Note: This story contains spoilers from the “Riverdale” series finale.
After seven seasons of chaotic storytelling, time travel and musical episodes, the CW bid farewell to “Riverdale” with a touching and somber finale Wednesday night. Appropriately titled “Chapter One Hundred Thirty-Seven: Goodbye, Riverdale,” the installment featured a return to the present day before one last trip down a grief-stricken memory lane.
Before we get into the finale, the penultimate episode established that Angel Tabitha (Erinn Westbrook) announced she’d blended the multiverse into the 1950s timeline and restored the good memories of the Riverdale teens’ present day lives, leaving them in the 1950s to help change the world for the better. Jughead (Cole Sprouse) and Betty (Lili Reinhart) chose to keep both the good and the bad memories in secret.
The finale kicked off with an 86-year-old Betty talking to her granddaughter, establishing that she’s the only member of the gang who’s still alive in 2023. Now a grandmother, Betty gets a visit from Angel Jughead, who grants her the opportunity to revisit one of the last days of her senior year at Riverdale High in the 1950s that she missed due to illness. As she walked through the day, she and Angel Jughead reminisced on where the show’s biggest characters landed after graduation.
Archie (KJ Apa) got his mom’s blessings to head out west for the summer. She knew that he wouldn’t come back from his journey, adding that it was the right decision since his late dad always wanted to settle by the Pacific Ocean but never got the chance. Betty later revealed that he found love out west and settled in Modesto, where he had a happy and calm life. He was buried in Riverdale next to his father.
Betty also reunited with her mother and sister. Jughead revealed that Alice Cooper (Mädchen Amick), who’d previously revealed she had always wanted to be a stewardess, wasn’t on the job for long. After helping land a plane when the pilot was incapacitated, one of the passengers invited her to dinner and the pair ended up getting married. They traveled the world and Betty would get a postcard from her mother regularly, until one day they stopped.
At Riverdale High, Betty ran into Fangs (Drew Ray Tanner), who revealed he and his band were gearing up to go on a summer tour. Angel Jughead then revealed that Fangs and the band tragically died in an accident during that trip. One silver lining was that his songs became huge hits, and the money helped his baby mama Midge and his child thrive for the rest of their lives.
Boyfriends Kevin (Casey Cott) and Clay (Karl Walcott) moved to New York together with their parents’ blessing. Angel Jughead added that they lived a very “spirited” life in the city. Kevin died in his sleep at 82, and Clay died a couple of weeks later peacefully.
One of the biggest reveals of the episode came during a conversation with Reggie (Charles Melton), when Betty admitted that she, Archie, Jughead and Veronica (Camila Mendes) got involved in a polyamorous relationship after their memories were restored by Angel Tabitha.
Hilariously, Reggie asked why he wasn’t invited to join in the relationship, but Betty said they decided to keep him out so he could focus on basketball. Reggie grew up to become a professional player and even played for the Los Angeles Lakers, before settling back in Riverdale and becoming head basketball coach at Riverdale High. He had two sons.
After high school, Veronica moved back to Los Angeles to try making it as a studio executive in Hollywood, with her lovers’ blessing. Angel Jughead said that her Riverdale movie theater, the Babylonium, was operational for years. Veronica became a powerhouse Hollywood exec, winning two Oscars. She was buried at the Hollywood Forever cemetery, which Betty visited once.
Cheryl and Toni stayed together and created art together, as Toni also continued to fight for civil rights across the country. Their futures were not as clearly revealed as the others.
At an afterparty at Cheryl’s house, the last time the group gathered before going their separate ways, Archie debuted a poem he wrote to commemorate the wild journey the gang embarked on during the series, including going through high school in two different timelines. Highlights of the work included references to Betty’s serial killer gene, Veronica’s human dialysis machine era, Cheryl preserving her twin brother’s dead body and the two Reggies (Melton joined the cast in Season 2 after Ross Butler was recast due to “13 Reasons Why” commitments).
Betty also filled in the gaps on her own life. After starting the undercover newsletter “The Feminine Mystique” in high school, she published a bestseller and started an advice column. She later settled in New York, doing freelance writing, protesting for civil rights and eventually starting a feminist magazine that is still around in the present day. She never married but adopted a daughter, Carla, and loved being a mother and a grandmother. She called her family her true legacy.
Back in the present, the older Betty said goodbye to Riverdale as her granddaughter drove her around town one last time. They stopped at a now abandoned Pop’s Diner and her granddaughter realized Betty had died during the car ride. The action then shifted to show a younger Betty stepping out of the car and heading into the classic-looking Pop’s. She reunited with everyone from the show’s history in the afterlife as Jughead signed off as narrator for the series.
An extended cut of the episode will be available to stream Thursday on cwtv.com.