No other show is able to squeeze in two twisted mysteries into one season except Riverdale.
It’s the kind of content we’ve come to expect from them, and there’s nothing more enjoyable than Jughead sinking his teeth into yet another mystery, this time, one that benefits the whole town.
The case of the voyeuristic tapes left behind on everyone’s doorsteps took a more sinister turn when Jughead was given a tape recreating his “death” aka when Betty bludgeoned him over the head with a rock.
There’s one thing to stalkerishly film people’s front doors for hours on end, it’s another when you try to expose their deadliest secrets.
Jughead didn’t take too kindly to being this psychos new muse and jumped headfirst into the mystery.
Betty understandably decided to sit this one out because she’s met her quota of psycho mysteries but also, she couldn’t stop googling little hearts of the “i” in Archie’s name and reading her fifth grade diary. More on that in a minute.
With Betty out, Jughead teamed up with his brother Charles and found a surprising connection to Ethel Muggs.
Alright, maybe it wasn’t that surprising since Ethel has been the crux of nearly every murder mystery in Riverdale.
Except Ethel truly seemed to be in a better place after all that went down with the Gargoyle King. What went down is precisely the reason why she shouldn’t be trusted at her word, but Ethel echoed most of the senior’s sentiments: she just wants to make it out of Riverdale alive.
Sure, she’s watching some weird homemade video tapes and just so happened to have Brett’s copy of Jughead and Betty’s sextape, but she didn’t watch it so it’s all good. Honestly, what?
If you think about it, it’s a small town and people need to entertain themselves somehow, right?
Ethel may be into some weird stuff, but I don’t think she’s the one trolling (for lack of a better word) her classmates.
I’ve mentioned this before in my Riverdale reviews, but I think Charles is the one leaving the videotapes.
There’s a few things that support my theory: he’s one of the only people who knows the details of what happened the night Betty “killed” Jughead with a rock, he has the means to pull it off, and he has the perfect cover because no one will ever suspect an FBI agent. His position also ensures that he can keep tabs on how far everyone gets to solving the mystery.
We also know he’s in cahoots with Chic, and there are always two people in the deranged videos.
The second video was delivered to Cheryl’s house and disturbingly recreated Jason Blossom’s murder mere moments after Jughead found the snuff tape being sold at Blue Velvet video store’s Scarlet Suite.
Plus, the twisted filmmaker seems to be hellbent on exposing Riverdale’s sins just like Black Hood, which Chic and Charles could be pulling inspiration from.
Charles also pursued Ethel when Jughead wasn’t around and it seemed like he wanted her to be guilty of something.
Riverdale has always been good at crafting a hard-to-solve mystery, so it’s no surprise that there are more than a few suspects good for the VHS tapes. Also, could this stalker not invest in DVDs?
Mr. Honey has been a pain in every student’s side this season with his “vanilla” approach to life. He thrives on discipline and hates when anyone steps out of line. He’s been bothered by Cheryl’s sex appeal and Kevin’s desire to be understood and represented.
And frankly, he’s just creepy.
But those are the people you have to be the most wary of. Honey is so uptight because he’s suppressing that he’s a nasty freak who frequents the Scarlet Suite more times than we’d probably like to know.
The house videos are creepy because it’s as if someone is always watching you, and maybe that’s Honey’s fetish.
He seems to have it out for all of his students, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he spent his free time trolling all of them with disturbing videos for his own pleasure.
And then, there’s Terry who is straightforward in his voyeuristic hobbies of filming young men tickling each other for a buck or two.
For now, Terry doesn’t have a motive for tormenting the whole town, but we also don’t know anything about him or who he’s dealing with. For all we know, he could be in cahoots with Honey or Charles.
When it comes to a guy who is making money off some weird fetish tapes, there is always more than meets the eye.
Reggie should have known that but he let his macho, tough-guy attitude and his greed get the best of him.
His business acumen is on point because yes, technically it did make sense to cut out the middleman and post tickle videos (??) on your own, but you also have to know that it’s a very limited and niche industry, so it was bound to get back to Terry who wouldn’t take kindly to his livelihood being threatened.
Not only did Reggie cost them a lucrative gig, but now they all have a target on their backs. And in a town like Riverdale, you literally don’t want to keep pissing people off!
Not to mention, Reggie missed the point of the videos being anonymous.
There were a lot of murder motifs in the episode as Riverdale established that even when Hiram Lodge is feeling under the weather, he’s still a deliciously villain.
There’s a reason Hiram never takes a merciful approach — it costs him too much.
He learned the hard way by being “weak” and allowing himself to get jumped by a Molloy thug. It’s surprising he walked away when the man begged for his life considering Hiram said the Molloy family is the most “ruthless” one in the liquor business.
I’m surprised he was conscious after that brutal beating. Which makes me wonder if he’s lying about his deteriorating condition.
Hiram is not one that accept defeat, so he made things right by killing the Molloy father without any hesitation.
Hiram is Riverdale’s most stable villain; he never disappoints. Did he just start a maple-infused liquor war between two of the most dangerous families?
However, he kept his murderous tendencies a secret from Veronica because it put him in her good graces again. Since she lost Cheryl Blossom as a partner in the maple whiskey business, she was more likely to work with her father again if she thought he was turning over a new leaf.
Poor Veronica will never learn.
For an episode filled with gruesome murders and sex tapes, I was most disturbed by Betty and Archie’s willingness to cheat on their significant others. Thank god it didn’t go too far.
Betty and Archie’s attraction was strong and they wanted to give into that forbidden love so badly.
Hanging out, snuggling up, and thinking back on what used to be were all “gateways” to cheating.
If it wasn’t for Cheryl, I think Betty would’ve gone through with hooking up with Archie.
Cheryl may not always be the most level-headed, but she put things into perspective for Betty — she wasn’t in love with Archie, she was in love with the idea of Archie.
And while that may be true, it doesn’t exactly stop the feelings.
Betty has the perfect relationship with Jughead, but it’s also all she’s ever known. There’s nothing wrong with seeing what else is out there.
Yes, they both may be drawn to each other because things are changing at a rapid pace, the life they’re used to is being threatened, and they want to cling to what feels comfortable and safe, but it’s also not safe if you think about it.
The very idea of breaking up a stable relationship to pursue feelings for a person you’ve known your whole life and that might ruin all the friendships you’ve ever deemed important is the opposite of safe.
It’s risky, it’s bold, and it’s stepping into the unknown without a safety blanket.
Archie was never Betty’s safety blanket — it was always Jughead, which is why she agreed to put things with Archie behind her and jumped back into solving mysteries with her beau instead of having an honest conversation with him about how they should maybe see other people.
Betty used the excuse Cheryl fed her, and while she wanted to believe it, she didn’t.
It’s very clear things between #Barchie aren’t over. By burning her diaries Betty is compartmentalizing her feelings for Archie. Similarly, Archie is running away by signing up for the Naval Academy.
The feelings will eventually bubble up to the top and become impossible to repress until they explore them.
It may be nothing, it may be everything, but they’ll never know unless they try.
However, if they consciously choose to explore #Barchie, they have to do what’s right by their significant others and break up.
For Betty, breaking up with Jughead means she’s preserving the possibility of getting back together in the future.
For Archie, a life without Veronica once seemed unimaginable, but it’s clear that his feelings for her are dwindling and the spark might no longer be there. When is the last time he was inspired by his love for her to write tender and heartfelt song for her? Exactly…
What did you think of the penultimate episode of Riverdale?
Are things shaping up to end on a promising, albeit premature, season finale? Or have the writers been drinking too many White Claws, er, Maple Claws?
Let us know in the comments, Cravers!
‘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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