In “Chapter Ninety-One: The Return of the Pussycats,” Ashleigh Murray, Hayley Law, and Asha Bromfield are back to give our favorite musical trio the closure they deserve! The series stars KJ Apa, Lili Reinhart, Camila Mendes, Cole Sprouse, Madelaine Petsch, Mӓdchen Amick, Casey Cott, Mark Consuelos, Charles Melton, Vanessa Morgan, Erinn Westbrook, and Drew Ray Tanner. For the remainder of this recap, we will be getting into heavy spoilers; so only continue reading if you’ve seen episode 5×15.
ROBIN GIVENS DIRECTS THE EPSIODE — After going MIA during the middle of her world tour, mega-star Josie McCoy (guest star Ashleigh Murray) returns to Riverdale unexpectedly. But it’s not until she reunites with her former bandmates Valerie (guest star Hayley Law) and Melody (guest star Asha Bromfield), that she opens up about the real reason why she’s back. Elsewhere, Veronica (Camila Mendes) gets creative after a surprise visit from her old friend Alexandra Cabot (guest star Camille Hyde). Finally, Toni (Vanessa Morgan) steps in to help Tabitha (Erinn Westbrook) and Veronica land a deal.
To start off, Jughead’s narration is replaced by Melody’s, signaling this is The Pussycat’s story instead of Riverdale’s. We get to see that she and Valerie are roommates. Melody was going to be a lawyer, but instead has just published her first novel, using it to discover and use her voice. The book has also been optioned by Tyler Perry for a movie, which Valerie will play the lead in. We see Melody is in a happy relationship with her girlfriend as the two discuss the movie and how Perry does not want Valerie to play the lead, but rather an established star. Valerie’s boyfriend has proposed, but she isn’t sure she’s ready for marriage yet. He reassuringly tells her that there’s no pressure either way. It’s nice seeing both characters in a happy place with lives of their own since we last saw them.
Back in Riverdale, Tabitha is at Pop’s and hears about Josie’s disappearance over the radio. As fate would have it, Josie chooses that exact moment to walk in. She asks about Pop Tate, but Tabitha assures her that he’s just retired before recognizing who she is. Tabitha has an adorable fangirl moment before asking why Josie’s back in Riverdale. She expresses that she needs to recenter herself, take a break, and write. We get our first musical number, throughout different locations in the town mixed with multiple flashbacks. During her number, Valerie and Melody appear, joining her and it’s a beautiful moment of realization for Josie of who she has been missing.
It ends in Josie’s hotel room, being told by one of the workers at the hotel that there have been noise complaints, obviously by Hiram Lodge, who is there as well. This leads to an amazing Josie moment as she calls Hiram a little bitch, telling the staff to move the man if he has a problem with her music. At the diner, Tabitha, without naming names, tells Veronica that Josie has inspired her to do what she originally came here for and franchise Pop’s. She asks Veronica for an investment, but the other girl explains that at the moment she isn’t able to due to Chad’s actions, which she is still trying to fix. It’s the first time we get to see Veronica tell anyone what is actually going on.
Kevin brings Josie to see Mr. Weatherbee so that Josie asking if she could use the music room for her recording. In terms of payment, Weatherbee asks if Josie would teach a class instead of money, which she agrees to. Alexandra Cabot makes an appearance, revealing that she has invested with Chad and wants to pull her money out. Instead of giving the money back now, Veronica sets her up with Tabitha and Pop’s. At school, Archie hears Josie’s voice traveling down the halls and we get an adorable moment when he spots her doing what she loves in the music room. Their sweet reunion is everything fans would want of the former couple before they sit down to catch up. He convinces her to get a drink with everyone, but she insists she needs to make some phone calls first.
Josie calls Melody, but Melody panics and denies the call, before hearing Valerie’s phone go off, who answers Josie. As promised, Josie does go to the Whyte Wyrm, but it doesn’t end up going well and quickly turns into Josie calling out the old behaviors of each individual in the group. It honestly feels like the obvious is finally being acknowledged in terms of Josie’s horrible treatment on the show. The only one she doesn’t say anything to is Archie. As she leaves, she runs into Sweet Pea and he ends up giving her a ride. The two spend the night together, getting a cute morning scene before Josie heads out. It immediately makes viewers wish they got more from the couple while they were both on the show.
Valerie and Melody meet up with Josie, catching up on each other’s lives. Josie says she wants to have them join her on one of the tracks, allowing us to go to our next musical numbers from Melody and Valerie. Valerie brings up the elephant in the room, Josie ditching them. Melody adds her own feelings and it mirrors Josie’s earlier words, again pointing out the poor treatment these characters received. Josie apologizes and says she knows the value they bring to the table. They say they’ll think about recording with her, but that ends the discussion for the time being.
Tabitha, Alexandra, and Veronica meet in regards to the Pop’s investment. Alexandra is on board, but wants to change a few things, such as maybe singing at the restaurants. This gives us Toni’s highly anticipated return with a performance alongside Alexandra and Tabitha. Veronica thanks Toni for helping before Toni shows them an adorable pair of baby jeans. She comments how she had hoped the performing would induce labor, but no such luck. Alexandra requests the finances of the diner, which Tabitha agrees to get her. When Josie gets back to her hotel room, her mom is waiting for her and the two share an emotional scene, only adding to how special the episode already is.
We find out that Josie’s father died from a heart attack recently while Josie was on tour, which led to her leaving and going back to Riverdale. Josie admits she was hoping to disappear here like she had in high school. Sierra brought her father’s ashes so that they could honor his last request and scatter them. She also brought songs he never had the chance to record. After meeting Josie, Melody finally comes clean about the movie and role to Valerie, but says she is passing on the opportunity so that they can do it together.
Alexandra wants to bring prices at Pop’s up to date, before bringing attention to the milkshakes specifically. Tabitha refuses to change the recipe, giving a powerful speech about the meaning behind the chocolate milkshakes, adding how Pop’s was the first and only Black owned business in the town when it first opened. Protecting the legacy, she leaves the table. Veronica tells Alexandra she can pull her money out in the morning.
Sierra gives Valerie a call, telling them about Josie’s father. They immediately go back to Riverdale to be their for their former best friend. Josie opens up about her desire to always be in the spotlight coming from the fact that her father was never given it, before emotionally confessing she just wants to play with the group one more time. They instantly assure her that they’re in and share that they came back to record the song together. Josie suggests they play a one night only concert, Josie being inspired by their forgiveness to give the Riverdale gang another shot.
The trio have a great scene with Archie, giving major season one vibes. The idea of a Pussycats reunion concert might be what finally saves Riverdale. Toni joins the group for the concert, revealing she’s a week overdue at this point in her pregnancy. Everyone in the town showed up to support The Pussycats, even Doctor Curdle Jr. The concert performance is everything fans wanted as all the spotlight is given to the talented trio. Little gems are thrown in the crowd such as Josie going over to Archie while singing, the gang dancing as they watch, and Archie kissing Kevin’s cheek. Josie says that out of all the venues she’s played, this is her favorite. She then gives Jughead a shoutout, calling him an artist as he raises a milkshake to her.
She performs a song dedicated to her dad, beautifully, before Toni interrupts, having her baby. Fangs says he’ll do it since that they had prepared for a homebirth, but requests another set of hands. Cheryl quickly volunteers and they rush out of the room. Alexandra has changed her mind and decided to invest in the franchise, promising to keep the milkshake recipe. The Pussycats get a moment together in one of Pop’s booths, leading to Josie to ask them to join her on tour as she travels to honor her father’s final wish. Melody asks if they would be the opening act, but Josie promises that they would be performing with her as the headline. After all this time, the group finally gets their happy ending, all agreeing to do the tour.
Cheryl reveals that Toni had a boy, leading to a genuine moment of celebration for everyone. The group sees Josie off, who tells them that they should come to see her sometime. Toni and Fangs bring the baby to say goodbye, sharing that the name is Anthony aka Tony after Toni’s grandfather. It’s a sweet moment that the fans have been waiting for. Valerie’s boyfriend goes with them, saying he’s in it for the long haul– marriage or not. We see Melody say goodbye to her girlfriend, which is slightly sadder since she won’t be going with the group. Lastly, Sweet Pea stops Josie before she gets on the bus. He asks if he could go with her, assuring her that he’d pull his weight and that he could be her “anything.” She says yes and fans are given the assumption that maybe the former couple will get their happy ending after all this time.
A musician that toured with Josie’s father reveals to her and Sierra that he was mixed in bad stuff before his passing, adding that he believes her father was murdered. This leaves the door very open for a possible spin-off as Josie says that New Orleans (where her father was) will be her first stop on the tour. She takes one last glance before getting in The Pussycats tour bus to join Valerie and Melody. Melody closes the narration, saying how old friends found their way back, the group watching fans from the tour bus with the gang waving bye on the other side. She ends by saying to remember all three of their names, promising we’ll be hearing from them again. The Pussycats logo appears to finish the episode.
New episodes of Riverdale will continue airing on Wednesdays at 8PM ET on The CW. Be sure to check out my interviews with Ashleigh Murray, Hayley Law, and Asha Bromfield discussing this week’s episode!