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Riverdale 5×18, Next To Normal, Spoiler Light Preview

Riverdale -- “Chapter Ninety-Four: Next to Normal” -- Image Number: RVD518fg_0089r -- Pictured (L-R): Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper and Mӓdchen Amick as Alice Cooper -- Photo: The CW -- © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Hello guys, gals, and non-binary pals! The much theorized, discussed, dissected, and anticipated musical episode is finally upon us. Not familiar with the story behind the Broadway musical? Don’t worry, the show will give you the Cliff Notes version pretty early on in the episode.

This episode is mostly about Alice and Betty after officially losing Polly in the previous episode. Alice is deep in her grief and Betty is struggling to drag her mother out of it and keep her focused on reality instead of the fantasy world in her head. In the first musical number there is a particular moment where you see just how deep Alice is into her own head, a theme that continues throughout the entire episode. That being said, while this episode will absolutely break your heart in a multitude of ways, the journey through the ups and downs of grieving and how non-linear it is, is depicted in a beautiful and realistic way. (And no worries. Though there is no shipping fodder in regards to Betty’s ships-because this episode isn’t about that for Betty-, her friends do all come to support her in two different scenes.)

Also, enough cannot be said about how well Mädchen Amick and Lili Reinhart work together not just visually with their acting performances but also in their musical numbers. This comes as an absolute shock to no one, but it needed to be stated anyway.

Riverdale — “Chapter Ninety-Four: Next to Normal” — Image Number: RVD518fg_0019r — Pictured (L-R): Erinn Westbrook as Tabitha Tate and Cole Sprouse as Jughead Jones — Photo: The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

We also get to meet Tabitha Tate’s parents this week! Though it isn’t stated out-right, it’s pretty clear why the famous Pop’s went from Pop himself to his granddaughter. And let’s not forget the “fake dating” teased in the trailer. Just how far do you think that proposition will go/ how long will it last? After all, it’s not a secret that Jughead and Tabitha share multiple duets this episode which are absolutely perfect for them.

Riverdale — “Chapter Ninety-Four: Next to Normal” — Image Number: RVD518fg_0025r — Pictured (L-R): Cole Sprouse as Jughead Jones, Ryan Robbins as Frank, Camila Mendes as Veronica Lodge and KJ Apa as Archie Andrews — Photo: The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

All I can really say about Veronica and Archie this week is that he’s there, she’s there, they’re there, and things are said/done/sang about stuff.

Cheryl fans will love her this episode (and is it just me or is she really just serving look after look this season? All hits, no misses). She has her own musical number with her mother and we get a glimpse at just how the ministry is doing. As for Kevin? He’s a shoulder to cry on for Betty and maybe recent events have him reevaluating things in his life.

Riverdale — “Chapter Ninety-Four: Next to Normal” — Image Number: RVD518fg_0034r — Pictured: Madelaine Patsch as Cheryl Blossom — Photo: The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Toni also is working overtime stretching her guidance counselor legs to help a student who just can’t seem to catch a damn break. In fact, there is a very direct call-back to one Jughead Jones back in his early season one days.

Crumb Count:

This is hard this episode. Because some are crumbs and some are full on Michelin meal status. Instead of analyzing crumbs based on content from other ships that I think other shippers would enjoy (does that sentence make sense?) this will be based purely on content for each ship within the episode.

Choni: 1.5

Bughead: .5

Kangs: .5

Jabitha: 3

Varchie: 1

Barchie: 1 (.5 + .5)

Veggie: 1.5

Watch Riverdale on The CW Wednesdays at 8/7c

Heather Mason
Heather Mason joined the TV Source Magazine team in December 2017 with plans to cover The CW's 100.

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