Madeline McInnis reflects on the recent season finale of Riverdale

Written by mmcinnis
Images by The CW

This season of Riverdale has finally come to a finish and the ending left a lot to be desired at the end of an otherwise wild ride. After the excitement and drama of the last few episodes, the Riverdale finale was, well, bland.

A near-death experience of one of the most beloved characters sent shockwaves through the fandom, and it was followed by a whimper from some connections we all knew were shady to begin with. I kept waiting for a shocking moment that never came. I kept waiting for someone to die or someone to threaten Veronica. I waited for Betty to snap and I waited for Chic to be standing over Jughead’s body.

The cliffhanger was one of those cheap gimmicks that no one really worries about

Instead, what we got was politics — literally and figuratively. The elections came to a close for both Andrews men, the Serpents have a new leader, and prominent Riverdale villains are working together. All subplots that, frankly, aren’t that interesting. The cliffhanger was one of those cheap gimmicks that no one really worries about. Maybe if the audience actually liked Archie it would be a bit more moving, but we all know that he’ll just be out of jail by episode two or three of the next season with a vengeance anyway. With how easy it was to break Cheryl out of the Sisters of Quiet Mercy, Archie will be fine.

What I’m more interested in is who the Black Hood really is. In my mid-season review, I was frustrated with the ‘death’ of the Black Hood. No one was surprised when that happened, despite the delay, but the big reveal was much too simple for the show’s tactics. Fans had been speculating that Hal Cooper was the Black Hood from the beginning of the season. Despite some terrible CGI to make his eyes bright green, of which I’m sure the Harry Potter effects artists were cursing, to me it just doesn’t fit.

I’ve said from the beginning — half-jokingly — that Clifford Blossom is the real Black Hood. Because that’s just how Riverdale likes to write their stories. They’re predictable for trying to pull the rug from beneath our feet without many clues leading up to the big reveal. Hal is too obvious of a choice, and I think he’s a front.

The only real redeeming quality of this episode and the end of this chapter, as usual, was Cheryl Blossom

With all of the evil parents working together against the so-called ‘hot Riverdale Dads,’ with Alice Cooper as an honorary member, I don’t think it’s too far-fetched to say that Hal is a front for someone else in his dark bloodline. I wish that this had been explored more in the finale, as I doubt this is the end of the story for the original Black Hood and it would have been a dark turn in an otherwise unremarkable conclusion to the season.

The only real redeeming quality of this episode and the end of this chapter, as usual, was Cheryl Blossom. Now that she seems to be an official member of the Serpents, I think it’s only a matter of time until Betty gets her jacket as well. It also shows some much needed positive LGBTQ+ representation on the show which I hope continues to be healthy and positive for the season to come.

Overall, the creators would have been better leaving the twists of ‘Judgment Day’ to the finale; there was no real way to outdo themselves after that episode.  Though no release date for season three has been confirmed, I’m sure we’ll be seeing plenty more of this addictive teen soap.