‘Riverdale’ Recap: Season 5, Episode 17 “Chapter Ninety-Three: Dance of Death”

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We are getting down to the final episodes of Riverdale‘s fifth season and this week’s episode was a lot to take in! In “Chapter Ninety-Three: Dance of Death,” as Betty, Jughead and Tabitha continue to investigate the Trucker Killers, an explosion at the mines could mean the end for two people. Meanwhile, Veronica and Chad’s divorce reaches a boiling point.

Keep reading to find out what happened in the newest episode of Riverdale, “Chapter Ninety-Three: Dance of Death.”

The Lonely Highway Investigation

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Betty and Tabitha have spent 10 nights working the Lonely Highway but they are coming up empty. She gets a call from Dr. Curdle Jr., who is calling about their tongueless friend. He doesn’t particularly like keeping his corpse in a cold storage, so he asks Betty for permission to cremate his body. Betty says he’s evidence for the Lonely Highway case. 

“And here I thought leaving Chicago for Riverdale would mean no nightlife.” 

At Pop’s, Tabitha gets a call from Mrs. Fields, the mother of Squeaky, the girl who was never seen again on the Lonely Highway. Squeaky is now missing. Worried about Squeaky, Tabitha calls for reinforcements; Betty and Jughead, reunited to solve a mystery once again. 

“So you captured a guy who more or less confessed. Then they swallowed their own tongue because they thought you were going to dismember them?”

Betty catches Jughead up to speed, telling him her theory about a family of killers working the Lonely Highway. Jughead suggests his ex-student Lerman may know something since he disappeared from the Lonely Highway for a week.

A Deeper Investigation

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Betty and Jughead meet Dr. Curdle Jr. at the morgue after he calls about another body being found in Swedlow Swamp. The body’s been dismembered beyond recognition. It could be Polly, but it could also be Squeaky. To be positive, Dr. Curdle is able to test the body’s DNA, so he gets a sample from Betty. She also gets in contact with Squeaky’s family so she can get a DNA sample from them. 

Lerman shows up at Pop’s and tells Jughead and Betty about the week he went missing. Though he doesn’t remember much, he remembers waking up in a small, metal shed with no windows. It looked like the inside of a spaceship. Betty remembers that’s how Polly described where she was to her mom. Lerman could also hear voices outside. He was alone until the Mothman came and helped him escape. Lerman doesn’t know where the shed is but it was close to the Lonely Highway.

Dr. Curdle Jr. finally got the DNA test results and it’s revealed that the DNA is a match to Mrs. Fields. It’s Squeaky. However, Betty’s DNA did come back as a match for the tongueless John Doe. A very distant cousin.

“That’s impossible. All of the Coopers are either… dead or accounted for.”

Jughead suggests the Blossoms. Dr. Curdle Jr. also mentions that the morgue was broken into. Both the body of John Doe and Squeaky’s severed limbs were stolen. Tabitha brings up when their Mothman corpse was stolen after Nana Rose gave it to them. Now their prime suspect tests positive for Blossom DNA.

The Mothman Secret

Betty and Jughead visit Nana Rose to get more information about the Mothmen and after much reluctance, she finally gives in. That corpse inside a maple barrel that she gave Jughead and Tabitha was Cousin Timothy. Nana Rose tells them the story of her late husband who slept with a woman who worked on their estate. She was forced to pawn them off to avoid a scandal. So she gave the children to a couple in a cabin in the woods she knew. About half a dozen children.

“You’re saying there is a secret, illegitimate clan of Blossoms that have lived in the woods for two generations?”

The Blossoms ended up creating the Mothman myth to avoid any truth about them. Betty and Jughead realize that Old Man Dreyfuss is one of them.

Toni meets up with Betty, Jughead, Fangs and Tabitha, as her student, Britta, has gone missing. Betty figures she’d go to the Lonely Highway and the five of them team up and go to the junkyard to look and to finally end this once and for all.

Once at the junkyard, they split up. Jughead checks on Dreyfuss while the others search the area. He brings up Timothy, his brother who swallowed his tongue, how Dreyfuss and his inbred brothers searched the Lonely Highway. The whole Mothmen fiction. Meanwhile, Toni finds Britta in a shed but a hand touches her shoulder and she screams. Fangs gets caught in a trap and Betty and Tabitha both fight these “Mothmen.” Toni helps Betty and tells her she found Britta, and thanks to one of the “Mothmen,” she was able to get the shed open. Not all of them are evil incarnate.

A Sad Truth

After arresting Dreyfuss, Betty begs him to tell her where Polly is before the FBI come. He tells her she’s in the junkyard and he’ll draw her a map. Betty and Alice make their way to the trunk of a car and Betty opens it up. Although the result is not shown, Betty and Alice’s heartbreaking reaction and instant tears prove that it is indeed Polly. While they finally have the closure they so desperately had been needing, it’s not one they had been hoping for.

Life or Death

There is an explosion in the mines and everyone gets ready to leave, though Eric is working further down the tunnel. Archie stays behind to get him and the others make it out just before the mines collapse. However, Archie and Eric are now trapped.

Veronica shows up at the mines and Kevin tells her he’s been trying both Archie and Eric’s phones but no luck. Uncle Frank tells her there was an explosion and it was a kind that was triggered deliberately. Veronica knows exactly who did it.

Meanwhile, in the mines, Archie finds Eric just barely holding on. He frees him from some rocks but another rumbling can be heard.

Plenty of miners, and Veronica, are trying to clear the rocks to free Archie and Eric. On the other side, Archie is trying to do the same. They’re losing oxygen and blood, meaning they need to get out soon. Bingo can be heard behind him, but he’s only there to motivate him to push harder. And soon, the rest of the platoon come to help Archie and Eric.

Outside the mines, Cheryl prays for a way for Archie and Eric to get to safety. She calls upon the Earth’s elements, and it seemed to have worked as Archie comes out of the mines carrying Eric. It’s definitely an emotional reunion.

One Messy Divorce

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Veronica and Chad are finally finalizing their divorce, but Chad is being a little difficult, as he wants basically everything, including some stuff in Riverdale. Veronica tells him to take it all because all she wants is Archie.

Following Chad’s attempt to kill Archie, Veronica blackmails him into giving her everything out of the divorce. 

“Check and mate, you little bitch.”

Getting a break from the mine explosion, Veronica is back at the Pembrooke and getting ready to take a bath. However, Chad breaks in with the intention to hurt Veronica, or worse. Veronica is one step ahead, turning off the lights and blasting music, and she gets to Chad before he gets to her. They fight each other and Veronica grabs his gun and shoots him.

Teacher Toni

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Back so soon after having baby Anthony, Toni is at Riverdale High and dealing with a student who just got into a fight, for good reason. Britta only punched the kid because he wouldn’t stop calling her homophobic names. She comes out to Toni, but she hasn’t come out to her family. Toni offers her support, as she’s been there too, and Britta wonders if she’d be there with her if she were to come out to her parents. She immediately agrees, she’d be honored.

Toni catches Fangs up on Britta, her parents didn’t immediately jump at the chance that their daughter is gay. It’s a lottery of who your parents are, what kind of family you grow up in. The two of them talk about how accepting and not accepting their families were when they came out. Toni thinks she talked Britta’s parents off the ledge but she’s a tough kid. 

“No matter what baby Anthony is, I’ll be ecstatic.”

Like Father, Like Son … In-Law

It’s not a surprise to know that Chad and Hiram are working together, as they are both sleazy. Over the years, Hiram has learned that his daughter’s greatest vulnerability is her love for Archie. Hiram puts a gun on the desk, the ghost gun. If Chad wants a chance at saving his marriage, he needs to get rid of Archie. 

That night, Chad finds Archie and he starts shooting, but Archie ducks and Chad misses. Archie throws a trash can lid at him and Chad gets away.

Hiram is not very happy that Chad didn’t follow through. Veronica stole Hiram’s palladium, Archie stole Chad’s wife. Hiram thought one bullet would right these wrongs but he now knows to never send a boy in to do a man’s job. He tells Chad to get out of his sight, to get out of Riverdale because he’s lost his daughter forever.

Like Father, Like Daughter

In his office, Hiram watches a timer count down to destruction. Following the explosion at the mines, Veronica shows up in her father’s office and knocks Hiram out. Hiram later wakes up in his office, tied to a chair, and Veronica sitting in front of him. She knows he’s behind the mine explosion. Veronica keeps hearing the words her guidance counselor told her back at Riverdale High.

“That our sick dance of death could only end with one of us dying.”

Veronica brings up how disappointed Hiram was of her when she was younger. She spent her entire lifetime chasing his approval and love, but sociopaths are incapable of love. Veronica tells her father if Archie dies, he dies.

“Our dance of death is finally coming to an end.”

After her fight with Chad, Veronica visits Hiram, who is still tied to a chair. She brings the news that Archie’s still alive, safe and above ground, meaning Hiram’s failed again. Veronica used to admire her father, but now he’s just this silly cartoon. She gets Hiram loose and tells him she’s not afraid of him because he’s no longer a threat. She tells him about Chad and then leaves.

Hiram later burns a photo of Veronica and Hermione, proving that they will no longer be in his life.

This episode of Riverdale was definitely a lot and at times, heartbreaking. Riverdale only has two episodes left of season 5 so what will happen? Catch a new episode this Wednesday, September 29 at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on The CW, streaming free the next day on The CW app! Check out our other Riverdale coverage on Nerds and Beyond here!

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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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