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Chapter Thirteen: The Sweet Hereafter
S6 E22
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It is safe to say that is NOT how I thought Riverdale's season would end! But I have to say, as far as cliffhangers go — particularly ones that set up a final season — I am very intrigued. However, before we talk about the end, let's dig into what went down in the Riverdale season 6 finale.

We've got less than 18 hours until an extinction-level event hits Riverdale: Bailey's comet is going to obliterate everything and everyone unless our heroes figure out how to stop it. I know what you're thinking: Why don't they just run? Because they can't! That Percival was one smart (evil) cookie, and as part of his final spell, he put up an invisible barrier around the town. People can enter, but they can't leave. (Vampire Diaries fans will recognize the idea.)

The show then quickly answers all your other questions: No, Jughead can't make portals. And Tabitha says that no matter what time she travels to, the comet always hits. And if that comet hits, the only survivors are going to be Archie and Anthony for impenetrable/immortal reasons. So, Cheryl and Heather call upon Abigail for help. She tells Cheryl that she can use all of her Phoenix power to melt the comet, but even that only might work. Oh, and if she does that, she'll lose her power, which is the thing keeping everyone she's resurrected alive. In other words, if she uses her Phoenix power to destroy the comet, Archie, Jughead, Polly, Nana Rose, Dagwood, Alice, Frank, Sheriff Keller, and/or Fangs might die. Talk about a downer!

So, as everyone starts contemplating what to do with what could be their last day on Earth, Abigail has a demand. In exchange for her help, she wants one last night with Thomasina. In other words, Cheryl and Toni have to give their bodies over to the spirits of their ancestors and have sex. The quote of the episode goes to Cheryl: "Heather will keep our spirits in a jar until the love making ends." Truly, if you told me someone would utter those words when I started the pilot of Riverdale, I would've called you insane.

Elsewhere, Archie's mom chose a truly terrible time to visit Riverdale, but Archie doesn't really have time to focus on saving her because he's too focused on proposing to Betty! He goes to Veronica to ask for a ring, and then he gets down on one knee and proposes to Betty in her bedroom. But Betty quickly calls Archie out on what's really happening — he puts so much pressure on himself to be the hero but it's okay to be scared. She tells him to ask her again once Cheryl melts that comet, and it's honestly a very lovely and healthy conversation. Archie then declares he's "gonna break through that barrier so I can marry you Betty Cooper" and it's oddly the most romantic he's ever been?

Riverdale -- “Chapter One Hundred and Seventeen: Night of the Comet”
Madelaine Petsch on 'Riverdale'
| Credit: Michael Courtney/The CW

While Cheryl and Toni lie to each other about not remembering their sexcapade, Betty gets a FaceTime from Drake. Apparently their boss wants them to head up the FBI's serial killer division, but Betty says no! That chapter of her life is over, and she's finally ready to choose light. Say goodbye to Dark Betty, everyone!

And speaking of choosing light, Betty revisits that conversation with Archie. After his mom showed up and pulled him away from the barrier — which our poor, sweet, dumb Archie thought he'd break through with nothing but the power of his biceps — he found himself in Betty's bed, apologizing for proposing in the middle of all this insanity. But Betty stops him. She's been thinking about what she wants for her future, so this time, she asks him if he'll marry her. And he says yes!

Elsewhere, Veronica tells Reggie that, should they survive, he can have full ownership of the casino. He then sort of attempts to get back together, but Veronica Lodge is ready to be single and actually give dating a try!

Across town, Tabitha and Jughead only had like 8 hours left to live and they just spent four of them watching Titanic, so that was a choice. Jughead, knowing he's likely going to die later, makes Tabitha promise him to take Pop's national with Alexandra Cabot's help, and she agrees. She then uses her powers to take Jug on a one-minute speed date through the rest of their life together. They have kids, they grow old, and they do it all in a Pop's booth.

Then there's heather, who decides that, if they get through this, she's going back to Greendale. Turns out keeping spirits in a jar led her to a realization: Cheryl and Toni are forever soulmates, and their fate transcends time. Someone, um, might want to tell Fangs that.

But just as everyone prepares to lose, Veronica has a realization. She's essentially a human dialysis machine, so what if she can absorb everyone's abilities and give them to Cheryl to make her stronger? That way, Cheryl's powers won't be used up destroying the comet, and hopefully, no one will die! How might she do that? Oh, you know, just a traditional blood oath followed by a Cheryl-Veronica kiss to transfer powers. SURE, RIVERDALE.

With one final song, everyone in Riverdale prepares for Cheryl to face the comet. Apparently Toni, Fangs, and Anthony are the only ones smart enough to stay in the bunker, while everyone else is just chilling in their various apartments or homes. If there was one moment for them to all be huddled together — again, ideally in the BUNKER — it'd be this, but what do I know?

Cheryl uses her powers on the comet and then suddenly ... Archie wakes up in his bedroom. But something's different. As Jug's voiceover tells us, they all survived the comet, but it did something unexpected: It somehow sent them all back to a simpler time, a time before Jason's death or the Black Hood. Specifically, it's now 1955 in Riverdale and our heroes are teenagers again. And Jug? He's the only one who remembers life before the comet.

I truly did not see that one coming, but after a real rollercoaster of a season with powers and resurrections and all that was Rivervale, I'm hopeful that a simplified, old-school version of Riverdale will make for a final season reminiscent of the first season that made this show so fun. It's time to return to the highs and lows of high school football, y'all!

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Chapter Thirteen: The Sweet Hereafter
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