Operation save Riverdale High (and Riverdale) is officially in motion!
On Riverdale Season 5 Episode 5, Toni Topaz and Archie Andrews led the charge to save their small-town from Hiram Lodge’s grasp.
With Archie, some things never change. With Toni, thankfully many things did.
While they couldn’t do much about Hiram’s desire to un-incorporate the town, thanks to Cheryl’s donation, they successfully launched a plan to privatize the high school and make it a place where parents would want to send their kids.
Or, as Toni put it, a place where kids were no longer “at the mercy of Hiram’s destructive whims,” which, admittedly, has been a long time coming.
Hiram destroys everything he touches, and he’s messed with too many Riverdale teens to count. This is a good first step to regaining control of the town.
Incorporating Toni into the central storyline has been very beneficial for Riverdale. Her character was sorely underutilized in previous seasons, but coming out from Cheryl’s shadow and into her own as the town’s champion and Serpent Queen fits with her personality so well.
She’s always been a caretaker, mainly to Cheryl, but now it extends to everyone she cares about.
It’s also great to see others getting extra screentime including Sweet Pea, Fangs, and Kevin. It’s about time they were more involved with all the shenanigans!
Admittedly, I’m not a fan of what’s going on with Cheryl and how little interaction she’s having with the rest of the characters. Can she put this whole “I’m cursed” thing behind her already?
Since Riverdale High became a private institution, Weatherbee was able to hire personnel without education degrees — Betty, Veronica, and Jughead.
Who would have thought that the foursome would reunite several years down the line to work as faculty at their Alma Mater?
Though, I can’t think of anyone better to teach the youth of Riverdale. They may technically be “unqualified” because they lack teaching degrees, but if you think back to some of your best teachers (especially in college), many of them had degrees outside of teaching and yet, added value to the classroom through real-life experiences.
For the core four, their biggest asset is that they’re all passionate about helping students and serving as mentors in a town all too eager to swallow them up.
The positions are only supposed to be for a few months as they look for qualified replacements, but something tells me many of them are going to want to stay.
I guess you can go home again after all.
And somehow, it seems like this is what they all need to restore their souls and find themselves again. When we first met them post-time jump, everyone seemed to be looking for a sense of purpose and direction.
In a twisted way, the town that once drove them away might be the one that brings them back and reminds them who they were and what they stood for.
In terms of relationships, I’m sorry to say, but it doesn’t seem like Bughead fans are going to get their way anytime soon.
Betty and Jughead’s post-break-up talk at the beginning of the episode indicated that while there are no hard feelings between them, they’re both on different pages at the moment.
Jughead, especially, needs to get his life back on track, which includes paying off his debt. He’s a prime example of why credit cards are dangerous!
However, I’m glad that Jughead wasn’t “above” taking a job at Pop’s to make some extra cash while he worked on his novel.
He may be a published writer, but he’s not letting his ego get the best of him.
And somehow, Pop’s seems like the perfect place for our burger-lovin’ friend. There’s no better inspiration for writing a novel based on Pops’ life and a dying small town than being right in the thick of things. Not to mention he’s always done his best writing at the diner.
But considering the backlash he got for his first novel, which “loosely” referenced the Serpents, it might not sit well with his friends and acquaintances in town.
Do you think Tabitha Tate will have a problem with Jughead’s upcoming literary work?
I would hope Jughead would do it justice considering Pop’s was always a “safe haven” for them whenever they needed it.
That steamy hook-up between Betty and Archie is also not working in Bughead’s favor. Yes, the hook-up Barchie fans have been waiting for finally happened. And IT. WAS. HOT.
It’s been a long time coming, yes, but I also don’t think it was the only time Barchie will hook up this season. The chemistry and sparks were there!
The fact that Archie and Jughead are now roommates might make things a bit more complicated, but I think Archie and Betty owe it to each other to explore those feelings that started in high school and clearly exist in the present.
Plus, they’re adults so they don’t owe anyone an explanation.
Betty was so into it that she forgot she had a boyfriend. Even when she decided to stay in town, she didn’t let her beau know!
In her defense, she did have a lot on her plate. She made amends with her ex, finally hooked up with the boy next door, helped him get his house back from the Ghoulies’ grasp, and had a lot going on at home with her sister, Polly.
Riverdale has not been kind to Polly, and it looks like she may be at the center of the new mystery that also involves Lynette Fields aka Squeaky.
When we saw Squeaky last, she was hitching a ride with a truck bearing a glowing skeleton as Jughead’s narration warned that “she would never make it to California.”
It was a little strange that her disappearance would be the mystery that would keep the foursome in Riverdale, but the fact that Polly was being chased down by the same truck and may now be one of the missing girls definitely changes things.
Betty will do anything to save her sister, especially if this new mystery is connected to the Trash Bag Killer!
Betty may have been a little out of line by judging Polly’s lifestyle when she hasn’t been around, but she was simply trying to help as she noticed her sister was going down a destructive path.
I’ve never understood why family members get upset and blame those who are trying to create a better life for themselves.
Why make Betty feel guilty for pursuing a career with the FBI? Polly could have just as easily left Riverdale and made a better life for herself and the twins. And even if she couldn’t, she didn’t have to get wrapped up in the wrong crowd. Toni has managed just fine.
Riverdale will only destroy you if you let it. Then again, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Polly get swooped up in a questionable lifestyle. We all remember what happened at The Farm!
Veronica decided to stay put in Riverdale for the time-being because she felt like she owed it to everyone considering her father was the one responsible for singlehandedly destroying the whole town.
But what I can’t seem to understand is why Veronica keeps running back to Hiram to fix her problems when she’s quite capable of standing up for herself and getting the job done on her own?
She’s a grown woman who doesn’t have to play daddy’s game anymore. If she never told him about her marriage to Chadwick, why would she want him meddling in her relationship now that he’s become possessive?
If she truly is the “She-Wolf of Wall Street,” she should have no problem handling Chadwick and telling him to fall in line, which she eventually did.
Why couldn’t she take that approach to begin with? Nobody puts Ronnie in the corner!
The fact that Chadwick froze their assets and had some goons spying on her means that there’s absolutely no trust in their relationship, but Veronica’s reaction means that she’s not surprised by his insecurity in the slightest. At this point, she seems more fed up, and I don’t see Veronica putting up with it for much longer, especially cause she doesn’t need him.
Just like Hermione and Hiram’s relationship, this one isn’t rooted in love, but it’s not even a solid business arrangement.
There’s nothing about this marriage working in Veronica’s favor. She’s capable of taking care of herself and making her own money — she’s got that Lodge independence.
I wouldn’t be surprised if she does run back to Archie sooner rather than later!
- Can someone knock some sense into Reggie? There’s no reason he needs to be playing lackey to Hiram Lodge. And that hair, honey, no.
- Poor Sheriff Keller. Riverdale never had a great police force, but now he’s the only one running the show? How is that even allowed?
- Jingle Jangle still exists… ahh, just like the old days.
- I hope we find out more about Tabitha because she’s a little firecracker! I snorted when she called the debt collectors “pumpkin.”
- Why is there no mention of FP? Is he still with Gladys and Jelly Bean? Does that mean he’s been separated from Alice for several years?
While I wasn’t a fan of the time-jump on Riverdale Season 5 Episode 4, this episode really changed things around for me. Seeing these characters as adults is refreshing; it’s reinvigorated the show in a way that’s fun and surprising again.
Everyone is being challenged and pushed in new directions, and while they’re still the characters we love, it allows them to play with new emotions, relationships, and experiences.
And let’s be honest, the fight to save the town and Riverdale High may be the most realistic and normal thing to happen on the series in quite some time.
What did you think of the episode?
‘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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