There are a few things you’ll walk away with following Riverdale’s second musical episode.
Number one, the realization that this cast is insanely, exceptionally, wildly talented. Every single one of them. Even Jughead who refused to sing for the first musical finally but caved in and belted out those high notes. A welcome surprise, I must admit.
But secondly, you’re not going to be able to get any of these catchy songs out of your head. As you’re reading this, you’re probably humming one right now.
With how deadly and gruesome the previous musical, Carrie, ended up being, I went into this one a little bit weary.
Would it live up to the expectations? Would someone else get murdered?
I’m sad to say, it didn’t. Now, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t ‘BIG FUN,’ it just means Riverdale achieved something unique and inimitable the first time around.
And that’s okay.
Maybe it’s because Carrie was our first voyage into the land of singing Serpents and River Vixens or maybe because The Farm, and Evelyn Evernever, simply isn’t as strong of an antagonist as the elusive Black Hood was.
In fact, crafting the musical around Evernever the cult’s vision gave way to some really peculiar moments some of which were probably written to match up with the songs.
Oftentimes, they didn’t even feel real. Were they real? I guess we’ll never know.
Carrie resonated with the characters thematically, but Heathers was a more fluid interpretation offering each cast member a chance to shine and building upon already established storylines and character arcs.
The whole push-and-shove between Toni and Cheryl fell a little flat but maybe it’s because the way they got together and their breakup were so rushed.
The whole impetus for Heather’s the musical stemmed from the breakup, and for Cheryl to shine and get some validation.
When Toni encroached on her sacred stage, Cheryl just about lost it.
But why and more importantly, how, did they go from being lovers to nuclear levels of hate?
Cheryl went from being inseparable with Toni to ordering her to switch schools cause there was only room for one woman wearing red at Riverdale High?
It’s possible that I was disappointed in this storyline simply because of how much progress has made since beginning her relationship with Toni.
She regressed hard and became more vicious than we’re used to. At one point, she even said she needed a chainsaw to end the misery!
Cheryl’s known for extremes, but waging a full on war against the woman she loved was slightly ridiculous, as all things are in this town.
But the musical stage gave way to an even higher barrier for ridiculous actions such as Toni’s attempt at insinuating a threesome and ordering Sweet Pea and one of her Pretty Poison members to strip down to their tighty-whiteys via sing-song. I found myself asking ‘what is going on’ way too often.
Most upsetting of all is that the turmoil in their relationship was completely pointless as by the end of the episode, Toni extended and olive branch to Cheryl who accepted it.
And just like that, they were back to being lovers.
All of this would have been aggravating had it not been for Cheryl’s acknowledgment that her take on relationships is so extreme because her upbringing was filled with either feeling adoration or pure hate; there was no in between.
In fact, this moment clears up a lot about Cheryl Blossom.
Usually, I suspend disbelief to embrace all the oddities the Riverdale writers are feeding me, but ‘BIG FUN’ pushed those limits.
And that was especially true with the characters never fully accepting whatever happened in previous scenes. There were moments where the episode almost felt discombobulated because it didn’t flow gracefully.
The whole hour played out like a dream sequence of even a hallucination.
Are we sure Evelyn didn’t slip whatever she gave Kevin to the viewers? That would explain a lot.
The episode really amped up all the cult shenanigans when The Farm’s Evelyn inserted herself into the squad by co-directing the musical alongside Kevin.
Kevin said he couldn’t handle all the trauma of solely directing Carrie, but again, I think Evelyn’s drugs had a hand in that.
Evelyn used the musical as a way to recruitment tool for The Farm, and no one other than Betty seemed to be aware of her agenda. Not even Betty’s closest friends.
It’s odd that Betty is the only one gunning to bring this alleged cult down and even informing Jughead that even Principal Weatherbee is on it yet he doesn’t seem to care much at all.
Granted, they all have a lot of their plates with Jughead’s mother taking over the drug trade and Veronica’s parents separating, but how was no one suspicious of Evelyn’s relaxation techniques, her ‘in costume’ party, or Kevin and Fangs’ wedding-like initiation?
The real question is, are those two married now? Or what did I just witness?
The evidence against Evelyn has been stacking up against her and staring them all in the face. Betty tried to warn everyone, yet Evelyn’s manipulation tactics worked effortlessly on the broken souls of Riverdale. And there are a lot of broken souls.
Riverdale is filled with a lot of desperate people which is why it’s such a perfect breeding ground for the Farm. Look how quickly they were able to snatch up Polly, Alice, Kevin and even Fangs!
Throughout the whole musical, Evelyn was trying to come between all the friends and get them to tell her their deepest and darkest secrets.
That’s the oldest trick in the book when it comes to cults.
So if that final performance struck you as over-the-top and downright weird, that’s because it was supposed to.
It was supposed to be an emotional number and one that sent a message about the teens wanting to make the world a better place, but instead of gaining praise from the parents, it brought the members of The Farm to their feet.
Including cult leader Edgar Evernever who was beyond proud of his daughter.
I squealed when he stood up clapping in the audience not because I was excited to mee the elusive cult leader, but because I was thrilled to see Chad Michael Murray finally dig into this role.
It’s good to see him back on our TV screens and still looking scrumptious. I’m not surprised Alice is eating up everything he’s telling her.
Riverdale has been keeping Edgar purposefully off the radar, so I wonder what his arrival means for the town.
Will the Farm’s appeal heighten?
It’s incredible that Betty even found the time to spy on Evelyn and the Farm while helping Jughead burn down his childhood home and all of its memories.
It was deeply upsetting to see Jughead’s trailer burn; it felt like we were saying goodbye to that part of him as a character.
Though, I am concerned that their first instinct after torching a home-turned-drug-lab and all of its memories was to hook up.
Gladys needs to be handled.
Initially, Jug was going to let it all go for the sake of having his family together again, but when his father got injured on the job by some Fizzle Rocks junkie, he knew he had to put a stop to it.
Obviously, Gladys will know that her son destroyed her product and seeing how infuriated Hiram was when Ronnie pulled a similar stunt, it looks like he declared full on war.
But how is he going to keep a semblance of a normal life at home in front of his father?
He’s bound to tell FP the truth and personally, I think he should.
Gladys made Jughead believe that telling him would ruin his father and make him spiral, but finding out what was happening behind his back and facing the betrayal will do that to him.
Seeing Gladys brush off FP’s injury knowing damn well she was contributing to it was frustrating.
Can she take her paws off of him already?
Both Veronica and Archie found themselves in awkward places in their relationship though only one of them has a happy ending in store. For now.
Sweet Pea outed Archie and Josie as a couple which didn’t pan out as he’d expected. Josie, who was very much against a relationship with Archie because their connection stemmed from a place on loneliness, opened up to the possibility of Jarchie!
Their love ballad was surface-level cute, but they really did Archie a disservice by having him sing alongside a vocal powerhouse like Josie.
Veronica and Reggie patched things up briefly — and by patched things up I mean they had sex again — but things took a sour turn when he assumed she only ran back to him because she found out Archie moved on.
The truth was, Veronica was feeling alone and lost after her parents announced their divorce.
Veronica’s dynamic with her parents is strange. Hiram and Hermione despise each other and only work together when it’s mutually beneficial from a business standpoint. They purposefully hurt each other on a daily basis, and Veronica has even encouraged her mother to screw over her father countless times yet somehow, she’s disheartened because they’re splitting.
Is she delusional? Maybe. I believe it’s more of a false sense of security.
Her family, unconventional as they might be, gave her hope that despite all the craziness, they’d weather any storm.
Sadly, that wasn’t the case.
Coming from such a broken family has set Veronica up for failure. She’s never going to be able to have a normal relationship if she puts Hiram and Hermione relationship on a pedestal.
We’re seeing the effects of that already.
And especially after Hiram admitted that the reason they’re splitting is because he found out Hermione tried to have him killed not once but twice.
Veronica didn’t even stop to think that there was something deeply wrong with that narrative.
However, she rocked “Lifeboat” and really gave us all the emotions in her rendition. Great job, Cami!
- Hermione being concerned about Heather’s being violent and encouraging teen suicide was laughable. Does she know who she’s married to and how much worse Hiram is for the student body than a musical?
- Even funnier was Hermione’s legitimate question: “are you all this miserable?” Again, is she not aware of what her husband has done to these teens with his Fizzle Rocks and his game of G&G?
Heathers may have been a strange choice because of its dark subject matter, but it embodied Riverdale at its core.
The movie turned musical, is described as a “high energy dark comedy” that addresses issues of bullying, teen suicide, and violence in schools.
If you didn’t know what I was describing, Riverdale would surely come to mind.
But these teen are strong and have proven time and time again that they’ll overcome whatever is thrown their way.
‘Riverdale’ Season 7 Hits Netflix—Stream It Now
Riverdale’s seventh and final season is now available to stream on Netflix in the U.S.!
Merely a week after the long-running CW series aired its final episode ever, the streaming giant has added the series in its entirety.
All the episodes are available for fans all over the world to binge-watch on September 1, and going into a long weekend, that gives you plenty of time to catch up on all the shenanigans happening in the Town with Pep.
Many fans weren’t interested in the weekly release model as it wasn’t ideal having to wait for new episodes to drop every week, but having them available all at once on Netflix allows you to catch up with ease.
And if you’ve never seen Riverdale and are curious about all the nutty twists and turns that eventually get all of our characters to—spoiler—the 1950s, well, all seven seasons are on the streamer for your viewing pleasure.
You can rewatch those previous seasons and relive the series in all its glory (including anything you may have missed/forgotten about), or you can just tune in for the final season—it’s up to you!
As mentioned before, the final season hit the reset button of sorts as Archie (KJ Apa), Betty (Lili Reinhart), Jughead (Cole Sprouse), and Veronica (Camilla Mendes), along with many of their loved ones and friends, went back in time to 1955 and found themselves reliving their high school days all over again.
Of course, as you rewatch any and all episodes, you can read all our reviews of the series that we’ve covered since its inception in 2017!
Enjoy your Labor Day travels to Riverdale—just remember that before it was redubbed the “Town With Pep” it was known as “Murder Town of the World.” You’ve been warned.
Riverdale Series Finale Review – Goodbye to the Town With Pep (720)
Riverdale was never the show that played it safe, always surprising us with its kooky, outlandish storylines. There was no telling where the plot would go, but it was always the journey and not the destination that kept fans hooked. And that journey ended tonight, so despite the ending—whether it was what you wanted or not—let’s raise a milkshake to those characters and the memories that we’ve created with them.
One major takeaway from the finale is that it was always about the core four and their friendship that drove the series, right down to the very end as they met in the “sweet hereafter,” a time frozen in place where they were all 17, young, beautiful, and full of hope, just like we’ve always known them and will always remember them.
The foursome, sitting at a booth in Pop’s, eating burgers and sipping on milkshakes while sharing a laugh is how Riverdale started—and through every timeline and wacky storyline—it’s where they ended up. It’s a full-circle moment, right down to Jughead Jones, the narrator, delivering the first and final lines of the series. Also, was Riverdale just a fictional story written by him all along? He’s wearing his modern-day clothes (the Serpent shirt), addressing the camera, and you can hear his typewriter going off in the background as if he’d finally concluded his story… possibly the story he was writing when the Comet went off?
It’s truly been one heck of a run, and my condolences to those fans who didn’t get the endgame they were hoping for, but let’s take comfort in the fact that this is just one universe, one timeline, and the beauty of Riverdale, as they’ve shown us, is that it exists throughout multiverses. I’m willing to bet there’s a timeline where Archie and Betty do end up together with a family as they have existed as endgame in at least 2 timelines.
It seemed as though for once, the creator/writers took no chances, appeasing all of the ships at once (and letting them all down simultaneously by not committing to any) by giving us a quad/foursome with Betty, Jughead, Archie, and Veronica all in a romantic relationship together throughout their senior year of high school. After getting their memories back from Tabitha Tate, they couldn’t just shake the feelings that they had previously or the new ones that developed now, so they simply chose to love without boundaries. Why choose when you don’t have to seems like a pretty free approach for the ’50s, but they were living within the constraints of the time period with modern values, so it’s fitting and shocking all in the same breath.
There were, however, plenty of special moments to honor the ships that formed, including Betty and Archie’s final romantic kiss where he suggested that he thought it was going to be them in the end (because it started with them, a boy and girl living next door to each other), which has to count for something, right? The love was always there up until the end. Betty told Angel Jughead/Narrator Jughead that she never regretted not getting married, but I would say the photo on her nightstand of Archie so many years later, along with the excitement of seeing him through her bedroom window once again was proof that things would’ve been different had Archie returned from his trip out West. She even hinted that they were endgame as she didn’t need Jughead to remind her of how Archie’s story played out as she fully remembered it because she loved him her whole life.
In some way, this is one of Riverdale’s most realistic and normal storylines (and also quite grim and dark, even by their standards, when you factor in that the whole episode was just about getting old and dying)—saying goodbye to the life you once had, a life that slips away so quickly and in the blink of an eye that you barely notice. It dug into human emotions that everyone understands. The people who watched Riverdale from the moment it landed on The CW in 2017 were likely in high school/starting college at the time, but now, they are young adults with families who are starting to realize just how quickly things change and memories fade. Before you know it, the good moments have passed you by, and you’ll never get them back. We’re the adults now who are harboring so much nostalgia, and this realization hits very close to home.
In addition to that one final scene with Archie and Betty, there was plenty for Bughead fans to work with. The hero of the series was always Archie, and yet, he had one of the smallest roles this season and in this finale, with Betty and Jughead obviously taking center stage for one last walk through the Town with Pep. And I have to admit that when Jughead grabbed Betty’s hand after saying he “sometimes” regrets not getting married, I got chills. She may have always loved Archie, but I think his love for her never withered away.
There was always such a deep connection between them, and in a way, I was seeing Lily Reinhart and Cole Sprouse appreciate all that’s transpired between them up until this moment—the good times and the heartbreak.
In a perfect world, you stay friends with all of the people you went to high school with, but more often than not, that isn’t the case. People embark on different paths and go their separate ways. It’s unfortunate that it happened in the case of Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead as they were all soulmates, but they all pursued different interests in search of their legacy.
The episode took a huge time-jump, bringing the series into the present day, with sweet old Betty as an 86-year-old reading the Jughead’s obituary with her granddaughter Alice next to her. She’s reminiscing on her life—the good old days, as the adults would often say—when Jughead’s ghost appears and gives her one last day in high school, which allows her to get some closure as to what happened to all her classmates indicating that she didn’t keep in touch with any of them. The unique approach to the storytelling also allowed the series to give fans an update on how everyone’s life played out in a quick and succinct way, while also sending each one of them off with a proper goodbye.
Here’s the breakdown:
- Betty became a magazine publisher of She Says Magazine, which women are still reading in the present, before adopting her daughter, Carla, and becoming a grandmother to Alice, which she says was her true legacy.
- Archie moved to Modesto, California where he settled down with a sweet, strong girl who makes him laugh. He has a beautiful family and works as as professional construction worker and amateur writer who requests to be buried in Riverdale next to his late father upon his death.
- Jughead becomes the Editor-in-Chief of Jughead’s Madhouse Magazine which produces juvenile satire comics. He never gets married.
- Veronica makes it big in Hollywood. She’s the top dog, producing the most iconic movies of their time and winning two Oscars.
- Cheryl and Toni stay together, making their way out west at a Craftsman house where they work alongside artists and activists. Cheryl becomes an incredible painter whose work is shown in galleries and museums across the country and Europe. They also have a sweet boy named Dale, named after Riverdale, and played by Vanessa Morgan’s real-life son, River. Congrats on your acting debut, little one.
- Kevin and Clay also get the ending they deserve, living a spirited life in Harlen together. Clay is a tenured professor at Columbia, while Kevin runs an off-Broadway theater company. Kevin died at 82 in his sleep, while Clay passed a few weeks later peacefully on a park bench. Soulmate stuff.
- Reggie made it to the pros, drafted by the Lakers, working off-seasons at his family farm. When his folks passed away, he sold the land and began coaching at Riverdale High. He was buried in Duck Creek next to his wife and parents. His two sons took up the torch on Mantle Motors.
- Alice ended up not only being a flight attendant but also stepping in during a time of crisis and landing a plane before marrying a grateful passenger who showed her the world. As for Polly, she welcomed two twins, Juniper and Dagwood, and lived a fulfilled and happy life, though she never returned to performing. The mother-daughter duo also made amends, which was nice to see. No mention of what happened to Hal, but we also don’t care.
- Fangs and Midge unfortunately didn’t get their happily ever after. Fangs did make it big, but his stardom was shortlived following an accident on the Rocky Mountains that left no survivors. His fame and fortune did, however, provide a good life for Midge and their daughter. It’s an unfortunate outcome, but it’s also a realistic one—not everyone is lucky enough to grow old.
- Mrs. Andrews bought the dress shop and connected with Brooke, who moved into the Andrews household shortly after and stayed till the end. If any of the parents in town deserved a happy ending, it was Archie’s mother.
- Pop Tate passed away in 1956 as their senior year began, though he was still serving burgers and milkshakes in eternity… it was a nice touch for Betty to make it a point to visit his grave since he was so crucial to the series and the town of Riverdale.
While some ships definitely got their perfect (and much deserved!) endgame, it’s fair for those who wanted a little more for Archie, Betty, Jughead, and Veronica, particularly when it came to the love lives that we’ve been so invested in. I’d say that I’d rather the series adopted the endings that they had back in the 2023 timeline, but alas.
It’s strange that the memories of what came before and the ones they created in this current timeline weren’t enough to keep everyone connected and in each other’s orbit. Trauma usually bonds people, so it would have made sense for them to gravitate toward each other more than ever after realizing that they existed in a different life before this one. The scene at Pop’s once Betty died would’ve made slightly more sense had they all remained friends, but I guess it also stands as a reunion of sorts, when you try to get back to the glory days before life got too busy, things got in the way, and time slipped away.
Regardless, I thoroughly enjoyed the genuine excitement that teen Betty exhibited upon seeing all of her friends and family members once again. It had been 67 years for her, but for them, not a moment had passed. It serves as a reminder that we take the present for granted all too often, but it doesn’t last very long, and one day, we’ll be dreaming of a time when we can see certain loved ones just one more time. I thought the sentiment was beautifully executed.
And finally, there was Archie’s poem, which addressed the day one fans. It honestly read more like a roast of everything that’s happened over the course of seven seasons and was way funnier than it should have been (who knew Archie had it in him?). It also felt like a brief moment when we were back with the original versions of the characters one last time—with references to the cult, multiple Reggie’s, Jughead’s teacher jumping out of a window, Cheryl locking Jason up in a basement, Veronica’s magical powers, the Serpents, and even Betty’s tangerine serial killer gene. These were the storylines that meant so much to audiences—as crazy as they were— so while these characters may have embraced their destinies in the ’50s (and how were they just so content knowing the internet would eventually exist but not having it? You’d think since they knew about the invention of the internet and modern technology, they’d find a way to keep in touch better than anyone), it was nice to see a glimpse of what once was, knowing that all of those moments weren’t entirely ignored and overlooked.
Some have questioned how Riverdale lost the plot so badly, but I think they just wanted to deliver something more heartfelt and thought-provoking than focusing on relationships, bringing back the focus on friendships that change you for the better and shape your life.
The bottom line is that Riverdale will always be home—as will these characters, whichever iteration of them you connected with, which I think is the main point of the finale. Live in the moment, appreciate your loved ones, and never take anything for granted.
Goodbye, Riverdale—Series Finale Photos + Promo Are a Stroll Down Memory Lane
Riverdale is hoping that you’ll be in your feels watching the series finale next week.
And it’s hard not to considering this show has been on the air since 2017—we’ve practically grown up with these characters, though, considering Angel Tabitha’s recent visit to 1955, they aren’t exactly the ones we’ve come to adore and love.
In the penultimate episode, it was revealed that the 2023 timeline no longer exists, and everyone is now stuck in the ’50s indefinitely, though as a parting gift, Tabitha was able to return the memories of their former life, with Jughead and Betty the only two characters who opted to remember both the good and bad moments for a full picture of who they once were.
And that leads us into the synopsis for the upcoming series finale, Riverdale Season 7 Episode 20:
NOW LEAVING RIVERDALE — Back in present day and longing for her former life in Riverdale, 86-year-old Betty (Lili Reinhart) turns to a special friend to help her relive her last day of senior year with her friends as they were, their memories restored. KJ Apa, Camila Mendes, Cole Sprouse, Madelaine Petsch, Madchen Amick, Casey Cott, Charles Melton, Vanessa Morgan and Drew Ray Tanner also star. The episode was written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (#720).
The present-day, from my understanding, in 2023, though instead of being young adults, they are now in their mid-80s and taking a trip down memory lane, going back to their last day of high school one final time. The trailer and the extended trailer are filled with plenty of heartwarming moments between the cast, including a final milkshake between the core four at Pops, and even a sweet moment between #Barchie that will seemingly finally give fans exactly what they’ve been waiting for all season!
And hopefully, audiences will get to see how things panned out for all of the characters after finding out that, despite growing up in an era where technology existed, they had to start over as teens in the ’50s.
Check out the promo below:
— Riverdale After Dark: A Riverdale Podcast (@RiverdaleDark) August 17, 2023
There are also a handful of pictures from the final episode that will hopefully provide fans with plenty of closure, along with some insight into which ships are going to get a happy ending and which ones will fade away along with a town “once lost in time.”
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