Riverdale finale recap and review: We were wrong about (almost) everything


The Riverdale finale fails to deliver like the penultimate episode, but it does the job. It ties up loose ends, and plants seeds for season 2.

The Riverdale finale didn’t quite meet all the predictions I’ve been making, but it’s not completely disappointing either. This may not sound like high praise for the season one ending, but it is, mostly.

We’ve been making predictions for weeks about what the finale would hold, and we got some things right, but mostly, we got it wrong. Well played, Riverdale. Way to keep us guessing.

Here’s a quick run down of what we got wrong, and few bits about what we got right.

What we got wrong:

  • There’s not a zombie in sight

Okay, so I fell down the internet-theory rabbit hole, and swallowed all those zombie rumors. Showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sascasa planted a lot of seeds earlier in the season about what the direction of season two. Although he didn’t come right out and say it would take an undead turn, there were plenty of clues.

Aguirre-Sacasa, creator and developer of Riverdale the series, is also the main creative force behind  Afterlife with Archie. This addition to the Archie canon is all about Jughead spreading a zombie virus that turns Riverdale into a bunch of all American, wholesome brain-eaters. Sabrina the Teenage Witch was a major player in the zombie outbreak, and I really thought it would find it’s way into the CW show. As we all know now, we were wrong.

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  • Bughead didn’t break up

I thought this was a sure thing. I mean, Jughead himself makes reference to the “multi-verse” in this episode. I thought this was a nod to Jughead’s asexuality in some of the comics of recent years. Nope. They don’t break up, and almost seal the sexual deal until they’re interrupted by a handful of well-meaning Southside Serpents that welcome Jughead in the fold with the presentation of his very own leather jacket.

This could spell future trouble for the couple, but we’ll have to wait for next season. Instead, we watch them get closer than ever. The word “soulmate” is even bandied about by the characters and I’m not okay with it.

Photo: Katie Yu/The CW

Jughead winds up having to relocate to the Southside (so that leather jacket might come in handy), but everyone is so moved by Betty’s speech, they might just change their mind about Jughead and his troublemaker dad. We’ll just have to see.

  • Cheryl is the only Blossom we’ll ever care about, ever.

If we never see another Blossom (besides Cheryl) I’ll be completely fine with it. Riverdale has worked really hard to make us care about this weirdo clan, but it’s just an exercise in futility. The entire season revolved around Jason Blossom’s murder, which seemed like it should have built in some kind of investment. It didn’t. Then there was Clifford’s suicide and heroin plot. This was mildly more entertaining, but not by much.

Cheryl is the only Blossom I ever want to see again. In fact, it’s her attempted suicide in the middle of the episode that provides the biggest thrill of the night. Archie saves her by punching the ice with his bare hands, and it was a hell of a good scene. And of course, we’re all still swooning over this act of heroism.

Photo: Katie Yu/The CW

Cheryl is kind of amazing. She doesn’t think twice about setting the entire mansion on fire, and then just standing there and watching it burn. Because, THIS is the kind of Blossom storyline we can get on board with. Yay, Cheryl. Boo, everybody else.

What we got right:

  • The death of a main character (sort of)

We don’t actually know if Fred Andrews is dead, but we doubt it. He gets gunned down at Pop’s, despite his hero son’s attempts to jump in front of the bullet. But anybody who has seen even one episode of television, ever, knows this isn’t his end. It’s probably the beginning of another anemic mystery that we’re going to have to suffer through just to get to the good stuff.

Now we’re faced with a season two whodunit. With the addition of Mark Consuelos as Hiram Lodge, I imagine there’s going to be quite the love triangle with a healthy dose of  intrigue.  These three are going to have to work together next season, after all.

  • Jughead eats a hamburger

It’s just a nod to the original character, and I think it’s sweet. We also get to meet his faithful canine sidekick, Hot Dog, and it all feels super warm and fuzzy. Mostly.

Photo: The CW

  • Archie and Veronica get their sex on

We all saw this coming a mile away. They’ve been super hot for each other from day one. What we didn’t see coming is all those lingering looks Archie tosses to Betty when she’s with Jughead. Veronica notices them too, and tries to question him about it, but Archie doesn’t know what the word “wistful” means. He recovers well enough, but it leaves us wondering, “what’s his deal?”

Photo: The CW

Archie and Veronica announce their relationship, although Archie characterizes it as “we’ve kissed a couple of times.” Both of them fall all over themselves to make sure Betty is okay with this new romantic development. She is. It’s Archie that seems to have the problem.

Maybe he needs Betty to be in love with him to fully form his identity, or maybe he’s got some undiscovered feelings of his own. Either way, those looks spell trouble for Archie and Veronica, mark my words.

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Lingering questions for season 2

  • Is Jughead going to embrace his new Southside status? Is he too tender to be a Serpent?
  • What’s next for Cheryl? And the incest twins?
  • Who killed Fred? And why?
  • Will we see Betty’s secret brother? (Please let this be a thing!)