Riverdale upped the ante on antics yet again in the mid-season 5 finale.
Riverdale season 5 is off the air until July 7, but at least the mid-season finale gave us more than enough to speculate about until then! With one crazy twist after another, the episode may have been the show’s wildest yet. And that’s truly saying something with Riverdale.
We’re breaking down some of the moments from the episode that we definitely won’t be able to stop thinking about until the show returns. Here are the 10 craziest moments from the Riverdale mid-season 5 finale.
Hiram revealed his master plan
We’ve been wondering what Hiram’s been up to since the time jump (and honestly, since he arrived in Riverdale), and he finally just came right out and said it. Apparently, Riverdale sits atop a plentiful harvest of palladium (think Iron Man’s chest). Hiram has been mining the metal from underneath the prison for years, but now that the supply there is drying up, he’s hoping to move to the next
gold palladium mine – the Blossom estate’s maple groves.
Quite honestly, it felt extremely anti-climactic when Hiram revealed why he’s been slowing taking over the town for years, but I’m thankful that we finally have an explanation for his nonsensical behavior. Also, as far as explanations go, it’s not a terrible one. I’m much happier knowing that Hiram’s villainy is coming down to dollars, rather than some sort of weird vendetta, although I’d be even happier if we could just forget about Hiram already!
It’s possible that Hiram has been planning this since long before the series even started, especially considering that he grew up in Riverdale. If this lucrative long game has actually been a lifetime in the making, that would be kind of cool, but it would also mean he’s been even more deceptive with Hermione and Veronica than we thought, unless Hermione knew about the palladium. That is a possibility, although I would hope she’d tell Veronica now that she’s free from Hiram and on to the “real housewife” life.
Juniper and Dagwood’s ‘accident’
Juniper and Dagwood are getting to that childhood age where you could perfectly see them as the star of a horror movie, and it seems like they might know it. The smirks on their faces after Betty told them they could have killed their classmate were definitely unsettling, even if the classmate was teasing them about their mom being dead. Kids are the worst.
Luckily, Betty saved them from losing their innocence even further in the Riverdale mid-season finale, but since season 5 seems to be Cooper-centric, particularly with Polly, I don’t think we’ve seen the last of the emerging darkness in these two.
Glen’s ‘term paper’
Glen is our prime suspect for the Trash Bag Killer, and he confirmed that his intentions were less than honorable in the mid-season finale. It turns out his desire to meet Betty’s family had nothing to do with his feelings for her, but everything to do with the dissertation he’s writing entitled “Varying Displays of the Serial Killer Gene in the Cooper Family Tree.” He calls it the perfect case study of nature vs nurture, we call it a complete violation.
It might be tempting to think that he should be removed from the list of TBK suspects after this reveal, but I don’t think we should be so hasty. In fact, Glen could be so interested in the Cooper’s serial killer gene because of his own serial killer tendencies. Also, it would be a very Riverdale move to cast doubt on the killer before piling the evidence back on them before the actual reveal.
The suspicious ‘Silver Eagle’
Another reveal we weren’t expecting to receive in this episode was the information about Archie’s last mission with the military. Evidently, he lost ten of his men in a mission under General Taylor in Uzbekistan and saved Jackson’s life by carrying him to safety. Despite the disastrous mission, General Taylor now wants to award Archie for his valor.
It turns out, Taylor is trying to cover up some shady dealings by shrouding the mission in honor, and Archie can either choose to “play ball,” or be a scapegoat. Archie followed up by directly disobeying General Taylor several times in the mid-season finale, showing that no son of Fred Andrews is going to play along with those games.
I love the fortitude that Archie is showing, but I honestly have no idea where this storyline is going, and I’m really sad that the institution which he gained so much purpose from is now being tarnished for him. I do think this storyline might somehow play into the opening sequence from the time jump, in which Archie ran through the battle fields. We’ll just have to wait to see how it all fits together.
The ‘Riverdale’ season 5 prison break
The prison is no longer of use to Hiram, so of course, he went ahead and blew it up! Instead of running to safety, many of his loyal prisoners chose to stay and terrorize the local high school. Because, Riverdale. The escapees included Penelope Blossom and Archie’s uncle Frank, who also chose to not flee to safety, but to stay and help Archie. Hopefully Mary Andrews has better luck with him than she did with Archie!
All of the prison break scenes were completely and utterly insane, complete with choreographed classroom fights, prayers for the Blossom maple groves and trying to “sacrifice the interloper,” and a wedding officiated by Alice Cooper. Again, because Riverdale. I would say there has to be some fallout from the great prison escape, but the show has walked idly by huge events like this without a second mention in the past, and I’m thinking that might be the case here too. We may never hear about the Riverdale mid-season 5 finale prison break again, but it was fun while it lasted.
Kevin’s near death experience
One thing that likely will have lasting impact from the prison break is Kevin Keller’s near death experience. He had a gun to his head and was preparing to die before Archie saved him, and you could see the depth of that written all over his face for the rest of the episode.
Kevin is feeling very lost right now, and I think this might be the thing to either shake him out of it, or plunge him even deeper into self-destruction. He could decide that he wants to spend every second he can with his loved ones and go back to his family, or he could decide that he needs to live life to the fullest in a different away, and run as far as he can from settling down. Or, he could just become weirdly obsessed with his savior, Archie. I hope it’s not that one, but I’d say it’s equally possible.
Reggie burning the maple groves
Reggie is walking a fine line between good and evil in Riverdale season 5. It looked like he was coming back to the good side when he helped Betty and defied Hiram at the football game, but the act of burning the Blossom groves seemed like a choice from which there may be no turning back.
It’s possible that he just took this step to gain Hiram’s trust, only to thwart him in the future, but I think it’s more likely that this is the beginning of a darker storyline for Reggie. He obviously cares about winning Hiram’s approval and admiration, so if he’s willing to do this, there’s no telling what lines he’ll be willing to cross next.
Jughead’s mushroom trip
The Riverdale mid-season 5 finale began with a kiss between Jughead and Tabitha, but that was easily the least crazy aspect of their storyline in the episode. The kiss was quickly dismissed as a mistake, with Jughead admitting that he never really got over Betty, he recently got out of a toxic relationship, and that he’s really just looking for a friend. This might not be the end of the exploration of Jughead and Tabitha, but they’ll definitely be put on pause for a while considering what came next.
Apparently Jughead has some “personal trauma” that he can’t access, and apparently that trauma involves headlights and a strange looking gargoyle girl. Sounds about right. To unlock the trauma he bought himself some magic maple mushrooms (which he wildly had someone bring from another town even though he didn’t have the money to pay for them, but I digress) and had himself a little bunker trip.
The trip involved some blissful dancing, a visit from his toxic ex, Jess, some Bughead sex during which Jughead looked like he was literally seeing an angel and Betty confessed that “it was really awful what I did to you,” a finished chapter called “transubstantiation” (kind of like transfiguration), and finally, blood.
There’s a lot to unpack here. First of all, the easy assumption is that Betty was apologizing for kissing Archie, but there could also be more that we don’t know yet. However, based on the trip, it looks like Jughead is ready and willing to forgive her, and would like nothing more than to be back in Bughead bliss.
Then, there’s the aforementioned headlights and gargoyle girl. The headlights reminded me of a lot of serpent stuff, and the gargoyle girl obviously made me think of the gargoyle king, but that’s about all I have.
Finally, there’s the blood, and the missing Jughead that Tabitha discovered at the end of the Riverdale mid-season 5 finale. Of course, there was a prison break, and possibly a lot of serpent enemies and ghoulies that could have come for Jughead. Also, there’s his ex who promised to come for him if he didn’t pay up. Since he actually saw Jess during his trip, she’s a compelling suspect. That being said, Jughead also could’ve just walked off on his own. Either way, he could be in very serious danger, and needs to be found very soon!
Varchie vs Chadonica
Riverdale just brought Veronica and Archie back together, only to have a very large wedge driven between them in the form of Veronica’s apparently-not-ex husband. It looks like we’re in for some angst in Riverdale season 5 after all.
This entire storyline was incredibly frustrating, beginning with Veronica’s retelling of the “accident.” She believed that she needed to stay with Chad after the accident because she’d “wished him dead” earlier in the night, even though he was likely flying a helicopter drunk when the accident happened, and a part of her truly believed that he crashed the helicopter on purpose so they could “be together forever.” Come on girl. You’re so much better than that.
Then, she had the naivety to go meet Chad for one last dinner, because she still feels like she owes him something. Of course, he manipulated her into feeling a sense of security by lying about the divorce papers, she made a terrible decision by sleeping with him, and then he came clean about not agreeing to the divorce. He made some bad investments and is now illegally taking money from other investors in the name of Veronica’s business, so she’s officially a part of his dirty dealings and to divorce Chad would be to risk him testifying against her.
I hate to say it, but I’m just so disappointed in her for getting caught up in all of this. She should’ve been smart enough to leave him after they survived the crash, if not before. She should’ve been shrewd enough to not get seduced by his scheme which resulted in her cheating on Archie. And now, she should be strong enough to divorce his ass anyway and be confident in her ability to beat him in court with the truth on her side.
I get that she obviously loved this man at some point and that he’s potentially been manipulating her for years, but these levels of poor judgment are reminiscent of Veronica at her worst in dealings with her father, and not of the Veronica we’ve come to know and love for most of the Riverdale series. I hope we at least get to dive in to her issues with her father and make some progress on that as a result of this.
As for Archie, with everything he has going on with General Taylor, I can see him taking a step back from Veronica in light of this. He’s certainly not going to continue seeing a married woman, and I can see Veronica not telling him the full truth out of shame.
That being said, if she did tell him the truth, it’s possible that he would forgive her and help her, especially considering the fact that he cheated on her in high school and can understand the idea of making a mistake. These two have shown astonishing strength and maturity as a couple in the past, so my fingers are crossed that they can work through this together!
The Pincushion Man
Just when I thought the Riverdale mid-season 5 finale couldn’t get any crazier, Charles suggested playing “pincushion man,” a game where the entire Cooper family takes turns sticking “pins” (a knife) in the “pincushion man” (Glen). Charles has become a lot more unhinged since we last saw him, but I’m not sure if that’s the effect of prison or if he was just really good at hiding it before.
Luckily, the Cooper women were at peak form, and managed to turn the tables on Charles and Chic pretty quickly. Evidently, the FBI academy teaches knife throwing, and Alice has been working on her tackles since Riverdale became the most dangerous place in America. Betty did “have to” get one knife into Glen, but I think that was also just a little bit of payback for the dissertation.
Betty may have saved Juniper and Dagwood from losing their innocence, but she’s now cruising the lonely highway in search of Polly. I don’t think we’ve seen “dark Betty” for the last time in Riverdale season 5, and I’m definitely worried about what’s going to happen to her out there.
Unfortunately, we have to wait until July when Riverdale returns to find out. Until then, happy speculating!