The queen of Thornhill was up to her old tricks again.
Cheryl's motives may not always be clear, but her way of manipulation sure does cause a lot of drama. Her party on Riverdale Season 5 Episode 8 sparked plenty of soapy chaos that exposed more wounds than anything else.
Riverdale's darker and twisted elements may hook us, but their glitzy and extravagant drama pulls us right in too. The tension boiled over like all the overflowed tea spilled during the night.
Cheryl's key party was a beacon for impending drama. Anything significant that could happen to the characters would start because of the party and the decisions made there.
Veronica's troubled marriage, Kevin's uncertainty, Betty & Archie's casual hook-ups, Jughead's trauma, and much more were fodder for the power of the key bowl.
Unfortunately, the party was more fizzle than fire.
Ms. Marble: As an outsider, it seems to me that fate has put an obstacle before you, Ms. Blossom. This Toni’s personal happiness. You must either rise above it or…
Cheryl: Throw a little chaos at it.
Many of the plots built up in the early parts of Riverdale Season 5 abruptly ended, and the characters regressed into their teen selves. No growth and no wisdom after seven years away from Riverdale. Back to the familiarity.
Granted, some characters did change and made a hard stance to not look back into the past, but a few plot points came back that could've been pulled from the teen chapters. And it's no telling if the remaining characters will go back to their previous plots too.
For instance, Cheryl concocting the entire key party plan to get Toni to move back in with her.
Why wasn't she open with Toni about her feelings and wanting to restart things? Why need an elaborate manipulative party to do it?
Cheryl had seven years to repair the damage with Toni, and she could've rebuilt the bridges once Toni came back to town as a guidance counselor/social worker. Cheryl took neither of those options. Building a nursery and expecting Toni to come running back with no concerns was baffling at its finest.
Cheryl should've talked things over with Toni about her intentions. The pair aren't dating, and making a plan to break Kevin and Fangs up wasn't going to help anyone, especially her goal.
Toni wasn't clean in all this too.
Why did she lead Cheryl on during all this time? She admitted as much that these were her motives for getting back into her life.
Cheryl was clearly going through something while being in seclusion. A friend would've helped her face her issues, but instead, Toni played with mind games and knew how to draw Cheryl out of Thornhill.
Don't get me wrong; I'm happy that Toni rejected Cheryl's offer.
There are issues between the pair that they need to face. Getting back into a relationship now would be too drastic. However, Toni's rebuttal for her reasoning of the friendship wasn't sitting right.
The identity of the father of Toni's baby was revealed, and it's less dramatic than expected.
Why all the secrecy? Every family is different, and she can design her family as she chooses.
If Toni planned to be a surrogate/have a hybrid family, that's her decision. Riverdale propped up the plot as this secret paternity mystery when in actuality, it's pretty simple.
Cheryl was the only one with an issue, but her actions stemmed from more selfish places. And her desires were more to be with Toni and the baby regardless.
Overall, the reveal was a tad expected and felt more like a whimper than a roar.
Speaking of Kevin, his regression was the most frustrating of all on Riverdale Season 5 Episode 8.
All relationships are different; couples can set their own terms for what makes them happy. Kevin had carte blanche to define his relationship with Fangs, and the pair did as much with their open status and planning for the future.
It's frustrating that Kevin's four seasons of development are being thrown out the window in favor of a plot point.
Veronica: Katy Keene! How are you, girl?
Katy: Oh my god, girl! I am reeling! So, I’m having lunch with Francois in the Lacey’s café and who strolls in with the heiress to the Spiffany’s fortune… Chad! Your Chad! V, what the hell is going on with you two?!
Veronica: Well, clearly, he’s trying to make me jealous.
Katy: Totally, which means I’m about to pour hot coffee into his lap.
Veronica: And I, Katy Keene, will be fighting fire with fire.
In the teen chapters, Kevin had mentioned he didn't want to cruise. He wanted a family, an established husband, and to have a real romance/relationship. Kevin's basic plots and dialogue always revolve around men and dating, so Riverdale hammered it in.
So, for him to have pushed everyone to have the engagement and baby, but then to backtrack to still cruise and not know what he wants, that's frustrating.
He may have doubted in his teen years and early 20s, but Kevin wouldn't have done a complete turn this far into the relationship not to want it.
There's something more going on with Jughead that isn't about the aliens. As Tabitha said, this might involve something deep and layered that happened in Jughead's past.
The alien flashes hinted toward the bigger storyline at large, and I'm still going with my theory that Tabitha is faking this all and setting Jughead up to write a book/get notoriety. But, Jughead's drinking and general demeanor have dramatically increased during his time back in town.
Could it be completely what happened in New York City, or could some of it be due to his trauma of past Riverdale activities?
Jughead should reconsider returning to the support group with the anthropologist. Her lessons could expose what's hiding away deep within his mind and help him process whatever happened.
Though, there will probably be a relationship with Tabitha that heats up before the truth comes up. Come on; the key bowl gave more than enough signs for that!
The end of "Barchie" was a bittersweet development that didn't need to happen so soon.
As mentioned above, both Betty and Archie are adults, so they could've defined their pairing as they wanted. Keep hooking up casually, be only friends, or start a new relationship; it was completely their choice.
I wish they kept dating romantically because it opened the door to explore new storylines on Riverdale.
Archie and Betty have great chemistry, and there was so much potential to expand the plot past nightly trysts. Riverdale barely gave them the opportunity; all their storylines focused only on casual sex.
It's frustrating that their pairing ended because "they were too different," and Archie still had feelings for Veronica. Instead of advancing the series forward, Riverdale jumps back into a couple that had proven itself to be toxic.
Firstly, it's great that Veronica is ending things with Chadwick. Their marriage seemed doomed from the start and they were never on the same page.
Chad wanted to be the alpha in the relationship, but Veronica was a strong independent woman who can set her path on her terms.
Archie: So, what do you want to have done to your apartment?
Veronica: One word: demolition. I want it all torn out, right to the studs.
Archie: That’s a big job, but yeah, I think my buddy Eric would be up to help out. What’s your timeline?
Veronica: I want it done yesterday.
Plus, Chad was too possessive and controlling. The pair couldn't work together as a team and communicate; their expiration date was coming sooner or later.
The writing was all over the wall since Riverdale Season 5 Episode 4.
But, why can't Veronica enjoy time on her own to be single and independent? Why does she need to jump back into a relationship with Archie?!
"Frustration" seems to be the watchword with "Chapter Eighty-Four: Lock & Key."
The "Varchie" pairing had a roller-coaster path during the teen chapters, and by the time they ended, it proved they didn't work. Between the cheating, the secrets, the enabling, and the reckless decisions, Veronica and Archie brought out the worst in each other.
Sure, certain things may have changed in the past seven years, and they might've matured a bit, but based on experience, the pair will fall back into the same habit. Right now, Archie and Veronica are living on the past feelings they have for one another.
A lot can happen in seven years. But in Riverdale, the more things change, the more they stay exactly the same.Jughead
Riverdale had so much potential with the 7-year time jump. The series could've explored any plot and taken their characters in new directions, but instead, they're digging back into a dry well that has been used for over four seasons.
Who knows, maybe adult Archie and Veronica will surprise us? Though with Varchie, we'll have to believe it when we see it.
Last Thoughts From Sweetwater River:
Does Ms. Marble truly care for Cheryl, or is she using her too?
The latest fascination seems to be about truckers during Riverdale Season 5 (i.e., the highway, Polly's activities, Kevin hooking up with Rick, etc.).
It's so nice to hear from Katy Keene again!
- The classic shirtless Archie scene made its grand reappearance. This time in a firefighter outfit!
- Betty shouldn't doubt Alice's warnings when someone was missing. Polly was in danger, and if Alice said she got a call from Polly, she got a call.
Now, over to you, Riverdale fans!
What did you think of "Chapter Eighty-Four: Lock & Key"?
Will Archie and Veronica make it as a couple? What is causing all of Jughead's flashes? Did Kevin self-sabotage his relationship with Fangs?
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.