Riverdalehas returned and there's a killer in our midst!
The Season 2 premiere revealed that Fred Andrews (Luke Perry) survived the shooting at Pop's, but the man responsible clearly has a thirst for blood. The final few moments showed Miss Grundy (Sarah Habel) being strangled by the same man that shot Fred in the diner and we have to wonder who's next.
That also means that Jughead (Cole Sprouse) was right about the town toppling over a cliff into darkness. It's not just the killer though — Archie (KJ Apa) is taking up a seemingly violent mantle while Jughead tries to grapple with his new life with the Serpents. TV Guide talked to Sprouse about what this new killer means for the town and Jughead's troubles ahead — including relationship stumbles with Betty.
We have a killer on our hands! How is that going to affect the group, especially Jughead going forward?
Cole Sprouse: I think it affects them in a bunch of ways. For Jughead's character, personally, to be honest it doesn't seem like much of a surprise that something horrible like this could happen to Riverdale. He's dealing with very much his own bag of issues that he's trying to tackle one at a time. He's obviously involved in the mystery of it. He's an incurable skeptic and a super curious person at heart. He throws himself right into solving it as soon as he can.
For the town, it obviously scares the hell out of them. For the actual show, genre-wise, we move more towards a kind of horror narrative, which has been a lot of fun for all of us on set. It affects the show tremendously. I think people are really going to like this season.
Last season Jughead really got involved with trying to solve Jason's murder once his dad was in the suspect pool. What is really going to draw him into dealing with this killer?
Sprouse: It's inescapable for Jughead. It's kind of inescapable for the whole town. If he wants to protect the ones he loves, which he absolutely does, he's got to figure out a way to stop it as soon as possible. He's trying to figure out the best way to do that. He's obviously getting deeper and deeper into a collaboration with the Serpents, which I'm sure you've seen. He's trying to figure out how to possibly use them or navigate that world to assist the rest of the town as well.
He's struggling a bit with the whole Serpent issue in the premiere. We find out that he doesn't really have a choice in being one. Is he okay with that, does he accept that or does he want out?
Sprouse: Absolutely not. It takes him a while to accept that. He's a character throughout the first season that really had a strong aversion to getting close to people and a strong aversion to getting involved in decision making. Now his hand is being forced and his conscientious objection, which [was] kind of the defining characteristic of him last season, is being broken down. He realizes that he's not going to be able to make everyone happy or he's not going to be able to avoid getting involved in certain dilemmas, which disturbs him because I think he'd rather watch. It's something that continues all the way through the season.
On top of that he's also going to a new school. We haven't seen him fully immersed at South Side High. Can you tell us how that is going to work? Does he still feel like a weirdo?
Sprouse: I don't think he does. I don't think he feels as much like an outcast. He tries to isolate himself in the first couple of episodes but he realizes that's kind of futile. The school itself is just amazing, but it's very much like a juvenile detention center. He ends up having to find a group to kind of stick with or really become the prey for another larger body of people that want to do him harm. He's also a kid with a price on his head. He's the son of a leader of one of the biggest gangs on the south side. He's a high value target and it's kind of giving him an additional paranoia that he has to reconcile.
How does that affect his relationship with Betty? The Bughead fans are worried.
Sprouse: The fans are very passionate about Bughead. I think it affects Betty and Jughead in the way that it would affect any other couple in a similar circumstance. Jughead is now away from the north side, away from his friends and Betty. He's immersing himself within a world that's dangerous. It's making him question if he wants to bring his dangerous life to the north side of Riverdale and involve this new side of himself. It's a big issue for him. He's constantly going back and forth as to whether the always optimistic Betty can actually survive in this kind of world or next to him, alongside him. He ends up feeling this protection for these characters that I think later on you'll come to learn will harm the relationships between him and his friends.
We know he's going to get an ally in the form of Toni Topaz. What can you tease about how she'll be helpful to Jughead in this time of transition?
Sprouse: I think she and some of the other Serpents are all invested in Jughead's survival. They all understand Jughead's situation. I think Toni and some of the other Serpents have different ways of showing how they want him to survive or helping him, but Toni specifically, welcomes him into Serpent life with open arms, which is something Jughead is totally not used to. We don't know Toni's full agenda right off the bat but we know that Toni and Jughead are kindred spirits. They are very much the same kind of person. She eventually is his peer advisor for the school and ends up becoming his first friend that he really makes out on the south side.
Jughead obviously has his own dark path going with the Serpents and Archie is going down his own dark path. Are they divergent paths or are we going to see them get even closer?
Sprouse: They eventually do cross paths in a sort of strange similar way, but I think Jughead and Archie are dealing with a similar dilemma with a very different set of moral stances. Jughead is realizing that sometimes you have to do bad to do good in the long term. Archie is one of those characters that's so morally strong. He's unwilling to bend or break, whereas Jughead is learning that he has to figure out a way to navigate this if he's going to end up solving that. It causes them to butt heads, definitely. Inevitably, they come together and try to help each other.
Someone that definitely has to understand doing bad to do good is FP, but he's in prison. What is Jughead's relationship with his dad like considering that barrier between them?
Sprouse: Jughead is fully invested in finding justice for his father. For the first couple episodes, it's him trying to figure out how to do that. When his dad is in jail he tries to do that as much as possible. Jughead is one of those characters that takes the opinions of his father really seriously and probably seeks a bit of validation from him. I think for the first half, Skeet is not so prevalent but Jughead realizes he has to buck up and be a man and figure out how to navigate this world that looks intimidating to him, in a way that his dad might have had to as well.
Riverdale continues Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.
(Full disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS, one of The CW's parent companies)