‘Riverdale’ Recap: It’s Time for Some School Spirit in Season 5, Episode 9 “Chapter Eighty-Five: Destroyer”

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It’s Friday Night Lights meets The X-Files on the new episode of Riverdale! Veronica and Archie try to get the Bulldogs to do better at games by hyping up the school spirit. Meanwhile, after the events in the previous episode when Betty and Alice came across the destroyed phone booth that Polly called them from, Betty finds out the truth about what happened her sister, though her and one of Jughead’s students may be connected to the mysterious Mothmen. Keep reading for a recap of this week’s Riverdale, “Chapter Eighty-Five: Destroyer.”

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“Either we are alone in the universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.” Betty tries to get her mother to come to the game with her, but Alice is just lying on the couch. Betty tells Alice that Polly is out there, somewhere. They don’t even know that was her blood on the phone booth. Alice, though, says Polly called them from the booth a half hour before they got there. They’ll find out when the FBI calls Betty back with the results. Betty suggests Alice get back into her support group with the other Moms.

Another Riverdale High football game ends with the Bulldogs losing. Cheryl and the River Vixens leave after having wasted their time. In the locker room, Archie tells his team it was a tough loss, but the Baxter High Ravens (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, anyone?) are #2 in the league. They fought hard and they’re going to keep fighting. Veronica comes in, telling the team that while she believes Coach Andrews is the best motivator they could ask for, as de facto team owner, she asks what she can do to incentivize them. Veronica suggests giving 10 grand to whichever Bulldog scores first this season. That really hyped them up. Later when it’s just the two of them, Veronica asks Archie what else they can do. Push them more? Archie says he’s already running them ragged, and not to mention they have zero fan support. The Bulldogs were supposed to inspire the town. Riverdale was supposed to rally around the Bulldogs but no one has come to their games. In that case, Veronica says she will get the town to back the Bulldogs again. “You just keep those kids motivated, Coach.”

Cheryl tells Archie and Veronica that the Vixens can’t keep cheering for them. Archie pleads with Cheryl to stick around for one more game. Maybe it’ll help get some more people in the stands. Cheryl says her Vixens are cheerleaders, not boosters. Archie says he’ll do it himself and walks over to the front office. He asks Ms. Bell to turn on the PA system and he announces the free pancake breakfast at Pop’s to help support the Bulldogs over the system. “Give them your support. And hell, you might even get something out of it yourself.” Veronica asks Cheryl about the Vixens and Cheryl says one more game. She’ll even come out of retirement to give the people something they’d like to see. “Namely, moi.”

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While in auto class, Betty gets a call from Glen. She asks him if he got the blood results from the phone booth back and he tells her he did. The recovered blood is AB-, the rarest type. Under one percent of the population, but a match for Polly. Betty’s holding back tears after hearing news that her sister is gone. Glen says he’s sorry but Betty knows he’s not. If he had cared at all about her or her sister, he would have done something to help her. Glen realizes she’s upset. “Screw you, Glen.”

The pancake breakfast at Pop’s is in full swing, Veronica and Archie are talking to the players and their parents. However, the mood changes when Reggie walks in, waving and smiling at Veronica and Archie like nothing’s changed. The two of them sit down with their former classmate. Reggie tells them he’s there on behalf of the Greater Rockland County High School Football League. Everyone is in agreement that the Bulldogs should withdraw from the team. Archie tells Reggie that Riverdale has a right to play but Reggie says the Bulldogs stink and they’re tainting the league’s prestige. Veronica wants the names of every member of this so-called “league.” “Doesn’t it kill you, Coach? To watch the Bulldogs lose week after week?” Archie says it’s not all about winning, but Reggie says to keep telling himself that. He leaves after calling ever Bulldog he passes “loser.”

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Betty meets with Cheryl at Thornhill and Cheryl wonders if there is any news on Polly. Betty tells her there is, it’s why she’s there. She brings up that when Jason first disappeared, for a long time, no one knew where he was or what happened to him. When Cheryl learned that he died, Betty asks if it was helpful to know the truth. “To say it was soul crushing would be an understatement.” Betty asks what if she never learned the truth, if she had hoped he might still be alive. Cheryl says when she found out, she was able to grieve for her brother. From her experience it is better to know the truth and make your peace with it. Cheryl puts the pieces together, asking her cousin if it means that Polly … Betty nods her head yes as tears start to fall. She doesn’t know what it’s going to do with her mom. Cheryl just hugs Betty, comforting her.

Betty gets home to find Alice still sitting on the couch, staring off into space. She tells her they got the blood results back. After looking at her mother, her hopeful eyes and seeing how broken she already is, Betty says it wasn’t Polly’s. It was O+, it wasn’t a match. Alice starts crying out of relief and hugs Betty, thanking her.

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Betty comes into Pop’s to pick up some cold cuts for her mother. She tells Jughead it’s for her mom’s support group and Jughead asks how she’s doing. Betty admits there have been developments in Polly’s case and that the blood recovered at the phone booth is a match for hers which means most likely … Betty can’t even finish the sentence without breaking and Jughead’s sorry. Betty continues that Polly’s been missing for four weeks which means she has or had been alive that entire time, somewhere along the Lonely Highway so she just didn’t do enough. Jughead mentions he met someone on the Lonely Highway, he sees a lot of what goes on there. He might have seen or heard something about the missing girls. If she wants, Jughead can go take her to meet him.

At practice, Britta asks why they’re still having practice since they don’t even have enough players. Archie says the Bulldogs are a team, they’re in it for the love of the game. Veronica makes her way to the field, with a special friend from New York in tow. A professional football player from the New York Goliaths says a few words to the team to give them inspiration and he soon starts throwing around the ball with the players. Meanwhile, Veronica found some aspiring Bulldogs to fill the final slot on the team.

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Jughead and Betty meet up with Mr. Dreyfuss. Once sitting down, Betty tells Mr. Dreyfuss they’re 100 percent certain her sister made a call from the payphone on the Lonely Highway. But when they got there it was destroyed. Shredded like a tin can? Betty says exactly. Had he seen it before? Mr. Dreyfuss says back in 1977 and again in ’82. He knows what happened to her sister. She’s had an encounter with the Mothmen. After explaining why he thinks that, something to do with metal and and the ship getting too close, Dreyfuss also picked up some chatter on the radio, Betty tells Jughead that was a colossal waste of time. A lot of people believe this stuff and there is some evidence, Jughead says. Betty says her sister went missing, taken by someone, not something. “Things happen, especially in Riverdale, that you and I can’t explain. Sometimes there isn’t an explanation, sometimes unexplained phenomenon.” But Betty says someone is kidnapping, torturing and murdering women. That’s not a phenomenon, it’s pure evil. And she’ll be damned if she lets it happen to someone else. Betty gets back home and looks at a picture of her and Polly, thinking back to her last conversations with her sister. She looks through her things and takes out her gun, leaving.

At the truck stop, Betty harasses a couple of truckers to stop preying on young women before making her way to a familiar looking truck. She tells the young woman to get out and comes face to face with Truckerboy69, the same one that Polly met up with before she disappeared. He tells her she can’t arrest him again, he’s got nothing. Betty says he’s right, she’s not going to arrest him. But he is coming with her. She grabs him and pulls him out of the truck against his will.

Betty takes Truckerboy69 to the woods and ties him to a tree, repeatedly hitting him. She takes a gun out and tells him he is still preying on those girls exactly the same way he preyed on Polly. Truckerboy69 says he has a family. “I had a sister.” No one looked out for those girls, no one protected them. Betty couldn’t even protect Polly, but she can deliver justice. She cocks the gun and aims it at him. But before she has a chance to pull the trigger, Betty’s phone rings. Jughead, panicked, tells Betty it’s an emergency and that one of his students is missing. He thinks he’s on the Lonely Highway. Betty tells him she’s on the highway, 10 miles north of town. Jughead tells her she’ll meet her halfway and that his name is Lerman Logan, he’s 14. Betty’s on his way. She hangs up and puts her arm down and tells Truckerboy69 she’ll have someone untie him tomorrow, if she remembers.

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Jughead pulls up on the side of the road where Betty and Lerman are standing and waiting. Betty says he was walking on the shoulder, dazed. Lerman, confused, asks Jughead if it happened again. In Weatherbee’s office, Lerman’s parents tell them about Lerman sleepwalking and he was once gone for a whole week. Something’s been drawing him to the Lonely Highway. Betty tells Jughead at Pop’s that it can’t be a coincidence. Both Polly and Lerman end up on the Lonely Highway and Jughead asks what the other connections are. Betty mentions the phone call Polly had made and that Alice described that the background sounded like it was metal, like an alien spaceship. Maybe Lerman escaped.

It’s the biggest game of the season as it’s the Riverdale Bulldogs versus the Stonewall Stallions. Although the Bulldogs were not triumphant on the score board, they did manage to finally score and Veronica’s feeling confident that this is just the beginning for them. And thanks to a little side wager with her father, the rest of the League will no longer ask them to withdraw. “Ronnie for the win.”

Betty gets home and finds Alice in tears, Glen standing next to her. He came to check on Betty. She asks why her mom is upset and Alice says it’s because she lied to her. She made her feel like she might still be out there, that there might still be hope. Betty tells Alice she’s so sorry, but Alice wonders how could she. How dare she? Glen says he will personally be taking over this case but Betty tells him she is working this case. This is her sister. Glen will make sure this investigation is handled thoroughly by the book.

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Catch the midseason finale of Riverdale this Wednesday, March 31 at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on The CW, streaming free the next day on The CW app!

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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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