With end of ‘Riverdale’ finally in sight, it looks worse than ever

Aaron Boehmer, Life and Arts Reporter

While “Riverdale” started as a cheesy teen drama, the CW show diverged into a guilty pleasure series known for ridiculous plot lines and cringe-inducing dialogue — ironically a major draw for many fans. Following Archie Andrews, Betty Cooper, Veronica Lodge, Jughead Jones and sometimes Cheryl Blossom, the show fumbles its characters through nonsensical storylines, oddly-paired relationships, musical episodes, timeline jumps and even parallel universes. 

The series’ season six finale airs Sunday with one last season set to premiere in 2023. For loyal fans and hate-watchers alike, The Daily Texan created a road map of where the Riverdale characters now find themselves ahead of the season finale on Sunday.  

Following Riverdale’s introduction as a soapy murder mystery, season two turned the show into a serial killer hunt. Season three shifted its focus to cults and mob boss parents. Season four chronicled a hazing prep school, more mob boss parents, teenage FBI agents and stalker videos. 

The fifth season shockingly included more mob boss parents and FBI teenagers, but also a seven-year time jump. Now, Archie is an army veteran, Betty is an FBI agent, Jughead is a struggling writer, Veronica is a cutthroat business woman and Cheryl is a recluse painter and aspiring witch.  

After somehow attending Yale, Betty became an FBI agent and later reopened Riverdale’s FBI office because, of course, the small, secluded town of Riverdale has an FBI office. While Barchie (Betty and Archie) currently thrives as a couple, remaining feelings in the Bughead (Betty and Jughead) realm seemingly linger. 

Famously known for his season three “epic highs and lows of high school football” line, Archie’s hero-complex can best be summarized by the opening scene of season five episode four, where he is leading other men through a warzone on the Riverdale High School football field as all his loved ones call to him for help. 

Veronica, known as the “She-Wolf of Wall Street,” killed her own father — mob boss parent Hiram Lodge. She owns a casino and mingles off-and-on with old flames Archie Andrews and Reggie Mantle. The show’s stereotypical girl boss ponders if she and Archie are “endgame,” despite the fact that Archie and her best friend Betty are together. 

Remaining the show’s indie narrator, Jughead is still weird, does not fit in and does not want to fit in. However, he retired his beanie, which probably emits the foulest smell, and mooches off of girlfriend Tabitha Tate, heir to Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe and Riverdale’s literal, canonical guardian angel. 

Cheryl, Riverdale’s resident mean girl who brings perhaps the show’s most cringe-worthy dialogue, maintains her obsession with her brother, who was killed in season one, keeping his corpse in her basement for just about the entirety of the series. Cheryl is also a witch now nurturing her pyrokinetic abilities. 

To make matters worse, the characters must take down an immortal villain named Percival Pickens who wants to take over Riverdale. The sorcerer and town’s original colonizer traveled to Riverdale via a creatively named alternate universe, “Rivervale,” which seeps its chaos into the original Riverdale. 

This now-multiversal reality grants Archie super strength, Betty the ability to see people’s auras, Jughead the power to read minds, Veronica a poisonous kiss and Archie’s dog, Bingo, healing capabilities. 

The longstanding relevance of “Riverdale” begs the question, does the show fall into the category of ridiculous but self-aware shows, or is it just another poorly written CW drama with no focus or plot direction? Regardless, the show remains entertaining to hate-watch, which is worth at least some praise as season six comes to a close. 

1 crunchy, never-washed beanie out of 5.