The gang is back from the sweet hereafter and ready to take on Percival Pickins (Chris O’Shea). After discussing plans, Veronica (Camila Mendes) heads out. Am I reading too much into this casual tap on the arm that Veronica gives Archie (KJ Apa) on her way out the door? Or is that now that Tabitha (Erinn Westbrook) told her that in half the futures she saw, Veronica and Archie were together (I refuse to say endgame, bleh), Veronica is trying to slowly win him back?
Jughead (Cole Sprouse) has a theory about their powers: that he opened up a portal to another dimension. He’s not just a mind reader, but a portal opener.
Percival wants to give Alice a sit down interview and then execute Reggie (Charles Melton), Kevin (Casey Cott) and Reggie’s dad on live TV. This last part is enough to shake Alice’s faith in Percival, but only until he doubles down on the psychic commands and brings here back on board. The scene is also shot very weirdly, as if neither of them are in the room together and the background is a green screen. Except that they both appear together on camera as they sit down. But after that it’s back and forth close ups of each of them. I wonder if they had to scrap the original footage and reshoot this scene with the two actors separately because of availability conflicts. The lighting just looks completely off on both of them.
At the casino, Uncle Frank and Sheriff Keller are testing out three guillotines. They also kick Veronica out as soon as she walks in, informing her of her ousting by the board. When Veronica refuses to go, Uncle Frank flashes a pistol, which gets her moving. These two look so weird in their Blues Brothers suits.
Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) takes Betty (Lili Reinhart) to Thornhill to reunite with her no longer dead sister. Polly (Tiera Skovbye) gives off a golden aura, which is good, right? I guess I was wrong about my theory of she and Jason being demons.
Jughead opens a portal in the bunker for himself and Tabitha. An inky blackness comes down the hallway. They step through it together – to where? To other Jughead’s bunker who is surrounded by typewritten pages. He welcomes them to Rivervale! Jughead and Jughead both accuse each other of plagiarism, which is a pretty funny moment.
Tabitha wants to see if Percival originated from Rivervale. But Rivervale Jughead doesn’t want them heading topside, which might upset the delicate balance if they encounter their Rivervale duplicates. Tabitha pledges to their best to avoid themselves. And then we get a RIVERVALE title card for the first time since the Rivervale event that started season 6!
Alice interviews Percival and asks, “Mr. Mayor, where would you like to start?” To which, he responds, “The year was 1580…” Oh boy, maybe pull up a chair. We’re going to be here for awhile. Percival says he was among those early settlers on the first ship to Rivervale. Wait, what’s that? Rivervale? Yup. He admits to pursuing witchcraft and sorcery. Archie’s ancestor Asher Andrews spotted him working his dark arts, brought him before the council, and Percival was sentenced to death. Percival had been trying to conjure the devil. It worked, and Percival sold his soul for his freedom from the stocks.
Betty and Polly get their chance to reconcile. Polly is much more peaceful in her second life than he was in her first.
Even though she was kicked out of the casino, Veronica wasn’t locked out of her remote access. She finds Reggie, Kevin and his Reggie’s dad locked in the vault, and watches their escape attempt over the cctv video feed. They stage a heart attack ruse, which leads to Reggie taking Sheriff Keller at knifepoint. This ends in a standoff with Uncle Frank vowing to shoot Sheriff Keller and then shoot Reggie. Reggie backs down. On their way out, Daddy Keller delivers the verbal smackdown on Kevin, saying “With the execution, Percival is going to make you more famous than you could on your own.” Ouch.
Tabitha and Jughead show up Thornhill hoping to see the Blossom archives. They want to interview Nana Rose, but unfortunately despite taking over Cheryl’s young body, Nana’s old age ailments somehow came along with her. Jughead ventures into Nana’s mind. Everything is rotting and covered in dust. Britta (Kyra Leroux) gives Jughead some comics to sign written by Rivervale’s other Jughead, not the one in the bunker, but the above ground one. In the comic, the Superteens are fighting Percy the Perverse. Tabitha and Jughead head out to Pop’s hoping to find the third Jughead.
Cheryl asks Jason (Trevor Stines) if he’s happy to be back and he responds, “Yes, I finally have lines on this show.” I mean, he says, “Yes, and I’m so happy to not have to fight in that war.” This sends Cheryl rushing to Archie’s house. She figured out the ghost train. It’s going to ship the dead to fight the living in Riverdale. Archie wants to bomb the train tracks. Veronica interrupts on the phone and tells Archie and Cheryl about the planned execution at the casino.
Betty awakes from a nightmare where she saw different versions of herself, including Rivervale Betty. Polly acts as her therapist and life coach, trying to make Betty believe in herself. Betty claims she’s been marked since birth and is evil, but Polly tells her otherwise.
In his interview, Percival says he bargained for not only his freedom, but immortality too. He couldn’t lose his soul if he never dies, right? Percival says his ultimate goal was to conquer Rivervale. Alice stops him there, asking if he said Rivervale. Yup, that’s right, he did. Just as Percival was returning to Rivervale, he heard an explosion and the town sign had changed from Rivervale to Riverdale. He realized he stepped through to a new universe and that he was the most powerful being here. Since the descendants of his enemies or versions of them still lived here, he could still get his revenge. He theorizes that the mystical energies of his universe leaked over from Rivervale when he journeyed from there to Riverdale.
Polly washes Betty’s feet. We’re getting very heavy handed with the biblical allusions this season. Polly claims she washed away the MAOA gene, meaning Betty’s original sin is washed clean. Betty calls it impossible, but Polly says it is. Betty says, “Polly, all you did was wash my feet,” to which Polly responds, “As someone did for me, right before I entered the sweet hereafter.”
Tabitha locks Rivervale Tabitha in a time loop and heads into Pop’s to convince Jughead to come home with her. At their home, Riverdale Jughead is waiting for him. He gives Rivervale Jughead his theory that Jughead’s comics are bleeding into Riverdale. Jughead says he believes them and that he believed in the multiverse before believing in multiverses was cool. Take that, MCU. Riverdale Jughead asks how do the Superteens defeat Percy? Jughead shows him some “rough” pages from an upcoming issues entitled “Death of the Superteens.” His rough pages are a fully rendered and inked double page spread by the way. And in it, the Superteens lose.
Tabitha wants to know why he would write this ending. It all goes back to the deal this Jughead made to become a famous comic book writer, “even more famous than Alan Moore.” He would only write grim stories that would darken the world. Who did Jughead make this deal with? Mr. Cypher (Oliver Rice) aka the devil himself. Where’s Mr. Cypher right now? At a chess tournament at the Babylonian called “The Ultimate Battle Between Good and Evil.” A bit on the nose, no?
Betty sees herself in the mirror giving off a golden glow. Polly did purify her!
At the Babylonian chess tournament, Mr. Cypher plays chess against Tabitha’s guardian angel. Raphael (Hamza Fouad). Cypher checkmates him. That can’t be good. Tabitha and Jughead confront Cypher, asking if he knows Percival and if he’s working with him. It doesn’t sound like Cypher is working with him. If anything, Cypher is irritated by Pickins. Cypher reveals the diner itself isn’t what’s important to Percival, it’s the land. It was where Percival was left to die. it’s also the site of a hell mouth, which Pop’s Diner was covering, and they unwittingly uncorked by moving Pop’s Diner.
Alice asks Percival what his Riverdale will look like after he wins. He says it will be a land controlled by the dark arts. The Sovereign State of Percival controlled completely by himself.
Ethel (Shannon Purser) shows up to the bunker asking about the explosion that separated Riverdale and Rivervale, and if Betty or Archie heard anything at the time of the explosion. Bunker Jughead reveals he was the voice that warned Betty to get out of the bedroom. This call saved her and Archie, but is also why there wasn’t a clean break between the universes. His saving Betty and Archie is why Percival was able to cross over. Riverdale Tabitha and Jughead leave the other Jughead to his berating by Ethel.
Once home, Jughead opens a portal into the vault and saves his friends. That was easy. And then Archie blows the train tracks. Percival is very confused, but gets the last word. The gang gets a group text from Percival. He’s going to get his execution one way or the other. Even if it means killing his closest confidents. Oh wait, they’ve already been executed. How very Ozymandias of you, Percival.