Riverdale continues upping the ante when it comes to Hiram Lodge’s control and obsession with Gryphon’s and Gargoyles.
Let’s just say, more and more signs pointing to them being synonymous.
On “The Man in Black,” which is not a Men in Black move reference, Riverdale tried something new and split up the episode into three separate but cohesive parts.
Each one added something to the overall picture and illuminated a new reality.
Now, the thing that distinguishes Riverdale from other shows that may be a bit more predictable is that Riverdale doesn’t follow a formula.
They’ve told us about the dangers lurking inside and under their maple-syrup town, but everything is fair game.
Basically, they can introduce any narrative or plot-twist and we’ll never see it coming which is why we can’t crack this mystery just yet.
Sometimes, I sit there after an episode for a few minutes just analyzing what I watched. Most of the time, I’m mystified, but still so intrigued.
With all that laid out, let’s address each part on its own.
Jughead and Archie
Hiram Lodge is everywhere. Despite their best efforts to escape his grasp by going crosstown, Archie came to the most sensible conclusion — Hiram will continue hunting him down until he gets what he wants. And the worst part is, Hiram has the resources to buy out towns and have spies.
There’s a reason Jughead is assisting Archie on this trip. As he pointed out, Betty has done fine taking care of herself against multiple threats, though I’m not sure that’s true for this season, however, Archie is consistently getting wrapped up in something. His flaw? He’s naive.
The moment Jughead went into town to investigate, I knew Archie was going to slip up. All it took was Laurie planting a kiss on him to make him fess up to who he really was. Oh, Paladin. You cannot be this trustworthy. As I said before, Hiram preys on Archie’s honesty and relies on his predictability. I’m sure he anticipated that they’d flee town before it even happened.
It’s a good thing Jughead convinced Archie to skeddadle instead of staying behind to fight Hiram. Why does he believe he’ll overpower Hiram when obviously he has more people working for him than we could have imagined?
Jughead was also accurate in assessing how empty the town was. If it wasn’t for his journalistic bone, we would have never put together the pieces that the town was so bare because all the men were rallied and working in a prison/ Fizzle rock manufacturing company owned by none other than Mr. Lodge. In fact, Fizzle Rock, which as you may recall, made an appearance when the parents first played Gryphons and Gargoyles back in high school, was brought to the party by Hiram.
All signs point to him having a hand at making people addicted to the game.
We previously assumed that the game only existed within the town of Riverdale, but given the Gargoyle King symbols spraypainted on the buildings and the kids playing in town, it seems Hiram has bigger plans in store. Why does he want everyone addicted to the game?
Jughead said their next stop is his mother’s house in Ohio. We’ve been waiting a minute to meet his mother, played by Gina Gershon, and his little mini-me, JellyBean. Will they know how to defeat Hiram, or at the very least, keep Archie safe?
Veronica finally did something she should have done a long time ago — she moved out. Granted, living in your bar probably isn’t the best idea, but it will do for now as she tries to figure out her next steps. Unfortunately, being cut-off from daddy’s money has its repercussions and seeing as La Bonne Nuit only caters to teens, she isn’t racking in a whole lot of dough.
With a push from Reggie, she reaches out to Elio about hosting a poker night. However, Ronnie should know better than to get into business deals with corrupt families just like hers. Hiram stops by Pops’ to convince Ronnie to come home to her “family” aka the people who don’t abandon her. Yes, he’s really trying to spin all of this as Archie left her behind out of his own free will. Hiram has no shame.
When poker night begins, Reggie realizes that “the house always wins” isn’t necessarily true since Elio is wiping out the tables. Ronnie steps in swinging big — one play, winner takes all. It’s risky, but the risk works out in her favor much to Elio’s surprise.
Eventually, Veronica reveals that her father got some intel about Elio coming to poker night with bad intentions because he believed she was “weak” without his protection. With his help, she hired a dealer who would help skew the game in her favor thus winning a whole chunk of side-cash and proving that the Lodge’s always come out on top.
However, this also proved that Veronica is her father’s daughter and the apple, though less rotten, doesn’t fall far from the tree. Despite how morally corrupt and twisted her father is, she will never be free of him or how he operates because that’s all she knows.
She’s bringing that gangster hustle to Pop’s already tainting a family-friendly place the moment the going gets tough.
Furthermore, she always tries to give her dad the benefit of the doubt even though the evidence always stacks up against him. She really tried to pretend that her father helping her win a poker game somehow made him less of an evil person, but alas, they found Minetta’s body in the river and it was decapitated. Still think Hiram isn’t “all that bad,” Ronnie? That’s basically what he wanted to do to Archie when he found him on the outskirts of town!
If you thought Veronica, Jughead and Archie’s stories were crazy, you clearly underestimated the Sisters of Quiet Mercy. Y’all, what is going on in there?
I don’t even know how to sum up the insanity that progressed as Betty delved further and further into the secrets hiding in the “home for troubled youths.”
Some notable things: they give all the youth “candy” instead of pills in the form of Fizzle Rocks so they basically want to induce your hallucinations, they allow the youth to play Gargoyles and Gryphons, the Gargoyle King apparently resides there, and Hiram Lodge is doing some shady business with Woodhouse and Claudius Blossom.
Yes, I said Blossom. Are they the ones responsible for bringing the game and the drugs to Riverdale and its neighboring towns? What is their ultimate game plan?
And is Hiram’s goal to plan an attack on all of Veronica’s friends and disarm them from going after him?
His initials are even listed on Betty’s chart to up her dosage of Fizzle Rocks!
Betty’s roommate is Ethel who needs to get help from an actual institution ASAP. She loves her one-on-ones with the Gargoyle King and believes that she and Jughead are meant to be together.
She’s also running on a Mean Girls high. Instead of being the loser like she was at Riverdale High, she’s now a Queen B and ready to stick it to Betty.
Everything about Ethel is a warning sign including her devotion to the SOQM and the GK, but she’s also Betty’s only hope at getting answers.
However, Ethel was brought in to make sure Betty stays in line because as well all know, she has a tendency of rebelling.
If she had just taken her time trying to gather intel and escape, she wouldn’t have made the careless mistake of assuming the underground tunnels would still be open after Cheryl Blossom’s escape.
Of course, they closed those down!
Whatever Betty saw after in the Gargoyle King’s lair after they stuffed her with Fizzle Rocks remains to be seen, but it scared her straight.
Now, no one will believe her when she tells them the truth about what is going on inside of the SOQM because she’s going to be so messed up.
I’m rooting for Betty to overcome this because they need her to stop Hiram Lodge once and for all. But man, it’s not looking too good.
Jughead has been concerned with the lack of response from Betty, but how about Veronica? Why hasn’t she caught onto the fact that her best friend has gone missing?
So there ya have it? What’s your takeaway? Who else is involved with Hiram’s G&G scheme? What’s the overarching plan? Why does Hiram have all this control over everyone? And what else don’t we know about him still?
‘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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