Riverdale Analysis. Season 5. Episode 18

Penultimate episode of the season of Riverdale: eighteenth of the fifth and its title is Close to Normal. The series, created by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, is issued by The CW and can be seen in Spain through Movistar +.

Welcome to a new episode of Riverdale. We are approaching the end of the season and in the installment that we analyze today, the thing comes from a musical, as if coming to comply with that unwritten rule that in each season there must be one. In addition, there is a lot of encounter, reunion and disagreement but, above all, a story about letting go.

Without further preface, we will analyze it: it is the episode 18 from season 5 or, if you prefer, Chapter 94 of the total list. I comply in warning that SPOILERS ARE COMING FROM THE PLOT and I remind you that you can read our previous analysis here.

Perfect family

Friends table at the Whyte Wyrm. The occasion is not to celebrate but to comfort and accompany Betty, which comes from the hard loss of his sister. Asked about the twins, she says they are with Cheryl and surprisingly well, but when it comes time to talk about her mother, she expresses concern: Alice does not assume what happened and is out of reality, while listening to an old vinyl record of the musical Next to Normal (Close to Normal), a play that she and her two daughters attended on Broadway.

The musical, about whose existence I knew nothing but I was researching in Google, was released in 2008 and it is written by Brian Yorkey with music by Tom Kitt; your version for Spain, as I found out, was released in September 2017: it tells the story of a woman with bipolar disorder who, having lost her son, clings to a fantasy of a perfect family that no longer exists or perhaps never existed. What I don’t understand is why, being so recent, Alice has it on vinyl: if she has collector’s habits, she never showed that profile.

As a corollary to Betty’s words, disco fryings begin to be heard and we see Alice in her house living a fantasy similar to that of the aforementioned musical: everything looks like an ideal fifties model family that includes both Polly like Charles that, in this way, they reappear in the series: she wears a cheerleader uniform and he wears a high school jacket. There is, however, no parent in sight, so Alice’s unconscious redeems Charles, but not Thing.

From that moment on, the episode takes on a musical tone and it is not bad that they return to one of the strengths of the series after so much delirium, nor that they regain a more “realistic” and emotional tone. As is customary in musical episodes, the female cast of Riverdale shines (the mother-daughter counterparts between Alice and Betty are brilliant) and the male cast does it as gracefully as he can, being Cole Sprouse (Jughead) who best wears it. It is the classic moment Glee that Riverdale always delivers to us and that, in this case, it is a breeze of fresh air.

The Benefactor

Things are going from bad to worse for Britta. The poor woman not only had to go through a kidnapping and escape by a miracle from being murdered, but also, her parents threw her out of their house for seeing in her “homosexual perversions” the guilt of what happened. It is already seen that, except for a couple that are no longer in the series, Riverdale’s parents are not characterized by being a love for their children or the best example.

When Toni is put by Weatherbee aware of the young woman’s family situation, she undertakes the task of finding a suitable substitute home or institution for her, but with no luck: no one accepts her; they are also a love. That’s when Fangs think about Cheryl. Toni’s face changes tone at the mention of the redhead: the shared past continues to be a heavy burden.

By the way, Cheryl has run out of followers in her temple: it seems that the cult of Gaia it is not very popular and it amuses Penelope, resentful that her daughter has taken from her and, according to her, distorted, the church she founded. Cheryl sees the personified demon in her and even talks about exorcism: she doesn’t get to practice it, but she throws water on it, I don’t know if it is blessed or not, but it doesn’t burn her face or anything like that.

Although Toni, at first, rejects the idea of ​​Fangs, this manages to convince her that Cheryl is the best option for Britta: she can give a lot of love and she has already shown it, which Toni knows well.

Then changing his mind, he goes to talk to her; I honestly thought that it might be the tip of a new beginning, but no. Cheryl is delighted to host Britta, while Toni and Fangs, forgetting, at least for the moment, their homosexual past, declare mutual love.

Here you have to take your hat off to Fangs: gentlemen, what a player! He stayed with Toni and gave him something to entertain his greatest competition: he even looks like the perfect father while feeding the baby. As for Britta, in a process as unusually easy as it is fast, she has been left in the care of a young woman who had her brother’s corpse for days sitting at home and who, in addition, led a sect: adorable, but this is Riverdale, you did not know? Furthermore: it is Thornhill


The parents of Tabitha They are visiting Riverdale for the Mother’s Day celebration. Tabitha wants a family dinner at Pop´s, but the lord Tate (Benton Greene), very contemptuous, not interested and already arranged a reservation at a fancy Italian restaurant (is there one in town?). This generates disappointment in Tabitha, who was waiting for the occasion to invite Jughead: she does it anyway, presenting him as a false boyfriend and let’s say that he does not make the best impression on his parents dressed as a waiter. Beyond that, the matter makes Jughead think that he would like to be a real boyfriend and not an imaginary one and so he later manifests it to Tabitha, although Mr. Tate does everything possible to advise against his relationship with his daughter.

Separate paragraph for Tabitha’s father: I must confess that the character made me laugh a lot. He’s so pedantic that he doesn’t seem like a son of Pop and so unsympathetic that I end up falling sympathetic, I don’t know if I explain myself. In fact, in this episode he took the best phrases he and not Cheryl:

And why are we going to have dinner with the waiter?”(When Tabitha introduces her to Jughead).

I know. And I left as soon as I could”(When his daughter reminds him that he grew up in Riverdale, too).

Is out of your leagues”(When he seeks to discourage Jughead’s interest in Tabitha).

Do not know him”(When Jughead mentions that it reminds him of Hiram).

Maybe she had a lot of ketchup to clean off the counter”(When Jughead is late and doesn’t make it to dinner).

Anyway, a great character and I hope that we will see him again often: there are pedants that I do not like, like Chad, but this one suits me wonderfully. The point is that, then, Jughead has been delayed for dinner and in the waiting accusations are crossed, evidencing that Tabitha’s parents are resentful with her for having left Chicago in search of the Riverdale village life when, according to them, it was for greater things.

When, finally, Jughead arrives, he does so with a rose in his hand and that is enough to convince Tabitha that his future is with him: march one Jabitha which, by the way, was seen for a long time to come.

riverdale the things that make us happy


Well, what about Veronica and Archie? Do we return to the insufferable hysteria of other times? And on this occasion, it must be said that he is the main responsible: she not only divorced the poison but even murdered him (although she did not seem to be aware of it or feel trauma about it), but he, once again, returns to play the troubled boy. Veronica has asked him to move in together, but it turns out that they hardly sleep together: he avoids a dinner arguing his work as a firefighter and makes an excuse that, suddenly, the city seems to be on fire. If I may comment, I will say that this excuse is not good for a small town in which any small fire would be the main news.

The truth is that it is not fully understood what horns Archie wants and, in one way or another, Varchie It is a couple that is destined not to work. She should look for a better port (wow, I already look like Tabitha’s father) and the good thing is that she can’t go back to Chad anymore. By the way, he is doing well in his society with Reggie and their businesses seem to be doing well in Wall Street: there may be a way …


She’s not here

Betty no longer knows what to do to wake Alice up from her dream world: Polly’s ashes seem, at some point, to have some effect. But as soon as Alice has any glimpse of reality, she charges Betty accusing her that it was her fault that Polly left home and what is known ended up happening (remember that the sisters had argued with each other).

It is not the only claim: in addition, he accuses Betty of having left for seven years, one of the many sit-ins that the blonde has left behind for going after a serial killer and if not ask Jughead.

But opening up and taking the rags out in the sun is good for both of them and Betty gets her mother to accept that Polly left: “she’s not here”Is the phrase that is repeated sung over and over again. As with Archie’s before, Alice’s ghosts retreat – the time has come to let them go. And the final conclusion is that if you cannot have an ideal or, at least, a normal life, one that is as close to it as possible is not bad.: hence the title of the episode and the musical that it takes as its basis. In an emotional closing, everyone sings at Polly’s grave and a family photograph shows her smiling with Alice and Betty on that Broadway day.

Episode Balance

Exhausted or, rather, drowned with no way out the subplots that we had been presenting until the previous installment, this time the series chose to start closing the season. AND those responsible for Riverdale know well that when they do not find their way, a musical is very useful to find it again; is to play it safe, which always turns out well. And not bad when the north has been lost.

Alice’s arc and her non-acceptance of Polly’s departure was strong and emotional. The Jughead and Tabitha thing, meanwhile, was seen coming, but it helped us to meet a character that, I hope, we continue to see because he has a lot of potential.

The thing about the sect, almost the only subplot that survived, ended up dying without pain or glory while Cheryl’s benefactor role opens up as a great question.. If the rumors that Madelaine Petsch I would not be in the sixth season due to cinematographic commitments, it occurs to me that it may be a good way to fire her: that she founds an entity for children and adolescents in trouble or something like that. And forget about Toni … and Gaia.

About Archie and Veronica I don’t know what to say anymore because it tires. In his eternal correction, the redhead ends up ruining the lives of those who truly care, in this case Veronica, who played for him and how: where are you going to find someone who puts a bullet in her ex-husband to get him out of above?. I suppose, of course, that being that pair the romantic center of the whole series, the production will want to stretch their final meeting as much as possible: the risk would be that by the time it arrives we will no longer care.

Beyond all, it has not been a bad episode or, perhaps, the bar was very low after the previous three, but it is good that they have returned to the musical, to the emotion and a more realistic touch. There is only one delivery left and we hope they know how to close such an irregular season well. From what you see, it is quite intense …

We will meet here to analyze it. Greetings and be happy …

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Riverdale Analysis. Season 5. Episode 18