SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for “Brave New World,” the second season finale of Riverdale, which as of publication has not yet aired on the west coast.
After 22 episodes full of murder, mystery, mobsters and musical numbers, Season 2 of Riverdale has drawn to a close, with a fittingly eventful finale for the Archie Comics-inspired series — and for the second year in a row, another cliffhanger involving misfortune falling upon the Andrews family.
In “Brave New World,” Jughead (Cole Sprouse) was revealed to have survived the Ghoulies’ attack and later was named the new Serpent King; Betty (Lili Reinhart) came face to face with her father, freshly revealed as the Black Hood, and vowed to put darkness behind her; Hermione (Marisol Nichols) was elected mayor of Riverdale, as Veronica (Camila Mendes) moved to put even more distance between herself and her mafia-connected father; Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) joins the Serpents and Archie (KJ Apa) wins the election to become Riverdale High’s student body president.
Not that his celebration lasts long. Soon after the announcement of his victory, Archie gets arrested, framed by Hiram (Mark Consuelos) for the murder of store clerk Cassidy earlier this season — and that’s where the season ends, with a character associated for 75 years with teenage wholesomeness being led away in handcuffs on a murder charge. (Though admittedly, Archie is certainly guilty of at least some stuff after the events of this past season.)
CBR talked with Riverdale showrunner and Archie Comics Chief Creative Officer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa about the many twists in the finale, his thoughts on the second season overall, Jughead’s new life as Serpent King, Cheryl’s redemptive arc, last week’s Black Hood reveal and the odds of meeting more Archie Comics characters on Riverdale Season 3 (count on it).
CBR: Roberto, we last talked back in December amid the Svenson reveal — now known to be a red herring — but at the time you said when the Black Hood was originally introduced, you weren’t initially sure who it’d be. Now that we know it was Hal Cooper, is that still true, or was he always the “real” plan?
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: No, when we started writing this season, we had a few ideas as to who The Black Hood might be — three potential suspects, actually — but Hal was always in the mix. From episode 11 of Season 2 though, we knew it would be Hal and we began writing towards that.
Let’s talk spoilers — for the second year in a row the season ends with a major cliffhanger involving the Andrews family, as Archie has been arrested, with his student council victory dramatically cut short as he’s been framed for murder by Hiram. Safe to say this will dominate the show when it returns in the fall? And while certainly a lot of misfortune has befallen the people surrounding Archie, did it feel like Archie’s “turn” for him to land in serious trouble himself?
Archie’s arrest is absolutely going to be one of the big stories when we return for Season 3, and looking back on this past season, it makes perfect sense that Archie would land in hot water after everything he’s done. He’s been through the ringer this past season — joining up with Hiram as a pseudo-capo for the Lodge family, seeking vengeance on Nick St. Clair, he even took credit for the death of Cassidy at the lake house. Archie was seduced by the dark side, and his arrest a consequence of that seduction.
Speaking of misfortune — it certainly hasn’t been an easy season for Betty. How much do you see her conversation with her father as a turning point for her? Or will her lingering darkness remain an issue?
Betty’s been struggling with her own darkness this season, and having to come face-to-face with someone like herself was a big moment for her. Her conversation with Hal is a turning point in her story, where she acknowledges her own struggle to stray from her own inner darkness and refusing that part of her lineage. While Hal chose to embrace the darkness, Betty is making a conscious effort to be better, like she said in her Jubilee speech. Now, in Season 3, we will hopefully get to see a Betty whose darkness is in the rear-view.
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