Four episodes remain of Riverdale season one, and as Jughead narrows in on the killer of Jason Blossom, fans are frantic about what could come in season two. The teen drama’s creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa teased some clues for the upcoming finale, and what it could portend for the following season.
Regarding the finale, Aguirre-Sacasa confirmed that more death would come to this seemingly sleepy but secretly sinister town. He declined to comment on who would bite it, but added, the rumored death will “set up season 2,” and that the finale boasts the biggest set piece the series has dared yet. “It has all the different elements that are great about the show combined into one,” he explained, “Meaning there’s music in it, there’s romance, there’s suspense and horror. It’s kind of like the ultimate Riverdale episode.”
What does this mean? Speculation is running rampant.
One fan theory that’s been growing in popularity is Riverdale going full-on zombie mode. While this might seem outlandish to those unfamiliar with Archie comics, fans of Aguirre-Sacasa are well-familiar with his line Afterlife with Archie, which is set in a Riverdale besieged by merciless rampaging zombies. This fan theory pins heavily on how Jason’s body was found: with a bullet in his brain. Could it be that all the Romeo & Juliet blood feud stuff, and all the maple syrup empire drama is a big red herring, and Jason was actually murdered because he rose from Sweet Water River as the walking dead? After all, his sister Cheryl has been having visions of a dead-eyed Jason. Does her “gypsy blood” give her premonitions like kooky Grandmother Blossom?
For his part, Aguirre-Sacasa has refused to shoot this theory down, saying, “There’s a chance that happens.” He admitted to EW that a direct Afterlife with Archie adaptation was among his pitches for the show, adding, “Ultimately we ended up starting with a more grounded, less supernatural version because we thought we could always go there, but if we started there, it would be hard to take that away.”
So, this fan theory combined with the promise of another death in the finale could mean curtains for a popular Riverdale character: Jughead Jones. See, in Afterlife with Archie, it’s Jughead Jones who essentially begins the zombie apocalypse. Once his adored pet Hot Dog is rundown in the streets, he entreats teen witch Sabrina Spellman to bring his dog back. But Pet Sematary-style, Hot Dog comes back wrong, and mauls a confounded Jughead. Then, the undead Juggy goes to the Halloween dance, where carnage ensues. But is this likely to go down in the finale of Riverdale?
Aguirre-Sacasa certainly wants fans to think so, as he’s been dropping some tempting hints, including noting an Afterlife with Archie character will come to Riverdale in the ep, specifically one of “darker origins.” Which seems pretty clearly to spell out Sabrina. But it’s highly unlikely that Riverdale would risk infuriating fans who have quickly come to love this hipper, broody version of Jughead. I mean, Archie’s the de-facto center of this story. But Jughead is it’s real hero. It’s doubtful that Tbehe CW would pull a Game of Thrones and Ned Stark one of their most beloved characters. Besides, the network already has a thriving zombie show with iZombie. I doubt they’d risk flooding a market that’s treating them well.
However, since its start, Riverdale has been promoted as “from the network that brought you The Vampire Diaries,” so folding in a supernatural element to better fill that hole makes sense. But, Afterlife with Archie isn’t the only supernatural and scary take Aguirre-Sacasa created in the comics. There’s also The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, a run that’s rich with horror, gore, and deeply dark magic.
This seems a far more feasible direction for season two of Riverdale to run. For one thing, we’ve already seen a bit of witchiness from Grandma Blossom, who told Polly she was carrying twins before the girl had even gone to a doctor. And Aguirre-Sacasa might be hinting to this very development when he said, “Afterlife or not, there will definitely be a big genre element to season two. It’s going to make people go, ‘They’re not really doing that, are they?’”
So here’s my prediction for the finale/season two: We uncover the true identity of Jason’s killer. Justice seems restored to Riverdale, but just as the teens have a moment to relax, another death. One that seems to lead to the spooky new girl, Sabrina—and the town across the the river, Greendale. Then I suspect season two would ultimately exonerate Sabrina, but along the way have Jughead and his Scoobies uncovering a rabbit hole of dark magic and madness. And that could lead to a Sabrina spin-off, which Riverdale’s creator has publicly declared his “obsession.”
Basically, Riverdale could be going full-on Buffy The Vampire Slayer. And it could be awesome.
Look for another Riverdale Report tomorrow, following episode ten: “The Lost Weekend.”