Riverdale, oh no! A comet is headed to Riverdale! It is an extinction event. Question: Does that mean just for Riverdale or the world? Will dinosaurs be appearing again? Wait – that Jurassic Park. Oh well, sorry about that. We all know that something will stop it. Will it be Cheryl? Will it be Jughead or Archie? Or will it come from a unique source like, say, Polly as I suggested last Sunday and on Twitter? We’ll have to watch and see. Plus this is the sixth season finale. To me, the last episode could qualify for that! Does this set it up for season seven?
As we open tonight, after Cheryl’s announcement last week, what should we expect? The narration tonight is somber. Riverdale is ground zero and the look on all the faces is alarming enough. It’s Percival’s fault. He also put an invisible force field around Riverdale. Cars can come in but not leave (oh Storybrooke, Maine must be nearby). Jughead can’t even open a portal out of Riverdale and Tabitha always comes through to the present Riverdale. They’re in King’s “The Dome” series. The world sees it as only a usual occurrence with it passing over Riverdale. Cheryl and Heather have no clue how to stop it. All will search for a way to leave town or stop the comet.
At the Coopers, Alice is feeling guilty over her behavior and Percival. Betty gives her forgiveness as does Polly. Veronica is at Babylonia and Reggie shows her Hiram’s picture. Veronica is touched (and not in the head). Jughead and Tabitha are working at Pop’s when Alexandra Cabot arrives. Alexandra is there to make Tabitha’s dreams come true and take Pop’s Diner worldwide. Jughead tells Alexandra that Tabitha needs to think about it. Alexandra gives Tabitha 10 hours. Fangs give adult Anthony a Serpent tattoo and makes him King of the Serpents. Anthony is to make sure that his parent's legacy continues.
Cheryl and Heather ask for help from Abigail to stop the comet and show mercy. Abigail knew Thomasina as an astronomer and witch. Abigail asks if Cheryl has the Power of the Phoenix. Cheryl will have to melt the comet per Abigail and Abigail will help. First, she wants her freedom for one more night with Thomasina.
Cheryl finds Archie and the miners who have not found an exit. Cheryl has an answer and calls the group with the update. Cheryl might stop Percival’s power (and binding spell). Toni and Cheryl must discuss that. There is one huge catch. All of their life energy seems to have come from Percival with Cheryl holding the resurrection spell together. One or more of the resurrected will die (Archie, Jughead, Polly, Nana, Fangs, Alice, Frank, Tom, Fangs, and Toni).
Toni and Cheryl meet. Abigail wants to spend a night with Thomasina. Cheryl will be Abigail and Toni, Thomasina Topaz, her ancestor and witch. It would be technically cheating and Toni seems upset but agrees. Archie returns home to find Mary (his mom). We learn that she and her second husband are divorcing. She’s realized that she needs to be with him because life is precious. She wants it with her son.
So what do they do on their final day?
Archie buys an engagement ring for Betty from Veronica. He proposes but she wants to wait to see what happens. He tries to “save the town” and Betty connects with the FBI. She’s been offered the job as head of the serial killer unit. She doesn’t accept. She needs to do some thinking. Later, while she and Archie talk, she accepts his proposal.
Ronnie gives Reggie the Babylonia. He gives her the picture. She wants to go find herself and shop in Paris. He asks if they can get back together, and she says as “friends.” When she kissed her dad’s picture (hoping they would not meet in the afterlife), it goes black. Later, in the final house, when talking to her father’s picture, she has a plan to save the town. More about this at the conclusion of the piece.
Jughead tells Tabitha to franchise the diner even though she doesn’t want to commit (she later agrees). In exchange when Tabitha finds out Jughead never watched Titanic, they watch it together. Jughead finally understands why Jack dies in the movie. He didn’t know the feeling that the movie gives people at the ending. After Tabitha signs the papers, Alexandra wants a picture. Jughead and Tabitha don’t wait. They must meet Ronnie. More of that later.
At Cheryl’s Cheryl and Toni are together and Heather connects the two of them. Abigail and Thomasina are together and Heather is worried. After their night in carnal love (as Abigail calls it), Heather tells Cheryl that she and Toni are soul mates. Abigail has left the ties that Percival used to trap the town but Heather and Cheryl will have to unbind the mess.
Archie probably is the one suffering the most. He’s always tried to be like Fred. Fred, his dad, would have saved the town. Betty tells him that he needs to understand that that can’t always happen. When Archie tries once again to break Percival’s barrier, Mary finds him and tells him she can’t leave Riverdale either now. Oh, and Frank has told her everything (including Archie’s deaths). Mary tells him that it’s okay to be scared and human. Betty later agrees to marry him and they will find a way together.
Ronnie tells Reggie she’s giving him the casino if they survive. She’s going out to find herself. He asks if they can be together and Ronnie says as friends. Ronnie needs to do a hard reboot with her life.
Probably the sweetest part of Jughead and Tabitha is the one-minute date she gets from him. On their dream date, which only lasts a minute, they are together forever. They eat with their children as they grow at Pop Tate’s. And the end scene of this sequence is the two of them old together.
Is anything simple? Well, Ronnie’s plan is. Ronnie saved Chick’s life through dialysis with him. She can do the same thing by combining all their powers. It’s like the “Loser’s Club”. Using Percival’s dagger, all will cut their hand and combine their blood (and powers). Cheryl tells her she’s not going to cut her hand and Ronnie has another solution there. After Ronnie and the others combine their blood, Ronnie goes to Cheryl and kisses her. While Jughead thinks it will make it worse, they do lose their powers as seen through their reactions and the passage of memories from one to the other of this crazy (but great) season. To prove it, Ronnie grabs a gun to shoot Cheryl and Cheryl sees a red aura around Ronnie (Betty’s power). The bullet is caught by Cheryl (Archie’s power). She has visions of the past and hears the voices (Tabitha and Jughead’s power).
Each wait in a space that is special to them. Toni, Fangs, and Anthony are at the Serpents’ Club, and Tabitha, Jughead, and Pop are at the apartment. Archie and Betty spend the night in bed but then join their combined families to watch the “fireworks.” Ronnie is with Reggie while Kevin, Moose, and Tom are together. All are singing the same song during the vignette.
Cheryl is outside Pop’s as the song ends. The comet is coming and all windows in the town see the glow. Cheryl calls upon the Phoenix power and starts a chant unleashing the power. She rises into the sky and what happens? Roberto and company go to commercial.
We come out of the commercial to Archie waking up in his bedroom (but it's not the one we know). Jughead tells us that he’s the only one who remembers the future. To save the town, they’ve gone back in time. Archie finds Mary upset downstairs. Mary reveals that it is the day James Dean died (September 30, 1955). Jughead tells us that all the dimensions are back together. They had to go back to a simpler time. With Archie in his letter jacket, they are all back in high school (yet Jughead, the only one who remembers what happens) appears to be in his and Tabitha’s apartment. And folks, he has the original crown on his head now. No explanation for Fred’s absence. Archie and Betty are back living across from each other. And of course, no previews for next year.
So season seven appears to be a reboot and gives all sorts of possibilities. Will we get a more classic comic Archie? Will Veronica Lodge and her family return? More importantly, what happened to Cheryl as she rose up into the sky? Cheryl may finally get Jason back into her life. Will the Pussycats reappear? Will a “50s” version of strangeness occur or be more traditional. We’ll have to wait and see.
Also, subscribe to my free, daily Too Much TV newsletter at toomuchtv.substack.com