I hate to be *that* person, but wow, I totally guessed who Riverdale was going to kill off (or at least attempt to) in the finale. After a week or so of the actors and producers trying to hype up this finale in social media — given the reveal of who shot Jason last week— they pretty much had to try increasing the stakes by killing someone else. And so, “Chapter Thirteen: The Sweet Hereafter” tried to close off the threads laid down in season 1 and create a few more for season 2, with a few good parts in between.
Content Warning for Suicide Attempt as depicted on the show.
So we start off with two simultaneous narrations by Jughead and Alice as they each work on their pieces revealing the truth. The story indicates that Jason had indeed found out about the family’s secret business with heroin and Clifford couldn’t let that spread, so he hired a Southside Serpent called Mustang to kidnap Jason. However, given the killer and kidnapper both ended up dead, FP Jones is taking the worst as the one responsible for the clean up job. Sheriff Keller tries offering a deal ratting out on his gang members, but FP refuses and faces 20 years in jail, which will make things bad for Jughead.
At the Lodge’s flat, Hermione mentions that Hiram will be making his grand comeback by the end of the month, but Veronica is less than excited. Betty mentions to Archie that the Coopers are all acting like nothing happened and that is making her uncomfortable because they are all just avoiding dealing with their shit. Veronica also wants to tell Betty about hers and Archie’s semi-relationship. Incidentally, the principal and the Mayor call Archie and Betty up to ask them to be a part of the upcoming Jubilee celebrating Riverdale’s 75th Anniversary. The Mayor wants Archie to sing with the Pussycats and Betty to deliver a speech.
However, Betty is not accepting the proposal because the Mayor wants to, basically, push the Joneses off the stage and she is taking Jughead’s side. She is also writing an article for both the school paper and her parent’s newspaper about the case, possibly exposing the Blossoms as the true culprits instead of the Serpents. Veronica finally tells Betty about ArchieRonnie and she is cool about it.
At Thornhill, Penelope and Cheryl are back from the funeral and the matriarch is being specially grimy, saying that it’s likely that one or both of them will die soon and that maybe, just maybe, they should take a page out of Clifford’s book instead of facing whatever they have to face now.
Hermione tells Fred that she has fired the Serpents because, now that Hiram is coming home, she doesn’t want the construction business to be associated with criminals. Fred calls her out for making a sole decision given they are partners and she reveals the Lodges are interested in buying him out.
Archie presents Josie (who got blue dreads now, amazing) with a new song he wrote about his friends and their experience, but she doesn’t allow it to be sung at the Jubilee, given the event is about the whole town. Alike in terms of the upcoming rejection, Betty presents her parents with the article she wrote condoning FP’s witch trial, but, as much as the Coopers love her passion, they don’t allow it to be published because it could put Betty in danger (apparently, the people were angry at the Southsiders).
Veronica meets Cheryl who has just resigned her position as the Vixen’s director, making Ronnie worried about her well being. Betty ended up going against her parents’ decision, posting her article online and spreading some physical copies. She is also taking Polly back to school. A social worker meets up with the Andrews with the bad news that, with FP in jail, Jug needs a new guardian. However, due to some technicalities, Fred can’t take over, which leads to Jughead having to move to the Southside and this implicates him in changing schools.
FP tells Archie that there’s nothing he can do about Jughead’s incipient moving except for sticking with him and not letting him shut himself off from his friends. Cheryl apologizes to Jughead for hitting him last week and she also gives him a broach that can be sold for some good money. Before Cheryl can explain to Veronica why she is being sentimental (at this point, we all know what’s coming, duh), Kevin pulls them all away because Betty’s room was vandalized: someone stuck some copies of the article along a hanged Betty doll and wrote “Go to hell, Serpent Slut” with blood.
Hermione asks Veronica to talk to Archie so he can convince Fred to accept the buyout. Here’s some iconic piece of dialogue:
Hermione: I was hoping you could talk to Archie and he could convince Fred to sell.
Veronica, looking at her phone: Yeah, sure, mom, no problem, I will just sexually manipulate Archie into doing my bidding.
Hermione: As long as you’re in control.
Veronica: Oh my God, mom, I was kidding.
Alice grills Betty about defying her to which she just continued defying her mom and asks her some harsh truths: whether he actually like Jughead and what FP meant by the big fight Alice and Hal got into the day of their own Homecoming dance. Alice denies answering the second question. However, the next morning, with red eyes, Alice confesses that on that night, she had just told Hal that she was pregnant and that they disagreed on how to handle things the best. Alice ended up going to the Sisters of Quiet Mercy where they arranged for Alice’s son to be adopted.
Later on, Jughead calls Betty to tell him that he has already transferred to Southside High with arguments that no one wants him at Riverdale High and Archie recognizes the behavior FP warned him about. So, they run to meet up with Jughead who is apparently having the time of life with a new gang at lunch. Cheryl texts Veronica thanking her for trying, but that the wants to be with Jason now. Archie deduces she means Sweetwater River and that’s where they go.
The quartet make their way to the frozen river — it’s around December, I assume, in canon — and spot Cheryl breaking the ice far away. Archie warns them that the ice will break if all of them try getting to her, but it never really does, given literally all four end up running when the ice Cheryl is standing finally breaks and she falls into the water. They spread out trying to find her and it’s Archie who does it first. The boy starts punching the ice to break it and, holy fuck, I felt the pain with him, because of the amount of blood that came out of his hands. Nonetheless, he ends up getting Cheryl back to safety after Archie performs some CPR.
Now at the Jubilee, Josie ends up allowing Archie to perform the song he wrote. Jughead visits FP and tells him he will be fine whatever happens. During Betty’s speech, she speaks in favor of Jughead and FP, how the city has changed, they should acknowledge it, and do better to avoid another person from dying.
Hermione talks to Fred and he tells her that he will not do it, choosing to stay on as partner. The gang sans Kevin goes to Pop’s for milkshakes (#TeamBetty because she picked mint chocolate) and sans Cheryl who waits until Penelope gets home before setting fire to house as that would be the only way for the Blossoms to be purified.
As Bughead and ArchieRonnie get to their respective homes, we get a sex montage to the sound of Imagine Dragons, but Bughead’s get interrupted by some Serpents who hand Jug one of the jackets saying that they will take care of him now; Betty is a kind of taken aback by seeing her boyfriend associated with a gang.
Archie leaves the Lodge’s in the morning because he is supposed to meet his dad at Pop’s. Tragedy comes to life as a burglar invades the place and, wah wah, ends up shooting Fred. Jughead’s narration says that this piece of violent was when Riverdale’s last shred of innocent died and also that is was anything but random. How ominous, huh?