Usually, new seasons of Riverdale premiere in October, but you might have noticed that the pandemic delayed season 5 for an extra three months. Add that to the fact that Riverdale season 4 ended early, and it's been quite a while since fans have checked in on the dysfunctional town and its resident teens. But while last season, Riverdale was cut short by three episodes when filming shut down in March, season 5 is going to make everything right again. Or as right as things can be in Riverdale.
According to Lili Reinhart, who plays Betty Cooper, the new season will take the first few episodes to conclude those unfinished Riverdale season 4 storylines. Once the show wraps up the mystery of who was sending mysterious video tapes and shows us the end of senior year, there will be a seven-year time jump, and we will remain in that time period for the rest of season 5, Reinhart told The Wrap.
A lot of change is coming, but there are still many threads left to sew up. Here's what you absolutely need to remember about what happened in the final episodes of season 4.
What Are Charles & Chic Doing?
Betty and Jughead's half-brother Charles Smith (Wyatt Nash) works for the FBI, which is really handy whenever the teens need some background research or someone to help them fake someone's death. But there's something sinister going on with him. Early in season 4, Charles visits Betty's imposter brother Chic (Hart Denton) in prison and it turns out that Charles and Chic are actually romantic partners working to take down the Cooper family. That twist isn't addressed again for the rest of the season, so it's up to season 5 to elaborate on Charles and Chic's scheme.
What Are Hiram's Health Problems?
In season 4, Veronica's (Camila Mendes) father Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos) is diagnosed with a neuromuscular disorder, which causes his muscles to weaken over time. But he musters enough strength to beat up and kill a rival rum distributor before the season ends, so it's clear that the fight hasn't left Hiram yet.
Why Did Jughead Almost Die?
For most of the season, we were not only wondering if Jughead (Cole Sprouse) was really dead, but whether or not Betty killed him and worked with Archie (KJ Apa) to cover it up. Fortunately, that turns out not to be true. In actuality, a group of students from Jughead's new private school Stonewall Prep attempts to murder him so they can takeover Jughead's role as ghostwriter of the Baxter Brothers books (this show's version of The Hardy Boys).
Betty, Archie, and Veronica find Jughead injured in the woods and rescue him, but Betty decides to fake his death to buy them time to figure out why the students want Jughead dead. In the end, we learn it's a revenge scheme by Donna (Sarah Desjardins), who wants the Baxter Brothers' contract. Betty lets Donna go on the condition that she drop the book contract.
Meanwhile, Charles nabs fellow murder conspirator Bret Weston Wallis (Sean Depner), who was also recording sex tapes of his fellow students — like Betty and Jughead — and releasing them. Charles agrees to only prosecute Bret for murder if he reveals the locations of his tapes. Bret agrees, but only after being roughed up by Jughead and F.P. Also of note: Jughead's grandpa Forsythe (Timothy Webber) also faked his own death to avoid being murdered by his classmate Francis DuPont (Malcolm Stewart) over the Baxter Brothers contract back in the day. After Betty and Jughead discover DuPont's murderous ways, DuPont dies by suicide and avoids prosecution.
That Betty and Archie Kiss
To help fake Jughead's death, Betty and Archie pretend to be in a relationship. The real reason for this is kind of muddled, but basically Betty wants to convince Donna and Bret, because they have started to suspect that Jughead is actually alive and if Betty "moves on" with Archie, Donna might be convinced that Jughead is actually dead. Or something. It's confusing, but the real reason for their fake relationship is probably just so that the writers of the show could get the pair to reconsider their romance. Later, they kiss for real, which will certainly complicate the Bughead and Varchie ships in season 5.
The Auteur & Those VHS Tapes
Throughout season 4, Riverdale's teens receive strange videotapes on their doorsteps. At first, the tapes are just hours of footage taken outside their houses, but eventually, the director (a.k.a. "the auteur") starts producing reenactments of various terrible things that have actually happened in Riverdale. One tape, for example, included actors in Jason Blossom (Trevor Stines) and Clifford Blossom (Barclay Hope) masks recreating Jason's season 1 murder.
The final tape that the kids get in season 4 is less of a reenactment and more of a warning. It features people in masks of Betty, Jughead, Archie, Veronica, Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch), and Reggie (Charles Melton) stabbing someone in wearing a mask of their principal Mr. Honey (Kerr Smith). That video is based on the short story "Killing Mr. Honey" that Jughead writes to get into college, but Jughead changes his own ending to have the kids rescuing Mr. Honey. Jughead softens to the principal when he learns that Mr. Honey, on his way out of Riverdale High to be Stonewall Prep's headmaster, had written a recommendation for Jughead to go to college. So whoever is sending the videotapes went with a more sinister ending in the reenactment.
Where The Riverdale Teens Are Going To College
In case we forgot that the Riverdale students are actually still in high school, they're all planning their futures for after graduation. So far, Cheryl's going to Highsmith College, Veronica to Barnard, Betty to Yale, Jughead to University of Iowa, Reggie to community college, and Archie wants to join the naval academy. How their futures will actually unravel depends on those first few episodes of season 5.