Graduation is so bittersweet.
As Riverdale High’s brightest wrapped up their last day of senior year and walked across the stage, it marked the end of the Riverdale we’ve come to know, love, and even fear at times.
Considering how dark and twisted the town has gotten over the last four years, maybe it’s a good thing that nothing will ever be the same?
The episode was shockingly normal, with the first half jammed with happy and celebratory moments. It didn’t feel entirely on-brand for Riverdale, but it fit the mood.
The final day of high school wasn’t plagued by any bad moments or darkness aside from Archie learning that he would need to repeat senior year in order to graduate high school, but he was still allowed to walk with his friends and celebrate the moment.
I love that the series acknowledged just how much bad stuff has happened in such a small town. Betty’s speech about making the town better for generations to come was inspiring, but considering a “new crisis and mystery” is expected to bring everyone back together in seven years, it doesn’t seem like that happens. In their absence, the curse of Riverdale will likely just take hold of the new generation… in a way, it already has.
Jellybean wasn’t even in town for that long and fell in with the wrong crowd as the auteur tormenting the town with creepy videotapes. It’s probably for the best that FP made the decision to take her back to Toledo. Riverdale clearly has a bad influence on people and makes them do crazy things.
Sadly, putting his family first meant that FP left Alice behind. I wish she could’ve hopped on the bike with him and they could have ridden off into the sunset together. Alice always wanted a big, happy home, but instead, she was left all alone after graduation.
The capsule was the perfect way to say goodbye to the old, especially Jughead’s signature beanie, which he never took off. I’m going to miss that thing. Betty also put in the final edition of the Riverdale Register and the Blue and Gold, Reggie threw in a football signed by the Bulldogs, Ronnie added a Pop’s menu and a matchbook from La Bonne Nuit, Kevin put in programs from his musicals and Josie’s cat ears (hope she’s still living it up in New York), Cheryl put in the “HBIC” shirt since she didn’t find anyone else to give it to, Toni put in her Pretty Poisons jacket, and Archie gave a guitar pic and his dad’s hammer.
And I’d say, all those items are pretty representative of their Riverdale. It’s a snapshot in time that focuses on some of the good things throughout the four years — the times that weren’t plagued by death and heartache.
As everyone geared up for their college adventure, Archie was stuck without a plan, but he felt a calling to join the army. While this isn’t a decision that should be made lightly, Archie was set on joining the Naval Academy prior, so his destiny was always somehow tied to the military.
I wouldn’t say it was a surprising choice for him either, so I don’t know why Veronica flipped out the way she did. Even Archie’s mom was cool with his decision as long as it was what he wanted to do.
I’m glad that Veronica eventually put her fears and anxieties aside and came around to the idea even if she wasn’t completely supportive; it was the moment she realized that since she was no longer his girlfriend, she couldn’t control what he did.
I’m also impressed with how Riverdale handled the whole love square between the foursome. Veronica and Archie knew that their paths were drifting apart, but they didn’t want to ignore the love and admiration between them. Instead, they spent their last night together and embraced the moment for what it was.
Betty also finally came clean to Jughead about her kiss with Archie, but he wasn’t mad at either of them because he knew it wasn’t done out of spite. It was refreshing to see such a level of understanding when it would have been normal to just get angry. And it’s probably because they all knew that regardless of the cheating, they were all about to go their separate ways anyway. They were no longer bound to the drama of the smalltown.
I don’t know why they made it seem like Archie was going off to prison or being held against his will when he was on the U.S. Army bus, but it was sweet to see his best friends send him off on his journey.
If Veronica is going to be married in the time-jump, at least #Varchie fans got a proper goodbye. And while it seems as though Jughead and Betty’s love didn’t conquer the distance, things with Archie may not have sparked either. In fact, when they all confronted the cheating, it seemed like Betty and Archie weren’t even into each other anymore. Sorry, #Barchie fans.
Archie was the glue that held their friendship together. Once he left, the rest were quick to follow. Ronnie jetted off to the Hamptons to be with her mom and Andy Cohen. I still laugh at that every time. Betty then decided to leave early and take a road trip with her mom to get settled at Yale. And before long, Jughead was off to Iowa — the first Jones man to go to college.
Things weren’t better for Toni and Cheryl either as they also went their separate ways. Cheryl sacrificed her college dreams to run the family maple business and rehabilitate the Blossom name and image in hopes of one day being embraced and welcomed by Toni’s family.
Everything that was familiar about Riverdale was suddenly gone in an instant.
Riverdale -- “Chapter Seventy-Nine: Graduation” -- Image Number: RVD503a_0151r -- Pictured (L-R): KJ Apa as Archie Andrews, Cole Sprouse as Jughead Jones, Casey Cott as Kevin Keller, Jordan Connor as Sweet Pea and Charles Melton as Reggie Mantle -- Photo: The CW -- © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
No one was interested in looking back except Jughead, the only one who honored the pact of coming back to their booth at Pop’s every year to catch up and reconnect.
The episode then flashed forward one year where we saw a more mature Jughead sitting at Pops. He said that it would be another six years before he would see his friends again.
This brings us to that highly-anticipated time-jump, which allows Riverdale to introduce a new tone and new versions of the characters we’ve come to love. They’ve all grown up and been changed by their experiences.
I can’t wait to see what the “future Riverdale” is like, what the core four are up to, and what brings them all back together. Is the dynamic still the same? Do they fall into old habits? What are their new “looks?” There’s so much potential here, so while it’s sad to say goodbye, there’s promise in the future.
Other Stray Thoughts
- Archie’s mother sold the house! Jughead stayed in it for a little bit before the lights, gas, and water were eventually shut off. I don’t know why the idea of his house being sold is what triggered me the most, but I think it’s tied to the fact that this was always a reminder of Fred Andrews.
- The graduation footage of Fred saying he “didn’t think he’d live to see this day” was haunting.
- Hiram reinstated Tom Keller as Sheriff, which, well, is probably for the best.
- Penelope Blossom willingly turned herself over to the police, but Hiram promised he’d take care of her in prison. It’s weird, but what about the Blossom family isn’t? Maybe the guilt is finally starting to catch up with her?
- Pops finally has full ownership of Pop’s Chocklit Shoppe. About damn time.
Are you ready to say goodbye to this version of Riverdale? Did you have the time of your life?
Let us know what you thought about the episode in the comments below!
‘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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