‘Riverdale’: That Bughead Kiss Is the Key to Understanding Season 7 (2023)

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In the midst of multiple ‘ship shake-ups, and a season of Riverdale that has found the cast transported back to 1955 without any memory of their previous lives, one kiss might hold the key to understanding exactly what’s happening on the show. And surprisingly, that comes from a relationship that has mostly been on ice for the past two seasons: Betty (Lili Reinhart) and Jughead (Cole Sprouse), aka Bughead.

Here’s the set-up for the kiss. After a sexual education lecture at school went horribly wrong, the high school Juniors all gathered in the student lounge to discuss what they know about human sexuality, which isn’t much. Enter Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes), newly moved to Riverdale from Hollywood, and more worldly in the ways of romance. She suggests a make-out party, which everyone is nervously excited about. Jughead initially declines, saying he’s a “germophobe,” but eventually decides to go in order to avoid being taken in by the police as an accessory to murder. You know, normal teen stuff.

At the party, Veronica kicks things off with a game of Post Office. In case you didn’t grow up in the 1950s, the game is played by each male attendee randomly being given an envelope with a number in it, and each female attendee is given a number that corresponds to one of those envelopes. The men open the envelopes, and then the women give them a little smoocheroo right on their lips. Veronica’s whole goal is to make out with Archie Andrews (KJ Apa), who is attending with Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch) in order to show him what he’s missing out on. This leads to a grossed-out kiss between Fangs Fogarty (Drew Ray Tanner) and Cheryl, a confused kiss from closeted Kevin Keller (Casey Cott) and Midge Klump (Abby Ross), a passionate kiss between Toni Topaz (Vanessa Morgan) and Julian Blossom (Nicholas Barasch) with the goal of making the also closeted Cheryl jealous, and Veronica’s full-on face-sucking of Archie.

‘Riverdale’: That Bughead Kiss Is the Key to Understanding Season 7 (3)

But the one we want to focus on is Jughead and Betty. After Mr. Jones picks Betty — who is currently dating Kevin, not aware he’s secretly gay — she stands up and they have a cute/awkward moment where they shake hands and introduce themselves. Confused viewers might note that Betty and Jughead had talked in the season premiere, though that was before Tabitha Tate (Erinn Westbrook) wiped Jughead’s memory of his previous life, and presumably eliminated his hilarious recap of the future for his assembled friends — including Betty — from the timeline. However, they were also in the same room at the beginning of this week’s episode waiting to find out what happened with Ethel Muggs (Shannon Purser) after it was discovered her parents had been murdered. Didn’t they meet then? Wouldn’t they have talked at some point in the hours they were anxiously waiting to discover Ethel’s fate?

This is the first thing that makes this moment crucial: probably not. In the memory-wiped version of the 1950s, Jughead is a loner living in his train car with his dog, reading comics, and eating hamburgers. His friend group consists of the school nerds: himself, Ethel, Ben Button (Moses Thiessen), and Dilton Doiley (Daniel Yang). Betty, on the other hand, is the girl next door, dating the popular Kevin and Editor-in-Chief of the school newspaper. They clearly don’t travel in the same social circles and Jughead notes in this very episode that he’s not one of the popular kids. So as viewers have repeatedly pointed out, in terms of the plot the characters on the show currently do not know each other or interact in the same way as they have in the previous seasons. That makes this a reboot, one that will be wiped away whenever we return to the “regular” timeline, right?

Wrong. And this is why this kiss is so important, and why it’s played the way it is. We’ll get to it in a minute, but first, it’s necessary to go back to what Tabitha Tate said in the season premiere. In it, she explained that after the events of the Season 6 finale, Riverdale was destroyed by a comet. At the last possible second, she shunted everyone to safety back in 1955. She tells Jughead (before his memory is wiped) that they haven’t died and aren’t in purgatory — what the show calls The Sweet Hereafter — or in an alternate timeline. They need to stay safe in 1955 while she figures out how to untangle all of the timelines and find a way to bring them back to the present to a better, safer Riverdale.

So again, to reemphasize, these are the same characters we’ve watched for six-plus seasons on the show. Have their circumstances changed? Yes. Have their memories changed? Also yes. But what hasn’t necessarily changed is their emotions, and that’s something that has allowed the Riverdale writers to walk a tricky line between what we viewers know, and what the characters know.

To get back to the handshake, that’s what’s so funny about that moment, something that Lili Reinhart and Cole Sprouse clearly play for comedy. Of course, the actors know each other, and of course, we know the characters know each other. But their meeting for the first time in the hundred and twentieth episode of the series is canonically true given their lack of memories, and so they dive into the absurdity of the moment.

‘Riverdale’: That Bughead Kiss Is the Key to Understanding Season 7 (4)

The kiss that follows works in a similar way but for dramatic purposes. As they lean in for an awkward smooch between a girl who is dating someone else and a self-professed loner germophobe, the music swells, the camera pushes in close, and Jughead holds there for a moment after the kiss is done. It’s not entirely clear what his reaction is, but he clearly feels something. Is it love? Attraction? Confusion? His memories of his previous life rushing back???

It’s not the latter, because he’s back in the scene a moment later, and so is Betty. But that kiss is important because it drives home the key to understanding this season: the characters still have their emotional memories, if not their temporal ones.

Is the kiss fanservice? Of course it is. The whole show is fanservice. Riverdale is a series that is created to riff off the characters and situations Archie Comics fans have known for decades. Now, seven seasons down the road, the characters on Riverdale are as iconic as their four-color inspirations, and having a Bughead kiss is something that is tipping the hat to fans of the couple. But at the same time, that couple was the fabric of the first four seasons of the series, which [does some complicated algebra] is the majority of the series. Bughead, like any of the other major couples, is part of the fabric of the story that’s being told. To ignore them is to ignore the history of the show.

Another moment earlier in the episode played the same way, as Betty and Jughead narrowly missed each other while exploring Ethel’s house, the center of this season’s Milkman murder mystery. We know from watching this series that Betty and Jughead are an iconic sleuthing team; in Season 7, they haven’t even met each other yet. Even with their lack of shared experiences, if they joined forces we as viewers can be sure that they could solve Ethel’s problem in five minutes flat. So having Jughead jump out the window moments before Betty enters Ethel’s room plays on those audience expectations. It’s frustrating, but it’s supposed to be frustrating. The kiss has a whiff of romance to it because we know they have a romantic past. It’s walking the characters along an inevitable path that should bring them together and return them to those iconic places we’ve known and cherished for the past six seasons, all of us, across the board, with no criticism or in-fighting among the Riverdale fanbase.

‘Riverdale’: That Bughead Kiss Is the Key to Understanding Season 7 (5)

But what about when we return to the regular timeline? Showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has been upfront about the series not ending in the 1950s, so what does this all matter? Though we won’t know until we get there, it’s already pretty clear that everything happening in these episodes will impact the ending. When we return to the 2020s, all these events will still have happened to these people — and just like how their emotions from seasons 1 through 6 are resonating in Season 7, so will the events of Season 7 most likely resonate in the ending.

Does this mean this Bughead kiss will lead to Betty and Jughead teaming up to solve mysteries and falling in love again and Bughead rainkiss and Bughead endgame and Bughead wedding and Bughead baby and Bughead shared graves at Bughead Cemetary? I mean, we’re only three episodes in, but… Probably not? The story the show seems to be telling at the moment for Betty is leading up to her reuniting romantically with Archie in this new time period. For Jughead, there’s a tease of a relationship with Veronica in this episode, but it’s hard to argue with Tabitha swearing to find him once she’s done fixing the universe, that’s pretty endgame coded if you’ve ever watched… Anything. That doesn’t mean there won’t be swerves along the way, particularly as we’re only 3/20 of the way through the season which is [does advanced calculus] the minority of the season. But it also doesn’t mean there won’t be more moments this season that reverberate off the shared history Betty and Jughead have, just how we’ve seen happen even in this early going with all of the characters and all of their relationships.

Ultimately though, not to create a tautology but: this all matters because it matters, to us, the viewers. Your mileage, of course, may vary about how well this final season is working, but at its best, it is twisting the characters and relationships we know in new ways through an unfamiliar plot in order to expose what makes them, at their core, work. The Bughead kiss may have been a seemingly small moment in an episode filled with bigger ones, but it carries importance because it is a prime example of how the show is paying homage to itself throughout the final season — exactly what a TV show should be doing. Bughead was important to the show, it was important to the characters Betty and Jughead, and Riverdale is reminding us that it hasn’t forgotten that.

As for how this will all pay off and impact the eventual series finale? For now, that’s the sort of mystery only Bughead could solve.

Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on The CW


  • archie comics
  • Riverdale
  • The CW


Are Betty and Jughead together in Season 7? ›

Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper

Betty is dating neither Jughead nor Archie. Instead, it's Kevin who's become the apple of Betty's eye and Betty's intent on having her way with him at Lovers Lane.

Did Jughead sleep with Betty? ›

Archie gets back together with Veronica and Betty and Jughead exchange gifts. In later episodes Betty and Jughead don't talk to each other that much. However, in episode 12 of season 2 Jughead tells Betty about how breaking up with her has been a mistake and the two have sex for the first time.

Why did Veronica kiss Jughead? ›

To clear the air amongst the four of them, Veronica suggested that they kiss. While Betty and Archie were hesitant, Jughead agreed to Veronica's sentiment to ease the tension as it would level the playing field. He reasoned that a "Vughead" kiss might be precisely what it takes to save future "Bughead" from imploding.

Who does Jughead end up with? ›

In this series, Jughead has taken over Pop's from Pop Tate and has renamed it Jughead's, which later spanned a franchise in each respective universe. He ended up abandoning the franchise to operate the original shoppe in Riverdale. In this series, he ends up marrying Midge Klump in one universe, and Ethel in the other.

Who is Jughead's girlfriend in season 7? ›

Jughead, after unearthing a time capsule from the future and considering how to convince the others to travel back to their past storyline, is confronted with the future rendition of his girlfriend, Tabitha (Erinn Westbrook).

Will Bughead get back together? ›

A Potential Return to the Bughead and Varchie Days

In May 2022, Apa weighed in on a potential reunion between Jughead and Betty and Archie and Veronica (Camila Mendes) respectively. “I wouldn't be worried about that. I don't think that's gonna happen,” he hinted to TVInsider at the time.

Did Jughead ask Betty to marry him? ›

During the Riverdale season 2 finale, Jughead asked Betty to be his “Serpent Queen” and she accepted. Fans have spent the summer speculating on what this moment meant. The show framed it as if it was a marriage proposal, but there was some ambiguity.

Does Archie get Betty pregnant? ›

Betty is pregnant with Archie's child, and in 25 years, he'll be crowned the Maple King, just like his dad. Cheryl explains Archie's blood is what will bring the town back to its glory, as he has the distinction of being the town's one true, pure heart.

Who does Betty marry in Riverdale? ›

When he passed, Archie kissed Betty and asked her to marry him. She told him they were too young but to ask again when they are 18 and that she'd say yes.

Does Veronica end up with Jughead? ›

Veronica ends up alone with Jughead, which out of the core four characters, seems like the most unlikely pairing. #Vughead isn't quite as iconic a hashtag. Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest updates on Esports, Gaming and more.

Who did Jughead kiss? ›

It doesn't matter what you think about Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse) and Tabitha Tate's (Erinn Westbrook) final kiss in the Riverdale Season 7 premiere, because it unequivocally deserves a space in the Louvre.

Does Veronica marry Betty? ›

After 67 Years, Archie Chooses Veronica In the first of a six-issue series, the longest-running love triangle in comics history appears to come to an end: Archie Andrews proposes — not to Betty, the blond girl next door, but to Veronica, the dark-haired beauty and Riverdale's rich girl.

Will Jughead and Veronica date in season 7? ›

The year is 1955, Archie and the gang are juniors in high school, and Jughead is desperately trying to convince them all that they're from the future. Oh, and Archie and Cheryl are getting married, Betty and Kevin are in a relationship, and Jughead and Veronica strike up a romance.

Who was Veronica in LoVe with? ›

LoVe is the romantic relationship between Logan Echolls and Veronica Mars. Throughout the first half of season one, Logan and Veronica are shown to virtually dislike each other however as the series progress they fall deeply in Love with each other.

Does FP love Jughead? ›

The father-son relationship between Jughead and FP Jones is strained but ultimately loving.

Which twin is Jughead? ›

Cole Sprouse has been acting his whole life, and he plays Jughead on "Riverdale." He acted with his twin brother on "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody," which is his favorite role.

Do Jughead and Midge get married? ›

She subsequently becomes close to Jughead (who now owns the Chock'lit Shoppe), and they soon fall in love. Later in the story, it's revealed that they're now married, and Midge is pregnant with their first child.

When was Bughead first kiss? ›

Season 1, Episode 7 (“Chapter Seven: In a Lonely Place”)

Do Betty and Jughead hook up? ›

In the finale of season one, their little moment in the trailer was interrupted by the Serpents and things really haven't been going well ever since. But in the latest episode of the show (The Wicked And The Divine), they FINALLY got back together and um... they FINALLY did it.

Who does Cheryl Blossom end up with? ›

After escaping, Cheryl begins a relationship with Toni Topaz, thus joining the Southside Serpents gang in the season finale. Cheryl and Toni then proceed to move in together at Thistlehouse, the Blossom residence. In season three, her relationship with Toni progresses further, and she is confirmed as a lesbian.

Who are the couples in Riverdale Season 7? ›

Oh, and Archie and Cheryl are getting married, Betty and Kevin are in a relationship, and Jughead and Veronica strike up a romance.

Who is Archie dating in Riverdale Season 7? ›

Riverdale Season 7 is loving messing with its many relationships, and Episode 4 hints at Cheryl and Archie tying the knot after the events of the make-out party.

Who will Betty marry in Riverdale? ›

In the season 6 finale, Betty proposes to Archie and all was right in the world.

Why didn t Betty and Jughead stay together? ›

Betty and Jughead's relationship fell apart before they went off to college after he found out about her and Archie. Then came that voicemail he left her while drunk in New York.

Who is Betty dating in season 7? ›

Jones picks Betty — who is currently dating Kevin, not aware he's secretly gay — she stands up and they have a cute/awkward moment where they shake hands and introduce themselves.

Who is the father of Betty's baby in Riverdale? ›

Betty is pregnant with Archie's child, and in 25 years, he'll be crowned the Maple King, just like his dad. Cheryl explains Archie's blood is what will bring the town back to its glory, as he has the distinction of being the town's one true, pure heart.

Is Barchie an endgame? ›

Though Veronica has been nothing but supportive of their relationship, her own loneliness has made it a bitter pill to swallow, to the point that Veronica has even accepted that Barchie is endgame, teeing up a return to that cliffhangery convo from the previous episode.

Does Archie ask Betty to marry him? ›

When he passed, Archie kissed Betty and asked her to marry him. She told him they were too young but to ask again when they are 18 and that she'd say yes.

Who is Archie Riverdale wife? ›

Archie is married to Betty in Archie Marries Betty: Life With Archie series and is married to Veronica in Archie Marries Veronica: Life with Archie series. Both scenarios produce different outcomes for Archie's overall life, as well as Betty's and Veronica's.

Is Betty in love with Archie or Jughead? ›

In the first season, Betty confesses her love for Archie, though he doesn't reciprocate at the time. When the two are sneaking around in the fourth season, cheating on Veronica and Jughead, it's Betty who calls things off.

Who did Veronica marry in Riverdale? ›

Who is Chad Gekko? Chad is Veronica's husband post-time jump and, upon meeting him at the beginning of season five episode four, we learn that the couple is celebrating their one year anniversary.

What message did Jughead leave for Betty? ›

And that's when he left the following voicemail: “Betty, where the hell are you? You said you were going to come to my release party, but you bailed? Of course you bailed.

Did Jughead propose to Betty? ›

In the final moments of the Riverdale season two finale, Jughead (played by Cole Sprouse) made a shock proposal to girlfriend Betty Copper (Lili Reinhart). Jughead had just been made Serpent King when he booked a hotel room for them to celebrate.


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