Riverdale is officially a danger zone!
The fall finale of The CW drama ended with the sleepy town being placed under quarantine as part of Hiram's (Mark Consuelos) master plan to "take the kingdom." Jughead (Cole Sprouse) and FP (Skeet Ulrich) didn't make it back before the town was closed off and Archie (KJ Apa) is in the wind on a journey of self-discovery in Canada after Hiram sent yet another mercenary after him. Meanwhile, Betty (Lili Reinhart) managed to topple the nuns at the Sisters of Quiet Mercy just in time for the sirens to go off. The final scene showed Hiram toasting to the Gargoyle King, whose true identity remains a mystery.
What the hell does all of this mean? Well, TV Guide talked to the man in charge, showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, about Hiram's big plan, Archie's walkabout and what to expect when Riverdale returns. Here's what he had to say.
I want to start with that final scene that shows Hiram staring at the Gargoyle King. Is that hinting that Hiram might actually be the Gargoyle King? Or is he also on some Fizzle Rocks?
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: I can't answer that, but it will be answered when we come back.
Can you tell us a little bit more about what is causing these seizures? At first it seemed like the Fizzle Rocks were doing it, but then there's people who haven't had Fizzle Rocks that are also suffering from it?
Aguirre-Sacasa: And there are people who have Fizzle Rocks, who we haven't seen have seizures. Yeah, that's one of the mysteries that percolates through the season. I can tell you that in Episode 11 of this season that mystery will be answered. There have already been big hints about it. In Episode 11, when we come back, that will be answered.
It sounds like Hiram wants to turn Riverdale into a crime haven. What is the motivation behind that instead of maybe just building a bunch of really nice high rises and charging a bunch for rent? That seems like the more productive way to go.
Aguirre-Sacasa I think the question that everyone, especially our teen detectives Betty and Jughead, [is] trying to figure out is, how does Hiram profit by turning Riverdale into a quarantined disease zone? It's confusing because it's exactly, as you said, it's counterintuitive. But that's another mystery and plot that we uncover as we go on. But first and foremost, everyone's wondering, what does he gain by turning it into a quarantine zone? It seems very confusing, I grant you that.
At the end of the episode FP and Jughead are locked out of Riverdale. What is their next move to try to help their people? Are they going to go back to Gladys or do they have something else in mind?
Aguirre-Sacasa: I think characters like FP and Jughead, [when] they get to the edge of Riverdale, they see the blockade, I don't think they spend a lot of time not trying to break into the town. You know what I mean? I think they're going to get in there one way or the other.
Archie is also on the run. Can you tease a little bit about what his next steps are going to be?
Aguirre-Sacasa: Archie's on this journey of self-discovery, and he's on this mythic quest to figure out what kind of man he is. He's still, on some level, punishing himself for his sins and his crimes, and all the stuff from Season 2. I think he's still looking to purify that. We've gone from Archie's in the town to Archie's in a smaller community, juvie, to Archie's hanging out with his friends in the bunker to Archie and Jughead on the road. I think the next phase of this for him is Archie alone — well, with Vegas. But it feels like he's going through some kind of deep reinvention. That's still not over.
Has he learned his lesson about telling strangers exactly who he is?
Aguirre-Sacasa: I don't think he does that anytime soon, after what happened at the lake farm, no.
We've seen a farm at this point. What can you say about when will we see the Farm?
Aguirre-Sacasa: I think you see it in Episode 11.
What can we sort of expect from that? It's still just this sort of shadow in the background.
Aguirre-Sacasa: Well, it'll definitely be front and center. I can tease that Alice isn't the only member in our cast who is joining the Farm.
What are you most excited for fans to see in the second half of the season?
Aguirre-Sacasa: I think that you're probably the first [person] I'm telling. We did an episode called Bizarro Dale. ... Instead of the core four being Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead, [it] has Kevin, Josie, Reggie and Cheryl being the core four. We sort of tell an episode that brings them kind of front and center. That's really fun.
Riverdale returns Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW in 2019.
(Full disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS, one of The CW's parent companies.)