Riverdale season 5 claims the show’s biggest victim to date, leaving Archie and the gang desperately trying to pick up the pieces.

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Season 5 Episode 5 of Riverdale, “Homecoming,” which aired Wednesday on The CW.

Part teen drama, part murder mystery Riverdale it is no stranger to death. But season 5 just got over the serial murder antics of the Black Hood, Gargoyle King, and persistent prisoner Penelope Blossom combined. How? Eliminating the town of Riverdale itself. In “Homecoming,” it is revealed that Hiram Lodge’s slow plot to deprive Riverdale is about to reach its zenith, and try as they might, Archie and the gang are powerless to prevent the house they recently returned to from being erased. the map.

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Veronica’s father has been on a mission to destroy Riverdale since his return in season 2. The mob boss got off to a slow start, buying property and working his way into several notable businesses and various boards. He donned the mask of a cool benefactor, a former Riverdale son with a checkbook to say hello and a personal stake in growing the community. But as the seasons progressed, he upped the ante: He installed his wife and later himself as mayor of the city, elected his sheriff, and created a private prison, to which he sent Veronica’s then-boyfriend Archie Andrews. after accusing him of murder. .

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Before the seven-year timeskip of season 5, Hiram was in a pretty bad place. Hitting the streets to wage a clumsy war with other thugs invading his territory, he was left, in his own daughter’s words, looking like a wounded old dog. She refused to help him lick the wounds, and he returns these words to her in “Homecoming,” before hinting that the marital problems she complains about to him are the result of her leaving the family. His continued disgust between father and daughter aside, there is an implication that Hiram may have spent the past seven years rampaging Riverdale in Veronica’s absence, and also because her.

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Having reduced the city to something outside The Hunger Games, Hiram takes the final turn of the knife: disincorporation. Doing so would insulate Riverdale from any state benefits, financially end its already faltering public services and amenities, and dissolve its legal boundaries. In essence, Riverdale would cease to exist. It’s all to benefit Hiram’s own neighboring town of Sodale, which has spent the better part of a decade building a gentrified haven for himself and his “reformed” criminal friends. Hiram calls a town meeting to vote on the issue, and even though Archie, Betty, Jughead, and Veronica are rallying others to take him down, Hiram’s supporters, including Reggie, get the majority.

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But look, with or without Hiram’s meddling, Riverdale, once a “sleepy and boring little town,” as Betty described it in her graduation speech, was already America’s small town murder capital. The dissolution of the once boring suburbs presents an opportunity to rebuild and RiverdaleThe main foursome agree to begin that process at their old school as (unqualified) teachers at the end of the episode. Things can’t get anything worse… right?

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