|“||It's been almost a year. Like the grown-ups in IT, we returned to our haunted hometown and confronted the darkest monsters we'd ever faced... ourselves. We'd survived, but surviving isn't the same as thriving, and none of us, it seemed, were thriving.||”|
Reggie reveals to Veronica that he unfortunately failed his test to become a licensed stockbroker. However, he has been thinking and suggests that they open a casino together, recalling how much fun they had running games out of La Bonne Nuit. As enticing of an idea as that may be, Veronica has decided to go back to New York after the school year ends, revealing to Reggie that she and Archie broke up, as he understands that her future is in New York.
Betty joins Archie at the Wyrm for a bit of day drinking. He reveals that Eric has moved back home, but the reason for his drinking is due to the fact that he and Veronica broke up. After seven years apart, they became different people. Veronica belongs in New York, whereas Archie belongs in Riverdale, where he intends to reopen Andrews Construction, to which Betty replies that it seems they'll be neighbors for the foreseeable future, as she just reopened the Riverdale office after being reinstated in the FBI. Unfortunately, she's already missed her graduation, so Archie offers to pay for the next round instead.
Weatherbee calls Jughead into his office to discuss how some of the students are interested in restarting the Blue and Gold. However, none of the current faculty are willing to supervise. So, Weatherbee is hoping Jughead would agree to fill the position, which he does.
When Veronica reveals to Cameron, a New York affiliate, that she intends to return soon, he warns her that now isn't the best time, considering she killed Chad. No firm in town would be willing to hire the "Black Widow of Wall Street," which is what they're referring to her as. Cameron suggests calling him again in six months, once everything has calmed down.
Britta works in the Blossom mines, digging for palladium as Cheryl supervises. She doesn't mind, as the hard labor will keep her into shape for football next year. Palladium is the missing piece in Cheryl's ministry, the fabled fifth element and the bridge between the physical and spiritual world, which will grant her power over both.
Archie escorts Betty to the FBI field office for her surprise party, with all their friends and family in attendance. Alice hands Betty her diploma and embraces her daughter. Fangs then encourages Betty to give a speech, in which she thanks them all for coming. Kevin then emerges with Betty's FBI themed cake.
Her promotion means that she's staying in Riverdale, Betty reveals to Veronica. There's enough crime to last her several life times, she adds. While Betty is upset to hear about Veronica's break up with Archie, she's sure that Veronica is excited to get back to her life in New York.
Tabitha prepares to head back to the diner, but Jughead reveals that he's already asked Delores to cover the night for them, considering they never got the chance to have their date.
Frank is happy to hear that Alice is doing better in dealing with Polly's death. He asks if she's been getting out the house much. She's confessed that she's been trying to and asks if Frank has something in mind.
A Ghoulie sitting in the parking lot of Pop's exits his car and sets the diner ablaze with a Molotov cocktail.
At dinner, Jughead tells Tabitha that Weatherbee has asked him to come back to run the Blue and Gold. And provided he finishes the school year without incident, he can begin teaching again in the fall. Maybe then Jughead could move out of Archie's garage, Tabitha jokes. With that in mind, she mentions that her lease is also up in the fall and suggests that she and Jughead move in together. Unfortunately, their night comes to an abrupt end when Delores calls and reveals that Pop's was set on fire.
Archie, Fangs, Frank, and Kevin are at the station playing cards when they receive the call about a fire at pops. However, when they reach the truck, they discover that the tires have been slashed, forcing them to change the tires, thus delaying their arrival at Pop's.
Jughead and Tabitha rush to Pop's to find it up in flames. They arrive just as the diner explodes from within.
The gang is devastated with what remains of Pop's after the fire, though none more than Tabitha. Archie apologizes for not arriving sooner, but Tabitha insists that it's not his fault. In fact, he and the fire department are the only reason the diner is still standing. She's not even sure how to call Pop Tate in Florida and tell him that the family business went up in flames. According to Sheriff Keller, who took Delores' statement, it was the Ghoulies who threw the Molotov cocktail that set Pop's ablaze. Veronica is almost certain that they were merely hired hands, doing her father's work. Assuming the sheriff is correct, Toni and Fangs assure Tabitha that they will take care of the Ghoulies. However, as far as Archie is concerned, they have all the confirmation they need, as no one else besides Hiram would have a motive to set fire to Pop's and slash the tires on their firetruck.
Archie kicks Hiram's Five Seasons door in with Betty and Sheriff Keller in tow and slams him on to the table. They place him in handcuffs and escort him out.
Jughead teaches his first class in the Blue and Gold offices. They discuss the power of journalism, for example the Lodge Ledger and how it shapes the truth to benefit Hiram Lodge.
Archie, Betty, and Sheriff Keller discuss their next move, as Hiram will be out soon given they can't conclusively connect him to the fire. Until Toni finds the Ghoulie that torched Pop's, Archie and Betty intend to search Hiram's SoDale office, in hopes of finding something incriminating.
Toni and Fangs torture the Ghoulie responsible for torching Pop's. He eventually concedes and reveals that he was hired by Hiram. Toni questions why would the Ghoulies risk a war with the Serpents by torching Pop's and the Wyrm, thus destroying her place of business. He explains that the Serpents are a joke and non-factors who have resorted to driving trucks and having babies, thus making them soft. Not to mention, Hiram offered them the town itself once it was completely destroyed. Despite having gotten her answer, Toni continues to torture the Ghoulie.
Archie and Betty invite Veronica to help them search Hiram's office. Inside a folder, Veronica discovers paperwork that reveals Hiram incorporated SoDale, meaning now that it's legally a town, Hiram can petition the courts to redraw its borders and absorb all unincorporated lands, including Riverdale and the palladium mines. In hopes of stopping him, Betty wants to take the documents back to the office to see if the documents are even legal. Archie then gets a message from Toni to meet at the Wyrm.
Toni and Fangs reveal to Archie and Veronica that not only did Hiram hire the Ghoulies to burn down Pop's, but also every other fire in recent memory has been their doing as well. In exchange for the destruction of Riverdale, he promised them the burned husk of the town. All Hiram cares about is the mines. Veronica apologizes for her father, but what Toni wants is justice, not an apology. "Serpent justice," Fangs specifies. Veronica claims that she will stop him, but Toni and Fangs aren't convinced that she is willing to do what needs to be done. However, Veronica insists that she will take care of him. As for the Serpents, Archie asks if they can collect signatures to reincorporate the town. Toni is initially reluctant, telling Archie that the Serpents don't run errands for anyone, but Archie reminds her just how important reincorporating the town is and how that can't be done without getting 51% of people living within the town to sign an endorsement. Toni agrees, but not before telling Archie and Veronica that if they fail to take out Hiram, then the Serpents will.
Veronica admits that drastic actions need to be taken against her father. Archie wonders what she has in mind. Veronica suggests that he mysteriously go missing, as no one will look for him, not even her mother or sister. Archie proposes taking him out to the maple barrens. However, Reggie interrupts to give them a "smoking gun" he acquired that holds irrefutable proof of Hiram's misdeeds.
Betty gets a call at the FBI field office from the Trash Bag Killer. He tells her not to bother with a trace, referring to her as "Pretty Betty." He called simply to congratulate her on graduation and to tell her that he has no plans to come calling on her and hopes that she extends him the same courtesy, but Betty can't make that promise.
Jughead and Tabitha have milkshakes in the charred remains of Pop's, as the kitchen at least remains operational. Unfortunately, the insurance won't cover the fire, Tabitha reveals. The last few months, she's chosen to pay her staff over paying her insurance premiums, which is exactly what they teach not to do in business school. Tabitha then reveals that the Lodge Ledger has published an article regarding Pop's demise and how Riverdale's better off without it. Hoping to cheer her up, Jughead comes up with an idea to get back at Hiram.
Archie and Veronica enter Hiram's cell and hold him at gunpoint before placing a bag over his head.
With the fire department on standby, Jughead and Tabitha give Hiram a taste of his own medicine and set the Lodge Ledger on fire with a Molotov cocktail. They share a kiss while staring at the blaze before getting a call from Archie.
Toni can't stop thinking about the Ghoulie they tortured and how he said that the Serpents are over, which Fangs refuses to accept, though they have admittedly been on the back burner. Still, Fangs reminds Toni that they've been Serpents since birth and that no Ghoulie can take that away from them. As Queen of the Serpents, Toni still feels she could be doing more and wants the Serpents involved in the town's reconstruction. They'll start by taking the Serpents off the roads back, bringing them back to Riverdale, and finding them a gig that pays just as well as truck driving. Then, they'll concentrate on building back up their ranks, starting with baby Anthony, who'll be the symbol of the next generation of Serpents. But in the meantime, the Serpents need a king, a position she appoints Fangs. "In unity, there is strength," Toni says before kissing Fangs.
Archie and Veronica have taken Hiram out to the town's border for exile, where the rest of the gang awaits, all armed with various weapons, not the least Cheryl and her bow and arrows. Just on the edge of town, Veronica reveals that they have Hiram on camera as he murdered Vito Alto in his bed, and in exactly one hour, Betty intends to hand the video footage over to the FBI. As for Hiram's belongings, they'll sell whatever he has left in town and use it to rebuild Pop's and Riverdale. Faced with insurmountable odds, Hiram is forced out of Riverdale at gunpoint.
After seeing him in action tonight, Tom asks Kevin to be his deputy full time, but Kevin has already decided to give New York and Broadway a shot once the school year is over. He's been thinking about it since Josie visited.
Archie intends to host the meeting for Riverdale's township at the community center. Fangs reluctantly reveals that they're not at 51% yet because people are wondering what kind of town Riverdale will be, and they will want to know before they agree to reincorporate, such as if there's going to be a mayor, Toni wonders. Archie suggests that she fill that position, but Toni turns him down, as does Fangs, as neither have the bandwidth, especially with Fangs having just been crowned Serpent King. In that case, Archie tells them to just focus on getting people to the community center for the town hall, where they'll have answers for people's questions.
While digging in the mines, Cheryl and Britta find human remains and go to Nana Rose for answers, who refers to them as "The Forgotten." She tells them the story of Abigail Blossom. The year was 1890. Thornhill was a girl school at the time, and Riverdale was a hateful and backwards town. The townspeople were suspicious of Abigail, who had no husband and no intention of taking one. They also harassed Abigail and the girls in her care for months, as they knew of the palladium to be found in the minds under the maple groves. When she refused to sell, they decided to steal it instead. Armed with pitchforks and torches, they came as a mob in the black of night to Thornhill and dragged Abigail from her home. They accused her of being a witch and burned at the stake in the groves surrounding Thornhill. The primary conspirators in her death were the ancestors of Archie, Jughead, and Betty: Archiebald Andrews, Jedediah Jones, and Beatrice Cooper. With her dying words, Abigail cursed them and the others, damning them to tragedy as well. After her death, the townspeople claimed the mines and began to dig for palladium, but there was a collapse, killing and entombing an entire generation of Riverdale's fathers and sons. Some say the collapse was caused by Abigail's curse. All this and more is written in Abigail's journal.
Tabitha regrets calling Pop Tate to inform him about the fire, as she didn't mean to upset him during his retirement and also didn't think he would come back to Riverdale from Florida. The worst part about all this is she feels as though she let him down. However, Pop Tate couldn't be prouder. She defied her father and took over a struggling business. Not to mention, Pop knows the debt she assumed when she took over the diner and that she had been paying it down for months. Between what they make from Hiram's stuff and Pop's putting in his retirement money, he believes that they can have Pop's back up in no time. Tabitha turns him down, but he insists, offering up his nest egg on the condition that she let him come back to Pop's and work with her.
Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead gather to discuss a possible civil council for Riverdale in hopes of avoiding another instance of someone abusing their power like Hiram did as mayor. However, they are interrupted by Cheryl, who refers to them as the descendants of those who committed Riverdale's original sin. She refuses to allow them to perpetuate any further cycles of violence, revealing that their ancestors, with the exception of Veronica, killed Cheryl's ancestor. Therefore, she's demanding a public and formal apology and acknowledgement. However, with there being such a desperate need for the town's support tomorrow at the meeting, they fear that leading with the tale of Abigail Blossom could distract people from the task at hand. Cheryl is enraged and refuses to allow them to bury the death of her ancestor any longer. She insists that the only chance the town has to be reborn is for them to come clean and beg for forgiveness.
Jughead talks to his class about the reincorporation of Riverdale. Whether Riverdale lives or dies, they will be ready to publish the outcome, truthfully and without bias, but as the "Riverdale Choice," a new free press for all of Riverdale that will hold those responsible for the town's safety accountable.
After thinking it over, Veronica has decided to stay in Riverdale, given the current state of things in New York. She approaches Reggie about his casino idea, which she is willing to go all in on. Reggie suggests they use Pearls and Posh as a cover.
The town hall meeting is underway. Archie explains that they're not looking to reincorporate a town that was, but a town that may one day be, with the proper leadership that is. Which is why they're hoping that it won't be a mayor that'll lead them into glory, but instead a council of four. Unfortunately, the meeting is interrupted by Cheryl, who presumes that Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead will lead the council. However, much to her surprise, Archie reveals that the council consists of Tabitha, Toni, Frank, and Alice. With no objections to his proposal of the council, Cheryl then asks Archie about the past, which he refuses to address. And so, moving forward, Thornhill and her lands shall cede from the corrupt township of Riverdale, Cheryl decrees, before leaving with Britta. Moving back to the subject of the council, Archie reveals the four nominees have deep roots in Riverdale and will each swear an oath to put Riverdale's collective needs before any single individual. And with a unanimous vote, the town of Riverdale is reincorporated under the leadership of the new council.
Veronica and Reggie approach Tabitha, Toni, Frank, and Alice with the idea of a family-friendly casino in Riverdale, which will provide more jobs, as well as a cash flow. Reggie claims that Riverdale can be the next Atlantic City. However, the counsel is doubtful and also have greater concerns like traffic lights and potholes to fix first, as well as Pop's. Although, Toni does suggest that they bring a full proposal to next month's meeting.
Betty finds Archie alone in his office and congratulates him on getting Riverdale reincorporated. She then ask about Cheryl, who Archie isn't too concerned with, certain that she'll come around. He then asks what Betty has planned for the night.
Cheryl returns from the meeting unsuccessful in her goal to strong-arm Archie and the gang into begging for her forgiveness and acknowledging the wrongdoing of their ancestors. She questions if Riverdale will ever learn. Nana Rose believes that it will, but not without Cheryl's help. She hands Cheryl the last words Abigail ever spoke as she was being burned alive, i.e. the alleged curse she placed on the town. Cheryl, Nana Rose, and Britta gather around a table as Cheryl announces that moving forward, Thornhill will be a school for lost and wayward girls. She then recites the curse. "Archibald Andrews, Jedediah Jones, and Beatrice Cooper. I repudiate you with my dying breath. And in Satan's name, I curse you. Burn me, but you will never escape my wrath, nor Satan's. The unchained elements of the power of darkness are lying in ambush. Beware. My revenge will strike down you and your accursed houses. And I will bathe in the blood of your sons and daughters. Immortal, I shall return, again and again, to torment and destroy you." Moments later, a gust of wind sends Thornhill's door flying open, much to Cheryl and Britta's shock.
Archie constructs a new town sign, which now includes Pop's diner. Alice remarks that it's Archie's best work yet. More than just a sign, Frank believes that it represents everything Archie has done this year. Suddenly, heavy wind hits Riverdale. The gang feels it at the town's borders, as does Jughead and Tabitha outside of Pop's.
Veronica and Reggie have already begun to build on their casino idea from the Pembrooke, using Pearls and Posh as a cover-up, just as Reggie suggested. While it's not the Caesars Palace, they're on their way. Veronica and Reggie then begin to kiss.
Meanwhile, Archie and Betty have drinks at his house, where he tells Betty that he wants to try again, but not as friends with benefits. He wants to pursue an actual relationship with Betty, who feels the same way. The couple head upstairs, where they hear a ticking sound. Archie looks under his bed, where he sees a bomb planted by Hiram that explodes just seconds later.
- LP - The One That You Love
- Scene: Betty's graduation surpise party.
- Waxhead - Insane
- Iceage - Love Kills Slowly
- Scene: Jughead and Tabitha burn the Lodge Ledger.
- Valerie Broussard - Cross My Heart
- The episode title, "Riverdale: RIP(?)" is a direct quote from the Riverdale Choice newspaper headline.
- This episode marks the final appearance of Mark Consuelos as a series regular.
- Before coming to the decision to exile Hiram, the Riverdale writers considered killing him off: "The two versions of Hiram's death we were seriously entertaining late into the breaking of the episode were that Archie would take Hiram into the woods... and only Archie would come back, like something out of "The Sopranos." And the strong implication (never confirmed) would be that Archie had murdered Hiram and buried his body somewhere in Swedlow Swamp. The other thing we talked about is that Veronica and Archie would take Hiram to one of his construction sites and entomb him in wet cement in the building's foundation."
- Betty's ancestor being named "Beatrice Cooper" in 1890 is a continuity error, as her family didn't take the Cooper name until the mid 1900s.
- This episode is the second one to not feature the usual title card with the Sweetwater River in the background.
- Riverdale: Season Five Ratings - TV Series Finale
- Episode Title - WGA
- Riverdale Season Finale Spoilers: “RIVERDALE: RIP (?)” - KSiteTV
- ‘Riverdale’: Mark Consuelos Exits CW Teen Drama As Series Regular After 4 Seasons - Deadline
- ‘Riverdale’ Season 5 Finale: Family Ties Threaten New Beginnings, Showrunner Talks SPOILER’s Explosive Exit - Deadline