Prep school secret society. Vigilante Archie. Creepy VHS tapes.
Riverdale Season 4 was a roller coaster of suspenseful mysteries and unexpected twists. And in some instances, baffling ones too.
The characters dived deeper into the town's seedy underbelly and uncovered truths that were long hidden for generations. (We see you, Mr. DuPont!) There were romance troubles, secret cheating, Mr. Honey's polarizing motive, and dance numbers to Broadway hits.
As I said, it was a roller coaster.
Riverdale Season 5 is an entire summer AND fall season away before it returns in January 2021.
With all that time in between, it's given the perfect moment to think about the wishlist for next season.
What do we want to see? What should return? What should be fixed or cut out for good?
A major time jump is expected to affect the show after the Riverdale Season 4 story ends off, so anything could happen. It's potentially the fresh restart that the show needs.
Here, we've mapped out 13 of our favorites. Check out the list below for the ideas!
1. A Thrilling End To The VHS Story
Just as the mysterious tapes (and their masked performers) started ramping up the drama, Riverdale Season 4 abruptly came to an early end.
Where are the tapes coming from? What did the Mr. Honey murder scene mean? Who is creating the tapes?
There are so many questions left unanswered, and the cliffhanger during Riverdale Season 4 Episode 19 left us wanting more. If there had to be a way to end on a shocking note, that scene was the perfect fix!
Riverdale Season 5 will finish up the story in the first few chapters, so the resolution will arrive eventually. Though, let's hope that the conclusion is a jaw-dropping reveal that ties everything up on a high note.
This is the final plot of the group before the time jump; it should be a twist to remember. (Especially since we'll have waited nine months for it to happen.)
2. Fond Farewells For FP and Hermione
It's no secret that Skeet Ulrich and Marisol Nichols (who play FP Jones and Hermione Lodge, respectively) will leave the show at the end of Riverdale Season 4.
The actors have been vocal about their time on the show and why they're leaving. For example, check out Skeet Ulrich's new interview about why he's departing after four years.
Both actors have been with the show since Riverdale Season 1, and much of their earlier plots affected the direction of the stories/characters. While their plots have been inconsistent lately, their legacies on Riverdale should be acknowledged with a fond farewell to the characters.
The last thing anyone wants is for FP and Hermione to simply be written out without any explanation. Give them a reason for why they're leaving town or moving to the background.
3. A Grounded Mystery With Real Stakes
Riverdale is an outlandish show that doesn't mind trying something new. From manipulating cults to dangerous serial killers, the show embraces its soapy dark side.
Its mysterious and eerie tone is one of the reasons why we fell in love with Riverdale.
The plots, on the other hand, tend to go off the rails pretty quickly. Sometimes twists are made without any real build-up, or they become pointless by the next chapter. And, let's not even talk about when they get off-the-wall crazy, like The Gargoyle King medieval forest battle.
The best case so far has been the Jason Blossom murder. The mystery was concise, the characters and motivations were grounded in reality, and the writing was the strongest yet. The Stonewall Prep and VHS plots came close to it, but some fillers and wasted time.
A new season is a fresh start to set up the next mystery on the right foot.
Let's rein the craziness in and bring it back to emphasize the evil town. Also, maybe we consider two main mysteries of 11-13 episodes each? The 22-episode structure is too long to stretch one case.
4. Landing The Time Jump
A time jump is a great way to refresh a show's plot and give it new life. That is, however, if the series can land the jump.
Both One Tree Hill and Desperate Housewives succeeded with their flashforwards since they set up the characters for strong and believable directions.
Riverdale has the perfect opportunity to bring the characters back to a restart and map out their destinations. Their character developments, relationships, careers, and plotlines could be reinvigorated to set them up into stronger arcs.
Plus, without being forced to portray high school teens, the characters will match up to their adult plotlines. (Veronica's bar business will finally make sense!)
This only works if all the characters get the love and attention they deserve. People like Toni or Kevin can't simply fade into the background of high school anymore to justify no plot.
5. Consistent Character Development For Archie
Archie's story alone has been the most inconsistent one yet. He's reckless, emotional, and he makes decisions that thrust him into dangerous situations beyond better judgment.
Plus, his dating history could be a reality TV show!
A post-university adult Archie could be just what the character needs. He'll be through his reckless teen phase and will have experienced real-life outside of Riverdale's small-town bubble. This could be his fresh start.
Archie needs a direction to become a fully-developed character, and his writing should reflect a new and improved Archie. He shouldn't be used as an easy plot device anymore.
6. The Hiram Problem
Hiram Lodge is a cartoonish supervillain at times.
Don't get me wrong, he's a dangerous and mysterious threat who wields connections and power that can destroy lives. However, his behavior, most times, seems to border between a Batman villain and a petty child than a believable threat.
Everything works out for Hiram; no one can successfully stand up against him. But, when they do and get the upper hand, the tables quickly turn, and Hiram's back on top in no time. And whenever Veronica is mad at him, she finds a way to forgive him.
There are no stakes whenever Hiram is involved.
If Hiram is supposed to be the Big Bad, make him the villain. There have to be winning and losing plots to make the threat feel real.
Riverdale can't keep dragging out Hiram's victory parade to outwit the teens at every turn. Riverdale Season 5 shouldn't follow the same route.
7. Successful Business CEO
As mentioned above, the time jump gives the perfect opportunity for characters to establish themselves in the future. Veronica Lodge is one such character who can catch up to the adult plots she was already living.
Veronica has two clubs (La Bonne Nuit and the Maple Club), a thriving diner, a rum business, she's an investor at the El Royale, and has other business ventures in her portfolio.
Riverdale Season 5 could have a post-university Veronica living her glamorous life as the Lodge superstar she was bound to become. Just like her parents, she owns significant parts of the town; her story could continue to expand her business network.
Without the daily grind of school, she'll have more room to expand her business and deal with the real consequences of her actions.
8. Jughead's Writing Aspirations
Are we ready for the next great mystery novel? You better believe it!
The Stonewall Prep murder-mystery might've halted Jughead's earlier plan to launch his book, but a push into the future could see him ready to put his talents to good use.
Jughead has talked a big game about wanting to use his typewriter to create a work of fiction. Now is the right time! As the narrator of Riverdale, it seems only right that he brings that fire to his first novel.
He could either be ready to write his book or have a manuscript prepared from his time away. Either way, a book is on the wishlist for our favorite aspiring writer.
9. Betty Achieving Happiness
Betty Cooper is in serious need of a happy ending. Like, right now.
Seriously, she's gone through more than anyone else on Riverdale!
From a serial killer father to kidnapping to illegal sex tapes, Betty has fought against every trouble that Riverdale has thrown her way. And when Dark Betty plagued her mind, the outlook of her "happily ever after" seemed grim.
With her inner demons vanquished, Betty has the chance at true happiness.
Her post-Yale story during Riverdale Season 5 should showcase her thriving in her new life. Sure, let the murder plots and mysteries pull her back in, but Betty has all the potential to be set-up for success. Let her enjoy some great years during her time away from the wicked little town.
10. Don't Forget About Cheryl, Toni, Reggie, and Kevin!
This point was mentioned above, but it should be reminded and highlighted.
Cheryl, Toni, Reggie, and Kevin need their own thought-out and developed plots. (Point, blank, and the period.)
The characters haven't had a real purpose for a while, except to join in random plots as they come up. For example, Kevin with romance and musicals, Toni in Cheryl-centric scenes, or weird side-plots, like the tickle storyline.
Madelaine Petsch, Vanessa Morgan, Charles Melton, and Casey Cott are great actors; they can handle substantial storylines for their characters. The time jump should utilize new arcs for this core four as well.
11. Toni and Cheryl Endgame
Keep "Choni" thriving and alive!
Despite some hiccups during Riverdale Season 3 Episode 16, the couple has stood as the strongest pairing. They're deeply in love and seem to be the guaranteed endgame out of any of the couples.
Let's not mess with success and break them apart.
Though, they each should get their own plots and development to make them strong individual characters on their own. Cheryl has connections outside of the pairing, but Toni needs her own motivations outside of Cheryl.
12. Navigating The Love Square
Are you team #Bughead, #Varchie, or #Barchie? (Or, is it the rare #Jeronica?)
The main core four of Archie, Jughead, Veronica, and Betty have spent their time exploring romances in high school. While Betty/Jughead and Archie/Veronica stood as the longest couples, there were hints of the other two that left many questions.
The biggest, of course, being Betty and Archie's near union on Riverdale Season 4 Episode 18. With a new season and a time jump since then, it could be anyone's guess which couples have lasted.
Riverdale Season 5 should give resolutions to some of the couples.
Which ones are still endgame potential? Are they truly in love, or was it just a high school romance? Who will get together?
13. Alice and Betty Investigations
Their team-up was brief, but it was a legendary partnership. Who else loved Alice and Betty working together during Riverdale Season 4?
As a new mystery plagues the town, the two intrepid reporters should unite once again to solve the case.
Their mother/daughter relationship is stronger now, they'll have different resources to work with, and they won't have the pressures of high school distracting Betty. Riverdale Season 5 could utilize their talents to showcase how their styles have changed after all these years.
Just imagine Alice (who's most likely now the lead anchor at her news station) teaming up with Betty for a shocking expose!
What do you hope happens next season? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
And don't forget, you can watch Riverdale online via TV Fanatic to catch up on all the past drama.
Riverdale Season 5 returns January 2021 on The CW.
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.