When “Riverdale” initially premiered on The CW, it was a gripping murder mystery set in a tiny town with mysteries beneath its surface… but it’s evolved into something far wilder over time. Season 5 is no exception, as it takes up seven years after Archie (KJ Apa) and the group leave town and go their own ways. Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse) relocates to New York to focus on his novel while Archie Andrews enters the army.

Along with her husband, Chad Gekko (Camila Mendes), Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes) becomes the “She-Wolf of Wall Street” (Chris Mason). Meanwhile, Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhardt) works for the FBI and even chases down the deadly Trash Bag Killer. Since the gang’s time at Riverdale High, clearly not much has changed.

Riverdale Season 5 | Official Trailer | Netflix

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They’ve all returned to Riverdale because Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos) is deconstructing it in order to fund his mining operation, which aims to tap into a vast supply of palladium rumored to be hidden beneath the city. They quickly discover that life in the “town with pep” is very different, and they become engrossed in some pretty weird stories while attempting to outwit Hiram. Serial murders, Moth Men, and even a witch’s curse keep viewers on their toes in Season 5.

Season 5 of “Riverdale” has an explanation for the finale.

The strange disappearance of Polly Cooper (Tiera Skovbye) and the urban tales surrounding the fabled Mothmen that haunt the Lonely Highway are two of the most intriguing mysteries driving Season 5. Of course, the Mothmen tale is linked to the Blossom family, as shown in Episode 17, “Dance of Death.” Nana Rose (Barbara Wallace) reveals that her late husband had affairs with several of the women who worked at the Thornhill mansion and that their illegitimate children were given to the cave-dwelling Starkweather family.

Since the Blossoms run the Blossom Maple Syrup farms, it’s not surprising that Nana Rose was eager to sweep the scandal under the rug. Unfortunately, the Starkweathers’ surroundings were not ideal for raising children, so they made up the Mothmen legend to keep the Riverdale residents away.

The Starkweather began robbing passers-by on the Lonely Highway because their isolated home made it difficult for them to survive — but their time in the wilderness had left them twisted and rotten. They eventually began hunting women for sport, and Polly Cooper was unfortunately one of the victims. Because the Mothmen corpse the gang discovers has Blossom’s DNA in it, and the shady caretaker knows too much about the Mothmen, Jughead figures out that Old Man Dreyfus is her killer.

The Mothmen aren’t aliens, after all, sorry “Riverdale” fans. What about a witch, for instance?

The Blossom Curse is a curse that has been passed down from generation to generation.

Nana Rose tells Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch) that her ancestor Abigail (also played by Petsch) was burned at the stake in 1890 for being a witch, which was one of the most surprising moments of the finale. Archie, Jughead, and Betty’s ancestors were the ones who murdered her… oh, no.

Cheryl decides to recite the same curse because she wants to honor Abigail, who cursed the trio and their respective bloodlines as she died. However, a strange cold wind descends upon the town, hinting at what Season 6 will bring.

The curse serves as a prelude to “Rivervale,” a dark six-episode event that will premiere in November and kick off the next season. When the show returns, it appears that the gang will have to contend with Abigail Blossom’s vengeful spirit. Thankfully, a fan-favorite character, Sabrina Spellman, will be joining the show to assist with all of these spooky shenanigans (Kiernan Shipka).

That’s right, after years of name-dropping each other, “Riverdale” and “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” are finally collaborating. Obviously, “Riverdale” hasn’t introduced anything explicitly supernatural so far (though it has teased ghosts and spirits in the past), so revealing Cheryl’s witchy ancestry feels like the perfect way to pave the way for Sabrina’s arrival.

Hiram, farewell.

Hiram has been playing games with Archie and Veronica throughout the series, and in Season 5, he’s set on literally mining Riverdale for all it’s worth. Hiram is attempting to acquire all of the palladium beneath the town in order to sell it and increase his wealth. Hiram’s motivation is derived from his father’s desire to provide a better life for his family, as explained in Episode 12 “Citizen Lodge.”

When Hiram was a child, his father, Javier Luna (also played by Mark Consuelos), moved his family to Riverdale so that he could visit the palladium beneath the Blossom Maple Groves. Unfortunately, Hiram became enamored with a life of crime and the power it provided him, resulting in his father’s death.

Hiram isn’t above sabotaging Archie’s efforts to bring Riverdale back to life so he can get to the palladium, even assigning the Ghoulies to burn down Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe in modern-day Riverdale. This is the final straw for Riverdale after all the damage Hiram Lodge has caused over the years. Hiram is chased out of town by the gang, while Veronica explains that the video of him murdering Vito Alto in the hospital is on its way to the FBI.

It’s understandable that Veronica has turned her back on her father, given his history of heartbreak. Because of her relationship with Archie and her desire to forge her own path in life rather than working for Lodge Industries, he engages in psychological warfare against his daughter on numerous occasions. Hiram is no longer a part of Riverdale, but fans aren’t done with him yet. At some point, he’ll be back. He’s even got a nasty surprise for the red-headed heroin store for him.

Barchie

Archie Andrews is a man who has no idea what he wants, much less who he wants. He’s been a construction worker, a football player, a musician, a gangster, a boxer, a vigilante, a fireman, and a soldier over the course of the five seasons of “Riverdale.” However, whether he wants to be with Veronica or Betty is a major part of his character arc, and seven years later, it appears that he’s finally made his decision: Betty Cooper.

At the start of Season 5, the two had a “friends with benefits” relationship before Archie decides to rekindle his romance with Veronica. Archie realizes that he never quite got over Betty now that she’s with Reggie Mantle (Charles Melton) and the two decide to be together. Cute. It’s understandable why their relationship would work — they’ve known each other since they were kids, and they’ve always flirted with the idea of becoming a couple. At this point, they’re both (relatively) free of their respective traumas, allowing them to be happy. Betty solves her sister’s murder, and Archie appears to have overcome his army-related inner demons.

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Is it true that the story has a happy ending? “Riverdale?” says the character. No way! When Archie and Betty are about to consummate their new relationship, they discover a bomb under the bed, indicating that Hiram couldn’t let the hero get away without a fight. Great. Unfortunately, the series only shows Hiram driving away from the town while a plume of smoke rises in the distance, so it’s unclear whether they were caught in the blast. Remember, “Riverdale” loves a good bait-and-switch, so the new couple is almost certain to make it. Betty might be able to defuse the bomb using her FBI training. It’s not the first time she’s attempted something like this.