Do you need to catch up? Read our previous Riverdale recap here.
The Riverdale kids are now the teachers at Riverdale High – ah, it seems like they graduated a few weeks ago – and two of them get horribly comfortable between classes.
As of Wednesday, the old gang is back together at school, this time only as a faculty. Veronica (sorry, “Frau Gekko”) teaches economics … and turns heads among the hormonal boys at school. Archie runs the ROTC, Jughead teaches English to mice and men (in a fancy corduroy jacket!) And Betty dismantles car engines at the dealership. She’s still worried about Polly, who has been missing for days, but Archie volunteers to distract her and the two of them work together to dampen the windows in the dealership’s car. No wonder the school’s fire alarm goes off – but oops, it’s actually a fire started by some hooligans running away while Archie puts out the flames.
It’s the work of Stonewall Prep students on the orders of Hiram, who is not happy that Riverdale High is open. Archie discovers the culprits are soccer players and Reggie her coach. He confronts his old friend and kills him on the practice field. He boasts that Riverdale Stonewall might step on the rust … the only problem is that Riverdale doesn’t currently have a football team. So he recruits a group of players, including a girl named Britta, and reaches out to Cheryl for help with funding the team. But when he gets the idea to do it to honor her late brother Jason, she gets angry and orders him to leave. (Touchy topic.)
Veronica gets a visit from her husband Chad, who surprises her with flowers and cupcakes. He meets Archie for the first time and they exchange an awkward handshake. (Brrr… is it cold in here?) Chad joins the gang for a karaoke night at the Whyte Wyrm, where he and Veronica duet together on “Shallow” by A Star Is Born – not bad! – and share a warm kiss that turns into a bedroom trick. They plan to split their time between Riverdale and New York, and he even supports their idea of opening a jewelry store in town, but alarm bells go off for Ronnie when Chad says Hiram offered to manage properties in SoDale. When Archie asks for money for the soccer team, Veronica offers it right away … but Chad suggests renovating the apartment as payment instead of using “flyers.” This is the last straw: Veronica sends him back to New York and asks them to spend some time apart.
Meanwhile, Betty is still looking for Polly: she hears from Toni that Polly was hanging out at a sketchy rest stop and finds some messages that Polly exchanged online with a trucker. She takes the guy into custody and he swears the last time he saw Polly three days ago she jumped out of his truck and ran away. Betty and Alice search the area and find Polly’s boots and wallets on the side of the road. When they trace Polly’s phone to a nearby swamp and start digging, Archie proudly puts the soccer team back together – thanks to Veronica “Lodge” – but Hiram doesn’t like the sound. That night Archie and Jughead discover a fire on their porch … and on their porch too.
Other highlights from “Back to School”: Cheryl whipped up her counterfeit art, selling a fake portrait to an art buyer named Minerva Marble for a cool quarter of a million dollars; Jughead stumbled upon another weird piece of Riverdale lore when interviewing an old coot about “the mothmen” who invaded aliens, abducted townspeople, and put them on their spaceship (sounds like his next book!); Toni put on an HBIC jersey and started the Vixens again to compete in cheer competitions, and Cheryl was not pleased; and man, the school secretary Miss Bell is pretty much the gossip, isn’t she?
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