Riverdale's Penultimate Episode Reveals The Gang's Timeline Fate

Riverdale's second to last episode explains what happened to the future timeline and if they have to stay in 1955.

Season 7 of Riverdale started in an unusual place for Archie and the gang. The end of Season 6 had seen the then-adult core group come together in a last-ditch effort to save Riverdale and themselves from Bailey's Comet only to inexplicably end up teenagers again in the 1950s and the Season 7 premiere quickly revealed that their efforts hadn't been successful at all. The comet had wiped everything out, but Angel Tabitha had managed to shunt them all off into this alternate timeline while she worked out how to set things right. Only Jughead knew the truth, but she took his memories as well, leaving him with just one directive: to try to get this timeline to bend towards justice.

And all season, the teens have been doing just that, taking on racial, gender, and sexual injustice, battling censorship, and more as they steadily worked to make a better world. But with just two episodes left, fans wondered how Riverdale would end up addressing the timeline matters of it all — and this week's penultimate episode, "The Golden Age of Television" did just that as it sets the series up for its finale.

Warning: spoilers for this week's episode of Riverdale, "The Golden Age of Television", beyond this point.

In the episode, Jughead finds Tabitha waiting for him at home and she reveals herself not to be the Tabitha of that timeline, but the Angel Tabitha of the future. She has with her a color television and she sits him down and makes him watch the television — literally showing him all six seasons of Riverdale the television show as fans know it in a very meta moment — in order to get him to remember everything. Once his memories are restored, she tells him that they've made major progress with setting things right. Everyone's efforts in the 1950s timeline towards social progress and justice has set that timeline on a beautiful path and she's discovered that the way to fix things is to weave all the timelines together into that one timeline they are in — the 1950s ones — in order to stabilize and strengthen it. The problem, however, is that in doing so she cannot actually take everyone back to the present day and to their lives as they left them. They will have to just live out this timeline now that they've set it on a good course. She can, however, let them see the future — or rather, their previous adventures — so they will go into this new world with their memories.

Archie is the first to take them up on the offer of getting those memories back, then eventually the others (except Kevin, who doesn't want to see a world without Clay). They're all hit with the harsh truths of their previous lives and when Veronica asks if they can keep just the good memories, Tabitha says yes. She can hit a reset of sorts and just give them the good things to keep because they've earned that. In the end, Angel Tabitha has to leave (there is a Tabitha in that timeline, after all) and Jughead opts to keep all of his memories. It's also revealed that Betty opted to keep all of hers, too.

What Does This Mean for the Riverdale Finale?

With the revelation about the timeline and that they can't just magically go back to the present largely resolving Season 7's major plot, what's left for Riverdale is anyone's guess. However, series star Mädchen Amick has confirmed that while they don't exactly "get out of the 1950s", there will be closure.

"You'll experience the characters in different… dimensions [that will allow for] a lot of closures that are outside of the 1950s," Amick said.

When is Riverdale's Series Finale?

In May, The CW announced the series finale dates for both Riverdale and Nancy DrewBoth shows will air their series finales on Wednesday, August 23rd. Nancy Drew's finale will air at 8/7c with Riverdale's airing at 9/8c.