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On 'Riverdale,' Library Fines Turn the Town Into Violent Serial Killers

By Dustin Rowles | TV | May 10, 2022 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | May 10, 2022 |


First, some context, for those who may have missed the last couple of episodes/recaps: Tabitha, the grandaughter of Pops and the girlfriend of Jughead, discovered that her superpower is time travel. With that power, she has gently futzed with the past, but she can also see the future, and in the future, she witnesses the apocalypse of the Old Testament variety triggered by the actions of Percival Perkins. Last week, she also said that she’d seen 1,081 versions of the future, and in every one of them, Jughead dies.

In this week’s episode, Percival Perkins — now the mayor of Riverdale — continues to remake the city of Riverdale to his liking by announcing that he’s going to turn the library into a hotel to serve passengers of a train station he also plans to build. Before he tears down the library, however, there is the matter of overdue library books. He discovers that all of our main characters have books that have been overdue for years, and as each character is unable to produce the missing books, Perkins levies steep library fines against them. As in, fines that are steep enough to drive Archie, Betty, Jughead, et. al, into bankruptcy and financial ruin. Perkins has decided that, since all else has failed, he’s going to defeat his enemies with … library fines?

Our main characters are not the only ones who Perkins levies steep library fines against. It turns out that nearly everyone in Riverdale not only frequents the library but also has overdue library books. You’d think that people who read this much would not be so quick to fall prey to the schemes of an evil man with the ability to control minds, but you’d be wrong. Fines are levied across the city, which gives Perkins the leverage to control the entire populace of Riverdale.

Jughead, who is privy to his girlfriend Tabitha’s visions of the future, senses that Perkins will use his mind-control superpower and the ability to financially control Riverdale through library fines to manipulate the citizenry into triggering the apocalypse. Jughead realizes that the only way to save the world from the apocalypse is to take away Perkins’ access to his most powerful weapons: The people of Riverdale.

How? By killing them all, of course! In the name of sacrifice! And so, given the town’s rich history of serial killers, each of the characters takes the form of a serial killer befitting their personality and superpower. Archie, for instance, takes the form of a deranged but indestructible redheaded clown with chiseled abs; and Betty becomes the dark Betty with the brunette wig and serial killing tendencies we’ve seen in the past.


Cheryl, the pyrokinetic, obviously becomes a Firestarter-like serial killer inhabited by the evil spirit of her ancestor, Abigail; Jughead, with his ability to read minds, becomes some sort of Professor Xavier-like serial killer; and Veronica, naturally, seduces her victims and kills them with a kiss like a Black Widow spider.

In one of the more interesting wrinkles, Kevin also joins the gang on this one as himself, TBK, or the Trash Bag Killer (excellent twist, Riverdale). Basically, Archie et. al, become the serial killer X-Men, and it doesn’t take long — via an extended bloody montage set to a song performed by Toni, a Siren-like seductress who lures all the townspeople into Veronica’s speakeasy, the Babylonian — to basically kill off the entire town, save for the remaining serial killers.

Jughead, the voice of reason, obviously surmises that no heroic sacrifice is complete without self-sacrifice. The group determines that — now that the townspeople are dead — they must also murder each other, which is hilarious because they are so apologetic in their murder of one another, but also brutal in keeping with their serial killer personalities. In an interesting twist sure to upset all the Barchie stans, it is Veronica who kills Archie with a palladium-laced kiss before it is revealed that Tabitha — she with the powers of time travel — kills the last one standing by plunging a knife into Veronica’s stomach. Tabitha has been a quiet observer the entire episode, and it is through her perspective that we, the audience, see all the mayhem unfold.

But alas, before you think that the entire town of Riverdale is dead, the writers pull out an interesting albeit frustrating twist. The camera pulls back to reveal Tabitha, now in the present day, informing Jughead that yet another future scenario that she has envisioned has resulted in Jughead’s death. “That’s 1,082 versions of the future that you do not survive,” she says, turning to her boyfriend.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

Header Image Source: The CW