After an interminably long summer break, the CW’s runaway hit “Riverdale” is finally back for its sophomore season. We may only be two episodes deep at this point, but let me tell you: this girl’s got questions. First and foremost, how dare you! How dare you darken my childhood memories like this! And how dare you do it so damn well!
I will admit, I was a bit late to the game with season one. But the beauty of “Riverdale” — aside from the moody nostalgia, teenage drama, and Cole Sprouse, of course — is that it is released simultaneously on the CW and Netflix. All I needed was one day at home with the flu, and I fell headfirst down the rabbit hole. It’s a bit dark and foggy down here, but I kind of like that. Plus, Skeet Ulrich is down here — need I say more?
But I digress. We’re not here to extol the virtues of season one. We’re here to look at the questions arising in season two. The new season definitely started off on a good foot, if you consider Luke Perry — sorry, Fred Andrews — narrowly escaping death while his assailant roams free to attack the rest of Riverdale willy-nilly a “good foot.” Fred is safe, for now, but what about the rest of the town? (Spoiler alert: No one is safe. This is the Upside Down version of Riverdale, and there is a masked Demogorgon running around shooting anyone who has ever talked to Archie Andrews and/or engaged in illicit activities — i.e. every single person in the town.)
Season two is reportedly about to get a whole lot darker. If the list of episode names stands as any indication, these rumors are accurate. Cole Sprouse, who plays Jughead, has gone so far as to describe the season as “horror,” effectively piquing my curiosity. Tell me more, Mr. Sprouse!
It is also going to be a longer season, with 22 episodes lined up — nine more than we enjoyed last time around. This should give the writers ample space to answer at least a few of our burning questions, such as the ones below!
Who shot Fred Andrews?
This is the biggest question “Riverdale” fans are asking right now. (As an aside, what is the official term we are using for ourselves as fans? If someone could comment and let me know, that would be wonderful.) We can sort-of-safely assume that the masked gunman terrorizing Riverdale is the same masked man who shot Fred Andrews in the season one finale. I say “sort-of-safely” because TV writers love a good twist, and what a twist that would be! Two masked gunmen?!
Fan theories abound on this one. Reddit is a virtual treasure trove of whodunnit guesses, and we’ve got the most likely culprits below.
Alice Cooper: 3/2
This is my current favorite theory, because it has so many implications. First of all, it was clearly not physically Alice Cooper who shot Fred Andrews or Ms. Grundy, so who would she have enlisted to help? Second, what’s her beef with Fred? She is proving to be perhaps the most vigilant adult on the show, and has a pretty big problem with the rise of crime in her town. I mean, we know she errs on the side of dangerously controlling, and remember that time she threatened her husband, Hal, reminding him of what she is capable of? If it was Alice issuing the orders, my guess is that she’s got Hal doing her dirty work for her.
Mary Andrews: 2/1
Another fan theory to recently emerge is that Mary Andrews is the mastermind behind the attack. Why? Perhaps out of jealousy for Archie’s affections, or perhaps there is a deeper secret about why she left town. I don’t know, but I do know she’s been brought back into the story at a suspicious time. Also, imagine how Momma Bear might feel about Ms. Grundy’s sexual advances on her son.
Hal Cooper: 5/2
Hal could be acting on his own, without Alice’s knowledge. It wouldn’t be the first big secret he’s kept from her. If we are going off body-build and eyes alone, which is kind of all we have at the moment, Hal fits the bill pretty perfectly.
Hermione Lodge: 5/1
There is much more to Hermione Lodge than meets the eye. We know she is involved in some shady business and we know that she will lie to protect her family, but I don’t think we know just how far she is willing to go quite yet. Fred refused her business buy-out in season one, but would that be enough to drive her to murder? Not to mention, what issue would she have with Ms. Grundy? This is where my newly-formed two-shooter theory could work!
Hiram Lodge: 8/1
He did arrive at a particularly bad time, and he does have motives. (See above re: Fred’s business. Also, his wife cheated on him with Fred.) But, again, the Ms. Grundy connection is a bit weak.
Was Clifford Blossom’s death staged?
If you weren’t asking yourself this question, let me ask it for you. Don’t believe everything you see so quickly, my friends! Head back in time with me for a moment; do you remember how unnervingly calm Cheryl and her mother were when Clifford Blossom was found dead in season one? This is one intense family, and finding out that their patriarch killed his own son could be enough to push the mother-daughter duo of Cheryl and Penelope over the edge. Not to mention, Cheryl burned the house to the ground afterwards, saying it was the only way to purify them. Purify or destroy evidence, Cheryl?
Odds that Cheryl and Penelope killed Clifford: 2/3
Odds that Clifford did not kill Jason: 4/1
We all saw the video, but what if it wasn’t actually Mr. Blossom pulling the trigger? What if someone else, someone who might don a mask later, put on a red wig and framed Clifford Blossom for the murder of his own son? I don’t think it’s actually that unlikely.
Odds that Clifford Blossom is actually alive: 20/1
What if the entire thing was staged? He does have a room full of red wigs, but I’ve got a feeling it wouldn’t take a coroner too long to see through that one.
Who is Penny Peabody?
We know she is FP Jones’ lawyer, and we know that she is a Southside Serpent, but who is Penny Peabody really? FP tells Jughead that she is a “snake charmer,” so obviously their history is a bit muddied. Her character doesn’t play a huge role in the comics, so we don’t have much to go off of there, but my guess is that she isn’t helping FP out of the kindness of her heart.
Odds that Penny Peabody and FP dated: 2/5
Is Alice Cooper really a witch?
The return of “Sabrina, The Teenage Witch” has been teased by the CW for some time, and considering no one loves a good cross-over event more than the CW, this theory could really carry some weight. There was always a bit of a supernatural element in the comics, thanks to Sabrina. If Alice Cooper were to possess some supernatural powers, it would create a perfect doorway through which Sabrina could enter. It could also seriously darken her, “you know what I am capable of” speech, in the best of ways.
Odds that Alice is a witch: 3/2
Odds Sabrina is a character in season two: 6/1
Will Bughead survive?
This one is for the lover in me. Betty and Jughead’s sweet romance is most likely going to turn sour this season. I mean, in what TV world are people able to date, fall in love, and remain happy forever? Does that world even exist? But really, Jughead just joined a gang and moved to a new school; while Betty’s dark side is seeping out more and more, she still has a strong moral pull.
Odds that Bughead survives season two: 4/1
Odds Betty and Archie get together this season: 7/1
We see the way he’s been looking at her. Plus, the Betty-Archie-Veronica love triangle is the main push of the comics. We’ve got to see more of that.