A lot can happen in seven years. Case in point: how terribly Hiram Lodge ruined our favorite sleepy town.
On Riverdale Season 5 Episode 4, Archie and friends returned to town to witness how much Riverdale changed since they graduated. And from the looks of it, the town of Riverdale is a shell of its former self.
The characters are older, the vibe is darker, and danger is around every corner. This new Riverdale will hook you right in!
Riverdale has a different vibe to it compared to the last time we visited “the town with pep.”
The “Chapter Eighty: Purgatorio” scenes had a heavy tone to them. The colors were moodier, the environments were rougher/grittier, and the characters weren’t the same easygoing teens anymore. Each one seemed to be carrying a heavy burden behind their eyes and in their dialogue.
The cruel reality of the world and time played a harsh impact on everyone and everything. The town of Riverdale, for example, got dealt the harshest hand.
Toni: The town’s entire funding has been completely stripped by…
Archie: Hiram Lodge.
Toni: Bingo! And not only is the fire department gone, but the sheriff’s office is down to one man: Kevin’s Dad.
Archie: I don’t understand. What are people doing?!
Toni: Fending for themselves. The town’s lawless now, Archie.
Riverdale’s new state is an intriguing plot because it shows how far the town has fallen under Hiram’s rule. It answered the prophecy of what the town would’ve been like had Hiram taken full control during Riverdale Season 3.
I like this development because it bypasses all the back-and-forth of Hiram seizing control. He’s already done the damage, so now Riverdale can focus on toppling the tyrant who has gone too far.
Though, why did no one stop Hiram in the seven years since then?
Could he not have lost an election? And, how is he still alive from his sickness? (Him faking an illness would not be surprising since we theorized that twist!)
No firefighters, one sheriff, rampant crime, and a nearly empty town. Changes like that would’ve gotten him in trouble a long time ago, and some media coverage exposing how they destroyed the town.
He and Reggie probably strong-armed every business into bending to their will. They both are on top, but now we can enjoy watching them fall hard.
Speaking of Reggie, he falls into the camp of “staying in Riverdale” level of updates.
And brace yourselves, Riverdale fans, Riverdale Season 5 Episode 4 had A LOT of exposition reveals to get everyone updated on what happened in seven years. The number of plot dumps got exhausting half-way through due to the large cast.
Reggie turning to the dark side and working with Hiram wasn’t surprising. Reggie always sought power, and he had been manipulated by Hiram in the past, like during Riverdale Season 2 Episode 21.
Reggie working for the wealthy villain as a muscled goon suits his character. If only he learned from Archie’s past mistakes as Hiram’s right-hand man to avoid that trap.
Toni, Kevin, Fangs, and Sweet Pea, on the other hand, got the most positive updates from their time jump.
It’s great that the less prominent main characters got their fair share of screentime. In particular, Toni got her well-deserved spotlight as a fully-fleshed character who wasn’t just Cheryl’s girlfriend.
Social worker-turned-guidance counselor. College graduate. Happy and healthy with her pregnancy. Leader of the Southside Serpents.
Toni is thriving in this new era of Riverdale, which she deserves!
I’m small town to big city. My killer instinct always gets me what I want.
And let’s not forget the rest: Sweet Pea reestablished the Southside Serpents and runs a successful truck business. Kevin is a drama teacher and in a long-term relationship with Fangs, who also graduated from university.
Kudos to them for growing and making their own happiness! They didn’t get many of the plots before, but they all seemed pretty happy with their lives now.
It’s a shame that Cheryl and Toni couldn’t make it work during the 7-year time jump. Though, something seems completely off about Cheryl’s entire demeanor.
Why was Cheryl acting so spacey and unattached?
Her reasoning to not be with Toni was to fix her family’s legacy and rebuild the damage they caused. However, from Toni’s reunion, it seemed like Cheryl had accomplished enough for Toni’s family to acknowledge her impact.
Something must have caused Cheryl to push everyone away and become a recluse. She looked so sad and heartbroken, almost as if she was hiding a big secret.
Madelaine Petsch did a great job balancing Cheryl’s aloofness with a sense of secretive control.
Archie’s time jump focused more on him being the vehicle for how we as viewers learned about the town. This chapter is the most amount of time he’s acted like the protagonist we needed him to be.
A bit of Archie’s military past was explored, how he changed in that time (he’s a lot more mature), and a potential issue he’ll have to face. For example, that high school-meets-war dream could be a sign he’s dealing with trauma from being on a war field.
However, most of his scenes centered on chatting with characters and exploring the town to learn more. Archie asked the questions that needed to be asked, and he listened to the updates.
Plus, he didn’t act irrationally when he found out the Ghoulies was renting his home. That’s a huge win over the reckless teen Archie!
This new adult-Archie is a breath of fresh air. Let’s hope he sticks with this direction and maturity.
Veronica’s time jump wasn’t completely bad. She seemed happy, but she had a noticeable vibe to her that came across as sad.
Let’s face it: she wants to be the big she-wolf on Wall Street! If that is her passion, she should jump back into the game and make the calls that brought her passion.
Her husband Chad is a mini-Hiram waiting to be revealed.
Veronica: It’s 2021, Chad. Haven’t you heard? Women can have it all now.
Chad: I don’t want you to be unduly stressed.
Veronica: I’m not stressed. Actually, I miss being on the trading floor with you. I miss all that adrenaline, the highs of a filthy huge sale, talking smack with the guys. They called me, “The She-Wolf of Wall Street.”
You could sense the insecurity radiating off him, and that Glamergé egg gift was a callback to Hiram’s obsession with collecting them. Riverdale is teasing the potential similarities between the men in Veronica’s life.
I won’t be surprised when Chad’s controlling nature gets revealed. He wants to be the top dog in the family, and he’s too invested in controlling Veronica’s life.
The red flags are waving here!
Jughead’s time jump, on the other hand, went downhill fast. How did his life spiral out of control?
Sure, he had the tortured writer in New York vibe going for him, but he needed to get a grip. Jughead faced plenty of evils during his time living in Riverdale; there’s no doubt he could’ve looked to one of those moments as inspiration for his next book.
And his problems will follow him back to town. Either his debt collectors will appear, or Cora will hunt him down about the book draft.
My money is on both will appear, but Cora will play a more significant part in the latest mystery. My guess is she’ll be one of the next victims of the killer who hurt Linette.
That mystery will most likely connect to Betty’s time back in town and her time jump.
Did anyone else get Silence of the Lambs vibes from her flashbacks? Her being trapped in the pit was the most significant nod to that movie.
Kudos to Betty for making it to the FBI and using those investigative skills to hunt down serial killers! She wanted to do it, and she made it possible.
Betty: I’m more than ready to get back to work.
Dr. Sterling: You are working, I thought?
Betty: I’ve been assigned to cold cases, which means I’m filing all day.
Dr. Sterling: Betty, you’ve suffered severe trauma. You were and still are a trainee.
Betty: I caught serial killers in high school, Dr. Sterling.
Dr. Sterling: Not like The Trash Bag Killer.
Betty: You’d be surprised.
Though, she’ll need to work through the PTSD of being held prisoner by The Trash Bag Killer.
Betty is a tough Final Girl, but she pushes off her feelings to act strong and detached from the situation. However, a terrifying encounter like that will negatively affect her, and it won’t go away easily, especially being back in the town that caused her pain. She acted too cavalier to her therapist; she needs to open up.
And chances are The Trash Bag Killer will return to finish the job. Riverdale seemed to teased the killer was still at-large.
That foreshadowing isn’t something we can ignore. Right, Riverdale fans?
Last Thoughts From Sweetwater River:
Riverdale Season 5 Episode 4 is set in 2021, which means that Riverdale Season 1 Episode 1 took place somewhere around 2014.
Nana Blossom has something up her sleeves about Cheryl replicating the paintings.
Hermione recording her intro for the Real Housewives of New York was iconic!
Archie, Betty, Jughead, and Veronica must still contact each other to have their phone numbers so readily available.
Betty’s new boyfriend, Glenn, was pretty handsome.
If Linette had lived in Riverdale for two years, wouldn’t she have known how dangerous it would be to hitchhike on the cursed highway at night?
Now, over to you, Riverdale fans!
What did you think of “Chapter Eighty: Purgatorio”?
Which time jump surprised you the most? Will Hiram succeed in taking over the town? Who is the father of Toni’s baby?
If you missed the latest episode of Riverdale, you can watch Riverdale online via TV Fanatic. Come back here and share your thoughts in the comments below!
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.