SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for "Chapter Forty-Four: No Exit," the mid-season premiere of Riverdale Season 3.
"Chapter Forty-Four: No Exit," the mid-season premiere of Riverdale Season 3, left Archie in dire straits. After he was attacked by a grizzly bear, he stumbled back to his cabin, where he called for help and bandaged himself to the best of his ability. When help finally came, however, it was too late. For all appearances, Archie Andrews is dead, but this might not be the last we see of him.
Since he escaped prison in "Chapter Forty: The Great Escape," Archie has been on the run. Though his name was cleared by Veronica Lodge, her father Hiram continues to have it out for him; until such time that Hiram loses power, Archie cannot return home. As revealed at the start of "No Exit," Archie has taken refuge at a secluded cabin in the woods, with only a radio and his dog Vegas for company.
During a chat with a ranger via radio, Archie learned there had been bear sightings in the area. Nevertheless, he took Vegas for a walk, which put him directly in the path of a grizzly. The bear slashed him across the arm and chest, leaving deep wounds there. He radioed for help as soon as he got back to the cabin, then tended to his wounds with a first aid kit. With no other options, he collapsed onto the bed to wait for help.
Soon, Archie slipped into a hallucination. He saw himself playing Gryphons and Gargoyles with the boys he was accused of murdering, then with Warden Norton, who had tortured him in prison. He also imagined killing Hiram Lodge once and for all, before he played one final game with his friends Betty, Jughead and Veronica. They told him this game was his only way back to Riverdale, so he begrudgingly took his turn. His "quest" led him to his father, to whom he apologized before attempting to destroy himself.
In Archie's last scene of the episode, two rangers burst into his cabin, only to find him lying on the bed covered in blood with his eyes wide open. One of the rangers ran to the bed, shaking him to wake him up. When Archie didn't move, staring blankly ahead, she felt for a pulse. She and her fellow ranger then exchanged a defeated look.
All hope is not lost. Though it seems impossible at this point, Archie will likely survive this brush with death. For one, an extended promo for the back half of Season 3 shows scenes of Archie beyond this episode. For another, Archie actor KJ Apa has teased storylines that have not yet come to pass on the series.
During a set visit in November, Apa told CBR and other reporters that his character will make it back to high school -- eventually. "It's not going to be easy and we do explore that. I think it's not easy because he comes back and the high school problems seem ridiculous when compared to what he went through in prison," he revealed. "So, that's another cool kind of thing to play with, I think, too, which was cool. Because of that, and because of not being able to settle that well, we see him turn to other options, which are not good."
This will "create a huge divide" between Archie and his friends. "For a while, it creates a divide where, without kind of spoiling it too much, he is kind of just spiraling into a dark kind of place, but is saved by a person and by music," he explained. So, though it looks like there's no coming back for Archie, don't count him out just yet.
Airing Wednesdays at 8 pm ET/PT on The CW, Riverdale stars KJ Apa, Lili Reinhart, Camila Mendes, Cole Sprouse, Madelaine Petsch, Ashleigh Miller, Casey Cott, Mark Consuelos, Skeet Ulrich, Marisol Nichols, Madchen Amick and Luke Perry.