[Warning: The following contains spoilers for the Season 3 premiere of Riverdale! Read at your own risk.]
There's something weird going on in Riverdale, and we mean even more strange than dead teenagers and hooded serial killers. We've got a potentially mystical cult and a Gargoyle King on our hands, folks. The final scene of Wednesday's Season 3 premiere found Betty (Lili Reinhart) watching her mom Alice (Madchen Amick) and sister Polly (Tiera Skovbye) performing a ritual with the Farm in which Betty's baby niece and nephew floated over a fire. The strange sight caused Betty to faint on her balcony, but what was it that she actually saw?
Lili Reinhart was on-hand at New York Comic Con last weekend to confirm that magic hasn't made its way to Riverdale, at least not yet, and there is a more reasonable explanation for what was going on with the babies and the Farm.
"[When I read the script], I immediately texted [showrunner] Roberto [Aguirre-Sacasa] and was like, 'Does this show have magic in it now? Is it supernatural now?' and he said, 'No, I promise you it's not,'" Reinhart told TV Guide. "I was immediately like, 'OK, it was a hallucination. Maybe Betty is having a bad reaction to her Adderall and the high stress, or something really weird is going on with the Farm. I think it's a mix of all of those things."
OK, so it's not magic, but what is going on? We went straight to the source -- Aguirre-Sacasa -- to try and get some answers. See what he had to say below!
What does that final scene really mean?
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: It means that either Betty is having a hallucination, or some very, very, very scary cult members have come to Riverdale, or it means both... We wanted something that was really shocking and disturbing and disorienting. The reason I can't tell you conclusively what it is, is because that's the big mystery. I can tell you that it only kind of gets freakier from that moment on.
It's not the only disturbing thing in the premiere. We also have the Gargoyle King in the woods with Jughead (Cole Sprouse). Are those two connected in any way?
I think both Jughead and Betty -- they're Nancy Drew and True Detective. They're on the case. They're trying to see if all these weird events that are happening in Riverdale, if it's a terrible coincidence that they're happening at the same time, if they're causing each other, if they're related to each other. Trying to draw all these strands together is the big drive of this season.
I've never wanted to shake Archie (KJ Apa) more than I did in this episode when he pleaded guilty after the mistrial. How much stress is he going to cause us during Season 3?
Aguirre-Sacasa: Poor Archie. He can't get a break. We always want him to try to do the right thing. You know, for us, that moment feels like it's Archie believing that he has to be punished for what he did in Season 2. He knew he'd done wrong. He'd turned against his father. He'd aligned with a very bad man. He almost did horrible things. He did do horrible things; he started a vigilante group. I think for us in that moment, whether or not he's guilty of killing Cassidy, he is guilty of many other things. Archie, in his perhaps overly simplistic way, thinks, "I need to be punished. And this trial almost destroyed my family. I can't put them through that again." So that's part of Archie. The intention is good, whether or not the action is the wisest.
How is that mindset going to make being in prison that much more difficult for him?
Aguirre-Sacasa: You know, really good question. What we always go back to is, if Archie's in prison, which it seems like he is... we're always trying to figure out ways Archie can still be Archie, no matter what situation he's in. He does feel like he needs to atone and make up for his crimes, but he very quickly finds himself in a much darker situation than he originally planned, and he's like, "OK, this has nothing to do with me atoning. This is about me surviving." The circumstances will change.
I can't imagine there's a world where Archie's in jail for murder and so is Hal Cooper without you having them bump into each other. What could we expect from that interaction?
I will say that Archie is in juvenile detention, and Hal is in a maximum penitentiary, or for all we know an insane asylum with Hannibal Lector in the bowels of some place in Baltimore. So, I don't want people to be upset if their paths don't cross. That doesn't mean that they won't cross in the future. They just haven't so far.
How can we expect Veronica (Camila Mendes) to be dealing with this? Because she was fighting very hard to keep Archie out and was even going to tamper with witnesses.
Aguirre-Sacasa: Yeah, she's angry. She's angry at her father. She's probably a little bit angry at Archie. But listen, she's fighting for her guy. It really super charges Veronica. Veronica doesn't take anything lying down, and she doesn't give up very easily, so even though Archie's put away, she wants to get to him. She wants to get him out and she won't be denied.
Jellybean and Gladys are coming a little bit further down the line. What can we expect from the Jones family reunion?
Aguirre-Sacasa: Trouble. It's very rare on Riverdale that we introduce someone to come in and keep things calm... Usually, they come in to stir up trouble. Then you have an actress like Gina Gershon, who is such a powerhouse, and so formidable and so fierce. She's gonna cause problems for Jughead and for FP (Skeet Ulrich) and for Betty and for Alice and for Hiram (Mark Consuelos) and for the entire town of Riverdale. So trouble, but fun trouble.
Riverdale continues Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.
(Full disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS, one of The CW's parent companies)