Riverdale Season 5 Episode 1 Review: Chapter Seventy-Seven: Climax

The creepy videotapes are back to torment for another season!

On Riverdale Season 5 Episode 1, the mystery picked right back up to where we left off before the hiatus: Jughead and Betty discovering the latest murder tape. The cliffhanger of the “Killing Mr. Honey” tape left us on our toes about what it meant for the teens’ future. And ultimately, who is the auteur creating the videos?

With only a few chapters left before the time jump, the Riverdale Season 5 premiere had some lofty goals to hit. But did it succeed?

Hunt For The Tapes - Tall - Riverdale Season 5 Episode 1

Betty and Jughead’s investigation into the mask tapes could be its own TV show. Between them recording a fake snuff film to the prom ambush, the A-storyline hooked me right in!

But here, the plot was deliciously dark and thrilling, which is Riverdale at its core.

Betty deserves a lot of kudos for her resourcefulness and ingenuity. The snuff film they created was a decent video job, and Cheryl/Reggie embraced their slasher movie tropes (Cheryl could totally be a scream queen!). But, it’s her move to have The Black Hood video ready that gets all the applause.

Betty proves time and time again that she plans for any possibility. Her videotape would be too juicy for David to pass up, especially from the daughter of The Black Hood.

And this callback to the videotape is just the beginning of Riverdale Season 5 Episode 1’s trend of surprising callbacks, which were all thoroughly welcomed!

Prom Dates - Riverdale Season 5 Episode 1

Does the town of Riverdale love its secret societies and locations? Everyone apparently knows where to go for a party and naughty videotapes.

The rave brought up many interesting developments about the VHS mystery and Riverdale’s crimes.

Firstly, there are countless other videotapes out there from crimes and secrets captured. We knew this from the store, but it’s fair to say that many moments we as viewers witnessed throughout Riverdale’s four seasons were probably recorded and aired during these parties.

And here is where some of the past callbacks appeared, like the tickle videos or Bret’s blackmail videos. It’s a great inclusion whenever Riverdale spins its web and connects its history.

Turn Off The Lights - Riverdale Season 5 Episode 1

Secondly, the auteur’s assistants could be anyone. Literally, any number of faces at that party and beyond could be involved.

After the chaos that was The Gargoyle King from Riverdale Season 3, a faceless band of cult-like minions wasn’t the most surprising bit of news.

At this point, who hasn’t joined a shady group or gang on Riverdale? (Exactly!)

David: What is this?
Betty: The birth of a serial killer. The Black Hood, as a little boy.
David: Is that really him? The Black Hood?
Betty: Yeah, that’s my dad.
Kevin: [Whispers] This is insane.

And, Jughead and Betty shouldn’t be too quick to believe Jellybean’s story that she didn’t know anything about the rave beforehand. Her friends had access to the party information, so she’s somewhat in the loop.

It wouldn’t be shocking if she sneaks out again to a party and lands in hot water.

Fond Farewells - Riverdale Season 5 Episode 1

And lastly, the auteur (the main one?) is around to videotape the moments. So, we might have to remove Chic from our suspect list at this time.

Unless he found a way to sneak out of prison, he can’t be the one recording the tapes.

Charles is still a strong possibility now that it’s also confirmed Bret is behind bars. He and Chic are up to something. Their plans weren’t revealed before the hiatus, and that plot thread had to be leading somewhere.

Though, if Riverdale were to throw out a shocking twist, like Kevin being the auteur, that could work. Nothing would shock me at this point!

K.O. Kelly - Riverdale Season 5 Episode 1

Did anyone else love the sabotage at the prom? As Jughead brought up, it’s not a Riverdale High dance if the drama doesn’t happen.

Sure, the prom delivered on its promise of glitz and fun. The couples were in peak cuteness; they had great outfits (favorites had to Toni’s and Betty’s stylish gowns), and Cheryl/Toni winning prom queens placed a nice cherry on that ship-worthy sundae.

Plus, the parents chaperoning was a cute surprise to see them in festive moods. But, you knew that trouble was bound to happen.

Why does every one of our dances turn into a Jamie Lee Curtis movie?!

Jughead

The reveal of the chaotic livestream was a fun twist because it ramped up the tension with its unnerving beat and flashing lights.

Though, the most unnerving part: why did no one else in that gym freak out over somebody getting murdered on screen? They all looked confused, but no one descended into panic or fear.

Riverdale’s horror movie-like events have changed its citizens. Barely anyone batted an eyelash.

Family History - Riverdale Season 5 Episode 1

Toni’s family trouble was a little surprising in the grand scheme of things.

Like, it’s no secret that Cheryl and Toni have been dating since Riverdale Season 2 Episode 17. They’ve been prominent members of the Southside Serpents, started their own gang, and made public appearances around town.

“Choni” is a staple in Riverdale. So, how was it a surprise now for Toni’s grandmother to know she’s dating a Blossom?

Did no one drop the news about the relationship? Did she not see it online?

The couple has been dating for years at this point. If the family issue were present, it would’ve popped up earlier instead of being a convenient reason for a break-up.

Cheers! - Riverdale Season 5 Episode 1

Speaking of Choni, did anyone else tear up when they broke up after prom?

Their tearful goodbye was especially heartbreaking because they had a type of farewell where they clung to the possibility of hope, even though they knew the outcome. Odds are, at this time, they can’t be together, and they don’t know if they’ll ever get back together.

Cheryl is one of Riverdale’s strongest characters because she’s dealt with the toughest losses, and she’s strong enough to make tough decisions.

Saying goodbye to Toni was a decision she knew she had to make, even though it went against what she wanted. Cheryl loves deeply and lives a passionate life (it’s so different than any other Blossom).

Though, after Cheryl’s plea to Nana Blossom, this could potentially be the tipping point to a new Cheryl. The 5-year time jump is happening; a moment like this could change her into a new person after high school.

Are Archie & Veronica Endgame? - Riverdale Season 5 Episode 1

Choni’s break-up was a stark difference from “Varchie.”

I liked how Riverdale Season 5 Episode 1 contrasted them as one way to break-up healthy and the other to not. Choni’s farewell was full of love while Varchie imploded in a web of lies and deceit, which goes to show the foundation both couples had at their core.

Archie’s decision to reveal the cheating truth had an underlining similarity to Cheryl (i.e., doing something to better their partner). However, their intentions behind it were completely different.

Cheryl: But I don’t understand, did you pick me?
Toni: For tonight, I did. My Nana said if I didn’t get home by midnight, she would never speak to me again. I hope you can understand?
Cheryl: Of course. Toni, family is the most important thing. Go and by with your nana, and thank you for tonight. Despite those moments of video horror, I’ll treasure these memories … always.

As mentioned above, Cheryl did it for love and Toni’s benefit. On the other hand, Archie did it for Veronica’s benefit, but also his too.

Archie wasn’t in-love with Veronica anymore. He’s still hung up on Betty, and his indecisiveness about his future is deep in his thoughts. He still loved Veronica, but when the chips were called, Archie walked.

Whereas Cheryl faced her tough decision head-on, Archie found the easy way out to force the decision. Both are very different.

In The Ring - Riverdale Season 5 Episode 1

Even after a long TV hiatus, Archie Andrews still finds ways to out “Archie” himself.

Archie’s decision to drop boxing and his interest in the naval academy felt like a petulant child who didn’t get his way. Just because he lost one match, it didn’t mean that his entire boxing career was over.

Archie’s reaction puts into question whether he wanted to do boxing/the naval academy at all.

Veronica: Early morning run, Archiekins?
Archie: I’ve got my physical for the naval academy this week.
Veronica: Well, I find it hard to believe they wouldn’t be impressed by my teenaged Thor.

Sure, he accepted the offer as a reaction to Betty shutting things down, but he genuinely seemed to love boxing at the time. And if he had put the work in for a few months, he’d get the spot later on.

Archie’s character feels aimless, and that direction matches how someone could feel in the final months of high school with no plan. But, what does Archie want in life?

His 5-year jump is going to lead somewhere. He’s going to need to make a decision soon before graduation comes … or when the auteur finds him after that VHS tape!

The Boxing Exhibition - Riverdale

Last Thoughts From Sweetwater River:

  • Is Hiram sick? Like, really? It’s strange that his strength is coming back just because he’s fighting in a real-life Streets of Rage game.
     
  • Bret behind bars is a good look on him.
     
  • Kevin jumping at the chance to sell a snuff film says more about him than Betty and Jughead making a fake one.
     
  • Why couldn’t the admiral accept both KO Kelly and Archie? They both seemed like tough fighters and could work for the academy.
     
  • Veronica shouldn’t have taken Archie’s song. Regardless of the reason behind him throwing it out, Archie didn’t want it anymore. She needs to respect his boundaries too.
     
  • Politics would be a good career for Cheryl. Her tactics to become prom queen were direct and to the point.

Archie's Guilt - Riverdale Season 5 Episode 1

Now, over to you, Riverdale fans!

What did you think of “Chapter Seventy-Seven: Climax”?

Is Archie’s videotape a threat? Will Jughead ever find out about the kiss? Which break-up made you cry the most: Archie/Veronica or Cheryl/Toni?

If you missed the latest episode of Riverdale, you can watch Riverdale online via TV Fanatic to catch-up on all the mystery!

Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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