With the Jason Blossom mystery solved, the Riverdale finale is all about the aftermath of Clifford Blossom’s death and F.P.’s arrest. But the finale ends on a shocking cliffhanger that leaves us with even more questions for season 2. Why was Fred Andrews shot?

The Serpents Become the Scapegoat

The Riverdale finale “Chapter Thirteen: The Sweet Hereafter” begins with Clifford’s backstory. He was running a drug business, Jason found out, and Cliff killed Jason and Mustang and set Hiram up. He then threatened Jughead so F.P. would take the fall.

The sheriff wants to find out who’s been selling Clifford’s drugs in town, though. He wants F.P. to give up the Serpents in exchange for a lesser sentence. F.P. swears the Serpents had nothing to do with it. Plus, he’s not a snitch.

Archie tells Fred that he’s pretty concerned about Jughead, Betty and Veronica because they’re “still in it” but Fred says they’re all still in the drama, which is pretty suspicious. Veronica and Hermione, meanwhile, are preparing for Hiram’s arrival. And the Coopers are pretending that nothing ever happened. They’re acting like the prefect family, which is driving Betty crazy. She hates the phoniness.

How Will Sabrina Show up on Riverdale? >>>

Back at school, Veronica wants to come clean to Betty about her and Archie’s relationship, but Archie gets called into the principal’s office because the mayor wants to feature him and Betty at the Jubilee. She says they’re the real heroes of the Jason Blossom case. Archie can perform with the Pussycats and Betty can give a speech. “What about Jughead?” Archie asks. He was a major part of the investigation. But the mayor says it would be too confusing to have him on the stage because F.P.’s in jail. Ever since the arrest, F.P., Jughead, and the Serpents have been completely ostracized. The mayor only wants to see the wholesome heroes from the investigation. Betty refuses to be a part of the Jubilee without Jughead, but Jughead tells her to give the speech.

Jughead, meanwhile, tells the gang about the sheriff’s offer to F.P. if he gives up the Serpents. Betty decides to write an article about how the Serpents are being used as a scapegoat and how people are ignoring the Blossoms’ crimes. The town is changing and people need to know the truth about what happened to Jason. Speaking of the truth, Veronica decides this is the perfect time for her and Archie to come clean about their relationship, and Betty’s fine with it.

Meanwhile, Hermione decides to let the Serpents go from the company because Hiram can’t be associated with criminals and the Serpents are getting a lot of bad attention these days. She does this without telling Fred, which Fred’s pissed about. They’re partners and should make these decisions together. Plus, the Serpents stood by them when they needed them. But Hermione says she and Hiram also want to buy Fred out.

At the same time, Betty writes her story defending F.P. and the Serpents, but her parents refuse to publish it. First of all, she’s too involved in the case to be objective. But more importantly, there has also been a lot of anger and violence towards the Serpents and she could become a target if they defend her.

Well, the reaction to Betty’s article is quick and horrifying. Someone writes nasty things in pig’s blood on Betty’s locker. They call her a “Serpent slut” and hang a doll from her locker.

Alice’s Secret Comes Out

Betty had convinced Polly to go back to school and Polly goes home and tells Alice about what happened to Betty’s locker. But Betty says she doesn’t want to live in fear of the truth, unlike her mom. Alice says she’s not scared of the truth, but Betty accuses her of disliking Jughead and asks what her parents fought about back in high school. Alice refuses to answer and Betty’s totally sick of the secrets in her family.

Eventually, Alice tells Betty that she has some painful secrets that she hides even from herself. Back in high school, Alice and Hal got into a huge fight after Alice told Hal about her pregnancy. They disagreed on how to handle it, but Alice went away and had a son, who was adopted. That was obvious. But now Betty needs to find her long lost brother.

Will Archie Choose Betty or Veronica?

Archie checks in with Betty to see if she’s really OK with him and Veronica because she lied last time. She says she’s OK. Archie likes Veronica a lot. He seems to almost say he always thought they’d be together, but Betty interrupts him to say that they’re lucky they found who they really belong with. Veronica also checks in with Betty and, again, she says she’s fine with it.

Hermione, meanwhile, knows that Veronica and Archie are dating, so she tries to convince Veronica to convince Archie to tell Fred to take the deal she offered him. Hiram’s coming back, and she’s convinced he and Fred won’t get along.

Throughout the episode, it looks like Archie’s having some regrets and still has feelings for Betty. But Veronica asks Archie if he has feelings for Betty, and Archie just says he wants him and Veronica to be the kind of couple Betty and Jughead are.

Where Will Jughead Go?

A caseworker comes to the Andrews’ house and explains that Fred has money problems and some other issues, so he’s not allowed to take Jughead in anymore. Now Jughead has to live with a family in the Southside, which is in a completely different school district.

So Archie goes to visit F.P. and tells him to take the deal so he can help Jughead. F.P. says that he can’t betray his tribe and the Serpents are innocent anyway. Besides, Jughead’s tough. He’ll make it. F.P. says that Jughead will try to pull away, but he needs his friends and Archie and Betty need to stick with him.

Meanwhile, Jughead’s being treated like a complete pariah at school. He doesn’t feel like he fits in, but Veronica does sit with him at lunch.

But after all the backlash to him, his dad, and the Serpents, and the incident with Betty’s locker, Jughead thinks the universe is trying to tell him he doesn’t belong. Betty tries to convince him he does.

Jughead ultimately decides to leave and goes to Southside High though. He says it’s where he belongs and that nobody wants him. So Betty, Veronica, and Archie make a run for it to save him. They rush to the school, but Jughead tells Betty he wants to stay at Southside High. He says it won’t change him and it will keep Betty safe since he won’t be around her as much. But Betty later tells her mom she’s worried the new school will change him.

Jughead ultimately goes to visit F.P. in jail and tells him that he’s going to be OK even if F.P. doesn’t take the deal. The foster family is nice and Southside High is just like any other high school. It has jocks, nerds, and burnouts, and he’ll survive. F.P. says he’s more innocent than guilty, but he has to answer for his part of what happened. So Jughead has to be there for his mom and Jellybean.

Cheryl Loses It

Cheryl has a tough time dealing with the revelation that Clifford killed Jason. She and Penelope Blossom have their funeral for Clifford and Penelope says some super dark things about how one of them could be next and Clifford may have had the right idea.

Later, Cheryl gives Veronica her shirt and says she’s done with the Blossom men. Veronica tells Betty about it and says something weird’s going on. Cheryl even apologizes to Jughead and gives him her broach.

Cheryl later asks her mom if she can stay home from school. She seems to be unraveling, but Penelope says no and doesn’t care about her problems.

Cheryl ultimately puts on a white dress and texts Veronica that she’s going to be with Jason. So the whole gang rushes to the river, but they can’t make it onto the ice. They watch as Cheryl falls through and run across the ice anyway. As Archie breaks through the ice, Cheryl envisions an undead Jason. Archie pulls her out and performs CPR and saves her.

Veronica takes Cheryl home and Hermione is not happy. Things are super frosty between them.

Cheryl eventually goes home though. And when Penelope comes home she smells gasoline. Cheryl says it’s the only way they can start over and be purified. Then she sets the house on fire!

The Jubilee

At first, Josie tells Archie that while she likes the song he wrote for the Jubilee, they’re not going to use it. After the incident with Cheryl at the river, though, Josie says they reconsidered it. So after everyone goes to the Jubilee, they sing Archie’s song, which is all about how special their friendships are.

Then Betty gives her speech. She starts out talking about how amazing it is that there have been 75 years of Riverdale and how great all the people who make up the town are. But F.P. Jones is also part of Riverdale even though they were quick to blame him. Jughead, meanwhile, is the soul of Riverdale, and now they’ve banished him. Clifford was also part of Riverdale. They’re at a crossroads in this town and they have to do better. At first, there’s complete silence. Then Jughead starts clapping and Betty gets a standing ovation.

Afterwards, Fred tells Hermione that he’s not selling because he wants to keep things above board and do what’s best for the town and company. They have to do better just like Betty said.

The Aftermath

Archie and the gang go celebrate at Pop’s. Then Jughead and Betty head back to Jughead’s house and Jughead tells Betty he loves her. She says she loves him too. Archie and Veronica also go back to Veronica’s place.

Jughead and Betty are rudely interrupted by a knock at the door, though. It’s the Serpents saying that they have Jughead’s back since F.P. didn’t name names. They let him into the gang and give him a jacket. It’s a whole new era for Jughead, but Betty seems concerned.

Archie leaves Veronica’s to meet Fred for breakfast at Pop’s. He goes to the bathroom at the restaurant, though, and hears a noise. He comes out to see the restaurant’s being robbed! Fred winds up being shot! And, according to Jughead it’s “anything but random.”

Are you surprised Fred was shot? Do you think it’s a bad idea for Jughead to join the Serpents? And will Betty meet her brother? Leave your comments below!

Riverdale returns for season 2 next year. on the CW. Like the BuddyTV Facebook page.

(Image courtesy of the CW)

Robin Lempel

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV