Cheryl Blossom and Jughead Jones are not the most common team-up. While they share an array of people, for the most part, they remain in their respective corners until the plot brings them together. As Riverdale reaches its final episodes, “For A Better Tomorrow” leans into its lesser-used duo to discuss the background setting’s Cold War paranoia.
But, it seems that Riverdale may have reached a point where it has started wrapping things up. The truth behind the Milkman murders is finally revealed when Cheryl agrees to Jughead’s plea to search her father’s office.
Similarly to in season one, Clifford Blossom is a villain. But, this time, rather than being responsible for his son’s murder, he was behind the dangers of a palladium bomb and the murders of the people who knew too much.
However, the even bigger plot twist is that rather than being small-town and personal antagonists, Clifford and Penelope Blossom are traitors to the United States of America. Penelope and Clifford are Russian spies and Cheryl gets to see her villainous parents taken by the FBI.
Considering only two episodes remain, it likely will not end up being that big of a deal for Cheryl and Julian that their parents have been arrested.
Allowing Cheryl and Jughead the opportunity to work together allows two characters who are not often together, and have lacked any real time together throughout season seven, another look at the unlikely dynamics of the mind-wiped 1950s timeline.
The potential of an atomic bomb did allow Riverdale to bring out its comical side, addressing the concepts of how the main characters would go about avoiding the explosion and radiation and calling out the videos that claimed that hiding under a desk would protect someone from a bomb explosion. Kevin gave the best answer, explaining to his friends that he would take cover in the refrigerator, which he read somewhere could help him survive, and give him easier access to food and water.
However, there is also a huge emotional reveal to come out of “For A Better Tomorrow” when Betty’s detective skills get a brief cameo. Discovering a photo of her father with a baby that was not herself or Polly, Betty immediately confronts her parents about years’ worth of money the Coopers had paid to Ethel’s parents in addition to the photograph.
Riverdale’s explanation for this is a truly unexpected plot twist, but will it matter in the end? As it turned out, Hal Cooper had an affair with Ethel’s mother which had resulted in Ethel. To cover it up, the Muggs’ family agreed to raise Ethel with the Coopers helping to financially support her.
Betty is left knowing that Ethel is her half-sister, and a conversation between Betty and Alice uses Hal’s affair as the motivation for all of Alice’s bad behavior toward Betty over the years. But, none of it feels like it needed to happen.
Ethel’s story throughout season seven is one tragedy after another. So, it makes sense that she would want to find happiness in her future rather than being tied down to the town that brought her so much pain. But trying to justify Alice’s actions through a plot twist storyline that was not even portrayed, hinted at, or confirmed in the original timeline, or even teased in the 1950s, is not an easy twist to get behind.
Alice Cooper, regardless of which timeline it occurs in, has had awful control issues over Betty. Betty offering forgiveness to Alice does not make any sense, and it barely made sense when Betty and Alice worked to reconcile in the original timeline.
At the very least, Ethel is offered a far more hopeful conclusion than the death she received in the original timeline. Driving away from Riverdale toward a better future, if this is the last Riverdale sees of Ethel Muggs, it at least gives her a better ending.
As Riverdale leans toward its ending and the show hints that the main characters are closer to getting their memories back, it is finally time for the final episodes to start showing their hand for what the show’s endgame is, and how the series will come to an end.