Tonight’s episode of Riverdale is special. After four seasons, the Riverdale gang graduate. And on the heels of getting ready for caps and gowns, we learn today (February 3, 2021) that Riverdale has been picked up for season six. While I’d like to speculate on that, tonight should honor the fact that Archie, Veronica, Betty, Jughead, Kevin, Reggie, Cheryl, and Toni survived four years at Riverdale High without dying. Let’s face it! The mortality rate at Riverdale over the past four years been high. Add to that cults, mind control, deadly games and Hiram Lodge and it is a miracle. But graduation is a time for celebration so let the party begin. By the way, would someone tell me the years this group have been in high school?
Last Day of School
Well, we open the night before the last day of school…Jughead does his usual narration and goes back through all the unique (I guess that’s a good word) for the craziness they have seen – cults, Gargoyle King, and on and on. Jughead is looking at Jellybean’s masks and wondering how things go so out of hand. Upstairs FP is talking to Jellybean and realizes that Riverdale isn’t the town for her. When he comes down he surprises everyone (especially Alice) with an announcement that he is taking Jellybean and moving to Ohio. (Another ship down as Ulrich is leaving the show). He also knows where Jelly’s crew is hanging out – Archie’s gym. FP and Jug goes to Archie’s house and also collect Mr. Kline. Sure enough, they find Jelly’s gang under the boxing ring. Somehow it caused a visit to Hiram also. Later Jughead, Betty and Jellybean is in the living room and Jelly is very quiet.
Later that night, Jughead and Betty talk and question how they survived the last few years. Meanwhile Archie has a dream of the gang getting their picture made at his house by Mary and Fred. The memory of Luke Perry/Fred is another fitting tribute to his contribution to the show.
The next morning, Mary is laying out Archie’s suit. He reminds her that he may not graduate. Cheryl is remembering Jason as she puts a pin (his, I think) on her blouse. Veronica remembers a gift of her parents for her first day in high school – pearls of course. She puts them back in their box because she doesn’t need them now. Betty doesn’t get this type of memory. Instead, she and Alice are talking and Alice is worried about being alone. Betty assures her that she will always be there for her.
At the school, the seniors gather outside to open a time capsule. Did they say it was from 1945? Anyway, Mr. Weatherbee is there as items comes out. The items included are newspaper, a menu (with burgers costing 15 cents), a comic book and a photography of four boys who entered the military the day after graduation. As the gang gather in their common room, Betty and Veronica brings in the yearbooks. Remember, Mr. Honeybee didn’t want these to be produced but they got them anyway. The memories are from the last year with pictures of all of them.
Later, in class, Jughead and Archie are called to Mr. Weatherbee’s office. Good news for Jughead! He gets to graduate but Archie must repeat the entire senior year. Doesn’t matter that Archie had suffered through the years, he still must repat his senior years. Mr. Weatherbee will allow him to walk with his class and perform the senior song (“Time of Your Life).” As the last class ticks down to three, they wait patiently and celebrate as the bell rings. Archie heads toward Veronica but Reggie interrupts. As the rest go down the hall, Archie returns to look at the military picture from the time capsule. (Yeah, we all know now rumors are true. He’s going to enlist.)
Jughead, Betty and Jellybean are in the living room talking. Jellybean is quiet. Veronica meanwhile returns some things to Archie. She also wants to be with Archie on the night before graduation. He can’t think of anything better. She drops the box and they kiss. The next morning Archie and Veronica discuss life after school. Ronnie is afraid he’s going to join the military but he says summer school. Later FP and Jughead are talking and FP says that Jughead is old enough to be on his own.
At school, all gather in their blue robes (except for Cheryl who has a designer red robe). Tina and her grandmother are at her locker. While her grandmother tells Tina how proud she is, Cheryl arrives but decides not to interrupt. Archie sees all the family and misses his dad. In the graduation address that Betty does, she remembers all the strange things that has happened to the gang. She also remembers that Riverdale was a quiet, sleepy town. She hopes it return to that. While they do not get their degree in alphabetic order. Surprisingly, Kevin and Sweet Pea walk across the stage together and Mr. Kline looks on proud. All of this is bittersweet especially for Archie. He looks at his empty folder. As all exit outside, he stops at the military table and signs up for service. A rumor is confirmed from the summer. Archie is going into service like the 1945 series of Archie comics.
Later outside a pictures are made. As families start to disperse, Cheryl gets a visit from her mom. She’s turning herself in and feels that she will get off due to that. Mom wants to see Cheryl graduate in four years from college, but Cheryl has other plans. She plans to rebuild the family name. FP and Jellybean are heading out to Ohio. Alice asks if their story is over and FP says he doesn’t know (Falice is no more.) He rides out of town with Jellybean in a side car in his Serpent jacket with others following him. Ronnie takes a trip to see Pop Tate. She gives him full ownership of Pop Tate’s. While he’s surprised, he’s happy. She tells him that she never thought she could call Riverdale home but Pop Tate’s made it feel like home.
One Final Act
The time capsule needs to be reburied. Betty puts in papers. Ron puts in a menu from Pop Tate’s. , Reggie a football signed by the team. Kevin does a musical play. Cheryl gives her cheerleader suit while Toni puts in a Serpent’s jacket. Jughead makes the ultimate sacrifice an dputs in his beanie and Archie guitar picks and his father’s hammer. The capsule is then buried and Betty, Jughead Veronica and Archie sit and talk on the bleachers. Archie spills that he’s joined the army and leaves the next day. Ronnie gets upset. There’s a war going on and she’s scared for him. She leaves with Betty running after her.
Cheryl also has made a hard decision. She’s not going to college but staying behind. Toni tells her she’ll stay also but Cheryl tells her no. What Cheryl needs to do, she needs to do alone. She’s going to remake the Blossom name and fix things with the town of Riverdale. Toni does have some good news. Her grandmother is more accepting of Cheryl. They say they will always love each other and maybe be together after college.
Finally, we get Jughead and Betty. Betty admits to kissing Archie and Ron knows and is upset (duh – of course she is). She tells Jughead she only kissed Archie once. She then tries to make Jughead forget what she has told just told him. They kiss but the next morning there is a coldness between the two of them. They talk love but he doesn’t kiss her as he goes to meet Archie to go to the station.
Life After Graduation
The day after graduation, Jughead goes to Archie’s house to walk with him to catch the bus to basic training. They leave after Archie says goodbye to Vegas (his dog) and his mom. Ronnie is still in tears at her house when Betty shows up. They mend that fence and get the jalopy out to go see Archie off. They arrive as Jughead is leaving in the old car that Archie and Fred had restored. The bus as just picked Archie up and they decide to follow the bus for one last good-bye. (We do get Archie day dreaming while the bus leaves of the fun they had had in the past.) The gang catch up with the bus and Ronnie blows him a kiss. They pass the bus and Archie gets the bus to stop. Ronnie comes up and they talk, pledging their eternal love. He goes over and does the “dude” message with Jughead and hugs Betty. Ronnie walks with Archie back toward the bus but he goes up the steps alone. It’s all set like a flashback to what I saw of the 1945 Archie comic (even the cars and bus look old??? What year is this show set in?) Cheryl and her grandmother discuss the future as they go back through the gates to the old home place. Jughead and the girls go to Pop’s where Ronnie says she’ heading to New York with her mom. Betty and her mom leave on a trip. Jughead feels lonely in the Cooper’s home and goes to Archie’s place to stay until they turn the power off. Where does he go then? The bomb shelter until he leaves for college!!
The gang has made a pack to meet back every year but Jughead is the only one who shows up. In his end narration, he tells us that it will be six years before the gang gets together again with a new crisis and mystery in Riverdale.
Note to the producers from me. Yes, I know you wanted to do a salute to the 1945 series of Archie but if you are setting this up for a LOST style ending to the show, I will not be AMUSED. I sat through that series after predicting during the first season that they were in purgatory. Please don’t make this the same thing.
Next Year – A Move to Five or Six Years in the Future
Archie was in war and had to come home due to injury. Ronnie is married and apparently happy. Betty looks to be in the FBI and investigating everything. And Jughead????? That’s a question to come.
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And for anyone wondering . . . during season one of LOST i covered that show. I basically said to David Fury after the third or fourth episode that this had better not be a purgatory show and was told it wasn’t but yep — it was.