearing her FBI jacket, Betty gets into the front seat of the rig, completely surprising TruckerBoy69. He says she’s not Patty and Betty tells him she’s her sister and she’s with the FBI. “You’re coming with me.” After interrogating him, Betty finds out exactly where Polly was last seen.

At school the next day, Archie breaks the news to the team, telling them he should have gotten his ducks in a row first and secured the funding. There’s no funding for sports, clubs, or extracurriculars. However, music can be heard in the hallway as well as students cheering. Toni is walking down the hallway with the River Vixens. Archie asks her since when are the Vixens back and she tells him she made it a priority in the budget last year. There isn’t even a sports team for them to cheer for, Archie points out. Toni tells Archie to get over himself. The Vixens are a sports team, and this year they’re going to be competing against other cheer squads. She’s not even sure she’ll manage to do that. Toni and the Vixens leave and Archie sees Veronica, getting one more idea. In the front office, Ms. Bell is on the phone with someone, telling them they told her to keep them apprised of goings on at the school. “Well, there’s something I think you should know.” Cheryl’s on the other end, thanking Ms. Bell and hanging up.

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Betty and Alice are walking along the highway, trying to find any sign of Polly. Alice spots something, realizing it’s Polly’s things, including her wallet. That night, Alice wonders what happened to Polly out on that highway. Betty doesn’t know, but she does know one thing. If that creepy guy in jail had hurt Polly, he wouldn’t have told them exactly where to go. So they have nothing, no leads. She could be anywhere. Betty says they didn’t find Polly’s cell phone, so they can trace it through the phone company. Or if they can’t do it, maybe the FBI can. And if not? Betty tells her mother they wait.

Archie is at Pop’s and Jughead asks him how it’s going with the Bulldogs. It’s not. Archie tells him the kids don’t have any equipment, they can’t afford any equipment. And the school doesn’t have any money. “Well, if you promise to never bring up the epic highs and lows of high school football again, I can ask Tabitha if she’s willing to sponsor the team” (iconic). Archie says that can’t hurt, but there is one more person he can ask: Veronica. Archie asking that would be weird, right? Jughead just interviewed a guy who wants to be abducted by Mothman aliens. “I think weird is relative.” He says go for it, embrace the weird.

Archie visits Veronica at the Pembrooke and she invites him in. After some awkward silence between Archie and Chad, who is in town visiting Veronica, Archie tells her he’s restarting the Riverdale High football team and there’s no budget for anything. “Say no more.” As a former Vixen, Veronica made an oath to always support her beloved Bulldogs. She will absolutely cover the startup costs. Archie thanks her, promising to pay her back one hundred percent. “You mean pay us back one hundred percent.” Archie says of course, pay them back one hundred percent. Actually, now that Chad thinks about it, Archie’s a vet, a proud guy. Instead of them loaning him the money, Chad suggests he renovate their apartment. They help out Archie’s team, he does this job for them and gets paid. Veronica’s sure Archie has a million other things he’s got to be doing right now. Archie tells Veronica it’s fine. He definitely doesn’t want to be taking handouts. He’ll call some of his dad’s old crew and see if any of them can help out.

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At Riverdale High the next day, Toni finds Cheryl sitting at her desk. Cheryl says she was going to give her a call then she thought no. “Stealing my Vixens warrants a visit in person.” Cheryl tells Toni she’s playing a very dangerous game. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs, along with Archie and Veronica, are in the locker room. Assigned lockers, new cleats, new uniforms and pads. Archie is also psyched to announce their generous sponsor for all this stuff and other Bulldog expenses is Veronica Gekko. “Lodge, actually. Veronica Lodge.” Ms. Bell is once again on the phone with someone who asked her to call if anything interesting or important happens. She tells them they should know what’s going on in the boys locker room right now. Hiram is on the other line, thanking Ms. Bell, saying that her information is, as always, very much appreciated. They’ll be in touch. Hiram tells Reggie that Archie made good on his promise to him and started a football team, with his daughter’s money. Reggie suggests maybe this time, they pay him a visit.

Betty tells Alice that she heard from her friend Todd from the Academy, who traced the call, pointing to Swedlow Swamp on the map. Alice doesn’t understand what Polly would be doing there, and how on earth are they going to find her? That’s acres and acres of marsh land. They’ll just have to keep calling her cell phone until they hear it ring. That night, they do exactly that. Kevin mentions they’ve been out there for hours, maybe they should pick it up and leave but Alice tells him she hears something. Betty suggests they split up and Kevin finds something, a hand sticking out of the ground. He, Betty, and Alice begin to furiously dig.

Archie’s chilling in his bed and Jughead yells that there’s a fire. It’s on the front porch and the back porch. They’re trapped.

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Riverdale is off next week but it will be back on Wednesday, March 10 at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on The CW!

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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 @marvelstaylena if you ever want to discuss some certain firefighters.

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