SPOILER ALARM: Don’t read if you haven’t watched “Chapter Ninety-Six: Welcome to Rivervale,” the six-season premiere of “Riverdale”.
The CW’s sixth season of “Riverdale” certainly opened with a heartbreaker.
With a story by Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse), the show introduced viewers to a town parallel to the titular: Rivervale, where things were so dark its residents took part in a ritual sacrifice, leading to the passing of Archie Andrews (KJ Apa) when the whole town came together to sacrifice him. Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) was the one to do the act, reaching for his chest and pulling out his heart, letting it throb in her palm for a few seconds to a thrilled crowd.
But how did they get here? The “Twilight Zone” style story implies that this could be an alternate universe. Archie waking up at the beginning of the episode telling his girlfriend Betty (Lili Reinhart) that he had a dream about a town called “Riverdale” may foreshadow that the plots here are some sort of “from the mind’s” scenario. Some might even think this is a story that Jughead is working on. No matter what transported these characters to this different place, however, the experiences they have during this five-episode miniar arc are designed to continue the plot of the end of Season 5, says the creator and showrunner. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. Various.
“I’m very in-continuous, so we’re not going back [Episode] 606 as we would do before it. It lasts a long time, in a strange way, all the episodes from the end of Season 5. The idea was, ‘Let’s swing for the fences, let’s do something fans asked for,’ ”Aguirre-Sacasa explains.
What fans have asked, he explains, is, “‘When will’ Riverdale ‘become full-horror, full-supernatural?’ That’s always a big decision and a big swing, but it felt like, ‘Oh well, this might be the time to do it.’ ”
In doing so, the beloved characters “would be allowed to do things they might not be allowed to do in Riverdale” – which is why Archie’s loved ones like Betty and Jughead agree to sacrifice him. But since plots had to take over from Season 5 and through the rest of Season 6, this wasn’t an opportunity to completely re-establish who people were or what they wanted – or even put them into brand new romantic couples. Jughead and Tabitha (Erinn Westbrook) moved in together in Rivervale, following the natural progression of the relationship they had at the end of Season 5, for example. Veronica (Camila Mendes) and Reggie (Charles Melton) wanted to open a casino, and Rivervale allows them to explore that opportunity.
“I think if we were to propose that everyone in Riverdale come together to sacrifice Archie for their personal gains, the eyebrows might have been raised. As it was, even in River Valley the eyebrows were raised, but we allowed ourselves to push characters a little further and go a little more extreme.As for example, in [Episode] 602 you will see different sides of Veronica and Reggie, you will see another side of Tabitha and Jughead. Everyone becomes the darkest version of themselves in Rivervale, which is fun, ”says Aguirre-Sacasa.
There are “high levels of danger” in Rivervale, Aguirre-Sacasa continues, noting that Archie is only the first victim. The five-episode Rivervale arc will continue some of Season 5’s dangerous threads, including the Bucket Killer and Abigail’s curse (also Petsch), says Aguirre-Sacasa. Witch Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka) reprises her “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” role as well during this arc.
“The tone is more‘ Riverdale ’than‘ Chilling Adventures of Sabrina ’, but it’s definitely beyond what we were in‘ Riverdale ’, as hard to imagine,” Aguirre-Sacasa says of the episodes.
For the audience who wants to know exactly what is happening and why, Aguirre-Sacasa says they have inserted clues into both “dialogue and the background of the visual world.” One season premiere element that may have seemed to have double meaning was when Jughead became sentimental with Archie during the pancake-eating contest. But Aguirre-Sacasa says it was because Jughead knew “he would sacrifice Archie and apologize before the sacrifice,” not that what was said was something unconscious Archie in the Riverdale world was bleeding in Rivervale.
“Archie is not in a coma due to the bomb,” Aguirre-Sacasa confirms from the Riverdale world, referencing Hiram’s (Mark Consuelos) action against the hero at the end of Season 5.
In Rivervale, however, Archie is really dead, he continues.
At least for now. As this arc progresses stories into the later episodes of the season, when things return to the usual Riverdale environment, it’s hard to imagine him staying dead long. Aguirre-Sacasa says these episodes have opened the door for writers to lean even further into the horror genre and “let the supernatural sneak a little further,” and now Archie’s character seems the fullest of possibility in that area. .
“Riverdale” airs Tuesday at 9 p.m. on the CW.