The final season of Riverdale is here! The gang is in 1955 and Jughead is the only one to remember, and he tries to bring his friends up to speed, with no luck. Meanwhile, new girl Veronica Lodge makes her mark on the town and the murder of Emmett Till brings up an important conversation.
Keep reading to find out what happens in “Chapter One Hundred and Eighteen: Don’t Worry, Darling.”
Rock Around the Clock
Starting off with a very ’50s opening, Jughead narrates some of the goings on in that time, like the price of burgers and the #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100. It’s been two days since Bailey’s Comet, and Jughead isn’t sure what happened, nor if they’re really in the past or another alternate universe. Things are different.
Jughead lives in an abandoned train car with Hot Dog; they’re all juniors; Julian Blossom is alive and not Jason; and no sign of a Reggie yet. Jughead has yet to remind his friends about their future but has been wanting to talk to Tabitha about it as she’s been away.
After science class, the teacher reminds the students about astronomy club and fundraising to buy a new telescope to see Bailey’s Comet, which is still two years away.
Getting the idea that the time capsule they buried after graduation might have survived and could be the key to jogging his friends’ memories, Jughead digs it up, and sure enough, it’s there. And someone is watching him.
Jughead brings the items in the capsule to his friends and tells them about what happened and where they are really from. He tells them about their life in the future, first telling them about smartphones, Spotify, and the Internet, but then gets to their life; serial killers, the army, the speakeasy, an organ-harvesting cult, and possession. Archie doesn’t want to go back since it sounds miserable. Jughead thinks the best way to break the space-time continuum instead of waiting two years for the comet is to have Archie and Betty make out on Archie’s bed and blow up a bomb underneath it (Rivervale, anyone?).
No one believes Jughead, and Archie thinks he’s crazy or has an overactive imagination. Instead of convincing them they’re trapped in a science fiction picture show, Jughead should go back to his comic books and stories.
A Story to Tell
Toni, Tabitha, and many other Black students were in Mississippi to witness the trial of the two men who murdered Emmett Till (and we sadly know how that turned out). Covering Emmett Till, Toni turns a piece into the school newspaper (still run by Betty), and Toni made a promise to Emmett’s friends and family and everyone there that she would tell his story.
Betty and Toni bring the story to Principal Featherhead, but he doesn’t think it’s appropriate. Toni tells him it’s what’s happening and needs to be told. While Riverdale High was one of the first schools in the country to be integrated, Toni reminds him that there are no Black teachers or lessons on Black authors.
Betty asks her parents (yes, even a very alive Hal) what they think about Toni’s story, wondering if they can put it on RIVW, and unfortunately, they don’t agree with their daughter. Alice and Hal don’t want to lose sponsorship from Blossom Maple Syrup. Betty says that what happened to Emmett Till was a complete injustice. And except for Toni and her friends, no one seems to care.
Betty apologizes to Toni about her parents, and Toni’s not surprised. She tells Betty about Mrs. Till publishing the funeral pictures and leaving her son’s casket open so everyone could see what happened to him, and it finally woke up the world. Betty asks to see them.
Toni sends Betty the newsletter with the funeral pictures, and Betty tells Toni that it made her decide to publish the story in The Blue and Gold anyway. Toni decides to read a poem about Emmett Till instead on the morning announcements, even though Cheryl does the announcements.
The two ambush Cheryl in the restroom and try to talk her into reading the poem since their other ventures weren’t too successful. Cheryl sees Ms. Bell for the morning announcements, and Bell tells her about Tabitha passing out on the football field, and she is in a rush. Being the only one in the front office, Cheryl passes the microphone to Toni, who talks about Emmett Till and the article. So she reads a poem that Langston Hughes wrote, Mississippi-1955.
Betty, Tabitha, Cheryl, and Toni meet with Featherhead, who was not happy about what happened. However, in class, the teacher asks the students how the poem and Emmett Till made them feel. Angry, upset, hopeless. Midge asks if he was just 14 years old, and Toni tells her he was, and Tabitha and another student continue to say what happened. The teacher asks the three what their experience at the trial was like and to share their stories.
“Fitfully, but also necessarily, a conversation that might not have happened for decades began at Riverdale High that afternoon.”
New Girl in Town, Round 2
Just like the first season, Veronica Lodge is the new girl in town, only from Los Angeles and not New York.
“Even in 1955, Veronica Lodge knew how to make an entrance.”
Hiram and Hermione are the stars of a television show, and Veronica is a starlet staying with her aunt and uncle at the Pembrooke so she can take a sabbatical and get a taste of the small-town life. Cheryl, of course, is not happy.
Veronica joins the gang in the lounge, getting acquainted with everyone and catching them up on her life in Bel Air and James Dean. Cheryl goes off on Veronica when she starts to “besmirch” the late heartthrob’s memory.
Archie and Veronica are on a date at Pop’s, and they are just chatting up a storm. Archie mentions he’s never had a serious girlfriend and hasn’t met the right girl yet. Just then, Cheryl interrupts their date, promising to let everyone know that Veronica is a fraud. She’s not starring in Our Town like she said. So why is she really in Riverdale?
Archie comforts Veronica, who comes clean about her parents banishing her because she’s a problem. Her parents have ben ignoring and sidelining her since they began their show so she started acting out to get their attention. The final straw was the accident. Veronica was part of a convoy of some other good-time girls and they were going to cheer James Dean on at a race in Salinas. Afterwards, her parents shipped her off to Riverdale to live alone.
Veronica gets a call from her mother, who heard about a boy being at the apartment, and Veronica assures her it’s just someone from school. She tries to ask about Thanksgiving, but so far, Hermione won’t have it.
After school, Archie and Julian are waiting in front of their respective cars for Veronica, who is comparing the two. While great contenders, she decides to walk home.
Longing to Remember
In Pop’s, Tabitha meets Jughead at a booth. Not 1955 Tabitha. Riverdale’s guardian angel, the one who loves Jughead. And Jughead can’t be happier. Unfortunately, Tabitha says she can’t take them home, not yet. Their last-minute gambit effort to save Riverdale didn’t work, and it created an extinction-level event. They are alive. In the past. Tabitha used what was left in her life force to send them back, just far enough so they have the necessary runway to the present in which Riverdale isn’t destroyed by Bailey’s Comet. She has to do it alone and discover the different timelines and scenarios and untangle them. She’s hoping that Jughead will help bring the world towards justice in the 1950s so their time in the present is different.
Jughead asking questions and creating ripples is what drew Tabitha back. He has to forget. Otherwise, it could disrupt the timeline. He’d be like everyone else. Jughead doesn’t want to forget, but Tabitha tells him it’s for the best. They kiss, and Jughead is frozen as Tabitha leaves. For the moment, Jughead still remembered. He needed to write down the stories before it was too late. But then, it was all gone. He only managed to get down three words: “Bend. Towards. Justice.” In front of him was his beanie. But yet, an item he had never seen before.