Five Thoughts Double Feature on Riverdale‘s “Band of Brothers” and “Dance of Death”

By | September 23rd, 2021
Posted in Television | % Comments

Welcome back all you Riverdale fans! I figured, since we’re so close to the end, now is the perfect time to do a double feature. It had nothing to do with one episode airing on Yom Kippur. Nope. Not at all.

And as always, spoilers ahead.

“Band of Brothers”

1. Saint Cheryl of Riverdale, Patron Saint of the Extra

Of all the ridiculous things to come out of the “Cheryl and Penelope found a church” plot, I did not expect “Cheryl thinks she’s a saint” to be one of them. It’s…truly something to behold. It starts as a result of Penelope doing what Penelope does and banning singing by pretending it was a vision from the divine Jason and Cheryl wanting to wrest that power back. Then we get at least three different outfit changes for each of them as Cheryl performs “miracles” before becoming the Bee Queen and buying into her own hype.

Honestly, it tracks with Cheryl’s very high thinking of herself and her susceptibility with regards to cults, only this time she’s the head. I also love how every time Penelope wanted to speak, an organ stinger happened and the fire flared up. This family knows drama!


Two episodes ago, Archie finally started to reckon with the guilt over his fallen platoon after being haunted by visions of them caused by Carbon Monoxide poisoning. Now, he is taking that guilt and funneling into a cross country tour over a oddly small amount of time in order to get justice for them. It’s a fine plot but I really think this needed the kind of long tail that Jughead’s got.

We haven’t seen the General in weeks and then that’s all wrapped up in a single episode? I’m not complaining about that aspect, actually. I just don’t like that this resolution occurs in the same episode as Archie’s trip AND the revelation that Eric knew about the bad mission AND that it’s a happy ending all around, with the implication that justice being served has solved his PTSD. I don’t buy it and I kinda hope we keep seeing Archie in therapy, though, hopefully one not with the therapist he threatened because YEESH.

3. Fuck off Chadwick

Veronica and Reggie have the perfect plan. Steal Hiram’s Palladium, melt them into doubloons, sell them to the highest bidder that’s not Hiram, and do it all in time to avoid getting caught for fraud by the SEC. Simple right? Normally this would be the time where I would talk about how Riverdale pulled a fast one and Veronica lost because of her overconfidence but it doesn’t! And that was the right move!

Veronica getting this win is so satisfying and for once, FOR ONCE, her gloating doesn’t come with the promise of the script coming back to crush her dreams. Chadwick no longer has leverage, we learned that Hermosa and Reggie were an item for a bit, which is hilarious, and Hiram lost all his Palladium which he hid as part of his Sodale diorama. Great stuff all around.

All I got left to say on this topic is fuck off Chadwick. I hope this is the last we see of your smarmy ass.

4. Plagiarism is the Worst Crime

The jury is still out on whether or not Cora is TBK but I did call that her manuscript would be important. Sadly, it seems I was wrong about her showing up again as a regular, though a small reappearance is not out of the question. Was anyone else yelling at the screen for Jughead to not do the thing he almost did? No? Is it just me who takes the crime of plagiarism super seriously?

Nah, it’s probably because that would have been a pretty good conflict but one I would not have wanted to watch. Jughead may be broken and low but he’s no DuPont and I’m glad he realized it at the end. Actually, I really liked his whole plot this week. It’s got a lot going on – from his AA meetings, to his backsliding, to his reconciliation with Betty and apology tour – and I’m glad that the show is doling out consequences for his actions.

Continued below

You feel bad for him but, like Jughead himself, you know that they’re deserved. Not the backsliding but that adds a bit of realism because, well, things aren’t always a perfect trajectory forward. Especially when your maybe decent manuscript was given to your ex who, if you talked to, would definitely cause you to backslide more. Whoops.

5. I’m Just a Lonely Highway

Get yourself a friend like Tabitha. She knows how to use the buddy system. She’s willing to go out late at night to stand in the cold in the dark. She won’t let you do something dangerous and, should you insist anyway, she’s making sure you’re safe, especially when that unsafe action is pretending to be a sex worker on a dark highway in order to hunt down a serial killer who uses semi-trucks. Betty, you have a good friend there so you better not fuck things up.

“Dance of Death”

I love this jacket so much, I had to highlight it

6. With Friends Like These…Well, You Can Go Pretty Far

Betty didn’t fuck it up! Thank goodness. Instead, she and Tabitha were simply unable to get any bites in their attempts to catch Truck-Kun in action. It makes sense that they wouldn’t get any since the group is probably still spooked by the death of “Milton” and are being extra cautious to not get caught. That or they know Betty is out there and can avoid her. Whatever the case, we quickly change gears as more bodies & body parts start showing up and then disappearing as Betty & Jug team up again at the insistence of Tabitha to solve the mystery and see if Squeaky, the second implied victim we saw way back in “Homecoming”, is still alive.

Spoiler alert: sadly, she’s not.

This is all set against the backdrop of Betty’s mom giving a moving speech about the terror of uncertainty and a growing sense that, if it’s not stopped soon, it never will be. But as we all know, this is the Riverdale crew. Of course they’ll get it solved.

7. Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better

Aside from the A-plot, we have our C-plot revolving around Cheryl & Penelope’s power struggle for their religion. It’s…I mean it’s fine stuff, more of the usual scheming from Penelope and the clever turnabouts from Cheryl, but what I most wanted to talk about is how wonderfully these scenes highlight how much Kevin has grown AND how beneficial this religion is to Cheryl. Is it still unsettling and potentially dangerous? Uh, 500%, but Cheryl needed something communal and this gives it to her.

Kevin knows it’s time to get out and so he does, but while still affirming Cheryl as a person and friend. This does, however, play into Penelope’s hands as it removes any checks Cheryl has AND alienates her more but Kevin needed to get out fast so I can’t really be mad. Moreover, it gives her the chance to really step up her flashiness.

If “Band of Brothers” had Penelope Blossom being extra with her fire and organ cues, then in “Dance of Death” Cheryl takes it up another level with calling down four different elements in succession outside of the home. I dunno if the show is going to try to explain it, since they can’t let anything be supernatural for some reason, but until then, it’s a cool moment that I’m sure Cheryl will milk for all it’s worth.


You don’t know how disappointed I am that Mothman and Truck-Kun are one and the same. I am DEVASTATED that all of my theories around what the Mothman could be were wrong. Now, I didn’t really have any, seeing as there was no way the writers were gonna let it be aliens, but tying it to the killers was not something I expected even though I probably should have. I think it was the Nana Rose Maple Syrup Corpse that threw me off. I would say good job but I’m really, really disappointed in how this all ties into the serial killer narrative. Bah!

Anyway, as it turns out, Nana Rose lied to Jughead & Tabitha about the corpse’s origin. It was actually one of her husband’s illegitimate children and ALL the “Mothmen” are actually a secret offshoot of the Blossom family made up of her husband’s illegitimate children. They were given to a random family who lived near/on Blossom property, a family we’ve met already! How’d we find this out? Well, the student who was “abducted” in that episode comes back to tell Betty & Jug what he remembers and that, combined with DNA linking Betty & “Milton,” pointed them back to Nana Rose and the rest of the pieces necessary to move forward.

Continued below

I dunno when or why this family went all Texas Chainsaw Massacre and I won’t even get into the implications of what Mr. Dreyfuss, the “father,” said about why they were only abducting women who wouldn’t be missed but just know it’s very vague but still really gross, on top of the whole, you know, murder thing. I think what gets me too is that it’s always coming back to the Blossoms and I’m pretty tired of it. Let these things stand on their own for once!

And I didn’t even get into how this is all put on a ticking clock to save brand new character Britta, who is another character I want more of in the rotating secondary cast. Baby lesbian palling around with Toni & Fangs and their baby, maybe with Kevin coming back into the picture? Yes please.

9. And Then He Ran Into My Knife. He Ran Into It Ten Times.

Chadwick is the worst and I thought we had seen the last of him in “Band of Brothers” but, like a particularly noxious odor, he cannot be gotten rid of that easily. It makes sense for the character and for the kind of person he represents; I just had hoped we’d close the book on him. Well, looks like I got my wish in the only way Riverdale seems to know: with a complete downward spiral and a death.

So, Chad, upon smugly asking for everything in the divorce, gets manipulated (rather easily) by Hiram into shooting Archie, which he fucks up, whereupon he gets dunked by both Veronica cause, you know, he tried to murder her love and they’re only not pressing charges cause it’s leverage, and then by Hiram cause they’re both toxic in different ways. Then he tries to kill Veronica in her apartment. A perfectly natural reaction for a guy like him to which Veronica responds by Home Alone-ing him and, ultimately, shooting him to death.

It’s scary not because it’s over-the-top in the usual Riverdale fashion but because…this is more representative of reality than a sadistic family of killers in the woods preying on random women. Chad’s actions are unsurprising – a statement which, itself, is scary – not because he’s some evil genius killer but because he’s a pompous man filled up with a toxic worldview that says women are things to be owned and, “If I can’t have something, no one can.” He tried every manipulative play in the book and when it all failed, he went for murder. It’s disgusting, despicable and all too real.

Goodbye Chad, you won’t be missed.

10. So…What’s Next?

You know we’re in the endgame of the season when the body counts start to stack and we have to bring in the most ominous red-herring generator of them all: Dr. Curdle Jr.. I love whenever he appears, and he usually gets his best lines in the third to last or second to last episodes of the season but, uh, we’ve wrapped up the Mothman and Truck killer threads, Chadwick is dead so that’s resolved, and most of the other personal arcs have come to some semblance of a satisfying conclusion. What’s left for the season?

I guess there’s whatever Penelope is planning with the Church and the final confrontation between Veronica & Archie and Hiram, now that Veronica has fully gotten through to Hiram how much contempt she has for him and how their relationship is finally, fully over. Maybe they’re going to pull a fast one and have the Mothmen be something else that this family took on. Or maybe TBK will reappear. Who knows!? Well…the writers do but we’ll have to wait a week to see.

That about does it for now! What did you all think of these two episodes? Anything I missed other than Archie’s very strange trip during the Hiram-caused cave in? Let me know in the comments and I’ll see in a week for the penultimate episode of the season. Until then, stay ready to crotch taze a fake Mothman Riverdale.

Best Line of the Night:

Veronica (to Hiram): “Bye you little bitch.”

//TAGS | Riverdale

Elias Rosner

Elias is a lover of stories who, when he isn't writing reviews for Mulitversity, is hiding in the stacks of his library. Co-host of Make Mine Multiversity, a Marvel podcast, after winning the no-prize from the former hosts, co-editor of The Webcomics Weekly, and writer of the Worthy column, he can be found on Twitter (for mostly comics stuff) here and has finally updated his profile photo again.


  • Television
    Five Thoughts on Riverdale‘s “Return to Rivervale”

    By | Jul 18, 2022 | Television

    Welcome back all you Riverdale fans! All aboard the Riverdale train! Stopping at Rivervale, WTFville, OHSHITburg, YouGottaBeKiddingMe Village, and the Township of Ludicrous. Make sure you have your first class tickets. You wouldn’t wanna miss the scenery that’s being chewed.As always, spoilers ahead.1. (Don’t) Stop This PlotI was not ready for how much we were […]

    MORE »