Archie’s nightmares become more intruding, Betty holds the trucker captive as she seeks answers, and Jughead recounts a past event.
On Riverdale Season 5 Episode 14, Archie seeks therapy for his PTSD nightmares, and Betty seeks answers in an unconventional way. Meanwhile, Jughead recounts the events that lead up to him returning to Riverdale.
This episode was something described as a “bottle episode”, which means it fits almost as a stand-alone piece of the season, while still tieing in nicely with the current plot. This was quite fun in my opinion, as it nicely separated each character’s storyline and in turn, made them feel like their own mini-movies within an episode. I think this format served well for Archie especially as I feel like he’s almost slipped into the background this season.
This episode shone a heavy light on him that I was really happy to see after last week’s episode. In this episode, Archie begins seeking therapy for his PTSD nightmares, and we see that even with the sought-after help, he seems to still be struggling. Like I said in regards to last week’s episode, I’m really glad they’re exploring this storyline, and I’m really curious to see where it will go from here. Especially now with the addition of him and others seeing the “mothmen”, and it leaves me wondering if maybe it’ll derail his recovery even more.
There’s a lot of potentials to take this storyline to new heights and depths and I’m eager to see if they do. So far I’m optimistic and impressed with how they’re handling it, but I am nervous it could fall short. But for now, I’m happy to see Archie getting some well-deserved screen time, after all, he is supposed to be the show’s heart, it’s about time.
Betty & Alice
I’ve already been enjoying Betty’s storyline this season but I especially loved it in this episode. Maybe it’s because seeing her go completely rogue on this trucker was a fun callback to “Dark Betty” of season’s past, or maybe it’s because I love it whenever she and Alice team up. Maybe it’s a little bit of both. Either way, I loved it all.
I’m sort of enjoying the slow descent into madness that Betty seems to be going through. Every episode she seems to fall deeper and deeper into the mystery of the lonely highway, and every episode it seems to only become messier and more complicated. And since she’s investigating it all on her own, it makes the stakes feel higher and keeps you on the edge of your seat.
I do hope she and Alice keep pairing up though. I find Alice’s revenge-seeking vendetta and Betty’s intent to solve the mystery and keep it from happening again, a very interesting dynamic. Both characters ultimately want the same goal but have very different ways of getting there, and also similarly different motivations. Alice is a grieving mother who wants justice for her daughter, and Betty is a survivor of a near similar fate and wants to find answers, while simultaneously wanting justice for her sister and the rest of the victims. It is such a push and pull dynamic, and I find it so captivating.
Jughead makes a reappearance in this episode, after having left for New York in a previous one. We find out he’s in A.A, and as a result, learn just what happened during that seven-year time jump. We learn that Jughead was heavily struggling with alcoholism, and it resulted in the venomous voicemail he left Betty that we got to hear in the previous episode. But it’s the latter half of his story that takes a bizarre turn and it has to do with a sinkhole and a rat king. Yeah, you read that right.
Turns out, the night Jughead left that voicemail was the same night he fell into a sinkhole and was swarmed by rats. In what is revealed to be a rabies-induced hallucination, he recounts that he met a rat king, (who’s really just a guy waving a knife at him.) Anyway, that all ends up being irrelevant as what the true focus is, is a vision he has of Betty.
In this vision, Betty tells him he needs to leave the tunnel, or he’ll drown. Now looking at this on face level, it seems pretty simple, the city is going to wash out the tunnels and he’ll literally drown. But I think there’s another meaning as well, in which she’s saying he’ll figuratively drown if he doesn’t clean up his act and quit the bottle. This becomes even more clear to me when he tells those at his meeting that he credits Betty with saving his life, and that he knows now that he needs to get his drinking under control.
It seems to me Jughead has an irrevocable tie to Betty, even when they’re no longer romantically together or even all that friendly with each other. It’s almost as though they’re strangers. But like we’ve heard in past seasons, Betty is his muse, and I liked that the same still rings true seven years later. It leaves me wondering if Jughead will ever tell Betty why he left her that message, or that she’s the one he credits with saving him.
What did you think of the episode? Were you surprised by anyone’s storyline? Let us know in the comments or share with and follow us on Twitter!
Riverdale airs Wednesday nights at 8/7c on the CW!