‘Riverdale’ Recap: The Ruination Begins in Season 5, Episode 10 “Chapter Eighty-Six: The Pincushion Man”


It’s the midseason finale of Riverdale and the stakes are even higher and more insane! As Betty deals with Glen’s obsessions with her family’s history, she and Alice prepare for Juniper and Dagwood’s birthday but they get some unexpected and dangerous visitors. Meanwhile, Veronica tries to get Chad to file for divorce and Parent-Teacher Night at Riverdale High is put on pause, thanks to a plan put in place by Hiram. The ending leaves one character missing.

Keep reading to find out what happened in the midseason finale of Riverdale, “Chapter Eighty-Six: The Pincushion Man.”

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Betty and Glen are getting ready for the day after their night together. Glen suggests that since he’s in town for a little bit, he should get to know the family a little better. With Polly missing, Betty’s mom is the only family she has, and the twins. Changing the subject, Betty asks what Glen’s strategy is now and he says the Lonely Highway is 200 miles long. How many rest stops, stretches of beaches, and marshlands are along it? Glen admits he has 10 agents on the Lonely Highway, searching every lot, field and ditch. Betty wonders if she should be canvassing it as well but Glen says he needs her expertise on something she’s familiar with, something he’s surprised she hasn’t brought up yet — her father. Some of the remains date back to when he was still alive and actively killing people. Betty mentions there have been murders since he died. They should be looking for someone in their 50s, or older. Glen’s theory is that there are an assortment of killers. What if her dad was one of many? He asks Betty if her dad underwent assessment at the Sherwood Asylum and she says yes. Glen suggests they start by reviewing the tapes.

Hiram is upset that Reggie betrayed him at the football game. Reggie tells him it won’t happen again, Hiram has his loyalty. That’s nice, but that football game sparked some light into the former town of Riverdale. Hiram says they can feel its broken spirit rebuilding. Riverdale High, which should be rubble, is hosting a Parent-Teacher Night. Reggie asks what he can do to redeem himself and Hiram asks if he knows what palladium is. It’s more valuable and rare than gold. Hiram’s been digging for it behind his prison walls but the palladium is tapped and it’s next to nothing. Now they need to move to the vein under the Blossom Maple Groves. Luckily, Hiram has an idea to take care of the prison and bring about Riverdale’s ruination. He’ll handle the prison. He just needs Reggie to get him those Groves.

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While going through the tapes at the FBI office, Betty tells Glen she has something. She plays a tape that has Hal talking about his relationship with Alice and that it wasn’t working out. So he started connecting with women on Nedslist. Betty stops the tape and tells Glen that’s how women working the Lonely Highway, too.

After receiving photos from Chad of her and Archie, Veronica tells Archie that she needs to go to New York to see him. She confesses that they were on a date at Marsha’s Vineyard and they got into a fight. She wished that Chad would’ve died that night their helicopter crashed and she woke up at the hospital. Veronica wished that he was dead and then she stayed with him out of guilt. Now she has to face him, if only to get closure. Then she’ll be on the first train the next morning. Once all of this is behind them, they’ll be free to be together.

While having dinner, Betty tells Glen that Juniper and Dagwood pushed a classmate down the stairs and he has a concussion and a broken shoulder. They had no remorse over it. She’s worried that they’re bad seeds. Glen says he’d like to meet them, especially after what she just told him. Betty wonders what gives? First her mom, now the twins? Glen brings out a dissertation, “Family of darkness. Varying displays of the serial killer gene in the Cooper family tree.” Glen tells Betty the Coopers are the perfect example of nature versus nurture. She and Charles both have the genes. He’s a serial killer, she isn’t. Her father didn’t have the genes but he was a murderer, why? Betty tells Glen people are dying on the Lonely Highway and he’s working on a term paper? Is this why he came to Riverdale? Glen says he came for both reasons. Betty says she quits but Glen says she wouldn’t do that. She needs him to find her sister. Besides, aren’t they having a good time? Betty slaps him. “Does that answer your question?”

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In his office, Hiram watches a clock count down to zero and soon, there’s an explosion at his prison and all the inmates escape. Meanwhile, Reggie sets the Groves on fire and he drives away.

Parent-Teacher Night at Riverdale High is interrupted when the lights go off. Archie tells everyone not to worry, it’s probably just a circuit breaker. He leaves to check it out. However, when he does, he’s ambushed by multiple inmates and he starts fighting them. Kevin and the parents, meanwhile, are being held up by two inmates. They hear noises out in the hallway where Archie is fighting other inmates and one of them leaves to check it out. Kevin tries to take down the other inmate but he takes control and aims a gun at Kevin. Archie comes up behind the inmate, holding a knife to his neck and he tells him to drop it. He does and Archie knocks him out. Kevin says his dad just texted him that there’s been a breakout at Hiram Lodge’s prison. Archie tells them they need to move out but Archie’s visiting General tells him there’s 11 civilians in there. They need to stay put. Then they barricade and secure all entrances and access points. Kevin holds down the fort while Archie and his General take care of securing.

Betty and Alice prepare dinner for the twins’ birthday and the doorbell rings. Betty asks Alice if she was expecting anyone and Alice says no. But she may have forgotten to invite the Blossoms. Juniper comes back after answering the door, holding her Uncle Charles’ hand and Chic soon comes in behind him. “Hey, Betty. You missed me?” Alice later admits to Betty that she may have visited Charles in prison a few times over the years and Betty just looks over at the newly escaped inmates with Juniper and Dagwood. She whispers to her mother that they have guns and Alice says she sees that. She tells Betty they’re not going to hurt them, so they should just get through whatever this is.

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Sitting down to a family meal, Betty asks Charles why he’s there. “Destiny.” He says there was an explosion at the prison and while all the other prisoners ran for the hills, they went there. “To celebrate with our family.” Charles says he and Chic would like to get married, with their family present. How if they don’t even have a minister? Alice answers that Charles had her get ordained online so they could get married in prison. Charles says this is so much better, though. Home sweet home.

The wedding between Charles and Chic has commenced and Alice pronounces them husband and husband. There’s a knock at the door and Juniper answers it. It’s Glen, holding flowers and a present. Betty wonders what he’s doing there. Charles and Glen recognize each other as the two went to the Academy together. Is that why he’s writing a dissertation about them? Alice and Charles are surprised and Betty tells them about it. Since his old rival from the Academy is so interested in learning what makes a serial killer tick, Charles suggests they should all play a game.

Just as Archie securely locks some doors, Uncle Frank comes up and begs to come in. Archie lets him in and Uncle Frank says he’s happy that he told him about Parents Night. He tells Archie that he overheard that some of his inmates are getting paid to trash the town, especially the school. “Only Hiram Lodge would be crazy enough to do that.” Now he’s made them the targets, which means they need to get out. Inmates show up outside, trying to get in. Archie says he went to the school, he knows the town. They can slip out through a tunnel behind the boiler and then he can get everyone to the Sheriff’s station safely. Kevin, standing with the parents, tells Archie it sounds like a plan.

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With Glen tied down to a chair, Charles holds a gun to his head and Chic points a gun towards Betty and Alice as Juniper and Dagwood are sitting on the couch, still wearing their party hats. Charles says this game is called Pincushion Man, where the youngest member of the family takes a pin and sticks it in the Pincushion Man. Tonight, that man is Glen and if memory serves, Charles says Juniper is the youngest member of their family by three minutes. Chic gives Juniper a “pin,” that is just a knife, telling her all she has to do is stick it in the Pincushion Man, nice and deep. Betty pleads with Charles and tells him she’s only nine years old. This will scar her for the rest of her life. Both of them are lost causes, there’s no hope for them. But there’s still hope for the twins. Charles tells Betty she’s right, Juniper doesn’t need to lose her innocence tonight, but it means Betty will take her turn. One round of Pincushion Man, then they’ll get back to the wedding and then they’ll be gone in the dark. Betty agrees and Alice tells Juniper and Dagwood to get upstairs.

Glen begs Betty but she doesn’t have a choice. She tells him to trust her and she stabs him. However, she pulls the knife out and throws it at Chic and Charles aims his gun. Alice takes him down and tries to get the gun away from him. Betty shoots Charles and goes over to Glen to untie him as Alice sobs over Charles.

In New York after their night together, Veronica’s upset that Chad lied to her about signing the divorce papers. Chad admits that he was involved in an investment scheme, it was a sure way to get them out of debt. He made some bad investments, and ended up investing in her new jewelry store. If they divorce, Chad can testify against her in court. No one will believe that the She-Wolf of Wall Street never knew about the dirty dealings going on in her own business. He’ll make it all back, he just needs time and a little help from her. Later, Archie gets a call from Veronica. She tells him that she has to stay in New York. She had some business things to sort out, but she’ll explain everything when she comes back. Just for a few days.

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Reggie tells Hiram that Thornhill didn’t burn because of that freak windstorm, but a lot of the Groves did and Cheryl will be begging for them to buy it. Hiram says with the way his inmates left Riverdale High, it won’t reopen for weeks, if ever. “Today’s a good day.”

Betty gets off the phone with Glen and tells Alice he’s okay. Just a flesh wound like she intended and Charles is still in the ICU, but it seems like he’s going to make it. There is something else, though. The FBI has decided to relocate the Lonely Highway case upstate, closer to their northern office. But she’s not going to stop looking for Polly. As Glen so helpfully reminded her, she does have an instinct for these things, she will get justice. That night, Betty drives away from Pop’s in a truck.

As Jughead is in the bunker trying to write while in a psychedelic state, he sees a bright white light just outside. Tabitha later checks in on him but all she sees is blood on the floor, on his new pages, and the handcuffs he was in, but no Jughead to be found.

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Season 5 of Riverdale returns on Wednesday, July 7 on The CW!

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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