Post Mortems
Riverdale Season 1 Finale Veronica Jughead Betty

Riverdale Boss on That Deadly Finale Cliffhanger, a 'Much Darker' Archie and the 'Civil War' to Come in Season 2

Warning: The following post contains spoilers from Thursday’s Riverdale season finale. 

It’s going to be a cruel summer, Riverdale fans.

After wrapping up the Jason Blossom murder mystery last week, Thursday’s season finale threw a bunch more thrills and (literal) chills at us: A suicidal Cheryl plunged into an icy river, only to be saved by Archie, and then set fire to her family’s Thorn Hill mansion (hot damn!); Betty and Jughead said “I love you” (aw!), but he also switched schools and fell in with the Southside Serpents (hiss!); Archie and Veronica had sex (yowza!); and, most heartbreakingly, Archie’s dad Fred was shot (noooo!) during an armed robbery at Pop’s, clinging to life in Archie’s arms as the season ended.

With all that to process, TVLine reached out to Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who penned the finale, for some much-needed answers. Read on for his thoughts on a “much darker” Archie to come, the Godfather homage (!) tucked into Betty and Jughead’s storyline, what the arrival of Hiram Lodge might mean for Archie and Veronica (hint: not good things), and the “civil war” that’s brewing in Riverdale for Season 2.

TVLINE | Fred talked in the finale about Riverdale not being safe anymore… and then he’s the one who ends up getting shot at Pop’s. So you’re going to make us spend our whole summer worrying about Luke Perry?!
[Laughs] Yep, that is exactly what’s going to happen.

Riverdale Season 1 Finale Fred Luke PerryTVLINE | I know you won’t say whether Fred lives or dies, but either way, this has to affect Archie on a deep level, right?
For sure. Oftentimes, we say that Archie is the hero of our series, and that the series is going to be, in many ways, him going from a boy to the kind of man he’s going to be. And I think about the literal heroes I grew up with: Batman, Spiderman and things like that. So when we started talking about this happening to Fred, I said, “This will be as impactful on Archie as when young Bruce Wayne sees his parents gunned down, or when Spiderman’s Uncle Ben is shot and killed.” Those are galvanizing moments for those guys, and it will be for Archie. It’s going to set him on his real journey, ultimately towards heroism, but I think first to a much darker place than we’ve played Archie. Long gone will be the days of, “Music or football? Betty or Veronica?” It’s an Archie who’s seen his worst fears come true.

TVLINE | Is it fair to theorize that this wasn’t a random shooting, since Fred refused to sell his part of the drive-in land and remains in partnership with Hiram?
There are going to be a lot of theories, and a lot of suspects, on who did this. That absolutely is something that many people in Riverdale think — that this is not a random robbery, that there are darker motives at work. And that’s something that we pick up with right in the premiere.

Riverdale Season 1 Finale Jughead BettyTVLINE | It was great to see Betty and Jughead exchange “I love you”s. But will Jughead being embraced by the Southside Serpents throw a wrench into their relationship?
Oh, for sure! Obviously, in Riverdale, we love our homages. One of my favorite movie moments — and one of our wonderful director Lee Toland Krieger’s favorites — is the end of The Godfather, when Diane Keaton is looking at [Al Pacino], and the door is closed. We thought it’d be really cool to do an homage where Betty is looking at Jughead as he joins the ranks of the Serpents. And that is absolutely a big, big story that we’re telling in Season 2. It brings a lot of drama to “Bughead.”

TVLINE | We didn’t see Hiram Lodge in the finale, but we know Mark Consuelos is coming. How does his arrival shake up Archie and Veronica? Hermione warned that Hiram and Fred will not get along.
That is one hundred percent correct. Whenever we can harness or reinvent something from the comic books, we always do that. And in the comic books, one very tried-and-true dynamic is that Hiram Lodge hates Archie Andrews. One of the reasons why Archie and Veronica got together is because we wanted them dating when Hiram gets there. So we’re going to honor that proud tradition of Hiram hating Archie, and also subvert it. And Mark is much more charming than the Hiram in the comics. For a while, we’re not going to know what his intentions are, if he’s truly reformed or not. Very quickly, we’re going to know he has a strong opinion about Archie, though.

RiverdaleTVLINE | Cheryl’s story was really affecting in the finale. Was torching Thorn Hill the baptism she needs to start fresh? Will we see the bitchy, quippy Cheryl again in Season 2?
Yeah, in the finale, she sort of had a baptism in ice, and then a purification in fire. Those are really primal, elemental things we did to Cheryl so that she does come out more forged. She is very much going to be the character we know and love. But this time, she really has nothing to lose, because she’s liberated herself of all the shackles. For a lot of Season 1, Cheryl was tortured by her parents, really. They were quite cruel to her. I think we’re going to see, after the finale, a big power shift between Cheryl and Penelope. They’re going to be kind of locked in battle — these two very formidable, slightly unbalanced women.

TVLINE | We also learned that Betty has a secret brother she’s never met who was adopted. Will we meet him in Season 2?
I wouldn’t be surprised, and that’s all I’ll say about that.

TVLINE | Polly didn’t have her baby in the finale. Is that something that will happen off-screen over the summer, or will that continue in Season 2?
No, no, no… I don’t want to say too much, but no, that is absolutely not something that will happen off-screen.

Watch a deleted scene from the Riverdale finale, with a pregnant Polly returning to Riverdale High:

TVLINE | Finally, is there one word you can give us to describe Season 2?
I can describe it in two words: civil war.

Alright, Riverdale fans: Give the Season 1 finale a grade in our poll below, then hit the comments to share your Season 2 theories.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Karen says:

    I wished u asked about the Betty and Archie hints. Cause they sure were hinting and something

    • datdudemurphy says:

      yeah they were….Team Betty lives on!

    • Michelle says:

      Betty and Archie are iconic. They’ll get together one way or another. They cant not get them together. The Archie/Betty/Veronica triangle is so famous and iconic that it cant happen. Ive always been a Betty/Archie fan so im excited either way.

      • Josh says:

        Id rather they just stick with Varchie and Bughead. I F###### hate triangles and it would destroy the friendships on the show. I don’t give a crap about the comics triangle and I know I’m not the only one. It would make all 3 look bad. Archie a flaky flip flopper and Betty and Veronica Pathetic

      • Ray says:

        Wow you must be a Berlantiverse rookie. Wanna see how bad they can mess up the Archie/Betty/Veronica storyline flip over to a little show called Arrow and learn why the majority of the fans hate the word Olicity. If they stepped all over Green Arrow/Black Canary they will have no problems crushing your Archie/Betty dreams.

        • Ray says:

          If it makes you feel better I love Archie with Veronica so you are probably gonna be happy.

        • Josh says:

          Ain’t nothing with going with the couples that have the chemistry. Olicity Varchie and Bughead all have that in spades

        • jbj says:

          I am curious as to where you get your stats on Arrow!? I know that I have no problem with Olicity on Arrow, nor did I have a problem with Ollie & Chloe on Smallville. With the exception of Superman & Lois Lane, I’m not aware of too many comic book couples so iconic that they are endgame for every single iteration. I would rather see two characters get together based on chemistry, than be forced on each other. I remember feeling so sorry for Erica Durance in the last few seasons of Smallville because Tom Welling was not making it easy to believe they were soulmates.

          Anyhoo, growing up with the Archie series in the 80s and 90s, he was a notorious flip flopper, and I think I aged out before it was ever resolved. I was, however naughty enough to speculate that the ending of Archie: From Riverdale and Back Again hinted at a throuple.

          While this show certainly stands on its own, I feel zero connection between it and the comic books I remember. On the upside, it has actually inspired me to revisit Twin Peaks before the new season starts. I hadn’t planned on it, since I had already rewatched Twin Peaks a few years back. But why not?! I’m not casting shade on Riverdale, btw. It has been 25 years, so I think of it as an homage. It’s just so incongruent with the cheerful comic I remember.

    • Ivy says:

      Yes! Betty and Archie need more exposure. I get that they’re the slow burn/will they or won’t they couple of the show, but they’re iconic and I feel like this season lacked AB scenes. Also, Archie and Veronica are cringy. I hate how she throws herself at him and they have such awkward (non) chemistry! They strike me as the trying too hard kinda pairing.I’m glad they already kissed and had sex in the span of 13 episodes. I ALSO DISLIKE Bughead and I think assexual Bughead would make for a much better storyline. Anyways, I’m sure we’re getting more Archie/Betty next season, but I want more screen time for them together.

    • I'm says:

      Agreed. I hope they have more scenes together next season. Archie needs to stop taking Betty for granted.

    • Dude says:

      I don’t think you can even call it hinting when Veronica outright asked Archie if he had feelings for Betty. The love triangle is something we all knew was coming, I’m just glad they postponed it a season to let us get invested in the characters and their relationships before pitting them against each other.

  2. datdudemurphy says:

    Man, Fred better live thru this….he’s one of the best parts of a good show.

    • Brandi says:

      Perry is the reason I tuned in. I’m gonna be so bummed if they kill him off.

      • Andrea says:

        My thoughts are that they can’t kill off Fred because then Archie would have to move to Chicago and live with his mother. Basically that would end the show.

  3. Michelle says:

    Crazy! Amazing! Shocking! How am I going to wait for S2?! Its going down!

    I was right about Alice having a son. Chick Cooper lives!

  4. Elizabeth says:

    I diffently did not expect anyone to be shoot, and poor jugehead just wants to be excepted. He has a big decision to make and I hope Betty will support him along the way just like he did for her.

    • Josh says:

      Apparently RAS suggests in another interview with RE that Betty might become a Serpent as well. I can see it since they have basically said on the show that Alice was one earlier in her life

    • I believe Betty has a dark side to her. It will b interesting to see if I am correct….

      • Nelly says:

        Hello haven’t you see “dark” betty..she even said it to jughead..that she has a darkness inside her.

  5. Brett says:

    Have they said if season 2 is going to be a full 22-episode order?

    • Gospino says:

      Yeah, Cole Sprouse confirmed this. He pointed out that more episodes will allow more of the cast to get stories, and then the crew members will work more episodes too, which helps them financially. Production is scheduled from June through April.

  6. Nell says:

    I thought Sabrina was gonna be shown in the finale? I was waiting all throughout the episode since I read somewhere season 2 will take place in the magical world or something. Still, can’t wait for season 2.

    • Jay says:

      Same here, maybe they keeping that story line under wraps, but did you notice ALL the witch reference throughout the episode!

  7. t says:

    I watch this show because of the 2 hot dads and extreme emo jughead so Fred better live or I’ll be passed. I mean I know logically he will live if l.p. wants to keep doing the show but still he better live haha.

  8. Peng9803 says:

    Seeing how child services are in Riverdale: If Fred were to die, Archie would have no family in town. His mother doesn’t want him to be there and was vocal of wanting him in Chicago with her. I would be surprised if she moves back to town for him and Molly Ringwald were to become a series regular for S2. That said, if he were to live, Fred would cause a lot of complications to whomever wanted him dead. Which is the drama the series wants to tell: Archie going super dark or going medium dark? I think medium dark.

    The first season took place from fall into winter, with flashbacks to summer. Will S2 be the remainder of their sophomore year of high school?

    I was also waiting for Sabrina to show up. KJ Apa confirmed she would appear at SDCC. Is the comic FP is reading in jail the “cameo”?

    • mrmcgee says:

      That was the only awkward thing about the scheduling: it was odd seeing snow and ice scenes in May. That said, where is Riverdale that they’d have that much winter weather in fall? It was just homecoming so it’s likely not even the holiday season there yet.

  9. Gospino says:

    I’m finally warming up to Archie, who annoyed me badly in the earlier episodes. At least a few good things happened to Jughead in this episode, though I wanted to know more about his foster family. His mother, wow, she leaves him behind, tells him he can’t visit, and lets him go into foster care instead of being with her. That’s a lot to get past. I’m hoping she shows up in s2, especially since the season will be proper length instead of tiny. Fred getting shot was an interesting twist. All in all, a good episode.

    • Jim says:

      KJ Apa seems to be learning how to act on the job. He’s a lot better now than he was at the start of the season. I guess the character of Archie can be a bit of a cipher too, being so iconic and idealized rather than a real person, and maybe now he’s got a better idea of who the Archie on this show is and how to play him. But yeah, definitely better now.

  10. Max says:

    I grew up with the iconic group of Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica and Reggie. My Archie era did not include the Blossom family, so I was dismayed that the first season spent so much time with them. Let’s hope Season 2 gets back to the core group.

    • Jim says:

      But Cheryl is the best part of the show! She’s so, so crazy, and so, SO hot. And every time she’s on screen you just have to pay attention because it feels like she could do literally anything at any moment whether it makes sense or not, and with such style and pizzazz that it’s going to be worth seeing.

    • Summer says:

      They are recasting Reggie so that he’ll be a bigger presence in season two, so expect that classic Archie/Reggie rivalry to play into some parts of next season.

      • Jay says:

        Maybe his absence was why it seemed why the high school drama was low-key.

        • rinaex says:

          Quite frankly, them keeping the high-school drama low-key is why the season was so enjoyable for me. They managed to keep it so that the relationship drama did not overwhelm everything else, and I hope that they keep that balance in Season 2. The relationships with the parents were just as important as any romantic ones, and that really elevated the show beyond typical teen melodrama.

  11. Danny Roger says:

    What was with the tease in the earlier today preview of this episode?? Aguirre-Sacasa said to watch out for gun Betty found in Miss Grundy’s car. Was this a fake out?

  12. Zack says:

    The writing of this show is amazing. My one word response to this episode was damn.

  13. Would love to know more about how Cheryl is in Season 2, and is Mark Councelos playing the part of Veronica ‘s dad?

  14. Rachel says:

    I really don’t get Archie. His conversations with Betty were weird (in a jealous/I might like you/I can’t believe you’re ok with me and Ronnie kind of way) and how he was looking at Betty and Jughead didn’t scream to me, you’re my soulmate Veronica! It was just really odd to me…

  15. Elizabeth says:

    Love this show! Cant wait for season 2!

  16. Loved the finale. Shocked me in so many ways. Bughead are perfect for eachother.

    • Josh says:

      I’m such a shipper I can’t help it. Their I love you followed by the Hot makeout and clothes stripping before being C###blocked by the Damn Serpents

  17. Sam says:

    Looking forward to season 2. Really loving Betty and Jughead and strangely finding Ronnie and Archie to be a bit boring, hopefully the entrance of daddy Lodge will change that!

    With the upped season order I’m actually looking forward to stories outside of the core 4 and their parents. Would really like to see Josie, Kevin, and Reggie get their due. And Sabrina!! One can hope :)

    • mrmcgee says:

      Same! I’m still surprised by how much I like Betty and Jughead when I thought that was going to be a short term thing. I was always Team Ronnie as a kid and I really like her portrayal as Veronica…their sex scene was rather casually hot last night too, but there is a lack of heat between Archie and Veronica. I don’t know if it’s because they are just getting together or what.

      And I say bring back Moose as Kevin’s boyfriend!

    • Rachel says:

      Omg archie and Veronica are a snooze fest! And to those ppl who were complaining about bughead being rushed, um hello Varchie went from zero to sixty in one ep (and with Archie wavering between Betty and Veronica in this last episode like smdh)

    • Nelly says:

      I am also surprised how much i love the relationship between betty/jughead. Maybe because the writers are really building them in much slower but deeper tempo. Because on the opposite side..i really do not “feel” this archie/veronica relationship..yet. I mean they went from just friend to sleeping together in just one episode. So i really doubt they will last long..or maybe i am wrong..and we will some deeper conection between them in season 2

  18. Kepler says:

    I don’t know, I was (just a little!) disappointed with the finale. I think it’s just that a show like this, where every week is so good, I was expecting something monumental to happen in its finale. Archie’s dad got shot, but I don’t honestly think they would kill him off and leave Archie without a dad, and really, I’m not that fond of his character anyway. I’m glad they revealed that about Betty’s brother, though, that should be interesting.

    • Jay says:

      I agree, I wonder if losing the actor playing Reggie affected the character story arc. In the comics he was a jerk and Archie nemesis!
      I’m just wondering if REGGIE stayed on the show, would the love triangle change from Betty, Ronnie, and Archie to Archie, Ronnie, and Reggie like in the comics. Wondering if the show is going to take liberties with Sabrina and make her and Cheryl best friends or even Sabrina befriending her once she learns about Cheryl background!

  19. ninergrl6 says:

    That whole last scene in Pops I was saying, “No no no no no!” Very dramatic, intense finale. Well done, Riverdale. It’s campy and ridiculous, but the mystery + voice over style gives me Veronica Mars feels & I can’t stop watching.

  20. 1idpete says:

    I’m hoping Fred’s death leads to Archie giving up the singing and songwriting…. unless he goes dark and turns to death or doom metal!

  21. Carrie says:

    Intense ep but no one mentioned my favorite part. Jug’s opening voice over about last week’s CLIFF Hanger! Lol!!

  22. Chuck says:

    I want to know if Grandma Blossom was still in Thorn Hill as it burned! She still haunting Jason’s bedroom??

    • Summer says:

      I feel like Cheryl would have planned ahead enough to put her in a home somewhere before doing this – or maybe Penelope had her moved right after Cliff’s funeral so she wouldn’t have to bother with her anymore.

  23. mrmcgee says:

    I’m pretty impressed with how this show really picked up Stan the last several episodes. There has been a lot of plot but it didn’t seen rushed or overly busy.

    Are they still moving in a supernatural direction next year?

  24. Drew says:

    For the love of … Archie’s Abs (TM), why, why, WHY did Fred stand up and approach the shooter???? Fred was semi-sheltered in the booth, Archie in the bathroom, yet Fred had to stand up and walk to the shooter. Makes no sense! In voiceover Jughead narrated that later they’d find the shooting was intentional, but Fred helped the shooter more than he helped himself or Archie. Fred, Fred, Fred. Shaking my head, Fred. Enough said. You better not be dead, Fred.

  25. Cheryl says:

    I was bummed that they shot Fred. I won’t tune in next season if they kill him off. I basically decided to watch it when I heard that he was cast in it.

  26. Did anyone catch that the shooter at Pop’s looked like The Black Hood from the Dark Circle imprint of Archie Comics? That couldn’t have been a coincidence.

    • Chadwick says:

      Check out the Archie Comics twitter page. They posted an image of the Black Hood comics and welcomed him to Riverdale.

      • Summer says:

        Yep, that was my first thought too. Hell of a fake out, too, since I’m sure that most people were expecting Sabrina to show up (and boy were there a lot of hints for Sabrina.) I thought it was great.

  27. Mr. Cool says:

    If they can change so much in the series why can’t they let Betty and Jughead stay together forever??

  28. katsssblog says:

    My only question here is, HOW THE HELL THEY AREN’T COLD? They are running in light jackets, no scarves and dresses without sleeves. In my country when it snows it’s freezing. I know it’s a show, but come on.

  29. SethM says:

    I love the show, but I wish they would get more consistent with the writing for Kevin. He is my favorite character but the show is so hot and cold with him. For the first half of the season he was featured with story, Betty’s bff who was a part of the group. In the second half of the show he was pushed pretty much out of the core story lines, only coming in with ‘news’ or brief one liners. Give him more to do!!!

  30. ScottJ says:

    I loved all the tricks to hide Archie’s broken arm cast in the first half of the episode. The actor broke it for real I assume filming the lake scene, and that must have been filmed early. So they had Archie wearing heavy jackets, and standing with his right side out of shot.

  31. Ronnie says:

    Here in western Massachusetts, the stupid nightly news started early right when the gunman still had the gun on Pops! The weatherman wasn’t even in position yet. I had to watch it on demand to find out what the hell happened.