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Post Mortems

Riverdale Star KJ Apa Breaks Down Archie's Shocking Decision: 'It's Just the Best Thing for Them'

Riverdale Season 3 Archie KJ Apa

Warning: This post contains major spoilers for Wednesday’s Riverdale.

Uh-oh… did we just say goodbye to ‘Varchie’?

Riverdale Season 3 Episode 6 Archie HospitalThis week’s Riverdale saw Archie, freshly escaped from juvie, head to Shadow Lake with Kevin to get the witnesses who testified against him at his murder trial to recant their testimony. When he got there, though, he found them freshly murdered by Sheriff Minetta, and a crushed Archie blamed himself: “Everything I do just leads to more death.” Convinced there’s nothing he can do to make Hiram stop trying to destroy him, he told Veronica from a pay phone, “I can’t come home.” He tearfully said goodbye to his beloved Ronnie before hitting the road with pal Jughead — their destination unknown.

“Archie being in Riverdale kind of puts a lot of people in danger, but most of all, puts Veronica in danger,” star KJ Apa told TVLine during a recent set visit. But don’t call it a breakup: The fact that Archie only said goodbye to Veronica to protect her “means that there is still something there,” he points out. “They didn’t part ways because of someone doing something.” Archie hasn’t given up on a future with Veronica yet, he insists: “I think at the moment, it’s just the best thing for them.”

As for Archie’s impromptu road trip, “he’s pretty much like a fugitive… he’s on the run,” Apa teases. And though he and Jughead start out by each other’s side, “they have to go their separate ways at some point… you’ll see why.” (In an upcoming episode, Archie and Jughead pay a visit to Jughead’s absentee mom Gladys, played by Gina Gershon, and sister Jellybean.) After that, “a lot of it’s solo” for Archie, the actor hints, but he won’t be away from Riverdale for too long: “It doesn’t last. He can’t be isolated forever.”

Archie returns to Riverdale a changed man, though, Apa warns, after his harrowing stint behind bars: “I think it kind of desensitized him, in a way. I feel there may be a little bit of post-traumatic stress after coming out of prison… he is angry at the world for him being in this position.” Archie’s relationship with his dad Fred “is now a little bit different,” too, he adds. “After coming out of prison… he sees his dad as man-to-man instead of boy-to-man.”

Plus, Archie has trouble relating to his old pals when he returns, Apa teases: “The high school problems seem ridiculous when compared to what he went through in prison. We see him turn to other options, which are not good. It creates a huge divide.” Archie ends up “spiraling into a dark kind of place,” he hints, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel: Eventually, Riverdale‘s resident redhead “is saved by a person… and by music.” (Additional reporting by Vlada Gelman)

Got thoughts on tonight’s Riverdale — and Archie and Veronica’s separation? Grab a booth in the comments below.