The Riverdale High Bulldogs are a shell of their former selves.
The former football juggernauts could barely muster the energy to score one touchdown on Riverdale Season 5 Episode 9. Everything revolved around the team just getting one point during a game. (Just one!)
If teen Archie and Reggie could see the team now, they would be shocked at how far the Bulldogs have fallen.
What did Archie and Veronica expect from a football team that was rushed together?
The Bulldogs 2.0 was a group of mismatched students who volunteered for the team and possibly never played the game competitively. The extent of their training came from just their short time at Riverdale High under Archie's coaching.
Compare them to teams like The Stonewall Stallions, who have had years of training regimens and graduating players; the new Bulldogs were pretty much newbies on the field.
The team was lucky they blended enough as a unit and had some star players in their short time.
Though, if the team kept losing, they should've changed up their training strategy and plays. To end up with a bad reputation so quickly, some of that blame lands on Archie, too, as the coach.
The football plot could also be summed up as a Hiram vs. Veronica and Archie plot. Haven't Riverdale and we been here before?
At this point, the trio loves to play games with each other, regardless of what it is. Particularly, Veronica and Hiram love flexing their bank accounts and solving all their issues with control or dollars.
For example, a $10,000 deal for whoever scores the first touchdown? A deal that wagers the future of the Bulldogs on one touchdown?
Veronica: Well, I do believe Coach Andrews is the best motivator a gridiron gang can ask for. As your defacto team owner, what can I do to incentivize you? How about ten grand for whichever Bulldog scores first this season?
Team: Yeah! [Cheering and excitement]
Veronica and Hiram played with fire to satisfy their age-old war. The football storyline regressed into becoming another way for Hiram and Veronica to find out who was the dominant Lodge.
It's great that Brita scored the touchdown and saved the team, but Veronica was the real winner. Even Archie owned up to it at the end during their game day kiss.
Kevin has a lot to unpack before he's at a comfortable place to accept himself and his happiness.
As compared to Riverdale Season 5 Episode 8, Kevin's abrupt hesitation to moving forward with Fangs here came across clearer and more grounded. Kevin finally had a reason why he wasn't ready to give up his cruising and settling down completely.
Validation and attention can be addictive when you don't think you deserve more. And this is especially true when you know you can easily get it and how to get it. (Not to psychoanalyze, but this is major hook-up culture and dating app territory.)
Cassandra: We lost … again. We totally could’ve been practicing for regionals instead of wasting our time here.
Cheryl: I couldn’t agree more, Cassandra. Could not. Agree. More.
Kevin found comfort with his endless cruising and meaningless hookups because they were nothing. He got what he needed from the blissful feeling and validation before moving on. Taking a bigger step with Fangs would mean he felt worthy of that happy life.
Cheryl's heart was in the right place to fix the damage she caused at the key party. However, Kevin's issues need professional help to work through his baggage properly.
His heart-to-heart with his dad was so touching and emotional. Like Archie and Fred, Kevin's relationship with Tom Keller is one of Riverdale's best father/son pairings.
Tom Keller has always been there for Kevin. He's supported him and cared about his life; he's gone so far as always to make sure Kevin is protected.
I just wish that Kevin's explanation of why he likes to cruise was ironed out a bit more.
Kevin equated his mother commenting on buying him bigger clothes to him feeling wanted and getting validation at Fox Forest. His explanation needed 1-2 more lines about how he needed that feeling throughout his life because it would've shown the impact of how one comment changed him and how he became dependent on gratification.
His dialogue was a good start, but it only touched the surface.
Why did Jughead's big conflict revolve around him trying to be a good teacher? Shouldn't he take an interest to make sure his student was alright?!
Something clearly was going on with Lerman, and if it wasn't to due to the parents, Jughead could've helped him elsewhere.
Hiram: Your loyalty lies with me and Stonewall.
Reggie: Yeah, but I’m not gonna break some kid’s legs for no reason.
Hiram: Yeah? Consider yourself benched, Reggie. I’ll be leading the Stallions into battle against Riverdale High.
Reggie: So be it. I’ll be standing with the Bulldogs then.
Granted, Principal Weatherbee acted as the responsible principal to chastise Jughead for disobeying orders. However, his reaction to Jughead was overblown and uncalled for.
His earlier check-in with the parents didn't yield results, but maybe this recent withdrawal might've been them? Weatherbee shouldn't simply brush them off.
And Lerman's parents could've told them about Lerman's troubles and disappearance. Both Jughead and Weatherbee would've accommodated to make sure Lerman was alright if he kept making signs to the aliens.
All the secrets and miscommunication only caused more trouble.
Something must be going on at the Lonely Highway for all these disappearances and murders to happen.
The Mothman case, Lerman's missing week, Polly's disappearance, and the swamp bodies are probably lightly connected only due to their location. They might end up being separate causes, with the Mothman/Lerman/Dryfus storyline being one case and Polly/truckers/swamp being the second mystery.
If Riverdale can connect these two threads seamlessly together, kudos to them!
It would be an interesting development for the rash of dead women to be tied to the alien creatures. Though, they've had no connecting parts to make it seem otherwise.
Lerman being found on the Lonely Highway after a week could be a coincidence. Wherever he was could've been nearby to the highway. The light connection might've been an easy way to loop Betty into both mysteries since she was very separate from Jughead's plot.
Speaking of Betty, her heart was in the right place for not telling Alice the truth about Polly. However, lying to her was only going to blowback in her face. She should've just came clean after finding out.
If they never found a body (or worse, a severely decayed Polly), that development would've eaten up Alice longer than the news of Polly's death.
Part of withholding the truth was more for Betty's betterment than Alice's well-being. Betty had a lot of baggage to deal with, and with the stress of her sister missing/dead, she hasn't been handling the case around her.
Betty isn't in the right mindset to conduct her investigation.
Case in point: her going full Kill Bill on all the truckers with the escorts.
Betty would've killed that trucker had Jughead not called her. Let's face it; it didn't matter if he was guilty or not. Betty wanted to get her revenge and seek justice her way. (Kinda like vigilante Archie, but less superhero.)
Betty: No one looked out for those girls. No one was protecting them. I couldn’t even protect Polly!
[Betty reloads her gun]
Betty: But, I can deliver justice.
Glenn being around might help her to think clearly and face her trauma about The Trash Bag Killer. However, this is another case where she needs to speak with someone where she fully opens up.
Betty is one step away before making a terrible mistake she can't take back. We don't want that for our favorite FBI agent!
Last Thoughts From Sweetwater River:
Cheryl performing "Stupid Love," felt out of place next to the River Vixens. The game-day performances don't work now that the group graduated from Riverdale High.
Lerman has talent as an artist. He should consider taking an art class as an after-school activity.
Reggie wore his Bulldogs jacket to the game. We'll add this to the list of signs he's not completely on the dark side yet.
- Derek and his mother made the right choice to switch schools. If his best shot for university is to get a football scholarship, Derek needs to put his effort in a place where there's an opportunity to get it.
- Veronica saves the day yet again with her money. She came in handy for the needed football star and team support.
Now, over to you, Riverdale fans!
What did you think of "Chapter Eighty-Five: Destroyer"?
Will Kevin ever get back together with Fangs? Is the tale of the Mothman true? Will holding the trucker at gunpoint come back to haunt Betty?
If you missed the latest episode of Riverdale, you can watch Riverdale online via TV Fanatic. Come back here and share your thoughts in the comments below.
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.