Riverdale Has Ended. Finally. 

Chloe Wright

Staff Writer

The show that gave us endless memes, the narrative depth of an above-ground kiddie pool, and a stain on Archie Comics’ legacy and teen dramas for years to come is gone. What was this ending trying to achieve? What is going on? Does free will exist? 

Before I review the finale, I’d be remiss not to brief you on the show. Riverdale started as a subversive murder mystery set in the modern era (as opposed to the ’50s when the comics took place). The mystery was engaging enough, but season two came along, and the cracks began to show. Instead of one murderer, a serial killer is on the loose. Okay, fine. In season three, we get, at maximum, three violent cults, one of them channeling magic to the “Gargoyle King.” Okay… fine… Oh, they’re all witches now? 

Now, a question arises: How in the world does this show end? We need the cherry on top of this overloaded, maximalist, yet enticing sundae. I must mention this season (the seventh) has the characters warped to the ’50s. The timeline from seasons one to six has been wiped out by a meteor (if that clears up anything). 

In the present day, 86-year-old Betty Cooper is the last survivor of the main four, and she follows Jughead’s ghost to relive her last day of high school. She says they “had such marvelous adventures,” cued with an accidentally hysterical fade-in of Cole Sprouse. Perhaps why I laughed so hard was because this is the last episode where these actors (in their thirties) play high schoolers in very youthful and silly outfits. Sprouse looked like a penguin. 

As viewers, we expect the finale to be something we’ve never witnessed. Will Sprouse turn into a werewolf and lecture the audience about the dangers of littering? Does the bear Archie fights in season three come back for a showdown? Will the four main characters get into a polycule without any indication of them being open to that? Actually, yes! But only the last part is accurate. I believe the writers chose this so people involved in shipping culture wouldn’t get too disgruntled if their favorite wasn’t chosen. Why not have everyone date each other and make everyone happy? Well, the Organization for Polyamory and Ethical Non-monogamy was indeed not, decrying the show for depicting polyamorous relationships as a “‘shocking twist’ rather than engaging with an authentic portrayal of non-monogamy.” This won’t be the first time the show has tossed around important topics to get more clicks on their episodes (e.g., revisionist history regarding colonialism). 

Betty learns from Jughead about where each character ends up post-ending in a little too rapid succession, all with melancholy music and gaussian blurs. I’d feel more emotion if the show merited it. After every tone Riverdale has shifted between, why should I be on my knees bursting into tears? 

Now that I think about it, Riverdale finished the summer of my high school senior year. In fact, the finale aired the week I started college. I had to say goodbye to a show that stayed with me throughout my adolescence. Was its presence needed? No. Was it there? Yes. 

Where does this leave us? A cornerstone of 2010s-2020s pop culture is gone before our eyes. We can all take a lesson from this. Whatever we write will never, ever be as bad as Riverdale.

It is lightning in a bottle, and I don’t think this amount of insanity should strike twice, for every critic’s sake.

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