A whole lot went down in Riverdale‘s season finale as a deadly comet approached… and life for Archie and company will never be the same.
To catch you up: A comet sent by Percival is headed straight for Riverdale, and he also added a force field that prevents anyone from leaving town. (“I’m so happy I moved here sophomore year,” Veronica quips.) Archie is determined to dig a tunnel around the force field, and Cheryl thinks she knows someone who can undo Percival’s spells. Ooh, Sabrina again? No, this time, they turn to Cheryl’s ancestor Abigail Blossom, who explains that Cheryl can just use her fiery phoenix powers to melt the comet, since it’s made of ice. (Why didn’t we think of that?) But in return, she wants to reunite with her beloved Thomasina.
Cheryl tells the others she can melt the comet, but it might take all of her powers — which would mean all the people she resurrected might die again. (You know, Archie, Jughead, Toni, Fangs… like, half the cast, basically.) She also asks Toni for a favor: They need to let Abigail and Thomasina inhabit their bodies so they can spend one more night together “in carnal form.” (It’s not really cheating, Fangs. She was possessed!) She reluctantly agrees, and Cheryl and Toni allow their bodies to be taken over by Abigail and Thomasina, who happily use them to frolic together in the bedroom. Plus, Archie’s mom arrives for a visit — terrible timing — and he confesses to Veronica that he wants to propose to Betty (!) and needs help getting a ring. Asking your old girlfriend to get you a ring to propose to your new girlfriend: awkward, but what the heck, the world is ending.
Once he’s alone with Betty, Archie gets down on one knee and pops the question: “We may not have much time, but I know what I want to do with it. Marry me.” She’s touched, but she reminds him that a big old comet is about to destroy their town. She remembers when he asked her to marry him when they were kids, and she said to ask again when they were 18. Well, “ask me again after Cheryl melts that comet” and everything’s back to normal, she says. He can accept that… and is more determined than ever to break through that force field. Plus, Cheryl and Toni wake up in bed together after Abigail and Thomasina leave their bodies, and they don’t remember what happened — or do they? Oh, and Abigail gives Cheryl a tangled rope with a thousand knots in it, and once it’s untied, Percival’s force field will be broken.
Jughead and Tabitha spend their last hours on earth watching titanic together—he’s never seen it; it’s one of her favorites; it’s pretty cute — and he encourages her to accept Alexandra Cabot’s proposal to franchise Pop’s and take it nationwide. They also have a life-spanning final date, courtesy of Tabitha’s time-travel abilities, where they see themselves raising kids and growing old together. Betty gets an offer to head up the FBI’s serial killer division with Agent Drake, but she turns it down, saying she’s “moving towards the light.” She also changes her mind and proposes to Archie, which he happily accepts. (Aw!) Plus, Heather breaks up with Cheryl after realizing “you and Toni are forever soulmates.” (Whoa!) And Veronica signs the casino over to Reggie… and then has an epiphany while looking at a portrait of her dad Hiram.
Veronica calls everyone together to share her idea: Since her power allows her to absorb other people’s energy, she thinks she can absorb everyone’s superpowers and pass them on to Cheryl to fortify her for the big comet showdown, and then maybe the resurrected people won’ don’t die again! Sure, why not? They all slice their palms with Percival’s magic dagger and hold hands, passing their powers to Veronica, who passes them to Cheryl with a kiss. Suddenly, Cheryl can see auras, shrug off bullets and read minds. She’s super duper powered! She zaps through a portal, and the residents of Riverdale all sing Billie Eilish’s “The End of the World” as the comet bears down on Pop’s. Heather finally untangles that knotted-up rope, and Cheryl summons her full phoenix powers, levitating and chanting a spell right at the comet as it closes in…
So what happened? Well, as Jughead explains, the plan worked: Cheryl saved them from the comet, and Riverdale survived. But it looks a little different: Archie wakes up in a retro 1950s world, putting on his old letterman jacket and going downstairs for breakfast, where his mom tells him James Dean just died. What?! Yes, Cheryl’s actions somehow sent them back to the year 1955 — and they’re all in high school again! “Maybe to survive, we had to go back to a simpler time,” Jughead, wearing his old-school crown beanie, muses… and he’s the only one in town who remembers what life was like before the comet.
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