'Riverdale' Recap – Chapter 136 – Golden Age Of Television

Post by: Linda Martindale 16 August, 2023

Tonight, Riverdale marks the next to the last episode of a show that has brought enjoyment to some and confusion to twice as many. I admit that with the first episode, I went: “What the…” but I came to realize that this show was one of the most innovative shows on television at this time. This series revisioned the comic in not only the characters but personalities and situations they face. We’ve been into a different universe, heaven, and along roads never imagined. I’m thankful for finding it after Once Upon a Time aired its last episode.

Riverdale tonight starts the memory of characters returning. I worry that this is a 1950s Riverdale set in the 2020s-era town. We may never know the answer but I think some idea will come. So let’s start the show and be prepared to cry.

Riverdale Changes — Better and Worse
Jughead is back as the narrator and calling Riverdale a utopia. Really? Oh, that’s right! The Blossoms are in jail. Mr. Featherhead is gone due to his involvement with the Blossoms (one part of the problem the gang has faced). And Jughead learns that Mr. Wrether is heading to Washington where the president wants him to deal with juvenile delinquency and comic books. With the history of the past arising, Jughead has hope (Jughead this is Riverdale). What will happen to Riverdale High though? PTA will meet to decide.

Betty finds that her parents are staying together but Hal will be living in the basement bedroom. Betty is surprised and asks Alice why no divorce. Alice responds that she’s never been alone. She went from her parents’ home to being Hal’s wife. The house and station are Hal’s. With Betty going to college, what will she do?

As the day progresses, Betty gets her book from the publisher in the mail. She gives Alice the first copy and Alice reads it. That night, Betty wakes and finds Alice crying in her bedroom. Alice tells her it’s good. Alice is glad she has done it and has come to know Betty better. The hopes, dreams, fears, and experiences that Betty and her friends have gone through impresses Alice. 

Toni has the new principal in mind, Mr. Weatherbee. She and Betty discuss it with Alice and Alice agrees to take it to the PTA. Next thing we know, Mr. Weatherbee (yes, our Mr. Weatherbee without the memories of cults) is the principal and hires Archie’s favorite teacher back. She’s kept in touch with Ms. Grundy and has read Archie’s poems. Archie plans to ride the rails during the summer and experience the world. She tells him that a writer experiences life to make it real in books (my words). Archie has a plan until he returns home to find Reggie on the porch. Reggie has learned that he can’t go to basketball camp because it’s during the crop harvesting season. He’s needed at home. Archie tells him to take the chance and go to the camp. Archie will put off his travels and stay behind and help Reggie’s family. To work the land is to experience life. Archie feels that this is what he needs at this time. 

Jughead has bad news. The latest comic, “The Comet” wasn’t accepted as it has the world destroyed and a black man and white woman living together in New York. Also, when he visits his editor, he finds out that the editor expected this to happen and has decided to close Pep Comics. He asks Jughead to write the final editorial of the comic which was the best they had ever done. Jughead writes the editorial and hopes the comic finds its way into people’s hands who want the world to be a better place. At the closed Pep office, Jughead says that it is easier to tear down than to build up. So true as he’s about to find out. 

Veronica agrees with the editor that it’s the best comic story ever written. She gets the idea to turn it into a movie and talks to Clay, who knows the original story by W.E.B. DuBois. He’s read it many times (Note: it was written in the 1920s). Clay agrees that it would make a wonderful movie. He’d love to write the script. Veronica knows that the racial them will make it an uphill battle to succeed but she does buy the rights. Clay agrees to write the adaption. Clay and Veronica say they need a big star, Sidney Poitier, who Josie McCoy knows. Veronica plans to open the movie in Cannes in four to five years. (While there have been many movies with “comet” in the title, a quick search did not reveal that a project like this was ever made.)

Cheryl is ready to take her stand and get the Vixens back. Nana has met with Julian and Cheryl and told them that they have to erase the stain of their parents. Cheryl’s way is to take on Evelyn for her head position with the cheerleaders. Evelyn doesn’t want her there but can’t stand up to Cheryl when she demands a dance-off. Need I say who wins? Cheryl survives to lead again.

Oh, and one thing I haven’t mentioned. Guess who is having an LGBTQ+ affair. It’s Sheriff Kline and Fred. Archie finds it out and is VERY surprised.

The Tabitha Angel Arrives
Get the tissues ready. Our Tabitha has shown up in the railroad car to see Jughead. He first thinks it’s Tabitha from school. She tells him no and she has something she wants him to see. She has a color television set (which of course didn’t exist) and puts on Riverdale (the series we have watched in its entirety). He remembers! She has succeeded in bringing all the timelines together and preventing Bailey’s Comic from destroying the earth. In doing it, all have merged into the one the gang is in presently (1955). There will be no return to 2023 from here. The good news is that the gang succeeded in “bending toward justice” and started to reshape the town/world and make it a better place where the destruction of Bailey’s Comet won’t happen. She can show the rest of the gang what happened but it will be up to them to remember everything or stay ignorant of the future. 

Jughead calls a meeting of the gang. He tells them what has happened and what he has seen. It is up to each of them to decide if they want to see what happened and carry the memories. The first to take the opportunity is Archie. He wants to remember but is troubled by what he sees. He’s glad to see his dad but hates that he died twice. He’s confused as he leaves and talks to the others. 

Next that wants to see the past is Veronica and Betty together. After the viewing, Betty has a hard time with what her family did. How could Hal be a serial killer? How could Polly die like she did? And what about the darkness that surrounded her family? Veronica has a problem believing that she killed her husband, Chad, and her father. The main characters, except for Julian who was a doll, decide they want to see it also. Yes, Dilton is included and Fangs is there. 

After the viewing, Tabitha meets with all of them. They must decide between keeping the memories or letting them go. Veronica wants to only remember the happy times they had together and the rest seem to agree. All that is but Betty who feels she needs to remember. Jughead plans to retain all memories as he is the chronicler of what happened. Angel Tabitha can make this happen. She can only share the good memories. Angel Tabitha feels they deserve this after all they’ve been through. They all meet (including Julian and Clay) at the Babylonium and see the equivalent of a home movie. It’s only the fun, good things that they shared/experienced and did together. She has hit a reset button for all but Jughead and Betty. If this didn’t make you cry, I don’t know what would. 

Tabitha leaves the theater knowing only the happy memories will remain. Jughead follows. He hopes she will stay and they can have a life together like they planned. Unfortunately, there is already a Tabitha in 1955 who will go to Chicago, college, and become a Civil Rights advocate. Tabitha tells him they can’t have the past but it still exists. They will always have the memories. They only have one path forward – which is a good thing. Jughead says it sucks. She holds out her hand and they kiss. Oh no, did she wipe his memory? No one remembers as she leaves. 

So this year wasn’t a waste as so many people thought. They needed to reset from total annihilation. With Jughead as the chronicler, and memories of the joy and good times. At Pop Tate’s, Jughead as the chronicler starts a new book (or diary). He types “Goodbye Riverdale” and we have one more episode! 

Next week: Betty and the gang have one last time together. No sign of an aged Betty but that’s been given as a hint. She wants one more time with her friends and their youth. Well, wouldn’t you be at 84? 

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