Its season finale time for our favorite high school "teens" from Riverdale High and they waste no time in addressing the question that is clinging for life on the tip of every fans tongue: "Is Jughead dead?" We see Archie (KJ Apa), Betty (Lili Reinhart), and Veronica (Camila Mendes) standing in front of a gravestone with Jughead's name on it. No way, they didn't really do it?! But before they even give you enough time to shed a tear, we're shown Jughead's face waking up in a hospital bed. It was all a dream. Not that much of a shock but for one week they did leave us hanging there. His dad, FP (Skeet Ulrich) is sitting right in front of him and he gives his son the unpleasant news that they had their big battle with the Ghoulies but they lost badly. Sunnyside Trailer Park was mostly burned to the ground (except their home conveniently) and the rest of the Serpents are either wounded or scattered around town. But Fangs (Drew Ray Tanner) is actually still alive! The sheriff's office lied to FP about his demise so I guess that's one bit of good news. "The Serpents, they don't exist anymore," FP states. I think Jughead wishes he could have just stayed asleep.
Now that he's awake, Betty and the gang come over to be comforting friends. Okay, what they really want is more help in figuring out who this second Black Hood is now that Jughead has been clued in on Hal (Lochlyn Munro) being arrested. They all come to the conclusion that is must be Hiram (Mark Consuelos) behind this doppelganger but they still need to know who he's hired. A former Serpent? A Ghoulie? Someone mad about Life Sentence getting canceled? Or Hiram's lackey Sheriff Minetta (Henderson Wade)? They think that Minetta is the most likely suspect so Archie says he'll investigate when he goes to the station. The next day, Archie goes down to "identify" Hal as the Black Hood which consists of them putting a black ski mask over Hal's head. Archie confirms that he's the man who shot his dad and this goes down as one stellar example of our justice system.
At Thistle House, Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) has just finished signing the documents to make her emancipation complete so she is finally free of her whoring mother, Penelope (Nathalie Boltt). Wanting to gloat her freedom she goes to the barn where she has banished her mother and Uncle Claudius (Barclay Hope) to but comes upon a disturbing visitor. Hiram is inside the barn with them and that has the rank smell of evil for sure.
As Betty makes her way home, she sees a crowd of people standing in front of her house with their phones taking pictures. Her mother Alice (Madchen Amick) is yelling at the lookie-loos: "Do you want to see where he planned all his murders? Do you want to see The Black Hood's lair?" Understandably she's upset but this is not going to help matters at all. The next morning Jughead tries to get Betty to go to school but she feels the need to stay home and be emotional support for her mother but it seems like Betty might be the one needing some help as well. Fred Andrews (Luke Perry) comes over and Betty falls apart in tears apologizing for not seeing the signs that her dad was TBH that led to Fred getting shot. Even when Archie and Veronica come by that evening to try and help her move on, Betty is so ashamed of what her dad has done that she feels she can't even show her face in school again.
At school, Kevin (Casey Cott) finds Moose (Cody Kearsley) sobbing in the bathroom because he's broken up over Midge's locker getting trashed during the riots. It had been made into a decorated memorial and now that's all gone. I know it's disrespectful but I don't think she'll know the difference, Moose. Kevin embraces Moose to console him and the intimate moment leads to them kissing. How many days after Midge's death of this happening did you have in the betting squares? I lost as well because I had the day after the funeral.
With all of the drama going on in town, the whole student body president race just doesn't seem important anymore to its candidates. They all decide to drop out for various reasons except for Archie and the dark horse Ethel Muggs (Shannon Purser). These kids don't even seem to have time for their homework much less student council. This might be a hidden blessing for Jughead because Principal Weatherbee (Peter Bryant) has made the decision to transfer all the remaining Southside High students to another school two hours away. I think his breaking point was when he caught them all trashing the school during the riots so can't much blame the guy.
After Cheryl lets Veronica in on Hiram's secret meeting with her mother, Vee takes this new info straight to her father and confronts him about what he is planning. Of course, he just gives her some lie about wanting to get into the maple syrup trade but she isn't buying it. Veronica even goes as far as to say that Hiram hired the man that shot up the debate even though it put his wife, Hermione (Marisol Nichols) at risk. This must've made Hermione take a serious look in the mirror because she would later approach Veronica and tell her how her father still needed one key piece of property before his plans for Southside Riverdale domination can be complete. He needs the Serpent's HQ the Whyte Wyrm but if Veronica can buy it first she will have leverage over him. But where would she get the money to buy it? Let's bring in Sierra McCoy (Robin Givens) the busiest (and apparently only) attorney in town to get her million dollars back that Hiram took. Veronica puts the screws to her father and threatens to expose his mobster secrets if he doesn't release her funds back to her. With the election only days away, Hiram knows it would be a serious blow to Hermione's campaign if this happened. So looks like daughter has done a good job of learning from her evil father.
Having learned from Toni (Vanessa Morgan) that there are still Serpents hiding out at the Whyte Wyrm, Jughead heads over there to discover that the club isn't as done as his dad had led him to believe. With the trailer park gone, those that couldn't afford to leave have taken up refuge at the Serpents HQ. When Jughead would return home to question his father about it he finds FP drunk on the couch because he has just been freshly fired by Hiram from Pop's. Still, he has to confront his dad about lying to him and FP tells him that all those Serpents left need to just give up and leave because they're going to do the same. FP has made plans to take Jughead with him to Toledo where his son's mother also lives. Obviously, Jughead protests this idea but FP says he won't let his son end up in a body bag so they're going.
Sheriff Minetta contacts Fred and Archie and lets them know that he made it his "personal mission" to catch the man that shot Fred (the second time). An anonymous tip led his deputies to a man who when they went to question, fired on them and subsequently was killed. They found the same weapons matching from the debate shooting at his home and it would turn out that it was the former Serpent Tall Boy! And we all remember he had been hired by Hiram before so this all makes sense. But now that particular loose end has been put to rest and its one less piece of evidence to use against Daddy Lodge.
At Thistle House, Penelope learns of Cheryl's emancipation and is very upset about it (guess Cheryl waited on that gloating) but when she finds out her daughter is heading over to the Whyte Wyrm, all of a sudden she gets protective and tips her off about the sheriff's office getting ready to raid it. Cheryl, in turn, warns Jughead and it becomes a total evacuation for everyone staying at Serpent HQ. Under the cover of darkness, the refugees of the Southside cautiously avoid the police cars and make their way over the bridge into the Northside of Riverdale. How they were able to pull off this moment in such a dramatic fashion like they're escaping persecution I'm not sure but I applaud the production team. The next morning, we learn they all appear to be staying at Fred Andrew's place but he's not the old woman who lived in a shoe so not sure how this is possible. Even though FP brings up how this will probably hurt his campaign for mayor, Fred knows it's the right thing to do so screw it. You have my vote, Fred! Since this has brought the North and Southside together, why stop there? Archie comes up with the plan for everyone at Riverdale High to put on Serpents jackets (even Reggie!) and show their unity to Principal Weatherbee so that if he doesn't retract his actions of transferring the Southside students, they are all going to walk out of the school. I admit it's great to see all the students finally come together, but the man isn't necessarily wrong for wanting to get rid of the ones responsible for trashing his school. You'll just have to see this as a bonding experience for the kids Weatherbee.
Veronica passes her insider information of her father needing to buy the Whyte Wyrm on to Jughead who adds this to his list of things to dislike about Hiram. He tells Veronica that now he'll lose that place in addition to Pop's but she didn't know about FP getting fired. So this gets her gears turning in an effort to get even with her father. Hiram makes a visit to the Whyte Wyrm to close the deal on purchasing it but the new owner has already taken over and is there to greet him. Veronica has bought the place and is prepared to make him a new offer right away. She'll trade him the bar for the deed to Pop's because she wants her friends' hangout back. Hiram is all for accepting the deal on one condition-he is cutting his daughter off. No more allowance, trust fund, or credit cards. And she has to sign over her share in Lodge Industries. Her simple answer, "Fine." I know getting the diner is an act of principal but she's really overpaying here. Why trade the bar when you could make Hiram pay for it AND get Pop's because you know how important it is to his plan? Shaking my head at this girl.
At the Cooper household, Polly (Tiera Skovbye) has come to visit and brought the twins with her. She sees how upset Betty is at their father but she tells her that she needs to learn to forgive him. "If we don't absolve him we'll become what he was," she says. Whether it's Polly or her own reasons Betty does decide to go visit her dad in jail and face him for possibly the last time. We find Hal behind a thick glass cell wall, that is an obvious homage to Silence of the Lambs but we all know he isn't nearly as terrifying. How this town even has a holding facility this fancy is surprising enough. Hal provokes Betty by telling her that she came to see him because she understands him and they are much alike. Betty stands up and firmly lets him know that she just came to say goodbye and to let him know that there will be "no more darkness" because he no longer has any power over her. As she walks away Hal yells at her "You'll be back, Betty," which comes off as the desperate effort that it is. Closing the door on her relationship with Hal must've really been what she needed because when Betty returns home she tells her mom that she feels she is ready to go back to school. Polly is still in caregiver mode because she sees how her mom is doing and offers to have a friend from the Farm come and talk to her. She says this person helped her when she was "broken." Alice agrees and this has all the possibilities of her becoming some God-fearing cult member next season.
The elections for the mayoral race and student council are both held at the same time in the high school gym which just seems like the most unlikely thing for even a small town. After the votes have been counted, Weatherbee announces over the PA that Archie has been elected student body president. The result that surprises no one but in addition all Southside students will be allowed to stay at Riverdale High. Everyone rejoices again which is great but strange to see all the students as one harmonious group.
Later that day, the Serpents (who have no homes to speak of) throw a barbecue on the banks of Sweetwater River to celebrate their anniversary as a club. FP gets up in front of everyone and makes the announcement that he is "retiring from the Serpents" and appointing Jughead as the new "Serpent King." Jughead assures everyone that the "Serpents won't die out" and then proceeds to give Cheryl a red Serpent jacket which I'm assuming makes her an official member now. But how come she didn't have to do the same initiation as Betty by doing the Serpent Dance? Just asking for a friend.
That evening at the Andrews household, many are waiting to see the results of the mayoral race but when Fred gets the call, it turns out Hermione has won. Just as soon as the disappointment is setting in there is a knock on the door and it's the new mayor herself, Hermione. She comes over to congratulate Fred on running a good campaign and shakes his hand like an honorable opponent. Hard to say what this means going forward because we're seeing cracks in Hermione's devotion to Hiram's actions. Afterward, Archie sneaks off and makes a visit to Hiram in his study to have a chat about some things on his mind while holding a knife casually in his hand. He lets Hiram know that he's aware how he let himself be manipulated after his dad was shot but also he knows about him hiring Tall Boy as TBH 2.0, the Ghoulies to get rid of the Serpents, Andre killing Papa Poutine, and that boy Cassidy who was killed by Lodge's lake house (did anyone even remember that kid's name?). Archie vows to find a way to find proof that Hiram was behind all these things and when he finally does he's coming after him. "I won't hesitate like I did with the Black Hood," he begins. "I'm going to make my bones once and for all." And he ends this with dramatically stabbing the knife into Hiram's desk leaving it standing up. Hiram actually looks afraid of Archie's threat or either that he's just really upset about his desk. You decide.
Sitting in her new acquisition Pop's with her friends, Veronica tells them that Pop Tate informed her how the basement of the diner used to be a speakeasy. She wants to bring that idea back but instead turn it into a cabaret space with drinks and entertainment for North-and Southsiders alike. And also have FP run the place because he can bring in the Southside clientele. That and he is unemployed at the moment. That's a swell idea lady because this way folks can get drunk and then go upstairs and buy food. Twice the profits! Plus with the entertainment idea, I see this as a way the show plans to get some musical guests on? Just a theory but if I'm right you heard it here first. Jughead asks her if they have to worry about her father and she theorizes that he is already cooking up some revenge.
Veronica knows her father well because we find him holding a meeting at HIS new property, the Whyte Wyrm. Looking like a rogues' gallery out of a Batman comic he has all his different thugs ready to put his plan into action. Penelope, Claudius, Minetta, Penny Peabody (Brit Morgan), and Ghoulie head nutcase Malachai (Tommy Martinez) are all part of Hiram's business plan to build the prison and sell drugs through it. Plus Penelope wants a brothel because it seems she really got a taste for the lifestyle. The only thorn in his side is his daughter and her friends and he has a plan for that as well.
The next day at Riverdale High there is a ceremony to induct Archie in as student body president. Funny thing is, I didn't even know who my school's president even was much less attend a ceremony. As the National Anthem is sung and Archie looks all smiles about his new position he sees Hiram appear in a hallway with that cocky smile on his face. Just then, Minetta comes in with two deputies and slaps cuffs on Archie saying he is under arrest for the murder of Cassidy Bullock. This is far-fetched and so weak. It was so long ago how is it even still relevant? And still, no one in this entire episode mentioned the death of poor Andre! While Archie is taken away he gets one last look from Hiram who nods his head acknowledging his role in all of this farce. Looks like Season three is going to be all about Free Archie.
That's all for me here everyone. Season two was a fun and wacky ride and it was a pleasure to share it all with you. Go enjoy some milkshakes!