After a rollercoaster ride spanning six years and seven seasons, Riverdale makers finally tell us what happens to Archie and his friends from the titular’ town with pep.’
The show is packed with references to its Archie Comics roots and explores the at-times ridiculousness of its source material with ease. That’s exactly what made the Archie Comics publisher sustain for nearly 85 years, and it also makes the show incredibly fun to watch with all its quirky nooks and crevasses.
In an interesting twist in season 7’s storyline, the series finally considers how to bid adieu to the stories that practically never end!
In the series’ penultimate episode, Archie and the group choose to restore the happy memories. At the same time, Jughead, Betty, and the self-proclaimed ‘Chronicler’ opt to keep both good and bad recollections from the first six seasons.
Then, Riverdale finally skips ahead and shows an 86-year-old Betty keen on reliving her final day of school one last time. She finally accomplishes it with the help of the ever-omnipotent Jughead, and fans finally learn what became of Archie and his friends in an emotionally surcharged conclusion to Riverdale’s epic seven-season run!
So, let’s dissect and find out what exactly happens to each character!
1. Betty, Veronica, Archie & Jughead All End Up Together (Or Do They?)
One of Riverdale’s biggest questions is who Archie Andrews ends up with, Veronica or Betty? The tension is set right from the pilot, and characters pair up in different arrangements throughout six seasons.
As expected, fans are split into different camps, raising the stakes of this question even higher. The problem is there’s no way by which the makers could appease everyone.
However, Riverdale manages this conundrum well by pulling off an unexpected twist for the main four while ensuring the other pairings stick.
The fate of Cheryl Blossom and Toni Topaz is blissful, as they remain together until their twilight years in the Oakland Hills, much to the delight of ‘Choni’ admirers. Kevin Keller and Clay Walker also find lasting happiness as a pair.
As for the quartet of Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead, Riverdale settles this classic Archie Comics conundrum by disclosing that the four protagonists are in a polyamorous “quad.”
With their memories restored, they acknowledge their mutual affection. It’s a splendid, amusing twist that, frankly, should’ve arrived sooner. Nevertheless, none of the core four end up in endgame pairings.
2. The Riverdale Gang Falls Out of Touch
Betty missed her last day of school previously. Thanks to the incredible powers of Jughead, she gets her much-needed closure.
She walks through the ‘magical door’ and into her childhood bedroom. However, at some points, she struggles to remember intricate details about her friends because of old age. Moreover, she confesses that she fell out of touch with the rest of season 7’s gang. Despite promising to always be there with each other, the teens drift apart. As a matter of fact, this is heartbreaking but true to reality.
The show has always had a nostalgia-fueled approach, and this is a cruel but genuine twist of fate. ‘That’s what today’s all about: remembering — and getting one more chance,’ a reflecting Jughead tells a remorseful Betty, and she accepts the cruel turn of fate.
That’s why she doesn’t try to change the past, even when Archie admits to thinking how it’d be if they ended up together.
‘That’s a lovely sentiment, Archie, but that’s not what happens in the future.’, Betty tells him.
3. Riverdale Pays Tribute to the Timelessness of Archie Comics
Veronica is the first among the core four to secure a solid post-high school plan. She is ready to leave town and try her luck in Hollywood. However, she isn’t the only one with similar plans.
Archie intends to join the construction industry and pave the country’s highways all the way to the Pacific. With her wisdom, Betty urges them to stop being “pessimistic” on their final night together, easing the mood. “If I had to live through high school twice — which we did — I’m glad it was with you three yahoos,” Jughead confesses.
This sentiment captures every individual reminiscing about their high school gang and also highlights the Archie Comics’ innate timelessness. The characters and stories have changed over the years, but they are still there, and we can all relate to them.
It is this timelessness of Archies Comics that makes it so unique. In short, Riverdale might be ending after season 7, but the Archies will continue forever.
4. Pop’s is Betty’s ‘The Sweet Hereafter’
As she stands outside Cheryl and Toni’s party, Betty confides in the omniscient Jughead that revisiting their last day of school was a mistake.
She is grateful for the chance to relive it all, but the inevitability of them drifting apart in the future tears her apart.
Betty’s realization is not only about letting go of her former friends but also about saying goodbye to the show itself. After Betty savors her last night with her friends and lovers, she wakes up in the present, where her granddaughter, Alice, takes her to Riverdale for one last time.
Riverdale is no longer a timeless town and has become a town devoured by time itself.
As Alice arrives at the deserted lot of Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe, Betty breathes her last, becoming the last of the Riverdale gang to leave. The subsequent scene shows a creative flair that matches the brilliant finale of Riverdale’s sixth season: a 17-year-old Betty approaches a neon-lit Pop.
Jason Blossom welcomes her inside, where Pop Tate and all her friends await her. She hugs them and joins Archie, Jughead, and Veronica at a booth where they had reserved a spot and a strawberry milkshake for her.
At Pop’s, Jughead stands in the dimly lit parking lot and delivers an Alfred Hitchcock monologue to the audience.
“We’ll leave ’em here, I think. Where they’re forever juniors. Forever seventeen,” Jughead says. “It’s where they’ve — where we’ve — always been. In this diner. In this town. In the Sweet Hereafter.”
This is a fitting tribute to the timeless nature of Archie Comics, where the characters never age. It is a beautiful ending that fills our hearts with the bittersweet pain of bidding a beautiful farewell.
5. The Typewriter Sound Effect Implies a Final Twist
Riverdale is replete with alternate universes and timelines, and its culmination is no different. The final sequence at Pop’s is Betty’s version of the Sweet Hereafter, but there may be another twist in Riverdale’s final closing moments.
Sweet Hereafter is the way the franchise calls its afterlife. It appeared in season 6 and the spinoff, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
The Sweet Hereafter is also the name of the season 1 finale, which ends with the four grabbing milkshakes at Pop’s with Jughead saying, ‘As dangerous as the world had become, here — in this booth — we were safe.’
Jughead has been our storyteller since the beginning of Riverdale. In the end, we learn that he launched a magazine that lasted almost seven decades.
“It’s mostly kids and teens who read it,” he confesses to Betty, “but I’m not gonna lie, as far as legacy goes, I could’ve done a heck of a lot worse.” This line is a clever wink at the fact that Jughead has been writing the whole story all along. He bids us goodbye with a Hitchcock-style glance at the camera, and then we hear the sound of a typewriter and a bell as the Riverdale logo appears.
Finally, it is possible that season 7 was set in The Sweet Hereafter. Throughout the season, the pre-credits title card is backed by Pop’s door-opening music. However, the jingle is absent in this episode.
The final typewriter sound implies one final twist, making the conclusion worth remembering.
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6. About Riverdale
Based on a story from the popular Archies Comics, the 2017 Netflix drama Riverdale is centered on an innocent, small town of the same name.
It follows a group of high school students who are shocked by the death of a classmate, Jason Blossom. Together they unravel the secrets of Riverdale and who killed Jason.
Cole Sprouse’s grungy Jughead is the show’s narrator and school reporter who almost acts like its ‘Gossip Girl’ — documenting the characters’ lives and filling in the blanks for us.
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