Riverdale’s Stunning Season 6 Twist Ending Explained (In Detail)

The Riverdale season 6 finale has come and gone, and viewers may be wondering what that twist ending is all about. Riverdale season 6 was the show’s most bizarre yet, taking it down a supernatural route that creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa swore it would never take. The second to last episode saw the villainous sorcerer Percival Pickens (Chris O’Shea) return back to his home in the alternate universe of Rivervale, but not before ensuring that Bailey’s Comet is still headed for Riverdale. To make matters worse, Percival also placed a magical barrier over the town so that civilians inside cannot escape.


During the Riverdale season 6 finale, Veronica (Camila Mendes) formulates a plan where she absorbs the team’s powers via a blood transfer and gives them all to Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) through a kiss. However, while Cheryl redirects the comet and saves Riverdale, the show takes a shocking twist at the end of season 6 as the show’s main character, Archie Andrews (KJ Apa), wakes up in the 1950s. Then, Riverdale‘s narrator, Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse), reveals that Cheryl’s act of heroism has worked but somehow made it so that the gang is back in Riverdale High School, and the year is 1955.

Why Riverdale Has Returned To The 1950s

KJ Apa, Lili Reinhart and Camila Mendes as Archie, Betty and Veronica in 1950s Throwback promo image for Riverdale

Unfortunately, the Riverdale season 6 finale offered no explanation as to why the characters of Riverdale are in the 1950s at the end of season 6, but the first episode of season 7 revealed the truth. Tabitha (Erinn Westbrook) realized just in time that Cheryl was not fully able to stop the comet from hitting Riverdale, and she used what was left of her time-traveling power to send the gang back to the ’50s to put Riverdale on a better path. Regardless, based on comments made by showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (via Entertainment Weekly), the 1950s setting appears to be here to stay for Riverdale season 7.

Why Jughead Remembers The Comet

Jughead frowning in Riverdale

The final words spoken in the Riverdale season 6 finale, by none other than narrator Jughead Jones, are “I’m the only one who remembers what life was like B.C. – Before Comet.” This proved that the rest of his friends and the town of Riverdale seemingly traveled back in time and are living their lives unaware that the world around them is 60 years older than it should be. While no major details were given in the twist cliffhanger as to why Jughead is immune to what happened, it is most likely because his character is omniscient.

As the narrator of the show, there have been several hints that Jughead is essentially Godlike, with his alternate reality version of himself in Rivervale being able to manipulate the town’s story as deemed fit. After all, the doppelgänger Jughead was able to keep an entire parallel universe going acting as its battery to ensure that Rivervale and Riverdale could coexist. So, while it’s not explained in the Riverdale season 6 finale or in season 7, he is seemingly the only one who is never affected by the bizarre circumstances around him — he is supposed to see and know everything.

What Was The Point Of The String?

The cast of Riverdale season 6 looking at Percival

In the Riverdale season 6 finale, Cheryl, who spent time spellcasting with Sabrina Spellman, faces the task of having to untie a huge knot that is keeping the barrier over Riverdale. But the whole ordeal seems impossible given the limited time that they have. As the show’s heroes become more and more desperate to save Riverdale from the impending disaster, Cheryl decides to reach out to someone she believes can save them: her ancestor, Abigail Blossom. Abigail has an extremely straightforward answer, which is that Cheryl can just destroy the comet with her phoenix powers due to it being made of ice.

As the comet is about to hit Riverdale in the Riverdale season 6 finale, Cheryl’s girlfriend, Heather (Caroline Day), finally unties the knot, but the whole thing feels pointless as the comet is just about to hit. However, depending on plans for the season 7 finale, this could potentially be a way for Heather to escape before the time twist so that she can return to her (and Sabrina’s) hometown of Greendale as planned. Unfortunately, Heather hasn’t shown up in Riverdale season 7, and there’s only one installment left to go.

Who Was A Couple At The End Of Season 6?

Archie, Veronica, Jughead and Betty standing by the river in Riverdale

The Riverdale season 6 finale spends a lot of time making direct references to the OG couples. For example, Veronica grows jealous of Betty (Lili Reinhart) and Archie and asks Tabitha to look into the future to see who will be endgame. Additionally, there are numerous references to Betty and Jughead’s previous relationship, with Jughead having flashbacks to their past and Ethel pointing out his inability to cut ties with Betty. However, the anticipated union of Betty and Archie, alongside Jughead’s newfound love for Tabitha, made it increasingly difficult to bring the OG couples back.

Since the plot of Riverdale season 7 saw the gang returning to the past, a lot of the original couples were together in season 7. Archie and Veronica started dating in the first episode, and Betty is with Kevin Keller (Casey Cott). Much like in the comics, Jughead isn’t giving romance a chance, but this time it’s because he’s too busy trying to figure out how to get the gang back to the present. In addition, Cheryl and Toni see a romance in Riverdale season 7. The final season 6 twist turned out to be a great way to have the OG couples get back together for the final season.

Does Polly Know About Jason?

Polly Cooper and Jason Blossom in Riverdale

A question that still lingers from the Riverdale season 6 finale is whether Polly knows about Cheryl killing Jason after she resurrected him. After Cheryl goes full phoenix force on the departed of Riverdale, she brings back Jason and Polly from the dead. However, Jason isn’t what he seems, and Cheryl, regretting bringing him back, uses her powers to burn him alive. Given Polly’s calm nature in the finale, embracing her final moments with her family and not mentioning Jason, it’s likely that she has no clue that he is dead again. However, the 1950s twist saw Julian Blossom replace Jason, meaning his murder from Riverdale season 1 was pointless.

What The Finale Of Riverdale Season 6 Really Means

Riverdale season 7 cast

Ultimately, Riverdale has decided to completely scrap everything it has spent 6 seasons building, but this might be the best thing to ever happen to it. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa said: “That’s the exciting thing about this – it’s as close to a blank canvas as you can get without it being a completely new show.” As Riverdale is ending after season 7, a more comic book-accurate representation would be a great way to honor the source material. This is what the Riverdale season 6 finale promised: a journey into the 1950s dreamworld of Archie Andrews and the idyllic town of Riverdale.

However, despite the cheerful, radiant glimpse into 1950s Riverdale that the Riverdale season 6 finale provided, viewers can still expect the showrunners to add the iconic dark twist that sets the comic and show apart, similar to what Aguirre-Sacasa achieved in the 90s sitcom episode easter egg of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina season 4. The main cast returned for the final season, with hints from Aguirre-Sacasa that some old faces might make an appearance as a result of the time jump. With Riverdale season 7 having only the series finale left to premiere, viewers won’t have to wait long to see what the 1950s Riverdale plot will culminate with.

How The Riverdale Season 6 Finale Set Up Season 7

The cast of Riverdale having a meal in season 7

The Riverdale season 6 finale set up the series’ final chapter in a number of ways. First, it established the important fact that the core group has been transported back to 1955, and Jughead is the only one who realizes it. Jughead spends the majority of the first episode of season 7 trying to tell his friends that they’re in the past, even showing them a time capsule that they buried their senior year. He’s approached by future Tabitha at Pop’s, who relays to him that she used the last of her powers to send the group back to safety, and there are multiple timeline knots that must be undone if they are to return to the future.

Tabitha is the one who takes on the task of returning them to the present, but before she can figure out how to do this she has to wipe Jughead’s memory, which she does. The rest of Riverdale season 7 has happened within this isolated 1950s universe. It seems to be hanging on to a mixture of its season 1 narrative and borrowing certain elements from its comic book roots to tell one last dramatic tale. It’s completely possible that the cast could stay stuck in the 1950s, creating a newer and safer Riverdale as Tabitha wanted. Otherwise, setting the timeline straight in Riverdale is up to Tabitha and Jughead.

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