This season has been a fascinating one for Jughead, as he's taken very big steps in embracing his place in the Southside Serpents -- down to running Penny Peabody out of town in this episode. How much further deep into this are we going to see him get? And did he really do what it looks like he did to Penny's arm?
It's very dark. He basically was cutting off her Serpent tattoo.
As for how much darker Jughead is going to go, it's like, I don't know how much darker he can go. It feels pretty, pretty dark in episode 9. It feels like that's a journey we've been building to since the finale last season, when FP said to Archie, "Please look out for Jughead, he's got a darkness within in him, I'm afraid he's gonna go there." This is sort of the fruition of that.
That brings to mind a philosophical issue that I'm curious about a lot while watching Riverdale. Obviously a big part of the fun is seeing these characters in different contexts and pushed in different directions than you'd typically see in Archie Comics, but the show has done an impressive job of retaining familiar elements so it never feels like it's not the characters. It's similar to how Batman and Superman get reinvented all the time. How much of an ongoing matter is that for you and the writing staff -- seeing how far you can push these characters, while still saying, "OK, this is still Jughead, this is stilll Betty," no matter how out there things get?
The tension of the show is pushing these characters into extreme or crime or noir situations, and seeing how they act, and how they sometimes handle them, and sometimes fall victim to them. I think that's kind of the DNA and the formula of the show. We definitely push the envelope, but we try to always do it in a way that feels like it's coming out of the story; as opposed to, we're imposing it.
When Jughead does that to Penny, it feels like that's an answer to a story that started way back in episode 2 of this season, when Penny helped Jughead get FP's sentence reduced.
Riverdale has only gotten bigger in terms of number of characters in Season 2. We've seen classics like Midge introduced, and a lot more of Reggie. When the show is back from break, what are some characters viewers will see explored in more detail?
I think we're going to see more Josie, I think we're going to see more Cheryl, and I think we're going to see more Toni, for sure. And more Kevin. I'm trying to think if we introduce anyone new -- but I don't think we do, actually. We see those characters come into the fore, and we see some people who have left come back. But those are spoilers.
With the Black Hood matter seemingly closed, at least largely, in this episode, what are some of the big questions and events that propel the series forward when the show returns?
There will always be a crime or noir element to the show, and that will be true of season 2. I don't want to give away what that is.
The other thing I can say is, the Black Hood was a really intense, big, sprawling story, and he cast a very long shadow. One thing that I love about the second half of the season, which we're working on right now, is it kind of shifts back to Riverdale High in a way that we had first season, that we've moved a little off of. We're back in the school a lot.
Fair to say things are comparatively more grounded? Or maybe the tone is a little lighter?
I don't know -- it gets pretty dark as well. But I'd say there's a little more fun and character stuff, especially at the start of the second half of the season.
Riverdale returns with new episodes on The CW on Jan. 17.