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Riverdale Season 4, Episode 5 Recap: I Object!

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Finally, Riverdale‘s opening “That’s What You Missed!” recap was actually helpful. Did anyone else have no idea why Hermione Lodge was in jail? Apparently, she tried to murder Hiram and people actually cared. This is news to us! We still aren’t sure about why Hiram is in jail beyond knowing that Veronica set him up for a crime he didn’t commit, but details are rarely important in Riverdale’s world. Riverdale season 4, episode 5 feels like it’s sneaking closer and closer to an actual plot, but we’re still just killing time until the writers can explain how and why Jughead is faking his death. Yup, we’re still convinced the ‘Dale isn’t going to kill off one of its most famous actors, and this episode gave us a way better idea of how they’ll explain it all.

RIVERDALE SEASON 4, EPISODE 5 RECAP: WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!

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Cole Sprouse’s narration returns just in time for Riverdale season 4 to become Arrow-lite: The unauthorized, lamer Arrow spin-off no one wanted. Don’t get me wrong, Archie acting mature and paternal is really hot, but what happened to high school? Does he even go anymore? Apparently, these community center kids have the same question, and they’ve continued running with Dodger’s evil gang of hoodlums because they think Archie will abandon them for college in a couple of months. Archie hosts a press conference to build goodwill amongst the community, which probably would have worked better if he hadn’t made his main argument “If you don’t like us, my BFF’s dad will beat you up!!” Oh, and the gangs are pressuring local businesses to oppose the center so they can maintain their hold on the neighborhood. Middle-Class Oliver Queen Archie declares war on Dodger and his thugs for the good of the town.

Charles made FBI Jr. sound like some super-secret selective program for kid geniuses, but it’s just an over-glorified National Honor Society for the true crime generation. What’s worse: Showing kids slideshows of serial killers or making them wear matching polo shirts? Last season’s “serial killer gene” theory is brought up again, this time by Charles. Betty goes to a doctor to check for the gene, and the tests come back positive. Conveniently, Dark Betty is back, this time only in Betty’s mind and without the dominatrix wig, to remind Betty that she bludgeoned her childhood cat like a future psycho killer would. Everything Charles mentions in Serial Killer 101 somehow triggers Betty into discovering more freaky red flags from her childhood. She decides to quit the FBI training program, but Charles convinces her to stay by revealing he has the serial killer gene as well. That explains the haircut. Instead of feeling comforted, Betty rides her instinctual paranoia to the conclusion that Charles *is* a serial killer and begins trailing him.

Veronica and Molly Ringwold have teamed up to get Hermione out of jail, which is super confusing since Ronnie made it perfectly clear that she wasn’t going to give a statement of support for *either* of her parents’ upcoming trials. We totally understand that she wants the apartment to herself as a 24/7 Varchie bone zone, but this 180-degree turn from two episodes ago has us spinning. Hiram is trying to get Veronica take his place in jail instead of just taking the L (more great parenting!) by threatening Pop Tate, who once again can’t catch a break. He’s also meddling in Hermione’s case by falsifying documents, forcing Veronica to blackmail the state governer (again) in exchange for an immediate pardon. A private investigator hired by Hiram pops in to ruin Ronnie’s celebration, revealing that Hiram has been exonerated — oh, and the P.I. is his bastard daughter! Of course! Hiram announces his candidacy for mayor at a post-court press conference, which would feel more nuts if America hadn’t elected a suspected criminal president three years ago.

Jughead is still researching the Stonewall Five, the first in a string of copycat crimes where Sweet Valley High students disappeared just like Moose. Donna says Moose has been texting her from basic training, but we’ve already learned to never trust rich white people (RE: when we elected a suspected criminal president three years ago). Jughead learns that his professor writes Riverdale’s answer to the Hardy Boys, and Jug publicly geeks out over his childhood idol, totally forgetting about Moose. It’s not like his classmates could respect him any *less*. Baxter Brothers ghostwriters are historically from SVH, and Mr. Keating’s class gets to compete for the honor of being the next in line by crafting the perfect murder. That’s a dope job opportunity to offer to a bunch of untested high school students that really don’t need the money, but at least nepotism in the arts is a more believable storyline than this magical serial killer gene thing that Betty is dealing with. An older ghostwriter who was friends with the Jughead’s grandfather, Forsythe, visits for the Baxter Brothers event, and Forsythe I is definitely going to end up being one of the O.G. Baxter Brothers writers. Brett’s bullying finally gets to Jug, who threatens him before deciding to drop out of the school. FP opens up about his childhood trauma and talks Jughead into staying at SVH, which was super hot. Hey, we were all thinking it!

Riverdale season 4 really thinks it can spice up these meandering early episodes with flash-forwards to their Jughead death plot… and it’s right! We will continue tuning in just to figure out WTH happened during spring break, especially now that Betty, Archie, and Veronica have been charged with Jughead’s murder. Dun dun dun!

THE MOST CW MOMENT

When Kevin compliments Betty by telling her she’s “like A Beautiful Mind, but for serial killers.”

HOW WE FEEL

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So, this whole “Craft the Perfect Murder” assignment is definitely going to be the template for Jughead’s fake death during the mid-season finale. We’ve gone from Dead Poets’ Society to How to Get Away with Murder real quick, and I will exclusively be referring to Jughead’s teacher as Annelise Keating from now on. At first, I thought Sweet Valley High had just been introduced so that Jughead could beat up a Trump supporter (which I imagine is *huge* in fanfiction circles), but it looks like the Riverdale writers are trying their hand at planning plot twists ahead of time. Congrats, guys! Now maybe they’ll circle back to the ominous VHS tapes they gassed up two weeks ago then immediately abandoned.

Oh, and don’t think we didn’t notice the *criminal* absence of Cheryl Blossom and Toni Topaz from this episode. Have they been killed by Chucky 2.0? I realize Cheryl isn’t part of the Riverdale Core Four, but she is so much of what makes this show iconic, I’m going to need Riverdale to stop treating her like a second-string character and just get with the program already. Did we really need to see Jughead play Mafia with his classmates and waste valuable tuition dollars? Not really! Just because it’s an accurate depiction of private school doesn’t mean it’s more important than our weekly dose of Cheryl’s one-liners.

Kevin is thirsting after Charles *hard*. We’d probably agree with Kevin if Charles had a better haircut and didn’t dress like a small claims lawyer, but Kevin’s interest in Charles basically dooms Charles to be evil because Kevin hasn’t made a good decision once in the past four seasons. This ominous “serial killer gene” idea was so, so dumb when it was first introduced that we didn’t mind the writers completely forgetting about it and never trying to explain how that would affect our society, but here we are again. This is one of the least justifiable storylines Riverdale has pulled out of its *ss and circled back to when they’ve run out of other ideas because it’s not goofy enough to be camp or serious enough to be taken seriously. Honestly, I don’t have a clue how genes work, but this ain’t it.

Join us next week when we finally get around to discussing what the living f*ck is going on with Archie’s hair on Riverdale season 4.

FAN REACTIONS

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