|“||The Gargoyle King. The Red Dahlia. The Black Hood. Chic was in jail. Hal Cooper was dead. Finally. Only Penelope Blossom managed to slip away into the night. Riverdale belonged to us again. A future was ours to write. But what would our stories be?||”|
THE FINAL QUEST — After receiving mysterious invitations, Archie, Betty, Veronica and Jughead band together to confront the evils of their past once and for all. Meanwhile, chaos ensues at The Farm after Edgar makes a chilling announcement.
After escaping the Farm barefoot, dressed in nothing more than a hospital gown, Toni manages to make it back to Thistlehouse, where she informs Penelope of the Farm’s harvest program and how Cheryl, Betty, Kevin, and Fangs are in trouble. Unfortunately, Penelope does not prove to be the savior that Toni had hoped she would be. Instead, Penelope drugs Toni, knocking her unconscious and taking this information with her.
Both Jughead and FP are doubtful that Jason Blossom is the Gargoyle King, as told by Ethel, though they can’t ignore the fact that Jason’s body is no longer buried. Blossom or no Blossom, someone is wearing the Gargoyle King antlers and it’s up to them to figure out who. Jughead keeps thinking about the matchbook they found in Baby Teeth’s throat. Kurtz had to have gotten it from the Maple Club. When FP asks where Jughead’s going with this thought, Jughead simply asks for a copy of Kurtz's mugshot.
Evelyn interrupts Edgar just as he is about to begin his procedure on an unconscious Betty, to inform him of Penelope’s arrival. Penelope makes it known that she’s fully aware of Edgar’s harvest program, and while she has no interest in exposing his illegal activities, she does, however, want Betty.
Jughead shows Kurtz’s mugshot to Laura, also known as Rosemary, and asks if he’s ever been to the Maple Club. Laura answers that he has, though she’s never dealt with him directly. All of his interactions were with the Red Dahlia, Penelope. Jughead then asks if Laura has ever seen Penelope with a young redhead. Laura has, asking if Jughead’s referring to her son Jason.
With the Farm now compromised and the outside world encroaching upon them, Edgar informs Alice and Evelyn that it’s time to ascend. Alice appears worried, asking if either Edgar or Evelyn have seen Betty. Evelyn lies and tells Alice that Betty escaped with Toni. Edgar states that they’ll ascend without Betty as she was never a true believer. Cheryl eavesdrops on this conversation from the corner, unbeknownst to Alice, Edgar, and Evelyn.
In the wake of Hiram’s arrest, Veronica and Hermione gain full ownership of the Pembrooke, and all over Lodge investment properties. Veronica and Hermione are now officially the co-owners of Pop's Chock'lit Shoppe and La Bonne Nuit. Lastly, Veronica inquires about the El Royale Fight Club, which she seeks to give to Archie.
Archie then gets a call from Veronica, who informs him that he now legitimately owns the gym. While this is a very generous gift, Mary is still interested in where Archie and Veronica stand romantically. There’s a knock at a door. Archie answers only to find a black gift box sealed with a red ribbon, with a letter attached.
As it turns out, Veronica and Jughead got the same letter. And so, the three of them meet at Pop’s. Jughead’s been trying to get in touch with Betty, but she’s not answering. The invitations say not to tell anyone or bring their cellphones. It’s obviously a trap, but they don’t have much of a choice.
Betty awakens in a bed unfamiliar to her. She finds a dress hanging, with a letter addressed to her, telling her to put it on and come downstairs. Betty does just that. Downstairs, Archie, Veronica, and Jughead await her at the dinner table, with Penelope seemingly as the host of the event. They’re at the Blossom hunting lodge on Thornhill grounds. Penelope explains to Betty that she bought her from Edgar just before he was about to cut her open. To Betty’s right, stands Sister Agatha Woodhouse, with a loaded gun. Apparently, she is in cahoots with Penelope. She was one of Penelope’s mentors who cared for her when she was at the Sisters of Quiet Mercy. It was she who taught Penelope everything she knows about poisons. Betty pieces together that the nuns who she had previously found dead in the chamber with blue lips must’ve been Sister Woodhouse’s doing. Penelope states that the sisters were simply loose ends. Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead, on the other hand, are featured players. The sons and daughters of the original Midnight Club.
There are two more seats at the table that sit empty. Penelope calls in the two remaining guests, the Black Hood and the Gargoyle King. The Black Hood rips off his hood, and as suspected, it’s Hal Cooper. Before the Gargoyle King takes off his mask, Penelope gives Jughead a chance to guess his identity. Whoever is under the mask must’ve had a connection to both Hal and Penelope, but it’s not Jason because he’s dead, even though his corpse is missing. The one corpse that hasn’t been accounted for, who was last seen by the Black Hood, is Chic. The Gargoyle King unmasks, and as Jughead suspected, Chic is the Gargoyle King, though he has dyed his hair red since their last encounter. Jughead surmises he did this only after he started working with Penelope, but this was also after he got the Gargoyle symbols tattooed on his back. This is why Ethel said the Gargoyle King was Jason. Because Penelope called and dressed Chic up like Jason. Hal explains to Betty that he didn’t kill Chic because he recognized a kinship in him and spared him. He begged for mercy and pledged his life to Hal in service of his mission. But it wasn’t just Hal’s mission. He started working with Penelope, who also has a grudge against Riverdale.
Betty recalls the affair her father had with Penelope in the middle of the Black Hood attacks last year. Penelope takes credits for cultivating Hal’s murderous impulses to take her revenge on a town that allowed her to be sold to the Blossoms as a child bride. Their parents knew, but they did nothing but mock her. And years later, when Jason was murdered, none of them even reached out to her. Riverdale is a cruel and hideous place by Penelope’s account. She and the Black Hood were on a mission to exterminate the town’s sinners, and they were doing well until Hal was arrested. But that’s when Chic came to Penelope in search of a purpose. And so, with Chic, she decided to continue her work, but instead with the Gargoyle King. Penelope introduced G&G to their parents 25 years ago and reintroduced it this year to Chic, who gave it to Ben Button, who started playing with Dilton Doiley and Ethel Muggs. From there, the game spread like a virus. This whole time, the true mastermind behind it all, the true king, Jughead says, is Penelope. Now, it’s time for one final round, with them, the Midnight Children, as she refers to them. It’s to reveal their true nature. To prove they’re as dark-hearted as the town that birthed them. If they win, they escape. If they lose, they die.
Penelope takes Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead into the woods, where she presents them with their task. They must go into the woods and survive the night. Each of them will be tested. Should they refuse her test or try to escape, her Gargoyle minions, the Gargoyle Gang, will kill them. With that, the final quest begins. Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead head deep into the woods, intent on completing this final quest and proving Penelope wrong.
Cheryl attempts to convince Kevin and Fangs to join her in her escape, though they remain loyal followers of the Farm. They point out that Cheryl is supposed to be confined to her room for helping Toni escape. However, Cheryl explains that Betty was right about everything and that they need to leave as Edgar is harvesting organs. Cheryl takes them to the storage locker to prove that she’s telling the truth, but when she does, she finds that it has been emptied. Cheryl then runs off to find proof elsewhere while Fangs and Kevin stay behind to prepare for ascension. Cheryl goes door-to-door in search of any kind of evidence. Inside one of the rooms, she finds Jason’s body slumped over in a wheelchair and screams out in horror.
The first quest is staged with a Red Paladin card. This alone is for Archie to complete. The Red Paladin must conquer the grizzled beast, i.e. a grizzly bear. However, when Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead arrive at the pit, he finds a gigantic man wearing the pelt and skull of a bear. Archie rushes the grizzled beast, though he doesn’t fare well at all, landing very few hits. Archie is greatly outmatched in size, though somehow, he manages to best the beast, hitting him with a combo of punches before finishing him off with a large bone. Archie returns to Betty, Veronica, and Jughead victorious. Veronica greets him with a hug. They now move on to the next quest.
Uneased with the fact that she can’t get in contact with Betty and the harvesting rumors that she’s been hearing, Alice visits Edgar, who offers to address her concerns. Unfortunately, he can’t say where Betty is, but about the rumors, he admits that he hasn’t been entirely truthful about all the Farm’s activities. Before he can continue, Cheryl barges in to confront him on digging up her brother. Edgar reasons that Cheryl had a void and that it’s his job to diagnose how to fill it. Evelyn enters with two orderlies who restrain Cheryl and are ordered to confine Cheryl to her room. Edgar then asks that Alice and Evelyn help him gather the flock into the chamber so that they can ascend.
Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead find the next quest. On a table sits six chalices. Each filled with Gargoyle blood. This quest is for Veronica, the Enchantress. She must choose her closest companion, and they will take turns spinning the bottle and drinking from the chosen chalice, though one of the chalices contains a lethal, rapid-acting venom. Should they refuse, they’ll all be killed. Given the fact that she and Veronica are best friends, Betty volunteers. They both recall prom night, sophomore year, where they played a similar game at Cheryl’s party. Veronica spins first, and from there, she and Betty take turns spinning the bottle, each time taking a sip from one of the six chalices. It’s Betty’s turn when it comes down to the last chalice, which must be the lethal, rapid-acting venom. Before Betty can drink from the chalice, Veronica snatches the cup from her hand and drinks it instead because she cares that deeply for Betty. Penelope appears with two armed Gargoyles at her side. She reveals that this was a character challenge. A test towards Veronica’s loyalty. However, all the chalices were poisoned, though they’re slow-acting, and the only way to get the antidote is to finish the game.
As Betty and Jughead move forward, Archie falls a few steps behind as he wishes to tell Veronica that he loves her. Veronica reveals that nothing happened with her and Reggie the night after the fight when he showed up at the Pembrooke. Her heart ached because she feels the same way he does. Veronica reciprocates the love, and the two of them proceed to kiss under the Devil’s Hand In Pickens Park.
Alice enters Cheryl’s room with Juniper, claiming that she’s there to help. Alice leads Cheryl into the tunnels, which lead to Fox Forest. The tunnels had initially been closed, but Edgar opened them back up after purchasing the compound. Alice hands Juniper over to Cheryl and tells her to reunite her with Dagwood. Alice isn’t coming. She has to stay to protect Polly, but she makes Cheryl promise that she’ll find Betty to make sure she’s safe from the Farm and her father. Alice sees Cheryl out, telling her to keep running until she makes it into town.
Nana Rose wakes Toni up to warn her that the hunt is afoot at the Thornhill Nature Preserve, and Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead are the hunted. It’s up to Toni to save them, but first, Toni must save Cheryl.
The third quest is for Jughead. The Hellcaster. The battle of kings. Jughead must battle Chic. They simultaneously run for the axe, planted in the tree stump, but Chic gains a hold of it first. He swings at Jughead several times, just narrowly missing. After Chic loses the axe, he and Jughead struggle for control of the fight. Chic manages to get on top of Jughead nearly strangling him to death. Fortunately, Jughead wins the fight by hitting Chic over the head with a nearby animal skull. Although victorious, they must keep moving as the poison is starting to take effect, more so on Veronica.
As Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead search for the finale quest, they attempt to figure out how everything is connected. Penelope, Hal, and Chic have created an unholy trinity with direct links to everything bad that has ever happened in the last 3 years. It’s as if Jason’s death begat the Black Hood, which begat the Gargoyle King, which Veronica points out existed before Jason was killed. To Jughead’s point, then it’s a case of a serpent eating its own tail. A cycle of never-ending madness that continues until someone breaks the chain.
Just outside Thistlehouse, Toni has rallied the Pretty Poisons and Southside Serpents in preparation to storm the Farm and retrieve Cheryl. Much to their surprise, Cheryl has already escaped. She joins them, handing Juniper off Peaches 'N Cream, who hands her off to Nana Rose. Cheryl runs into Toni’s arms and they kiss. Cheryl asks where is Betty. Nana Rose replies that she’s being hunted at Thornhill with all the others. Penelope has been planning this for weeks. It’s the grand hunt. With little time to spare, the Poisons and Serpents ride out.
Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead have reached the final quest. Betty’s quest. She and Jughead express their love for one another before starting the quest. Betty finds a black box tied with a red bow. Inside is a loaded gun with one bullet. The Black Hood then appears. He rips off his hood and tells Betty that this has to end. Hal tells Betty that she must kill him. It’s her destiny. He then pulls out his gun and points it at her. either she kills him and gets the antidote or he kills her and her friends. He counts down from three, leaving Betty with no other option. She fires, but rather than killing her father, she simply shoots off his fingers, as she’ll never be like him. Hal falls to the ground in pain, with his gun just a few feet away. Penelope calls an end to all of it. Hal has outlived his usefulness, and so Penelope pulls out her gun and shoots Hal in the head. Jughead and Veronica console a grief-stricken Betty as Archie claims their prize and retrieves the antidote.
Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead won. They survived the night and proved they are better than the town. Nevertheless, Penelope sentences them to death, instructing her minions, the Gargoyle gang, to kill them. And now it’s a race for their lives as Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead take off into the woods with the Gargoyles just behind them as the sun rises. Fortunately, as they near the road, the Pretty Poisons and Serpents, led by Cheryl and Toni, begin firing arrows at the Gargoyles. As they begin to retreat, the Poisons and Serpents charge forward. As for Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead, they’ve taken cover behind one of the trucks and Betty and Veronica have taken the antidote. Once they’re in the clear, the four of them have a group hug. Betty then asks Cheryl about her mom. Cheryl reveals that it was Alice who freed her and told her to find Betty as they’re planning to ascend tonight.
Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead, Toni, and Cheryl arrive at the Farm, where they find Kevin in the fetal position, crying in the chamber. He says they left him because someone had to stay behind to explain what happened. The worthy ascended. Betty asks about her mom and Polly. Kevin claims that they’re gone, along with everyone else from the Farm, and they’ll never be seen again.
The Gargoyle King. The Red Dahlia. And the Black Hood. Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead had survived the night with all three. And now, Chic is in jail and Hal Cooper is dead. Penelope was the only one who managed to escape into the night. Given that the Gargoyle King has been defeated, it is now time they take back the town, starting with Pop’s. Jughead has rallied the Serpents, Pretty Poisons, and Bulldogs to help with the clean up of the diner as it is riddled on Gargoyle symbols.
Cheryl has since returned the Sisters, but not because of the Farm, but because that’s where Jason’s body remains. To Jason’s corpse, Cheryl says welcome home.
Hermione makes a startling discovery from their attorney about something Hiram kept hidden from her. Before she can share this information with Veronica, agent Ardelia and several other FBI agents kick in the door and place Hermione under arrest for conspiracy to commit murder against Hiram. As Hermione is handcuffed and taken away, she tells Veronica that everything is going to be fine and to call Sowerberry.
Hiram, while working out in the yard of his own prison, the Lodge Detention Center, receives news from one of his guards that as requested, Hermione has been arrested and the necessary evidence has been planted. It seems this is only the first step in Hiram’s plan to get back at those who wronged him, stating that Veronica doesn’t even know what’s coming.
While sparring at the gym with Mad Dog, Archie tells him about his plans to make changes. He wants to make the gym into a halfway house or community. A place where the kids can go to stay off the streets. And he wants Mad Dog to help him run it.
Agent Smith with the FBI knocks on the Joneses door. He is looking for Betty, who is inside with Jughead. Betty and Jughead suspect this is about the Lodges, but in actuality, it’s about Alice. Agent Smith’s team has been investigating Edgar Evernever for quite some time. They almost had him two towns ago. When they landed in Riverdale, the FBI sent in an undercover, someone tasked with getting close to Edgar to gain intel. They were waiting on her word to take him down. That someone being Alice. She’s an FBI informant. She’s been helping them build a case against Edgar and his organ harvesting program. It’s vital that they find Alice as soon as possible, which is why they’re setting up in Riverdale. Agent Smith seems vaguely familiar to Betty, and so after talking to him for a bit, Betty finally decides to ask if they know each other. Agent Smith replies that it’s no coincidence that he and Alice found each other as he’s Charles. Betty and Jughead’s half brother, who was supposedly killed by Chic.
Betty and Jughead relay this information about Alice being an FBI informant and Charles being alive to Archie and Veronica at Pop’s. As for Veronica’s mom, she’s trying to cut a deal with the DA. But in the meantime, Smithers is her legal guardian. Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead decide to make a vow. With the senior year ahead of them, they vow to be done with death cults, murder mysteries and everything of the sorts. Their senior year may be the last time they’re all together and Archie doesn’t want to let anything ruin that. To that, the four of them toast. Flash forward to Spring Break, senior year. Archie, Betty, and Veronica stand around a campfire, barely clothed and covered in blood. Betty tells Archie and Veronica that they have to burn all their clothes, including Jughead’s beanie, which Archie has in hand. They’ll wash off the blood in the swimming hole, and after tonight, they are to never speak of what transpired. Not to anyone. They finish their senior year, graduate, and then go their separate ways. It’s the only way they won’t get caught. Reluctantly, Archie throws Jughead’s beanie in the fire, though Jughead is nowhere in sight. Return to the present day, back at Pop’s, the gang toasts their milkshakes and promise that they’ll be friends forever.
- Billie Eilish - when the party's over
- Donnie Owens - My Love
- The episode title comes from Mandopony's 2015 song of the same name, the World of Warcraft quest of the same name, Bill Corcoran's 1993 action/thriller film of the same name, and Danielle Rollins' 2015 young adult horror novel of the same name.
- Hart Denton (Chic) is credited under "Guest Starring" but not until the end credits to maintain the surprise of his return.
- This episode was previously titled "Apocalypto", the 2006 American epic adventure film of the same name.
- The following episode later reveals the date of this episode's events via the engraving on Hal Cooper's gravestone. The given date is: May 19, 2019.