Spoilers ahead for Episode 17 of Riverdale Season 7, called “A Different Kind of Cat.”
The weeks are counting down until the final credits roll on Riverdale in the 2023 TV schedule, and the story is still set in the ’50s with characters having no memories of their lives before the comet from the Season 6 finale. Episodes of Season 7 haven’t felt particularly cohesive with the jumps from story to story, and even relationship to relationship; after the events of “A Different Kind of Cat,” I’m wondering if the show is actually building up to a finale or these episodes have truly been as standalone as they seem.
“A Different Kind of Cat” was actually one of the more fun episodes of Season 7 for me, with Ashleigh Murray returning to her former show to reprise her role as Josie McCoy, although Josie is a movie star in the ’50s timeline and not the singer that she was in the short-lived Katy Keene spinoff. The various threads of the Josie storyline stood out, and I also loved seeing Betty, Cheryl, and Toni working together…
But I definitely didn’t need Archie reciting a poem to Miss Grundy, of all people, or the reminder that teenage Archie and Reggie visited an adult escort in the previous episode. Not even Fangs‘ rendition of “Great Balls of Fire” was distracting enough for me to overlook that! I don’t even know what to make of Jughead and Veronica, given that Season 7 has picked up and dropped pairings pretty frequently.
All of this is to demonstrate how Riverdale‘s final season hasn’t been the most cohesive, and “A Different Kind of Cat” is a pretty great example of some fun moments broken up by some bizarre moments with a pretty closed ending that doesn’t seem to be setting anything up. I’ve been hoping that the show is using these seemingly random episodes to drop dots that will connect by the end of the penultimate episode, but that seems increasingly unlikely.
I could go along with the bonkers twists when there was the sense that maybe they were accumulating to something (and/or part of a musical episode); now they just feel kind of bonkers with no larger purpose, especially since it’s unlikely that the show will return to the present for any significant amount of time. Cast member Mädchen Amick stated back in June that the show wouldn’t get out of the 1950s, and The CW’s spoilery episode description for the series finale below (via TVLine) just confuses what we know about the episode. Take a look, if you don’t mind the spoilers!
Are we going to see Lili Reinhart in old-age makeup to portray 86-year-old Betty Cooper? What life in Riverdale is she longing for? Is the last day of senior year she’s reliving going to be from her senior year in the ’50s, or senior year of early Season 5? We clearly shouldn’t rule out time jumps, and the description for the finale – called “Goodbye, Riverdale” – doesn’t do anything to make me think that the previous nineteen episodes of the final season were really leading anywhere.
That’s not to say that the final episodes of the series won’t be fun, and I could be entirely wrong. Maybe Riverdale will reveal that all of these seemingly standalone episodes were really building to something all along, and we just couldn’t see it before the final pieces were in place. At least we won’t have too much longer to wait to find out! The series finale of Riverdale airs on Wednesday, August 23 at 9 p.m. ET on The CW. If all this time in the ’50s has made you miss the earlier days of Riverdale, you can find the first six seasons streaming with a Netflix subscription.