Riverdale Brought Back A Season 1 Star In The Best Possible Way
Will the real Reggie Mantle please stand up?
The horror-inspired “Rivervale” event on Riverdale has provided shocking murders, weird ghost stories, and witchy magic, but it saved its best trick for last. The event’s finale episode, which aired on Tuesday, Dec. 14, took it all the way back to Season 1, bringing back one of the show’s original stars after more than four years away. Spoiler alert: Don’t read on if you haven’t watched Riverdale Season 6, Episode 5, “The Jughead Paradox.” In a totally surprising cameo, Ross Butler returned to Riverdale as Reggie in Season 6, and although it was a bit trippy, it was tons of fun to see him grace the show once more.
The “Rivervale” finale was special not only because it closed out the show’s spellbinding five-episode event, but also because it was Riverdale’s 100th episode. To celebrate the landmark, the strange, parallel universe-themed ep was filled with fun little nuggets for fans, like the whole gang dressed as their Archie Comics counterparts and the return of deceased characters like Jason Blossom, Dilton Doiley, and Ben Button. But the most surprising return of all was the OG Reggie Mantle, played by Butler, knocking on Veronica’s door.
Although he was only there for a few scenes, Butler’s return was a total throwback for Riverdale fans. He originally starred as the stereotypical jock Reggie throughout Season 1, but left the show prior to Season 2 in order to focus on filming his other show, 13 Reasons Why. Butler was then replaced by Charles Melton, who has been playing Reggie ever since. Because of some extremely confusing (and, let’s be honest, utterly nonsensical) goings-on in parallel universes colliding, both versions of Reggie were somehow able to coexist in Rivervale.
Not only was the cameo a fun way for fans to see Butler in the Riverdale universe again, it was also a pretty effective reminder of how much Reggie has changed over the years. Butler’s version of Reggie was primarily just focused on football, and beating out his competitive frenemy Archie. But since Melton took over the role, the show has changed significantly, and now Reggie has dabbled in everything from running a nightclub, to getting involved in the mob, to maintaining an on-off relationship with Veronica.
Unfortunately, the two-Reggie scenario didn’t work out too well. Even though they’re theoretically the same person, the two Reggies immediately butted heads, and it became immediately clear they were never going to get along. So, it ended in a much-more-extreme-than-it-had-to-be duel, with both Reggies shooting one another, leaving Veronica to discover their bodies.
Now that Riverdale is leaving Rivervale behind, it’s not likely we’ll be seeing these magical cameos for the rest of Season 6, but at least the short trip to the dark side was filled with treats for the fans — and hopefully Season 6 will pick back up in 2022 with a very-much-alive Reggie.