SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for “The Tell-Tale Heart,” the latest episode of Riverdale, which as of publication has not yet aired on the west coast.
In the first season of The CW’s Riverdale, the show quickly established its willingness to pull the familiar Archie Comics characters in some very unfamiliar directions. Yet Archie himself, played by KJ Apa, remained possibly the most recognizable to his traditionally innocent comic book counterpart (in a relative sense of course, given that he did have an illicit affair with his adult music teacher).
In the currently ongoing Riverdale Season 2, Archie Andrews has been pushed a little bit further, dating back to the attempt on his father’s life by the town’s resident serial killer, The Black Hood. In the latest episode, “The Tell-Tale Heart,” things come to a head between Archie and Agent Adams (John Behlmann) — as Archie chooses to tell Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos) about the agent’s snooping rather than plant a listening device in Hiram’s office, a result of him growing closer to Veronica’s (Camila Mendes) dad in recent weeks.
Of course, as many viewers had predicted, Adams isn’t an FBI agent at all — he’s a Lodge employee, and his interactions with Archie were all a test of loyalty. A test that, as the conversation between Archie and “the boss,” Hermione Lodge (Marisol Nichols), that ended the episode revealed, Archie passed — leaving the door open for the pure-hearted teenager to become fully involved with the Lodge family’s criminal operations.
At a press event Tuesday at The CW’s Burbank offices, Riverdale showrunner and Archie Comics Chief Creative Officer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa spoke to outlets including CBR about what this latest development may mean for the iconic redhead. The writer made it clear that Archie will indeed develop a taste for the Lodge family lifestyle.
“Archie started on a darker path in the first half of the season,” Aguirre-Sacasa told CBR, adding that the general trajectory of the second half of this season is “Godfather in a small town.” “When Fred was shot and when the Black Hood had his gun on Archie, I think Archie felt powerless and paralyzed. Part of his journey this season is, he never wants to feel that way again. He never wants to be in a position of weakness again. There’s something attractive about the way the Lodges do business. There’s something attractive in the way that Hiram wields power that Archie’s drawn to. I think that’s kind of what we’re exploring in the second half of the season, as Archie gets deeper and deeper into the Lodge family businesses — of course, it’ll put him at odds with his dad, who’s such a great, salt of the Earth, honorable guy.”
While there was plenty of speculation that Agent Adams wasn’t exactly what he seemed, Aguirre-Sacasa told reporters that the original plan was indeed for him to legitimately be with the FBI — until Riverdale executive producer Greg Berlanti advised against it, stemming from lessons learned after a similar storyline in season two of Dawson’s Creek.
“Originally, he was going to be an FBI agent,” Aguirre-Sacasa said. “Greg Berlanti had said, ‘Careful with the FBI agent stuff and the Archie going undercover for the FBI and wearing a wire.'”
While Archie is inching closer towards potential criminal activity, there’s plenty of actual crime happening right now on Riverdale, primarily the fallout of last week’s murder at the Cooper household, with this week’s episode drawing both Jughead (Cole Sprouse) and FP Jones (Skeet Ulrich) into the truly messy situation. And there’s still the looming specter of the Black Hood, as that book doesn’t seem to be fully closed despite the character’s death back in December.
“I think it’s safe to say that it’s going to continue, but maybe not in the way you might expect,” Aguirre-Sacasa said of the Black Hood storyline.
Riverdale airs 8 p.m. Wednesdays on The CW.
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