WARNING: We’re about to give you answers to the biggest questions you have after watching Riverdale’s season two finale. If you have not watched the episode, or do not want to be spoiled — leave now! For everyone else, grab a milkshake and pay attention…
That Riverdale season two finale had everything!
A miraculous recovery? Yup. A shocking arrest? You betcha. A sultry bedroom scene? Oh, yes. And two new members of the Southside Serpents? Check and check!
But despite all of these answers, we were still left with plenty of lingering questions about “The town with pep!” and its ridiculously attractive residents, so we called up Riverdale show runner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and asked him to spill on everything from Archie’s arrest to that casual Black Hood reveal.
ET: Jughead lives! What was the decision behind nearly giving fans a heart attack and trying to make us all think that Jughead was going to die?
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: You know some of the cast members said, “God, that should’ve been the cliffhanger for the season finale!” But we did a version of that with Fred where Fred’s life hung in the balance — and then Fred lived, of course. And I knew that Jughead wasn’t going to die and it felt like making that the season finale, unless we were actually going to kill Jughead, I didn’t want to do it because it would’ve felt like a little bit of a tease, but no delivery. And really when we talked about it, what we wanted was for Jughead to make a real sacrifice in a heroic way for the Serpents and we wanted to play the reality of that. But for us it wasn’t about the cliffhanger or the shock, it was the actual action that Jughead took as a gesture for the Serpents.
The actual cliffhanger that you decided to end the season with is Hiram trying to frame Archie for murder. We ended the episode with Archie getting arrested in front of the entire school — Can you talk about your decision to end the season that way instead?
Absolutely. I think all season long Archie has sort of been drawn to revenge against the Black Hood and he was drawn into a really dangerous fame with Hiram. He was attracted to Hiram’s power. He was attracted to Hiram’s money. He was attracted to the way that Hiram did business. We felt like though Archie shifted back to the side of the angels with Fred, that there should be consequences for what Archie did this season. He tried to go toe-to-toe with a much more experienced, older mobster and if felt like there should be a payoff to that.
Also, we can’t forget that Archie actually did lie and take credit for that murder. He was trying to show off to Hiram’s mobster friends and said that he “took care of” that boy in the cabin when it was really Andre who committed the murder.
Absolutely! He did that out of bravado, exactly. So it felt like all the chickens are coming home to roost. And it felt like all of these lies are going to connect to bite Archie in the behind for all the stuff he did.
Let’s talk about our two newest Serpents! We actually saw Cheryl get her jacket in a special ceremony and we say Jughead ask Betty to be his "Serpent queen." What did that mean for you to be able to expand the serpents this year?
The Serpents are currently in a giant state of flux. They’ve got a new leader, they’ve got two new members, and they’ve left their old territory — the Southside — behind. We hope they’re going to exist and Jughead has said that he’s going to keep them going, but how? They’re the Southside Serpents and they don’t live on the Southside anymore and a lot of them have defected. I think that’s a very big question that we hit early on in season three.
Can you talk a little bit about Betty and Jughead's relationship in this final episode? We saw them have a nice romantic rendezvous in the Five Seasons, which was a nice surprise for that couple.
Yeah, so much of this season has been dark for both Betty and Jughead, but even more than that, they were on separate tracks. Betty was with the Black Hood and Jughead was with the Serpents and we didn’t see them working together as detectives as much, Betty kept Jughead out of the Black Hood business, and Jughead kept Betty out of the Serpents — nor did we really see them dating or doing any of the normal high school stuff. So I think it was important in the finale to kind of bring them together again as a couple and remind people that they are a romantic couple as well and that again is something that we want to get back to in season three.
I spoke with Madeline Petsch and Vanesaa Morgan two separate times and they both mentioned how excited they were for a few Choni scenes — specifically one with Toni moving in with Cheryl and Nana Rose. Can you talk about your decision to cut that scene from the finale and use it for another time?
In the finale we always write it big, but in the end we have to leave some behind for timing reasons. For instance, at the end of season one, we had shot that the Coopers were going to adopt Jughead. We shot that scene, and I think it ended up on the DVD, I can’t remember. We ended up cutting that partly for time reasons and also because we wanted to see what the strokes for season two were going to be. If we were going to tell that story, the first thing the that would’ve happened in season two would’ve been that Jughead moved in with Betty, — so the same thing was true for Cheryl and Toni. I will tell you though, and I will let all of the Choni fans know, that I’m the biggest Choni fan. If scenes didn’t make it into the final cut, they will be on the DVD and we will try to release them and I can promise you that they are big stories ahead for Choni.
Given the fact that fans were waiting all season to discover the identity of the Black Hood, it was a bit surprising to learn from a brief conversation with Sherriff Minetta that the “copycat Black Hood” was actually Tall Boy. Can you explain the decision to have Tall Boy be the second man under the mask, and if we should really believe that to be the truth?
The central Black Hood mystery was resolved when Hal was caught, and Hiram hired Tall Boy to pose as a copycat from the Riverdale Town Hall onwards. This was almost a coda to the Black Hood story. We’ve seen Tall Boy working for Hiram in the past, so it made sense that Hiram would hire Tall Boy to do his dirty work – afterwards, he was able to dispose of him without any remorse or loose ends to tie up.
If season one was about introducing viewers to the town of Riverdale, and season two was about completely shaking things up, what can you tease about what’s ahead in season three? What is something that you definitely want to include next season?
In season three we’ll see a Riverdale that has fallen to the dark side – you can call Riverdale Sin City in a sense. On some level, this next season will be able how our characters try to maintain their decency and optimism while living in the once all American town, which has now descended into chaos and become a full fledged crime town.
Riverdale’s third season will premiere later this Fall on The CW.