“Riverdale” just got a little spooky. In “Heart of Darkness,” tonight’s episode, the series borrowed a page from Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla’s “Afterlife with Archie” and introduced a zombified version of the late Jason Blossom.
“Heart of Darkness” is a Cheryl-centric episode that explores the family dynamic of the Blossom family. In it, Cheryl struggles not only with her parents, but with her grief over Jason’s loss. As Cheryl ponders Jason’s memorial, which will be held in her home, she has a quick jump-scare vision of a waterlogged and long-dead Jason, as in the photo below. The photo initially debuted on Archie Comics’ Twitter page.
Madelaine Petsch, who plays Cheryl Blossom, teased that we’d see zombie Jason during a set visit in November. “You might see a zombie Jason,” she joked at the time. “I love ‘Afterlife with Archie’ and I would love to do that. Originally, we had talked about doing a Halloween episode that was like that. Unfortunately, we don’t air around October at all, so we won’t be able to do that, but — knowing the writer and knowing that he is the writer of ‘Afterlife with Archie’ — he would love to do that, and I’m sure he’ll find ways to sneak everything in, so he will definitely sneak that in as well.”
Here, Petsch is referring to Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who co-created “Afterlife with Archie” with Francesco Francavilla. Aguirre-Sacasa is also a producer on “Riverdale,” so it’s entirely possible that he could bring his “Afterlife with Archie” story to the show. However, it doesn’t look like a full “Afterlife with Archie” adaption will happen anytime this season. Nevertheless, the photo above is a nice little nod to the cult series.
According to the episode synopsis for “Heart of Darkness,”
With Jason’s funeral around the corner, the Blossom family moves forward with last minute preparations — and a secret agenda. Meanwhile, Archie’s (KJ Apa) attempt to refocus his energy on football comes to a halt when an opportunity to work with a new music mentor presents itself. Betty (Lili Reinhart) dives deeper into her investigation of Jason’s death and unearths some dark revelations about her family. Elsewhere, after uncovering secrets about her own family, Veronica (Camila Mendes) forms an unlikely friendship with Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch), who is having a tougher time with Jason’s impending funeral than she lets on. Finally, Hermoine (Marisol Nichols) turns to Fred (Luke Perry) for help after receiving a cryptic message from the Southside Serpents. Cole Sprouse and Madchen Amick also star.
Starring K.J. Apa as Archie Andrews, “Riverdale” airs Thursdays at 9 pm on The CW. The series also stars Cole Sprouse as Jughead Jones, Camila Mendes as Veronica Lodge, Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper, Ross Butler as Reggie Mantle and more. “Breakfast Club” alum Molly Ringwald will also recur as Archie’s mother Mary.
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