‘Riverdale’ Recap: Season 6, Episode 1 “Chapter Ninety-Six: Welcome to Rivervale”


The season 6 premiere of Riverdale is here and it’s time to head to the Town of Rivervale. In the first part of this five-episode event, everything in Rivervale is as is seems, or is it? New couples are on the rise, Cheryl invites the town to a Maple Harvest, and everyone is acting just a tad off.

Keep reading to see what happened in “Chapter Ninety-Six: Welcome to Rivervale.”


Colin Bentley/The CW

There’s a town that exists at the borderlands. A place of nightmares and dreamscapes. A place where folklore and myth carry the weight of fact and truth. A place where superstition and their laws overshadow the laws of science, and a place where old traditions die hard, if they die at all. The name of this place is Rivervale.”

We are no longer in Riverdale, but RiverVALE. It may look the same, but it’s different. The first thing that’s different? Jughead narrating and actually talking to the audience, rather than just narrating with a voiceover. He catches everyone up on what the rest of the gang have been up.

A Couple In Distress

As season 5 was ending, Toni and Fangs’ longtime friendship and partnership blossomed into a full-blown romantic relationship. But it’s not all great, especially when taking care of a baby. Baby Anthony is crying 24/7 and Toni suspects that something is wrong.

The Next Step

As Toni and Fangs are dialing back, Jughead and Tabitha are taking the next big step in their relationship. Tabitha meets with a real estate agent at Pop’s, who hands her keys to her and Jughead’s new place. She’s always been guarded, too nervous, but she’s excited.

“This day and age, you can’t be too careful.”

Next Door Neighbors

Next door to the Cooper house, Jughead’s old chum Archie Andrews is living with his ex-girlfriend, Betty Cooper. Let that one sink in for a minute. Narrator Jones ends the tour to leave whatever is happening upstairs to the audience’s imagination.

A Ticking Clock

The last time we saw Archie and Betty was at the very end of the season 5 finale, when Archie discovered a bomb, generously planted by Hiram Lodge. Archie wakes up after having a nightmare and Betty comforts him. And just what was the dream?

“It was surreal. We were talking up here in my room, and we heard this ticking noise. It was a bomb under the bed. The weirdest part, we were living in a town called Riverdale.”

Toni and Fangs’ Desperation

Toni and Fangs meet with Doctor Curdle about Anthony and he tells them that he has colic. It’s common and can last indefinitely. Doctor Curdle tells them an old folk remedy of putting a toad in a baby’s mouth. It’s supposed to suck the colic right out and Toni and Fangs’ expressions are about as common as any parent, or regular person, who hears that. They both decide against the frog so Curdle suggests ear plugs as the next best thing.

Fangs gets the suggestion from his grandma to leave baby Anthony on a tree stump in Fox Forest overnight. It’s what Serpent mothers did back in the day. When the mothers went back in the morning, the babies cried their colic out. Fangs’ mother did it to him and it worked.

Out in Fox Forest, Toni prepares to leave baby Anthony on a stump but Cheryl comes into view. She has a remedy that can cure Anthony’s colic, and she surprisingly gives it to Toni. On one condition.

New House, New Problems

Colin Bentley/The CW

How twisted is it that Archie and Betty are helping Jughead and Tabitha move into their new place? It’s definitely not like high school anymore. Betty is very happy that Tabitha and Jughead are taking this next step together. Tabitha grills Betty about her and Archie.

“Back in high school, one of the biggest questions in my life was… ‘Am I going to end up with Archie or Jughead?’ And now it seems like we have a definitive answer.”

So moving in together may not have been the best thing. It wasn’t a bad idea, just that the apartment Jughead and Tabitha moved into is apparently infested with bugs after Jughead kills a spider and Tabitha thinks they’re cursed. She’s not wrong.

Cheryl notices the welts on Tabitha’s arms while at Pop’s and offers her a formula to get rid of them. But it comes with a price, and Jughead will have to come along.

Goodbye Blossom Maple Syrup

At a town meeting, Archie proposes they buy and distribute maple saplings. One per family to be planted in each family’s yard since Cheryl declared Thornhill a sovereign state. Archie and his crew will work on seeding a grove of maple trees that the town will own. They even got a shipment in and will be setting up a distribution center outside Pop’s.

The discussion about maple syrup at Thornhill, meanwhile, is much more interesting. Cheryl points out to the girls how dry and lifeless her maple trees have become. She believes their maple groves have withered away because they have forgotten the “old ways.” When the Blossoms first settled in Rivervale, it all belonged to her.

“She who walks amongst the trees.”

They worshipped her, gave offerings to her. And she provided maple sap. Life in all its beautiful, glorious facets. When they took the Maple Maiden for granted, she punished them. Cheryl says they have to pay tribute to her and return to the old ways, the blood ways, the pagan ways. Return they shall.

Cheryl shows up to the distribution center, trying to get some saplings but since she’s no longer a taxpaying citizen, Archie declines. That decision, evidently, proves to not be a good one, since Cheryl’s poppets of the Maple Maiden are covering the field where the saplings are going.

Kevin later goes back to the forest and finds that the saplings have all been uprooted. Archie goes to the council meeting, where Cheryl is and confronts her. She’s there to invite the entire Town of Rivervale to Thornhill for a maple festival. The council have accepted Cheryl’s invitation on behalf of the entire town.

A New Life for Barchie

Colin Bentley/The CW

With Jughead and Veronica clearly moved on, Archie and Betty are thinking about taking a new step in their relationship: marriage. Or maybe even further than that: kids. Betty has been dreaming about starting a family with Archie since sixth grade but they should just take some time. Let nature run its course.

Unfortunately, Betty meets with Doctor Curdle, who tells her she doesn’t seem to be producing any viable eggs. Surprisingly, she’s the fifth young, healthy woman who has come to see Doctor Curdle who is essentially barren.

Betty brings up adoption to Archie, but Archie wants to become a father every step of the way with Betty.

“You have to believe me when I say there’s nothing more that I want than to have your baby. Not just for you, but for me.”

Betty wants to create a life with Archie, be the mother of their child. It’ll happen, Archie assures her.

Maple Harvest Fun

Colin Bentley/The CW

Everyone is having a great time at the Maple Harvest Festival. Competing in multiple events and activities. At the same time, Cheryl meets with the residents to coerce them into doing something. There is also a very hot scene with Archie and Reggie sawing wood with their shirts off, so at least there’s that. In the final event, Betty and Archie compete in an ax throwing competition. Betty wins and becomes Maple Harvest Queen.

A Sacrifice

You read that right. While doing some digging at the FBI office, Betty finds pictures containing religious symbols and a poppet similar to the ones found in the forest. And it has the initials R.B., Rose Blossom.

Betty confronts her dear cousin, admitting that 50 years ago a drifter was murdered on the property of Thornhill. Heart ripped out and poppet shoved down their throat.

Following the festival, Betty tells Archie what she found at Thornhill. The poppets are actually fertility dolls.

“So why don’t we put this little sucker under our mattress tonight and try to make a baby?”

Those Last Five Minutes??

The ending of the season 6 premiere is a doozy. So let’s recap it in simple terms.

  • Archie wakes up in the middle of the night to a phone call from Kevin, saying “they” have Betty.
  • Apparently Cheryl and some of the others are performing some kind of “crazy maple ritual” at Thornhill.
  • When Archie gets to Thornhill, he sees a blood moon lighting up the sky and a fire lighting through the forest.
  • Rivervale residents are lined up, with Cheryl at the front and Maple Harvest Queen Betty right next to her.
  • Something has been made abundantly clear: If they want their maple trees to thrive again, if they want Rivervale to have a bountiful year in all respects, a sacrifice has to be made.
  • Betty is with child, a son, she can feel it. And in 25 years, he’ll be crowned Maple King.
  • Men’s blood is what will bring Rivervale back to its glory.
  • Archie is willing to die for his queen, pure heart.
  • Veronica knocks Archie over the head with a rock.
  • Archie is tied up and gets his heart ripped out by Cheryl.

“So ends the heroic life of Archie Andrews. Born 25 years ago in the sleepy town of Riverdale, died tonight, in its shadow town, Rivervale.”

Lingering Thoughts

Colin Bentley/The CW

Welcome to Rivervale, where apparently anything can happen. I don’t even know what happened. But as Jughead said, we’re just getting started. Archie is dead but because the residents of Rivervale were responsible, they won’t necessarily be mourning him. So just what will happen next? Catch part 2 of the “Rivervale” event this Tuesday, November 23 at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT on The CW! Check out our other Riverdale coverage here!

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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