The seventh and final season of Riverdale is set to premiere on Wednesday, March 29, and with the gang in the 1950s, this will be the biggest situation they will have dealt with after the Black Hood, the Gargoyle King, The Farm, Percival Pickens, and more. To get ready, we are taking a look back at the previous six seasons to catch up on the biggest storylines of the series, so take a refresher on what happened in season 5!
The Truth About the Serial Killer and the Video Auteur
Due to COVID, season 4 of Riverdale finished just three episodes short, so not every story was concluded. Meaning that it had to finish at the beginning of the fifth season, including the video voyeur/auteur and Riverdale’s newest serial killer. So let’s break it down:
- Bret called Betty from jail with urgent information in exchange for getting him transferred to Hiram’s prison, where he’s safer. Unfortunately, he was killed before Betty and Jughead had the chance to find out what he wanted to tell them.
- Betty thinks the Auteur is behind Bret’s murder since they sent a sign that said “God is watching,” and then Bret’s eyes were gouged out (creepy).
- She and Charles think that the owner of Blue Velvet, David, is their Auteur since he had videotapes that only the Auteur would have and it was possible that he knew that Bret was on to him.
- David, however, commits suicide, and it was believed that he was tying up loose ends. Though Betty thought it felt a little too neat.
- Donna also ends up calling Betty, scared for her life, but Betty doesn’t believe her. Soon, Betty finds out that Joan was murdered.
- The Auteur switches up the tapes and sends one to the Cooper-Jones household of footage inside the house. Not only that, but the Auteur directly walks up to a sleeping Jellybean.
Putting the Pieces Together
After realizing that the Auteur has likely been inside the house multiple times and the privileged information that they would have, Betty and Jughead figure out that there’s only one person, they know who likes to bug phones and the ability and resources to kill Joan and Bret: Charles.
Yes, Jughead and Betty’s FBI half-brother Charles is the serial killer. Who would have thought? The two confronted him, and he admitted to killing Joan and Bret; he tried to kill Donna; he’s been listening in to conversations since Halloween. And because of his boyfriend, Chic, he was able to kill Bret in prison. Only, he’s not the Auteur. Sure, he killed David, but only because he was a degenerate who helped scumbags like Bret.
So, who’s the Auteur, you may ask? Keeping it in the family, it turned out to be Jellybean who sent the tapes around town. Jellybean and some of her friends who she met through G&G and at the El Royale. She got the idea after a friend introduced her to Blue Velvet and thought it would get her big brother to stay and not go to college. It was really all innocent for Jellybean, but she didn’t realize how dark it really was. So after graduation, F.P. needed to do what was best for Jellybean, and the two of them drove off to Topeka to be with Gladys so she can be well looked after.
Goodbye, Riverdale High
It seemed like it would never happen since we barely saw the group at school. And when we do see them at school, it’s usually bad news. However, in what would have been the season 4 finale, the Riverdale High Class of 2020 finally saw graduation. However, thanks to being on the run from Hiram for a while, Archie was short credits, but he was still able to walk with the class. He then also made the decision to sign up for the army.
After digging up a time capsule from decades ago, the main group also decided to create their own capsule and bury it on the football field, dropping in some mementos, like Jughead’s beanie, Cheryl’s HBIC shirt, and a current menu from Pop’s.
Following graduation, Riverdale jumped ahead seven full years and quite a lot has changed:
- Varchie and Bughead ended up going their separate ways in the time that had passed, with the initial cause being the kiss during Hedwig after the truth came out during prom.
- Archie is a sergeant in the army
- Betty is in the FBI now
- Veronica is married and is basically the She-Wolf of Wall Street
- Jughead is a published author, but he is suffering severe writers’ block
- Toni is Riverdale High’s guidance counselor and Serpent Queen
- Kevin’s brush with Broadway never worked out and he is the Riverdale High drama teacher
- Oh yeah, Toni is pregnant with either Fangs or Kevin’s baby, and the three of them are going to be a family.
Riverdale has also wildly changed thanks to Hiram. It is completely rundown; there is no fire station anymore, and Archie’s house is overrun by Ghoulies. Safe to say it was no longer the “Town with Pep.”
The Lonely Highway
One of the biggest changes in town over the seven years is the fact that not many people drive through anymore, hence the name of a stretch of road called the Lonely Highway. Truckers and hitchhikers happen upon it frequently, however. Unfortunately, it’s not always a good mix. There have been a growing number of young females going missing along the Lonely Highway, and that soon includes one Polly Cooper.
Polly had been working the highway and not being truthful to Alice or Betty. She ends up going missing, and after Betty gets a frantic call from her, she assumes the worst. Betty, Alice, and Kevin search Swedlow Swamp since that’s where they believe she was last. To make matters worse, though, Betty later finds a telephone booth that has been destroyed and has blood.
After getting results of the blood from her boyfriend, Glen, in the FBI, Betty gets confirmation that it is indeed Polly’s. Not wanting to let her mom suffer, she doesn’t tell her what she discovered. Unfortunately, Alice finds out.
It was only just a matter of time before Riverdale went the alien route, but don’t worry; it didn’t turn out to be actual aliens. Just an urban legend. There were some strange things going on in town, stranger than usual, and Jughead became witness to this when he was finishing a shift at Pop’s and when lights and technology were going haywire. And he saw a bright white light, blacking out for several hours.
Jughead interviews an old man who had an encounter with these so-called “Mothmen,” and it was similar to what Polly was telling Betty. Nana Rose even brings Jughead and Tabitha the skeleton of a Mothman, doused in maple syrup from being in a barrel for so long.
After doing some digging, it’s found out that Dreyfus and his family, the Starkweathers, are actually illegitimate children of Nana Rose’s late husband, who had been hiding in the forest for two generations, and they made up the Mothmen in order to kill women along the Lonely Highway. The Mothman corpse was really Dreyfus’ half-brother.
Betty, Jughead, Tabitha, Toni, and Fangs decide to confront the Starkweathers and hopefully save some lives. After some fighting, they find Toni’s student Britta, and Dreyfus tells Betty where Polly’s body is, which is locked in the trunk of a car. While Polly’s story comes to a heartbreaking conclusion, at least she gets to finally come home.
Return of the Pussycats
Josie and the Pussycats finally reunited and it felt so good. Taking place after Katy Keene, Josie McCoy rose to superstardom, releasing music, going on tour. After getting news that her father died (right before a big concert, no less), she went MIA and came back to Riverdale.
With the town going under, thanks to Hiram, a benefit concert is put on, and the Pussycats are back in town together and get together one last time, even if things didn’t end well between Josie, Val, and Melody. Val and Mel were still close as ever, though, and successful in their own right.
After performing their concert at the Whyte Wyrm, Josie and the Pussycats decide to go on tour together again. But just before they left, Josie discovers that her dad may have been murdered instead, and she promises to find out who’s responsible. How awesome would it have been to get a musical murder mystery series?
Hiram’s Plans for Ruination
Hiram Lodge just can never seem to quit, even after seven years. As mentioned above, in the seven years that had passed after graduation, he took over Riverdale and, frankly, ruined it. And he wasn’t stopping any time soon.
- He dissolved the township of Riverdale
- Joined the board at Stonewall, and the Stallions and Bulldogs’ rivalry grew
- He nearly has Riverdale High shut down (until its proposed for the school to go private, with Betty, Archie, Jughead, and Veronica becoming teachers).
- Hiram also sabotages one of Veronica’s school assignments involving fake money
- He is responsible for a breakout at his own prison, and Riverdale is overrun by criminals, claiming it is the start of Riverdale’s “ruination.”
- He tries to buy the Maple Groves from Cheryl and Nana Rose, with no luck.
- In a flashback episode, we see the birth of Hiram Lodge, who was originally Jaime Luna. He and his dad had some hard times but stuck it out together. Hiram wanted to do better and build a better life for them, and after receiving a generous tip from a gangster, he ends up working for him to make more money. Hiram’s father is later killed outside of Pop’s in a drive-by shooting, and Hiram vows to find the man that killed him.
- In the present, with a ghost gun that Hiram’s right-hand man Reggie found, Hiram tracks down the gangster, Vito, who is lying in a hospital bed and shoots him, getting justice for his father.
Fed up with her father, Veronica runs Hiram out of town, as do the others. But he leaves a special present Archie’s bed just before leaving that literally opens up a parallel universe.
What Else Happened
- After discovering that Palladium is in the mines around Thornhill, Cheryl rounds up Archie and the Andrews Construction crew to dig for it. That leads to some trouble with Hiram, some poisoning in the mines, and much more.
- Archie started up the Riverdale fire station again.
- Archie’s army general was discovered to be deliberately sending his men into dangerous territory.
- Toni gave birth to a beautiful baby boy … at Pop’s (fun fact: Vanessa Morgan was pregnant at the same time, and they wrote her pregnancy into the storyline!)
- In order to deal with Polly’s death, Alice grieves by way of the Next to Normal musical, imagining that their life is still perfect, with Polly and Charles in tow.
- Jughead had trouble with his writers’ block and ate a Pop’s burger that had shrooms in it and he went on a massive acid trip. That opened his eyes, and took him back to New York,. There was a mole man involved, a blacked out Jughead who fell, and more writers’ block, which was just the tip of the iceberg.
Stay tuned to our recap of season 6! In the meantime, watch all six seasons of Riverdale now on Netflix before season 7 premieres on Wednesday, March 29 at 9 p.m. EST on The CW! Check out the rest of our Riverdale coverage here.