riverdale season 7 episode 16

‘Riverdale’ season 7, episode 16 review: Polly’s wedding night

Riverdale season 7, episode 16 featured a surprising redemption arc.

If you asked me who the most tragic character in Riverdale history was, Polly Cooper would have to be at the top of the list. When one of the best things to happen to a character is that their body was recovered after they’d been brutally murdered on the Lonely Highway, things are pretty bleak.

That being said, considering all the Riverdale characters who could use a redemption arc, I didn’t even have Polly on my bingo card for season 7! However, I’m thrilled that they gave her the most triumphant story in the final season, albeit in the most unlikely of storylines.

I was just as shocked as Betty when that barely blushing bride in Julian’s “skin flick” revealed herself to be the eldest daughter of Alice and Hal Cooper. I was expecting Polly to show up at some point in Riverdale season 7, especially with all of the tension brewing in the Cooper household, but I definitely didn’t predict that it would be like this.

I love that Polly’s story got turned on its head in this alternate reality. In previous seasons, she was used and abused, and her power was taken from her. She turned to sex work out of desperation, and in the end even her life was tragically stolen.

In Riverdale season 7, episode 16, we learned that Polly’s power was also taken by the person who distributed “The Wedding Night” without her consent, but she was able to reclaim it with her “Polly Amorous” persona, using her talent to get herself where she wanted to be. I’m so happy for her, and I’m thrilled that she was able to inspire Betty to claim more power herself.

I hope we actually get to see Polly’s real wedding and that it acts as a unifier for the Cooper family, because they still have a long way to go before Riverdale is over. I have to admit I have a little bit of whiplash watching Betty and Alice go back and forth this season, but I’m happy that Betty is still pushing back on her mom and that Alice seems to be letting herself feel something, at the very least. I still hope we get a great ending for the Cooper ladies!

Now, if the Coopers are giving me whiplash, there’s something else in Riverdale season 7 that’s giving me a far worse kink in the neck. What the hell is going on with these romantic pairings? It feels like in every episode every character is tried out with someone different, and I’m honestly getting sick of it. I know high school students are full of hormones, but there’s no way they’re this indecisive.

They dangled Betty and Veronica in front of us, and then there was a brief interruption from Archie. Jughead and Ethel were getting closer, and now Veronica is back to try things again with Jughead. Reggie only had eyes for basketball, then he was into Veronica, then he tried for Betty, and now maybe he’ll go for Archie. Archie, despite having literally every character into him at some point, decided to go to Twyla Twist to begin his sexual exploration. Albeit with Reggie alongside him, which was pretty awesome.

I’m all for trying out different dynamics, but this lack of any continuity is making for a very frustrating final season of Riverdale. It was difficult enough to get invested in anything knowing we’d likely be going back to the original timeline at some point, but its downright impossible now that they seem incapable of holding on to a romantic thread for most of these characters. There are plenty of non-romantic storylines to get invested in, so I might be happier if they just sticked to those rather than peppering in poignant romantic moments which seem to always be doomed to be forgotten in the next episode.

The exceptions to that, of course, are Kevin and Clay and Cheryl and Toni. They are holding things down on the romantic front in a big way in Riverdale season 7. Kevin and Clay are feeling so established, and it was so cute to watch them get excited about the stag film together in this episode. I’m actually going to be devastated if these two have to part ways at the end of the season. I wonder if there will be an option to stay behind in the 50s, and if Kevin might make that choice.

As soon as I saw the “Femme and In” magazine, I knew those pictures had Choni written all over them. I thought their photoshoot was amazing, but it was even more incredible that when Penelope discovered the evidence, Cheryl chose to claw back rather than cower. Riverdale season 7 has been such a powerful time for Cheryl and Choni, and I’ve loved every second of it. Again, I hope this can somehow carry forward into wherever they end up in the finale.

In other news, Jughead continued to fight his battle against the anti-comic book crusaders in Riverdale season 7, episode 16. He still has a fight ahead of him, but at least now he has his favorite raven haired vixen back by his side…at least until the next episode, when they’ll inevitably both be pursuing other interests again. Sigh.