When Toni announces something big, Cheryl takes it into her own hands to throw a celebration. Meanwhile, relationships are put to the test and the mysteries of the season escalate.
On Riverdale Season 5 Episode 8. The mystery of Toni’s baby daddy is finally revealed, which spurs Cheryl to throw a party with a secret agenda. Meanwhile, Archie struggles with his feelings, Jughead tries to make sense of his otherworldly encounter, and Betty continues to investigate Polly’s disappearance.
A (Not So) Happy Family
From the moment it was announced that Vanessa Morgan’s real-life pregnancy would be written into the show, fans have speculated about who the baby’s father might be. With some guessing that he’s not in the picture, or that she’s a surrogate for another couple. Well in the most recent episode of Riverdale, our questions were answered. Turns out Toni has a medical issue that makes it hard for her to have children as she grows older, and so she decided to raise a baby with Kevin and Fangs. It’s a sweet addition to the story, and one that I hoped would open the door for more screen time for the three criminally underused characters. However, it seemed that just as we got such joyous news, it all crashed down.
This storyline could have been a really important addition to the show and could’ve showcased each of the characters involved and their special new dynamic. But instead, it was soured with what felt like careless storytelling and needless drama. In fifteen minutes, Kevin and Fangs went from being in an open relationship to a closed relationship, to engaged, to father’s to be. We’re eight episodes in now, surely this could have been handled in a previous episode rather than springing it onto us all at once.
It felt almost laughable how sudden it all was, and it was disappointing to many fans including myself. Not only did they ruin the only active LGBT relationship, but they also ruined Kevin’s character. He went from being head over heels in love with Fangs to hooking up with truckers and suddenly not wanting a child anymore. (Not how it works, Kev.)
It’s just disappointing seeing the LGBT representation the show consistently handled badly. And with all the time they had to rewrite parts of this new season, I really wasn’t expecting it to keep happening. Sure, relationships fall apart all the time, but never in the span of one episode when we’ve hardly seen any build-up. Here’s hoping the show redeems itself for this storyline, though at this point I’m not quite holding my breath.
Toni & Cheryl
While we’re on the topic of couples who have been wronged in the show, Choni proves to be a prime example. This was proved to once again be the case. Now, granted, they haven’t exactly been on good terms since the time jump, but my issue lies more in how they wrote Toni’s character this episode.
From the first scene post-time jump, we saw of Toni and Cheryl, it was very clear that there were still feelings between them, this was even stated from Toni herself this episode. This is why how the rest of their storyline plays out this episode, disappoints me so much.
To begin with, we get Cheryl being irrationally angry at the fact that Toni is going to be raising a baby with Kevin and Fangs, which didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, but then again Cheryl is a complicated lady. This revelation sparks an idea in Cheryl to host a key party. Though as we come to find out later on, it was more of a setup for herself and Toni. Which, I honestly found kind of cute, but once again, it’s soured fairly quickly.
Toni grows mad when Cheryl’s true intentions of the night are revealed, and rather than let her down gently, she tells her that she should’ve just left their relationship in the past. This maybe wouldn’t bother me as much had she not said just twenty minutes before that there is still potential for her and Cheryl’s relationship. Again, it just feels like a very cheap way to put their relationship on the backburner and create needless drama.
Something else that bothers me is the fact that this was Vanessa’s last episode before she went on maternity leave, and yet there is no scene to show her leaving, or explain her soon-to-be absence. Sure, they’ll probably address it next episode, but it still would have been nice to see it happen in this episode from her point of view rather than someone else’s. Especially since Toni has been the heart of this season so far.
Oh Archie, never have I ever seen a character fall from grace so quickly. In previous episodes we got to see a newer side to our favourite boy next door, however, this episode took everything the fans loved about him in those episodes and completely threw it away.
When he and Betty started up a friends with benefits type situation, it was clear that there was much more there than just casual hookups. Friends don’t look at friends that way, you two. But in this episode, Archie is suddenly very confused about his feelings. When Betty calls him after she has a nightmare, he goes over, expecting it to be a booty call. The next morning when talking to his friend from the army, he talks about Betty as though she’s only good enough for a hookup and nothing more, and that he’s still hung up on Veronica.
I mean sure, I didn’t expect Archie’s feelings for Veronica to completely go away, but it feels so out of the blue considering he was very clearly head over heels for Betty in the past couple of episodes. Yes, there were hints that there was still something there, (especially from Veronica’s point of view), but the way it came about this episode feels very out of left field. I’m all for them playing out the classic love triangle in an ode to the comics, but had they done it 3 seasons ago, I feel it would have been much better received. We’ve only now gotten Barchie and it feels like they’re being tossed away without any real rhyme or reason before they could truly flourish.
It’s just a little frustrating since this isn’t the Archie we’ve been seeing lately, this feels like high school Archie again, not twenty-something, army vet, headstrong Archie we’ve come to know and love. I’m sure it’s all for the sake of drama but it feels like we’ve re-routed back to the same old storylines we’ve watched for 4 seasons. I just desire a little more, that’s all, and I hope, I really, really hope, that the show doesn’t fall into old patterns.
Now, this was something I hadn’t quite expected but was genuinely very excited for. I think the idea of a key part is always a fun one and can open the door to some humorous moments or bizarre pairings. However, we only got one exciting and unexpected pairing, every other pairing was very predictable. Except for Cheryl setting herself up with Toni, I genuinely found that kinda funny.
I had expected it to go down the route of everyone getting their exes, so when Veronica pulled Archie’s keys I wasn’t surprised. Though we didn’t get to see it because Veronica’s husband quickly put a stop to that. (I don’t know why he agreed to come in the first place if he was just going to make a scene, but I digress.) Instead, you can just about guess who each character is going to get when they walk up to the bowl. The only one I didn’t guess was Reggie and Fangs, but boy did I love it. I thought it was a genuine shake-up to the party, and Kevin’s reaction to it got a laugh out of me.
I do wish we had seen more of that pairing as it was a huge part of the promo for the episode. Instead, we got a baited kiss and a one-second mention about how “Reggie is as straight as they come”. That could’ve been an opportunity for more bisexual representation on the show, especially since Reggie was the one who initiated that kiss and hinted that more could come from it. I just don’t see the point in adding it if we didn’t even get to see it play out.
The key party in general could have served up the drama better than all of the other plotlines throughout the episode, and I think it could have done it a lot better. Rather than having Archie suddenly have feelings for Veronica again, we could have seen that play out over the night’s events had they actually went home with each other. We could have gotten some awkward Bughead moments if they pulled each other. There were just so many possibilities but it all fell kind of flat and it felt like it was over before it really began.
Still, I think it was the highlight of the episode for me. It was something new, and I always love scenes where the whole cast is together. I just wish it had been done a little better and played out longer.
What did you think of Riverdale Season 5 Episode 8? Did you enjoy the key party? What did you think of how the relationships were tackled? Leave your thoughts with us in the comments below or share with us on Twitter.
Riverdale airs Wednesday nights at 8/7c on the CW!