riverdale season 7 episode 17, veronica lodge, kevin and clay

‘Riverdale’ season 7, episode 19 review: You can’t go home again

We’re not crying, you’re crying Riverdale season 7, episode 19!

Riverdale delivered a doozy for its penultimate episode, and while I’m not actually sure how I feel about the turn of events that season 7, episode 19 delivered, I do know that it made me feel a whole bunch, so I give it a lot of credit for that.

The episode seemed to wrap a few of the Riverdale season 7 storylines up with bows that came together a little easier and prettier than I was expecting, but most of them felt satisfying in their own way.

First, there was the ongoing Cooper family saga, which started with yet another step backward for Betty and Alice. Betty met Alice’s decision to continue her marriage to Hal after Betty discovered his secret with disappointment, although she did decide to make him move to the basement. However, what followed was a really valuable discussion about the reality of Alice’s situation as a woman in the 1950s and all the things that women really couldn’t do without a husband or another man. It was an important reminder for both Betty and the viewers to not judge someone without putting yourself in their shoes, and what I thought was one of the best and most honest moments for Alice Cooper in the Riverdale series.

That being said, when Betty’s book excitingly arrived and Alice decided to read it, she realized that she potentially had more power than she thought, and I hope we see an exciting move into the future for Alice in the Riverdale series finale. It’s been a fraught season (and series) for these ladies, but all in all, they’ve had one of the best arcs of the show.

Alice wasn’t the only parent who was inspired by their child to live their own truth. Riverdale season 7, episode 19 dropped a huge, hunky bomb on us when it revealed that Sheriff Keller and Uncle Frank weren’t set as straight as they’ve been preaching. Isn’t that always the way? I was just as shocked as Kevin at this reveal, but I hope it leads to a better ending for Kevin and his dad in the finale!

With her pesky parents out of the way, Cheryl effortlessly, and stylishly regained control of her Vixens, and admirably decided to “live in the light,” coming out to her whole squad. She was met with nothing but support, which was just the cherry blossom on top of Cheryl’s journey to self-acceptance in Riverdale season 7.

While Werthers and his anti-comic crusade seem likely to win the battle against Pep comics, some victories were also scored for the good guys in Riverdale season 7, episode 19. After “The Comet” story failed to get the Werthers stamp of approval, Pep Comics bittersweetly decided to publish it anyway as their swan song. Although it’s heartbreaking that they had to succumb to the ridiculous powers in play, it was beautiful that they got to go out on such a high, and on their own terms. Also, it helped inspire Veronica and Clay’s next project, which is a very exciting move for both of them.

We also saw the triumphant return of Principal Weatherbee in Riverdale season 7, episode 19, as Toni and Alice helped him take the position that the Soviet-leaning Featherhead had vacated. It definitely felt like a hopeful turn for the school and the town, especially when Archie used the opportunity to help get Ms. Thornton, his “top notch teach”, reinstated.

Archie’s summer plans seem uncertain, since his plans to hit the road like Jack Kerouac may have been derailed by his generous offer to help Reggie’s family with their harvest, so I’m very interested to see what path his life plans take him down in the finale. At least we know he’ll have Reggie as a faithful support system, since the pair have developed such a beautiful bond in Riverdale season 7.

Although I absolutely loved the sweet moment between Archie and Reggie, I must say that I’m disappointed that it’s doubtful Archie and Jughead will get anything similar in the Riverdale season 7 finale. You would think that the timeline where Archie goes all in on poetry would be the one where he’d turn to his writer best friend the most, but that certainly hasn’t been the case. To see the show end without an acknowledgement of their close friendship seems really wrong, but it does seem like that’s the way things are heading.

I was a little surprised by Archie’s decision to only receive the good memories from Tabitha’s tape. He’s been so focused on having experiences to fuel his poetry that I thought he’d be thrilled at gaining a lifetime’s worth of insane adventures in a moment. However, I think his decision came down to his “On the Road” quote, and being “surprised by how good leaving felt,” and the possibilities it offered. Everything that happened in the past might only serve to limit his life choices. Instead, he’s choosing to dwell in the infinite possibilities of the future.

I admit, I got super emotional at the Riverdale montage. They knew exactly what they were doing, manipulating us with those happy clips and nostalgic music. And it worked, damn it. I was a mess.

But, in my opinion, it also didn’t work. As happy as I was to look back on all the Riverdale memories before the series finale, it also made me very annoyed that all of those things will essentially have no bearing on how the series ends, and the future these characters will have. It kind of feels like it was all for nothing.

To me, it really feels like the writers dug themselves into such a deep, dark hole that even they couldn’t find their way out of, so they took the easy “hop to an alternate dimension” escape hatch. For the characters, I actually don’t hate the whole “healing via interdimensional travel” outlook, but for the show, it feels like a whole lot of investment has just spiraled down the drain. Even most of the new storylines that seemed promising in Riverdale season 7 haven’t made it far, so other than a general goodbye to the series and the characters, it doesn’t seem like there’s much to achieve in the series finale.

Interestingly, Betty and Jughead are the only two characters who decided to remember everything. Even though my Bughead dreams have been officially dashed, it is nice that they have this thread connecting them, in the end. It was also nice that Jughead and Tabitha got a nice goodbye before she had to leave. Both of these things felt very special. And after all that we’re getting a Jeronica endgame when they’ve been dating for two episodes. It’s all a little frustrating.

The one character whose Riverdale season 7 story I was all in for was Kevin. His character was going nowhere so fast in the main timeline, and he’s gotten such a beautiful love story out of this season with Clay. I predicted that he might not go back if given the opportunity, and I feel like him choosing not to watch the past if Clay wasn’t in it was a confirmation of that. He’s right where he wants to be.

Despite my reservations, I’m still very excited to see what the Riverdale series finale has in store for us. I’m bracing for disappointment, but I’m sure it’ll be a very emotional night regardless. It’s been seven years of this show, and it’s all coming to an end. They haven’t stopped surprising us yet, and I’m sure the finale will be no different!