Mark your calendars for the next full moon, because our pal Jughead is now werewolf AF.
This week's episode of Riverdale, "The Watcher in the Woods," had it all: Kevin (Casey Cott) cruising for makeouts in Fox Forest (as one does) and getting pretend-stabbed by a shady character in a truck who may or may not have been the Black Hood, Archie (KJ Apa) starting a pectorally gifted vigilante neighborhood watch team called The Red Circle (as...one does? I guess?), and the Black Hood makes it clear that he stans petty theft as well as David Fincher's 2007 movie Zodiac.
Why not add a little bit of seasonally appropriate spookydooks to the mix by acknowledging Jughead (Cole Sprouse) for the wolf-man that he really is?
After all - it is technically canon. Over the summer, we got word that Archie Comics would continue its line of horror-centric books with a continuation of Jughead: The Hunger, on shelves this week, which depicts our favorite whoopee hat-wearing sullen teen as a werewolf and Betty Cooper (played on Riverdale by Lili Reinhart) as a be-ponytailed werewolf hunter. You can't deny that would add an exciting twist to Bughead's TV romance, at the very least.
In the show adaptation, the turning would have happened when our boy Jug was allegedly accosted after hours in the halls of Southside High by rival gang the Ghoulies. We didn't physically see what happened in the apparent beat-down, only shadows, silhouettes and vague flesh-smacking sounds. What if at that point one of the Ghoulies — who is actually a spooky werewolf — turned Jughead? After all, as the Ghoulie says, "good children should never go into the woods alone." Safety in numbers, Jug, that's rule number one — and you broke it. Have you learned nothing from Teen Wolf?
In fact, the twist could have been telegraphed as far ahead as last season: in the episode "Faster, Pussycats! Kill! Kill!" Archie hallucinates the football team as werewolves in the crowd when he auditions for the talent show, eventually freaking him the heck out enough that he shuffles off the stage in disgrace (other than that, the less said about Archie's short-lived burning passion for music, which hasn't been mentioned even once so far in the second season, the better). Earlier, while digging through a chest in search of his guitar strap, Archie found a creepo wolf mask, which unsettled him (and me, not gonna lie). Telegraphing things long to come? Maybe.
Jughead takes the fairytale/woods metaphor further in the closing voiceover for the episode, over a scene of him joining the metaphorical pack, the Southside Serpents table at Southside High. "Those kids in the fairytales who go into the woods, they don't ever come back the same," he says. "They're always changed in some fundamental way. Sometimes for the better, more often for the worse. That's the common misconception about fairytales: they very rarely have a happy ending."
It's not totally out of the realm of possibility, even showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa thinks so: he's teased an upcoming spin-off show based on Archie horror title The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, so supernatural elements that are a part of his extended universe aren't off-limits. We've yet to see confirmation of anything occult (beyond Nana Rose's gypsy blood and fetus whispering abilities) on Riverdale proper, so it feels like we're nearing a tipping point in terms of needing some spooky stuff to go down, overall. (Also, has anyone heard from Nana Rose lately? Did she go down with Crimson Peak? I'm concerned.) Why not werewolves?
So where does that leave Jughead? He did outright refer to himself as a "lone wolf" early in this episode, and now, it would seem, he's pack. Next stop: howling at the moon.
Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.
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