Note: This story contains spoilers for the series finale, Riverdale.
After seven seasons of chaotic storytelling, time travel and musical episodes, the CW said goodbye to “Riverdale” on Wednesday night with a touching and somber finale. The aptly titled “Chapter One Thirty-Seven: Goodbye, Riverdale” featured a return to the present before there was a final journey into a grieving memory lane.
Before we get to the finale, the penultimate episode found Angel Tabitha (Erinn Westbrook) announcing that she was integrating the multiverse into the 1950s timeline, restoring the good memories of today’s life to the Riverdale teenagers and transporting them to the 1950s to help change the world for the better. Jughead (Cole Sprouse) and Betty (Lili Reinhart) have decided to keep both the good and bad memories a secret.
The finale began with 86-year-old Betty speaking to her granddaughter and realizing that she is the only member of the gang still alive in the year 2023. As a grandmother, Betty receives a visit from Angel Jughead, who gives her the opportunity to relive one of the final days of her senior year at Riverdale High in the 1950s, which she missed due to illness. As she went through the day, she and Angel Jughead reminisced about where the show’s biggest characters ended up after graduation.
Archie (KJ Apa) has received his mother’s blessing to travel west over the summer. She knew he wasn’t coming back from his trip, adding that it was the right decision as his late father always wanted to settle down by the Pacific but never got the chance. Betty later revealed that he had found love in the west and settled in Modesto where he lived a happy and quiet life. He was buried in Riverdale next to his father.
Betty also reunited with her mother and sister. Jughead revealed that Alice Cooper (Girl Amick), who previously revealed she’d always wanted to be a stewardess, didn’t last long in the job. After she helped land a plane when the pilot was out of action, one of the passengers invited her to dinner and the couple eventually married. They traveled the world and Betty used to get a postcard from her mother until one day they stopped.
At Riverdale High, Betty met Fangs (Drew Ray Tanner), who revealed that he and his band were preparing for a summer tour. Angel Jughead then revealed that Fangs and the band tragically died in an accident during that trip. One bright spot was that his songs became big hits and his baby mother’s money helped Midge and child find success for the rest of their lives.
Friends Kevin (Casey Cott) and Clay (Karl Walcott) moved to New York with their parents’ blessing. Angel Jughead added that they lived a very “spirited” life in the city. Kevin died in his sleep at the age of 82 and Clay died peacefully a few weeks later.
One of the episode’s biggest revelations came during a conversation with Reggie (Charles Melton) when Betty admitted that she, Archie, Jughead and Veronica (Camila Mendes) entered a polyamorous relationship after Angel restored Tabitha’s memories.
Funnily enough, Reggie asked why he wasn’t invited to the relationship, but Betty said they decided to keep him out so he could focus on basketball. Reggie went on to become a professional player, even playing for the Los Angeles Lakers before settling back in Riverdale and becoming the head basketball coach at Riverdale High. He had two sons.
After high school, Veronica moved back to Los Angeles to try, with the blessing of her lovers, to break into Hollywood as a studio executive. Angel Jughead said her Riverdale theater, the Babylonium, operated for years. Veronica became an influential Hollywood executive and won two Oscars. She was buried in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, which Betty once visited.
Cheryl and Toni stayed together and created art together, while Toni continued to fight for civil rights across the country. Their futures have not been revealed as clearly as those of the others.
At an after-party at Cheryl’s house, the last time the group met before going their separate ways, Archie introduced a poem he had written to commemorate the wild journey the gang began throughout the series, including high school in two different timelines. Work highlights included references to Betty’s serial killer gene, Veronica’s era of the human dialysis machine, Cheryl’s preservation of her twin brother’s corpse, and the two Reggies (Melton joined the cast in Season 2 after Ross Butler’s “13 Reasons Why” commitments was filled ).
Betty also filled in the blanks in her own life. After starting the undercover newsletter The Feminine Mystique in high school, she published a bestselling book and started an advice column. She later settled in New York, worked as a freelance writer, protested for civil rights, and eventually founded a feminist magazine that still exists today. She never married but adopted a daughter, Carla, and loved being a mother and grandmother. She called her family her true heir.
Back in the present, the elderly Betty said goodbye to Riverdale as her granddaughter gave her a last ride around town. They stopped at a now-abandoned Pop’s Diner and her granddaughter realized that Betty had died during the car ride. Then the action shifted to show a younger Betty getting out of the car and making her way to the classic looking Pop’s. She reunited with everyone from the series’ history in the afterlife when Jughead was signed on to narrate the series.
An extended snippet of the episode will be available to stream Thursday cwtv.com.