The season 5 finale of Riverdale is here and it’s a lot, to say the least. As everyone tries to bring Riverdale into the future, the gang tries to rid it of its nastiest villain, Hiram Lodge. But just as it seems like things are working out, will they?
Keep reading to find out what happened in the season 5 finale of Riverdale, “Chapter Ninety-Five: RIVERDALE: RIP (?)”
“It’s been almost a year. Like the grownups in It, we returned to our haunted hometown and confronted the darkest monsters we’d ever face: ourselves. We’d survived, but surviving isn’t the same as thriving. And none of us, it seemed, were thriving.”
A new future on the horizon
Reggie, wanting to become a stockbroker, breaks the news to Veronica that he almost passed his Series 7 exam. Veronica tells him he can take the exam again and he’ll be a fully licensed stockbroker in no time. Though Reggie has other plans. He suggests they open a casino in town. However, Veronica plans on moving back to New York after the school year ends, as she and Archie are no more.
Longtime friends Archie and Betty will be neighbors for the foreseeable future. Archie is bringing back Andrews Construction while Betty has gotten permission to reopen the Riverdale FBI office, or should I say Special Agent Betty Cooper.
Jughead, meanwhile, seems to be doing just fine without an agent. He meets with Principal Weatherbee, who tells him that some students are looking to restart the school newspaper and he wants Jughead to run it.
The She-Wolf of Wall Street is more than willing to come back to New York, however, following her killing Chad in cold blood, it’s unsure how many firms would be willing to hire “The Black Widow of Wall Street.” So Veronica has to rethink her future plans.
Kevin’s decided to give New York and Broadway another shot after the school year ends. After seeing Josie, he wants to go back. And Sheriff Keller couldn’t be happier.
It seems like almost everyone knows exactly what they want to do. But this is Riverdale, so how long will that last?
Farewell Pop’s Diner?
Pop’s Chock’lit Shop, a staple in Riverdale. Unfortunately, it may have come to an end a little too soon. Following a fire, the gang reconvene at the now destroyed diner and piece together that it was a Ghoulie, hired by Hiram. Archie and the other firefighters were unable to get there quick enough thanks to slashed tires but thanks to them the place is still standing. Betty, Sheriff Keller, and Archie arrest Hiram, who is being smug as always.
Although Hiram is charged and booked, they have no conclusive evidence against him. Toni’s going to find that Ghoulie and in the meantime, Archie and Betty are going to search Hiram’s SoDale office to find anything that ties him to the crime or just anything. Not having much knowledge on the subject, the two rope in Veronica.
Meanwhile, Toni and Fangs found the Ghoulie and tortured him, to the point where he admits it was Hiram. The Ghoulie tells them that the Serpents have gone soft and that the Ghoulies will take back the town if they torch Pop’s, according to Hiram.
At Pop’s, Tabitha tells Jughead the insurance company is not covering the damage, as she had to choose between paying her insurance premiums or paying her waitresses and she chose waitresses. Jughead has a plan that might help put a stronghold on Hiram.
Hiram’s game plan
After Veronica, Betty, and Archie search Hiram’s office, it’s found out that SoDale is now a town. Hiram’s going to annex the former township of Riverdale, claim imminent domain, and take it for himself, including the mines. Betty offers to take the paperwork back to the FBI office with her to see if they can work a case around it.
Toni and Fangs tell the trio that Hiram is behind not only the Pop’s fire, but half the fires that have been breaking out around town. All Hiram cares about is the mines and Veronica finds herself apologizing yet again for her father’s actions. Though Toni and Fangs don’t want an apology. They want Serpent justice. And whatever is going to have to be done, Veronica likely won’t be able to do it. Veronica and Archie promise they will do it, though if they can’t, Toni says they will take care of it their way.
Varchie’s last act
Knowing that they have to do something drastic in order to stop Hiram, Veronica wonders if anyone will notice if Hiram’s gone missing. Escaped from his jail cell? No one will come looking for him. Not Hermione, Hermosa, Sheriff Keller, and Betty will make sure no one at the FBI office does. Archie suggests they take him to the maple barrens.
“It can be the last thing we do together. Somehow it will be fitting.”
Thanks to Reggie giving them the ghost gun, Veronica and Archie have some leverage over Hiram and they show up in his cell to take him.
The end of Hiram Lodge as we know it
As Archie and Veronica deal with Hiram, Jughead and Tabitha stand outside the Lodge Ledger office and throw a molotov through the window. The building goes up in flames and the two kiss.
Everyone has shown up for Hiram’s public execution. Though it’s not an execution, it’s an exile. Archie shows Hiram a video of him killing his father’s killer. They’ve all seen it. Irrefutable proof that he’s a murderer and in one hour, Betty’s turning the video over to the FBI. Veronica suggests he starts walking. As for his possessions, they’ll sell what they can and use it to rebuild Pop’s and the town. Hiram starts walking and everyone has their weapons up, ready to use them on him. Is Hiram finally gone for good?
The Trash Bag Killer is back
The Trash Bag Killer. A ridiculous name but not one to be messed with. At the FBI office, Betty gets a call from TBK, immediately knowing that it’s him. He congratulates Betty on her graduation and he has no plans to come calling on her. We get an eerie glimpse of the Trash Bag Killer, in a mask, of course, and bloody all over.
The Rise of the Serpents
Toni and Fangs have realized they really have gone soft. Toni’s focused on her students and baby Anthony. So, the two decide they are going to start working on rebuilding the Serpents and get ready for a new generation, starting with Anthony. Toni also appoints Fangs as the Serpent King.
As if the Blossom family couldn’t be more insane. After Cheryl and Britta find skeletons in the mines, Nana Rose tells them the story of Abigail Blossom. In 1890, Thornhill was a girl’s school but Abigail did not have a good reputation and was not very kind to the students. It was known that there was palladium under the maple groves but she refused to sell them. So townspeople came with torches and pitchforks and accused her of being a witch. While being burned at the stake in the groves surrounding Thornhill, courtesy of Betty, Archie, and Jughead’s ancestors, Abigail damned them to tragedy. Later, the townspeople dug for palladium in the mines but there was a collapse, dooming the sons and fathers of the next generation of Riverdale residents due to Abigail’s curse.
Cheryl confronts the Core Four and demands that Archie, Betty, and Jughead apologize for their ancestors’ actions. Knowing how ridiculous she’s sounding, the three refuse, despite Cheryl going on about all the lives lost in those mines that the groves are over.
Nana Rose and Cheryl later honor Abigail. From this day on, Thornhill will no longer be a ministry, but instead a school modeled after Abigail’s. Cheryl reads Abigail’s curse, to curse Betty, Archie, and Jughead. The wind blows and the fire in the fireplace gets bigger. It’s done.
The New Riverdale
The Core Four meet over who will be in charge of the discussions for the town. However, Cheryl threatens that if they don’t apologize for what their ancestors did, it will come with a price.
Jughead is in charge of the new school newspaper. It’s not the Blue and Gold anymore, but The Riverdale Choice. It’s free press for all of Riverdale.
Pop is back and he offers to give Tabitha his retirement money on the condition she lets him come back to Pop’s to work. She is more than thrilled to work with her grandfather and a Riverdale icon.
At the town meeting at the El Royale, Archie tells everyone his father believed in Riverdale because he saw the potential. And they need the proper leadership to oversee that potential. So it won’t be a single person, but a council of four who will guide them to Riverdale’s new beginning. Tabitha, Toni, Alice, and Uncle Frank are appointed the council. The ayes have it — it’s unanimous. Riverdale is officially back on the map.
During the town meeting, Cheryl is not happy that she has yet been given an apology. So she does something no one saw coming: Thornhill and her lands cede from the corrupt township of Riverdale.
Veronica gives in to Reggie’s casino idea. They can be the King and Queen of the roost, working for themselves, calling the shots. They meet with the new council to propose their casino, though there’s more important things to focus on first. Toni suggest they bring them a full proposal next month. Though, because it is Veronica, she already has her students working and a casino is already up and almost running in Pearls and Posh.
What Happens Next?
“Riverdale lives to fight another day.”
A new sign is put up with “The town with Pop’s” and everyone is there to witness it. However, a wind blows into town. As Archie and Betty rekindle their romance, they can hear a faint ticking in Archie’s room. Archie looks under his bed and there’s a bomb.
“Tick. Tick. Boom.”
Hiram drives off as there’s an explosion.
And there you have it. The season 5 finale of Riverdale! While the title of the episode is a little misleading, since no one actually died, this could mean a whole new future for the newly formed Town of Riverdale.
Luckily, you won’t have to wait long to find out what happens! Riverdale returns on a new night and new time, Tuesday, November 16 at 9 p.m. EST on The CW with a five-episode event titled “Rivervale.” Don’t miss it!
Check out our Riverdale coverage on Nerds and Beyond here.