This week’s episode of Riverdale was all about trying something new, as Archie recruited new kid Reggie Mantle for the basketball team, and Betty is forced to join the River Vixens. Meanwhile, Tabitha comes back to town, Kevin gets a new job at the Babylonium, and Cheryl and Toni have relationship problems.
Keep reading to find out what happened in “Chapter One Hundred and Twenty-Five: Hoop Dreams.”
The Riverdale High Bulldogs have lost yet another game; understandably, no one is happy about it. Archie tries to give the team a pep talk afterward, but Julian throws insults at them instead. He brings up Archie’s dad, who was the team’s best player back in the day, telling Archie that he knows he doesn’t want to spoil his dad’s legacy.
Frank is able to convince their lead sponsor, Clifford Blossom, to let him recruit an outside player. A farm kid in Duck Creek named Reggie “The Blur” Mantle. Archie and Frank visit the farm, where Reggie is moving hay bales. Reggie used to play basketball for Stonewall Prep, admitting he dropped out. Frank comes over and says that he’s squared everything away with his parents, and the three take a drive.
Reggie is staying over at the Andrews’, and Mary asks him about growing up on a farm. He tells them that it’s his family’s legacy, and ever since his dad was injured in the Army, he’s been pitching in, but they aren’t eligible to get financial help from the government. Frank assures Reggie that Mayor Blossom will make sure his family’s farm will stay afloat financially so he can concentrate on basketball. Archie later gets Reggie set up in his room, and Reggie immediately sets his sights on Betty, having seen her through the window.
At school, Archie introduces Reggie to the gang, and Veronica immediately takes notice. After hearing that Reggie’s family doesn’t have a TV, nor is there a theater in Duck Creek, she brings up the Babylonium. Reggie declines, saying he’s there to play basketball and win games.
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Reggie is officially introduced to the team, and they split up to see how he does with Archie and Julian as captains; Dilton even joins so they can have even teams. With the girls watching on the sidelines, Reggie impresses them all. Although it was a tight game, Archie and Reggie’s team come out on top. In the locker room, Archie tries to get the team to go to Pop’s to celebrate, especially since Reggie’s never been, but no one’s in the mood. After Reggie declines, saying he has to catch up on homework, Julian and the others are up for burgers, and Julian invites Dilton, too.
Julian gathers the team to tell them that his parents are hosting their annual Bulldog booster basketball mixer, which will also be a fundraiser to build a new gym. After practice, Archie tries to convince Reggie to go to the mixer, but he’s all about focusing on basketball. Reggie knows the team is icing him out. While at Stonewall, he never felt like he belonged, and his teammates made it clear, pranking him (lead by Bret Weston Wallis). This time, Reggie isn’t giving anyone the chance to humiliate him ever again.
At the mixer, Mayor Blossom praises Archie for his sacrifice after hearing about Reggie and wonders more about him. They just need Reggie to be a loyal soldier and bring them their championship trophy so there won’t be any problems for him or his family. Reggie, meanwhile, goes to the Babylonium for a movie, not really taking part in Veronica’s flirting.
The Bulldogs play a friendly game, and once Julian acts like a jerk, Archie punches him, rightfully so. He talks to the team about Reggie and how they need to act like a team. And if they don’t like it, they can leave. After practice, Archie tells Reggie that maybe they are as messed up as any other place. He didn’t sock Julian for him; he just needed to do it. Reggie suggests going to get a burger later, thinking they could meet up with the others, and Archie obliges.
Cheryl and Toni seem to be enjoying themselves and their new relationship, and after making out, Cheryl asks Toni to go steady. They may not be able to show it off, but Cheryl says it could just be for them. Their secret, only they would know. Toni says going steady is the kind of thing only squares do, so Cheryl says that it’s already like they’re going steady anyway.
Toni tells Cheryl she can’t do the Vixens anymore; she doesn’t want to get paired with anyone.
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“Baking for my own personal meathead is not really what I want my life to be about.”
Toni says that being a cheerleader isn’t what she wants to be anymore, admitting that she’s lost herself. She needs to figure it out and needs some space in the meantime.
Toni sits down with Tabitha and Clay, telling them that ever since Featherhead declined to publish her Emmett Till article in the Blue and Gold, she’s been keen to start a literary society for Riverdale’s Black students. A club that publishes a journal focusing on Black voices and writing. Tabitha and Clay are all for it. Toni thinks the journal would make a difference for the Black students of Riverdale.
After getting advice from Clay, Toni talks to Cheryl after school to ask for funding for the new club. Cheryl loves the idea and supports it but warns Toni that approval has to go through Featherhead. She asks Toni if part of the reason she broke up with her is because she’s white, and Toni admits that while there are interconnected factors, that was one of the reasons.
Cheryl brings Toni funds for the club, admitting that Featherhead didn’t actually approve. The funds were earmarked for something else. But she believes Toni’s club to be a much more worthy endeavor. Toni doesn’t ask any other questions and thanks her instead. Cheryl begins to leave, and Toni stops her, offering to meet at the Dark Room later so they can talk about trying again.
Back to School
Tabitha has officially returned to school and tells Toni about the tour with Mrs. Till, and seeing the inhumanity, hatred, and racial injustice, knowing what people are capable of doing. She switches the subject and asks Toni what she’s been up to. Toni tells her about joining the Vixens and focusing less on writing, which surprises Tabitha.
Tabitha confronts Jughead about not keeping track of her homework while she’s away. While Jughead apologizes because he was preoccupied, Tabitha assures him it was easier than she thought when she talked to Featherhead. She wonders what was keeping him busy, and Jughead tells her about Pep Comics. Tabitha geeks out after hearing about Brad Rayberry, as she is a fan of his work, having read across all genres, including science fiction. Jughead offers to introduce her to Rayberry, assuring her it wouldn’t be an imposition.
Jughead and Tabitha show up at Rayberry’s, but there’s no answer at the door. Tabitha suggests leaving a note, and they can try again tomorrow, and Jughead obliges. The two go to a movie instead.
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Later, Jughead and Tabitha meet at Jughead’s train car, and Tabitha gives him a book, Darkwater: Voices From Within the Veil by W.E.B. Dubois. She tells him about it, hoping they could read it together out loud, and Jughead thinks that sounds swell.
Hal talks to Betty after speaking to Dr. Werthers, who suggests getting her exercising more to help burn off some of her “excess energy.” Werthers said there are too many temptations on Riverdale Grandstand and wonders if she might fare better spending more time with nice, decent girls. Hal tells Betty that he spoke with Clifford Blossom, who will arrange it with Cheryl, and Alice agrees … Betty is joining the Vixens.
While Betty joined the Vixens to help with her excess energy, her completing the team’s roster means that Cheryl can assign each Vixen to their respective player, which means they show their particular player extra-personalized support throughout the season. Cheryl’s given herself her brother, Toni is with Archie, and Betty is with Reggie.
Betty helps Reggie with his homework, though Reggie tells her she doesn’t need to. Betty admits it’s part of her Vixen duties, and she’s also supposed to discreetly find out his favorite cookie so she can make him a batch. She also reveals the real reason why she’s on the Vixens and tells him about the Riverdale Grandstand debacle, as well as what she and Archie did. Reggie begins to leave, and Betty tries to assure him that there is nothing between the two of them. Since he’s living with Archie, he feels he can’t get too involved.
Kevin shows up at the Babylonium but not to see a movie. He wanted to see about getting a job since Veronica mentioned looking for a few good men. Ever since he quit the basketball team, he’s been looking for something to do, and he loves the movies. Veronica remembers that Kevin is already pals with Clay, and she thinks he is “extremely dashing.” She’s been dropping hints that she’s interested in something more than a professional relationship, but Clay hasn’t been picking up on any hints. Veronica asks Kevin if he’s seeing anyone, and Kevin says maybe, obviously not revealing the truth.
During work, Veronica tries to make small talk with Clay at the concessions stand, going on about how she likes her men. Clay gets the hint but isn’t interested and goes off to the projection booth, but not before Veronica slyly asks him to pick up what she’s putting down.
Later, Kevin confronts Veronica about Clay, but Veronica doesn’t see anything wrong with a little workplace flirtation. Kevin tells Veronica that Clay isn’t attracted to any women, and neither is he, for that matter. Veronica knew this whole time and only went after Clay to test her hypothesis. She quickly double-checks if Clay swings both ways, but that is out of the question, though it doesn’t bother her.
“Kevin, the only thing better than having a hunky boyfriend is having hunky friends who are boys.”
Another Death, Another Mystery
Jughead shows up at Brad Rayberry’s again, hoping to talk to him. Unfortunately, Sheriff Keller is there, as is the coroner. Tom tells Jughead that Rayberry is dead; he hung himself and even left a note, but did he?
The seventh and final season of Riverdale airs on The CW on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Stay tuned for our continued coverage on the series, including episodic recaps and more!