Chapter Thirteen: The Sweet Hereafter

Warning: This post contains spoilers about the Feb. 10 episode of Riverdale.

We made it to the future. Seven years into the future, specifically. This week's episode of Riverdale saw Archie return home after seven years away to find a very different, very concerning Riverdale. So concerning that he called in the reinforcements.

But before we get to that, the episode reacquainted viewers with each character, explaining what everyone's been up to in their time away. Archie was in the Army, Betty joined the FBI, Veronica got married, Toni became the new Serpent Queen, Kevin and Fangs are still together (and Kevin runs the drama department at the high school), and Cheryl? Well, she hasn't been seen by anyone in town in years. As she explained to Toni, she's essentially become the new Sarah Winchester. "When Riverdale first premiered, Cheryl was living in that mansion, her brother had just died, and we called her a teen gothic heroine," says Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. "And we feel like, in the time jump, living like Mrs. Winchester in the Winchester house feels like a really organic progression for Cheryl."

Credit: Dean Buscher/The CW

It also means she's out of the action, at least for the moment, the opposite of which could be said for Toni, who ended the episode by joining the core four in their booth at Pop's as they reunited to save the town. Moving forward, Aguirre-Sacasa says fans can expect to see more of Toni. "Over the extended hiatus, Vanessa [Morgan] and I had a lot of conversations and one of the nice things about the time jump and couples breaking up is it allows you to tell fresh stories and to not think of Toni and Cheryl as a couple," says Aguirre-Sacasa, who vowed to "do better" by the show's actors of color after Morgan spoke out about being the series' least-paid regular in June 2020. "When we were talking about why characters were in Riverdale, this felt like it really honored Toni who, when we met her in season 2, was an activist. We liked that she'd be at the heart of what happened to Riverdale."

As for what to expect from the rest of the season, Betty's experience with the Trash Bag Killer will find its way back to her hometown. "You haven't seen the last of the Trash Bag Killer," says Aguirre-Sacasa. He's definitely haunting Betty and maybe doing more than haunting her."

Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on the CW.

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Chapter Thirteen: The Sweet Hereafter
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