Something strange is going on in Riverdale. It all starts when Betty’s (Lili Reinhart) typewriter and telephone have both gone missing from her room. The phone wasn’t just taken, the phone line wire was cut too. What’s going on?

Principal Featherhead, Sheriff Keller and Mayor Blossom barge into Archie’s (KJ Apa) English class and pull Mrs. Thornton out of class mid-lesson. Mrs. Blossom is the new English teacher. Why? Mrs. Thornton is under suspicion of being a communist. Welcome to little town America, 1955.

Ethel and Jughead (Cole Sprouse) pick up their new comic at the newstand, or at least they try to. The newsstand owner tells them he sent it back, saying it’s disgusting and un-American. 

Mr. and Mrs. Blossom confront Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) about her Halloween kiss with Toni (Vanessa Morgan). They’ll cover for her if she helps in their investigation. Mr. Blossom has a list of names of deviant students. Cheryl is at the top of the list. Cheryl calls their bluff and refuses to participate until Mr. Blossom threatens to take away the Vixens from her. Cheryl looks like she might crack. 

Mayor Blossom's list of Riverdale deviants. His daughter Cheryl Blossom tops the list.

He’s baaaaack. Who? Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos) is finally back in Riverdale! It’s been far too long. He arrives at the Pembroke bearing gifts, a glamerge egg for Veronica (Camila Mendes). She’s suspicous at first, but greets him with a hug. Well, going by the look on her face, she’s still suspicious mid-hug. 

The next day at school, Veronica introduces Hiram to the gang. He’s a guest lecturer in their English class. Julian attempts Hamlet’s monologue but is interrupted by Hiram. He gives Julian a lecture on his delivery, going deep into Hamlet’s pathos. 

Veronica Lodge introduces 1955 Hiram Lodge to her friends at Riverdale High

Mrs. Thornton was the advisor for The Blue and Gold before she was unceremoniously kicked out of Riverdale High. Betty wants a new advisor, but Mr. Featherhead tells her he’s shutting it down. He cites budget issues, but this seems to be more about the students expressing any kind of independant voice. Since the writers of The Blue and Gold won’t be needing it anymore, Betty takes off with a typewriter from The Blue and Gold‘s room at Riverdale High. 

Cheryl secretly meets with Toni, Clay and Kevin, warning them all they’re on her father’s list. They try to figure out who out is behind the list. Cheryl immediately suspects Evelyn, her main rival on the Vixens. When Cheryl confronts her, Evelyn all but admits to being behind it immediately. 

Featherhead and Werthers grill Archie, asking him if Mrs. Thornton tried to recruit him to communism. He defends his teacher. 

A mysterious man shows up at the Babylonium, asking Veronica how well she knows Hiram. When she says “That’s my father,” he gets a pensive look on his face. How good an investigator is this guy? He doesn’t know the daughter of the famous Hollywood star, the one with same last name?

Jughead and Ethel ask Mr. Fieldstone what’s going on? No one is carrying Pep in Riverdale any more. It’s not just Riverdale he says. They’re being cancelled all over America. Ethel ask if she can have a couple of copies of her first issue. He has so many returned copies that he offers her a whole bundle. Jughead and Ethel each take a bundle, ready to distribute it on her own. 

With her stolen typewriter, Betty publishes her own zine, The Teenage Mystique. She signs it, The Girl Next Door, and sets up a PO Box for correspondence. She distributes the zine around the lockers of Riverdale High.

Betty Cooper distributes her zine around the lockers of Riverdale High

Uncle Frank sneaks in on Archie, suspicious of Archie’s poetry. He’s worried if Archie pursues poetry, “people will get the wrong idea about” him. Everything is veiled homophobia in 1955 Riverdale. 

Veronica asks Hiram about the FBI agent who showed up with the Babylonium. He tells her that the FBI is investigating him. That’s why he’s in Riverdale, to hide out. Hiram wants Veronica to testify that she was in Cuba with him, even though she wasn’t, and that he didn’t meet with any revolutionaries. Hiram says he was just there for cigars, not communism. Veronica isn’t sure she wants to perjure herself though. 

At school the next morning, Veronica spots the FBI agent. She immediately confronts him. He offers to show her proof about her father if she gets in his car. She does and they drive off to Pop’s. He shows her photos of Hiram with Fidel Mastro. Oh how I love these Riverdale names. 

Archie cuts school to visit Mrs. Thornton. She’s packing up her place to take a volunteer job at the Greendale library. She gives him a copy of The Crucible. Archie decides to use it for his dramatic monologue. 

At Pop’s, Jughead and Ethel deal comics like they’re contraband. They do good business. 

Toni, Clay and Kevin fill Cheryl in on their plan. Toni will pretend to date Clay, while Kevin pretends to date Cheryl. She doesn’t like it, but decides to go along with it. At school, seeing the fake couples walk the halls causes heads to turn, none more than Evelyn’s. 

The next time Hiram shows up at the Pembroke, Veronica confronts him with the information the FBI agent showed her. She’s not concerned with Fidel Mastro, but with the blonde sitting with Hiram in the photo. Hiram says he has a morality clause with the studio – that photo with the blonde could sink him. I don’t quite get how Veronica testifying can undo that photo. 

Hiram Lodge and a blonde woman who is not Hermione Lodge.

Archie introduces his monologue from The Crucible, overacting as John Proctor. KJ Apa is a better actor than Archie Andrews. The monologue hits deep though, enough for Cheryl to march herself to Featherhead’s office and tell her father, Featherhead and Werthers that she won’t help them with their investigation. She quits the Vixens before they can take it away from her, and announces that she and her boyfriend are going on a double date with Toni and her boyfriend. Archie’s monologue inspires a kiss from Veronica as well. 

Jughead and Ethel are selling comics for twice their price since they’re the only game in town. Unfortunately they fall for a boy scouts and sheriff’s department sting operation. Sheriff Keller conficates their stash of comics, but not their money. Not bad. Jughead and Ethel cheers their hustle over sodas. 

Jughead attempts to flee Sheriff Keller's sting at Pop's.

The next morning at school, we get the reappearance of someone I never thought we’d see again, Geraldine Grundy, Archie’s teacher/lover from season 1. She’s the new Riverdale High English teacher. She offers to introduce Archie to her husband, who is also a poet. Thrupple?

Mrs. Grundy makes her seasons long return to Riverdale.

Veronica performs a monologue by Cordelia from King Lear, who is being asked by her father to prove her love to him. It always amazes me how tV characters can find that perfect monologue that expresses what they’re going through right now. I would have just picked one at random. 

Veronica offers her dad a signed affidavit for his cuba trip with one catch, he has to come clean to Hermione about Kelly, the blonde in Cuba. And she wants the Pembroke signed over to her. Hiram is desparate enough to agree to both. She gives him the letter first though. I don’t know if I’d trust Hiram enough to give him the letter before he signed over the penthouse and called Hermione. 

Betty stops by the Riverdale post office to find her PO Box overflowing with letters for The Girl Next Door. 

It really is Alumni Day at Riverdale this week with Hermione Lodge popping in to visit her daughter. All we’re missing is Skeet! She brings news that next season of their show will be their last. “After 7 long seasons, I’m ready for something new.” Is she talking about Oh Mija or Riverdale? She also fills Veronica in that they’re divorcing. Single Hermione – will this be what gets Skeet back in Riverdale?’

Jughead sees a line of students all holding their comics at school. Featherhead is offerings to buy everyone’s comics, and Dilton and other students are selling. Why is Featherhead buying them? So that he can and boy scouts can burn them! Book burning! Homophobia! The Red Scare! It’s 1955 in Riverdale. 

Book burning in Riverdale