The Riverdale season 6 finale asked the characters what they would do if the world was ending.
With Bailey’s Comet hurtling toward the town and an impenetrable barrier holding everyone inside, time was running out for the characters of Riverdale in the epic season 6 finale. The stakes have never been higher than in this “super” season, and everyone was trying to rise to the occasion while making time for what mattered.
When you’re confronted with near certain death, it’s bound to shine a whole new light on life and make you consider how you want to be spending your time. So much of the Riverdale season 6 finale was about what’s most important to these characters, and where they wanted to be after the comet if they were lucky enough to survive.
For Archie, it was obvious. He was fresh out of an afterlife that he spent playing the perfect husband and father to a version of Betty and their kids, and after getting some inspiration from his mom, he realized that’s what he wanted in this life too.
It was painful to see Archie ask Veronica for a ring for Betty, given everything they’ve been through, and Veronica’s own hurt was palpable even though she played her part perfectly. Because she’s always been a great friend, even though Riverdale likes to forget that sometimes, she helped Archie out and gave him an amazing ring.
Interestingly, Betty wasn’t initially as certain as Archie, and her first reaction was that Archie was jumping the gun because of the comet. I get what she and Mary were saying about Archie’s hero complex, but I’m not sure how Archie’s fear and drive to protect have anything to do with his proposal.
For that reason, I was happy that Betty changed her mind after deciding to “move toward the light.” Please let this mean we don’t need to talk about “Dark Betty” anymore! I actually liked that Betty turned it around and proposed, too. She’s not the same girl that was desperate for Archie to pick her in high school. She’s entering into this as an equal, and I liked how they kind of decided together to get married.
Related: Riverdale season 6, episode 21 review: The ultimate battle of good and evil
As surprised as I was, I also like that Betty decided to not take on the FBI’s serial killer division. It made perfect sense when she chose that field, but it’s clear that it hasn’t been healthy for her and protecting others hasn’t given her the peace that she hoped. I’m thrilled that she chose to detangle herself from that darkness, and that she believed both that she could and that she deserved to.
Coming back to Veronica, I was far less excited with her realizations, but considering her characterization in Riverdale season 6, I wasn’t exactly shocked by that. Apparently she’s decided to be single and focus on things other than relationships, like work and friendships. That’s a great sentiment, except for the fact that Veronica has always been the hardest worker and a great friend on the show.
It would be one thing if they wrote it as if Veronica had fallen apart in those other areas since her abusive relationship with Chad, but they’re telling it like this has always been an issue for her. Yes, she has usually been in relationships, but it’s rarely gotten in the way of her own ambitions.
Even under Chad’s controlling thumb, Veronica still found ways to exercise her acumen. It’s such a core part of her that certainly hasn’t been hindered by any of her more healthy relationships. With everything that happened with Veronica’s family in Riverdale season 5 and season 6, I was very disappointed that this was the take away from her story.
On the other side, I absolutely loved how Jughead and Tabitha spent their potential last hours together. The stakes were even higher for them, since Tabitha had seen his death in so many scenarios, and their “one last epic date” was one of the most emotionally resonant moments I’ve seen on Riverdale.
Sure, Titanic was awesome, but thanks to Tabitha’s gift, these two have now lived an entire life together! That’s actually crazy. After something like that, their bond would be so much deeper, which would make the conundrum Jughead now faces even more unbearable.
For Toni and Fangs, the focus was on family in the Riverdale season 6 finale. Not just “Big Anthony,” but their whole Serpent family. Since Anthony is now an adult(ish), he was appointed the Serpent King, ensuring that the legacy will be kept in the family since he was the only one who would definitely survive the comet.
Of course, Toni did have some other things on her mind in the Riverdale season 6 finale. Abigail Blossom took one final stand after causing trouble all season, and requested to be momentarily reunited with her love, Thomasina, in exchange for providing a way out of Percival’s barrier spell.
Hanging out in a jar while their bodies were used as vessels for the carnal pleasures of their ancestors was a small price to pay for Cheryl and Toni, so we were all treated to a long-awaited Choni/Thomigail sex session with some intriguing consequences.
Sadly, Heather saw too much in the stars for those two souls when she was performing the transfer spell, and she can no longer stand in the way of fate. I feel bad about doubting Heather earlier in the season because she’s been incredible to Cheryl and everyone else, but while I’m heartbroken for her, I’m so excited to hear that Choni is basically fated to be endgame!
Cheryl was such a standout in the Riverdale season 6 finale for this scene and so much more. Even though most of the characters have powers, her power of the phoenix was the only one that stood a chance of taking out the comet. She stepped up to the plate so courageously and beautifully in every way in this episode, and it was incredible to watch her come into all of her power.
Of course, she needed a little more than her own power to pull this off. While her phoenix power may have been enough to melt the comet, it could have resulted in the deaths of those she’d already resurrected. Veronica came up with an idea (she’s good at those, remember?) to transfer everyone’s power to Cheryl using her dialysis abilities, making her even stronger.
When it came down to it, all that was left was an unforgettable musical performance of “The End of the World” by Billie Eilish, and a final stand from Cheryl. Everyone’s vocals were at their best in this scene, making everything even more emotional building up to the final moment before everything ended.
Well, spoiler alert, it didn’t end, but it also kind of did.
While nobody perished in the Riverdale season 6 finale, their memories and their trajectories did. Shockingly, Archie woke up the next morning as a teenager in 1955, looking very much like his namesake comic book character that the world has loved for decades! The only one who remembers anything from before the blast is Jughead, our faithful narrator.
My guess it that this is a result of Tabitha’s time travel abilities getting into the mix, so it’ll be interesting to see if anybody else’s powers make themselves known in this new world. That might explain why Jughead is the only one with his memories, with his mind reading and portal creating abilities.
It’s wild that we’ll be spending at least some of the final Riverdale season this way! Of course, in ways it seems fitting. They began the show as teenagers, and the 50s aesthetic will pay a nice homage to the source material. However, I can’t help but worry how this will affect everyone’s character arcs!
Will they spend the entire season finding their way back to where they were before the comet? Will a return to their youth awaken something inside of them that they’d forgotten? Will they ever even make it out of the 50s?
These, and so many other questions, will have to wait until Riverdale returns for its seventh and final season. The suspense is already killing me!