Riverdale tonight is called “Don’t Worry Darling.” With this being the final season, what will we see. The only set up we got was that Bailey’s Comet struck and sent all back to 1955 (and James Dean’s death). Apparently the time shift has something to do with the fact someone came back from the dead that shouldn’t have. That’s not the only change because we see Cheryl’s brother, Julian (the doll) with no mention on Jason. Now this makes me think of the Blossom “666” series of the Archie comics. We know that there is going to be adjustments to the characters and story line so hang on! It may be a bumpy ride. And Riverdale – can I please have a review copy early so I get all names right!
As the story opens, Jughead is the only one who remembers the past. Yes, he is still the narrator that hangs out at Pop’s. The 1955 Tabitha arrives on a school bus with Toni and others. They’re students at attending an integrated Riverdale High (and this didn’t happen really to the 1960s). The group arriving looks to be in shock and Jughead thinks that his Tabitha is there but she only knows his name. Archie meanwhile has his own problems going to school. James Dean has scared Mary and she won’t allow him to drive his jalopy. She takes his keys and Archie rides his bike. By the way, is KJ’s hair redder this year?
At school, Betty and Toni are in the newspaper office. Toni has written something about the situation in Mississippi and the death of Emmett Till (an African-American boy who was abducted from his home, tortured and lynched. (Note: His story can be found in a simple search of Wikipedia.) Mr. Featherhead (not Weatherbee) has a busy day. He introduces Veronica Lodge, a television star from Los Angeles, to the class and Archie’s jaw visibly drops. According to her, Ronnie is visiting her aunt and uncle while taking a break from LA. She’s also preparing for a play, “Our Town,” about small-town life. (My take is the show was cancelled or she got canned.) Cheryl immediately develops a dislike for Veronica and that plays out in the student lounge. When Ronnie starts talking about knowing James Dean, Cheryl gets mad As President of the James Dean Fan Club of Riverdale High, Cheryl thinks Ronnie is lying. Again, more on this in a minute. As Cheryl walks away, Ronnie calls her provincial. Jughead is in chemistry while this happens and has a flashback to burying the time capsule. Both Justin Blossom and Archie wants to see Ronnie home and Justin’s car wins.
Featherhead meets with Toni and Betty and tells them he will not allow the article about Emmett Till to be printed. The school’s counselor feels it is inappropriate and Featherhead agrees. (I can’t seem to get the “bee” part out of my head.) Betty tries to get her parents to use the story on the evening news cast but Hal says the station manager would have to approve and the Blossoms won’t. When Betty shares this with Toni, Toni mentions she has pictures. She’ll get them to Betty at school the next day.
After school Archie is working on his car to make it safe and talking to Jughead. At the mention of Fred’s hammer, Jughead remembers the time capsule they had buried. Jughead returns to the spot where it is buried and finds it while being watched (what from 2021?). He decides to share the contents with the gang (except Justin). When he lays the articles out, the others don’t believe him. Cheryl mentions telephones and Jughead tries to explain cell phones, texting and the internet. Ronnie asks what she did in the future. Jughead starts relating what each has done with Kevin’s future the only one that he hedges on (Kevin isn’t out of the closet in 1955). Jughead mentions they have been thrown back to 1955 from 67 years in the future. Later, Archie has a talk with Jughead and tells him to forget the story. Jughead will end up labeled a nut job or worse if he keeps on. Archie recommends telling others it was a science fiction movie or show that he was watching. Well, how else could the gang in 1955 understand a story about an alternate universe. There was nothing but movies, books and television about them then.
At the Blossoms’ mansion, Penelope enters and finds the twins in different attitudes. Cheryl is upset about Veronica and Penelope has a present for her – a movie magazine with Ronnie’s picture on it. After reading the article, Cheryl tracks Ronnie down at Pop Tate’s where Archie is treating Ronnie to a small town meal and telling Ronnie about his life (sports, car and not having found the right girl). Cheryl throws the magazine down on their table and calls Ronnie a brat who was kicked off the show and out of Los Angeles. At her uncle’s home, we learn that Hiram and Hermione have banished Ronnie to Riverdale after firing her for acting up. It’s a little more complicated that that. She was actually following James Dean to a party when he crashed and saw the wreck. When Archie gets home, Mary is waiting. It seems Archie took his car out without permission and Mary tells Archie she can’t lose him like she lost Fred (car wreck). Archie promises his mom that he won’t drive recklessly. He will not speed or drag race. If she wants, he will put a governor (speed control) on his car that won’t let him exceed 20, then 30 or 40, miles per hour which soothes Mary’s fears. Meanwhile, Ronnie gets a call from her mother about having a boy in the apartment. Ronnie tells her that Archie is only a friend which makes Hermione happy but a new rule is issued – no boys.
Betty is stunned when she sees the pictures of Emmett Till. The pictures make the incident so real. Toni and Betty try to figure out a way to get the story out since the adults won’t allow it. The story will be told during announcements. They corner Cheryl in the bathroom to get her help. As Junior Class President, she can make announcements. The three of them get rid of the secretary and Cheryl gets on the PA system. She starts and explains that there is a story that needs to be told. Toni takes over and tells the story of Emmett. The principal isn’t happy and let’s Cheryl, Toni, Betty and 1955 Tabitha know it! He institutes a new rule that announcements must be approved before read. 1955 Tabitha leaves to go to Mississippi to where the incident happened. Jughead will get important notes for her at school
Featherhead didn’t want the issue discussed, but the announcement has made a difference. In class, the teacher asks Toni and a young man (sorry, I didn’t get his name) if they want to discuss the situation. Toni gets up, tells his story, and reads the poem. The students are asked how they feel. Archie says angry and others contribute upset, etc. Jughead realizes that a discussion like this shouldn’t be happening in 1955 but it is – in Riverdale no less. Is history changing? (Note: Time travelers are not supposed to change the course of time, space or history.)
After school, Archie and his yellow jalopy and Justin in his red car, are waiting to take Ronnie home. She compares one to light/good (Archie) and darkness/evil (Justin). Instead she walks home.
Now for the reveal. Jughead heads to Pop’s after school. While he is trying to write, our Tabitha we know and love shows up. Jughead wonders if she can take them home but she reveals that she can’t. Their gamble didn’t work and Bailey’s Comet was an extinction level event. She used her life force to send them into 1955 (and not heaven). (Are we going to lose our Tabitha?) The gang must make a difference in this 1955 Riverdale and find justice. By doing this, they will bend the time to the present Riverdale (collapsing it back to the present). Tabitha won’t be there. The important thing, Tabitha tells Jughead, is that he must forget. His questions brought her to him, and now she must help him leave the memories of the present behind. They kiss, she vanishes and he still has some memories. He rushes home to write the story but only gets three words — bends – toward – justice. He also finds his toboggan that we all love. And he has no clue what he is to do.
Note: I went to Wikipedia to read up on Emmett Till. The story is sad but it makes me aware of how time was in the 1950s. I was a child of the sixties and a teen in the seventies. I saw the end of the segregated schools around 1968 so Riverdale is a little ahead of its time. I want to thank Roberto for using a true fact to serve as a backdrop for this story. He also is reminding me of how the past and our present are being tried and tied together again.
Fang sings and starts looking like Elvis (this makes me sad as the place near my home where Elvis ate looks to be about to go to make way for homes.)
At the “sock hop,” Betty is with Kevin who looks longing at another guy. Featherhead looks to be the warden who doesn’t allow changes in the 1955 theme. Is he or Justin the big bad.