Warning: the following post contains spoilers for Wednesday Riverdale the final.
The Riverdale the band is heading towards the senior year … but will everyone survive to see the degree?
Wednesday's third season finale, which saw Penelope put Archie and his friends through a demented game of G & G with stakes of life and death, hit us with a barrage of shocking moments like arrows from Cheryl. Chic is alive and the king of the Gargoyles! Penelope killed Hal! Alice and Polly "climbed" into thin air with Edgar and the farms! But Alice was actually working undercover … with Betty's brother, Charles, who is alive, and an FBI agent! (Charles is also Jughead's brother, remember … but don't think about it too much.)
But the biggest shock came last, with Archie, Veronica, Betty and Jughead sharing a pop toast at Pop & s and promising that their senior year will not include the resolution of any murder. Flash-forward to: spring break, with Archie, Betty and Veronica covered in blood and lit their clothes in a large bonfire in the woods. They swear never to speak of this again (whatever "this" is) … and Jughead is nowhere to be seen. Indeed, Archie launches his friend's signature hat on fire. Whaaaat?!?
Of course, we had about a million questions after that ending, so TVLine reached Riverdale the showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who sheds light on the many mysteries of the finale. Read on for his explanation of that cliffhanger without Jughead, Cheryl's unnatural bond with his dead brother Jason – and if we can say that Archie and Veronica are together again.
TVLINE | We get that milkshake toast, with the gang promising no more murders. But then we flash forward for the spring break, and something terrible has clearly happened, and Jughead is obviously missing. How much should we worry about Jughead?
Very worried. (Ride) Very worried.
TVLINE | Is that what brought the great mystery of the fourth season to the woods at that time?
Yes, absolutely. Every year, we try to explore a different genus, or a different type of pulp or tropo noir. This coming season, it's kind of our tribute to the novels we read growing up, like Christopher Pike and Lois Duncan, (who wrote) I know what you did last summer is Kill Mr. Griffin. I'm a big fan of Donna Tartt's novel The secret history. So we wanted to explore a genre centered on school and students, and that's what led to flash-forward.
TVLINE | We also saw Chic return as Gargoyle King, posing as Jason. Are you always going to bring it back?
Yes, since we have never seen his body … (Ride) We had a kind of respect to bring Chic back. But we all loved that character and loved that actor. We were just trying to figure out the best way to bring it back. It's funny: (Hart Denton, who plays Chic) kept saying "Are you really bringing me back?" And I was like, "Yeah, wait, it's a couple more episodes!" And we put it right in the end.
TVLINE | Betty's father, Hal, is dead now … or is he? Can we believe that anyone ever really died on this show?
It's a good question! I always say: "You never really know". But I think Hal is finally, really, really dead.
TVLINE | Betty also lost her mother Alice when she vanished into thin air with Edgar and The Farm. Will we be able to unravel this mystery even next season, perhaps with the help of Charles?
Absolutely. I would say that we have practically interpreted the story of The Farm. The only story that remains to be told is that Betty, Charles and Jughead must extract Alice from anywhere in which The Farm is set. So it's something we will be facing at the start of the season.
TVLINE | Cheryl escaped from The Farm, but now she has Jason's corpse propped up at home, Psychopath-style. Has it gone completely out of the depths?
Yes and no. We were talking about it in the (writers) room. Cheryl is a character who will always be defined by the loss of her brother and her love for her brother … and that's why she entered so readily in The Farm. Someone allowed her to get back in touch with her brother. Did we really think that, at the end of the season, Cheryl would immediately put him back down and greet him again? Maybe not. Perhaps he would have delayed as much as possible. He is crazy? Sure, it's crazy. I think Jason is talking to you the way Mrs. Bates talked to Norman? No I do not think so.
TVLINE | Apart from all the things of life and death, we have seen Archie and Veronica reconcile. Is it safe to say that I am a complete couple again?
I … can't say it definitively.
TVLINE | Hiram was put in prison, but it is literally a prison of his own, with his name. So is it still a force to be reckoned with?
Absolutely. In a strange way, Hiram is the king in his castle now. He's in his place in his power, so I don't think we felt the last of him.
(For Aguirre-Sacasa's explanation of why Riverdale did not face the death of Luke Perry in the third season, click here.)
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