Although “Riverdale” executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa told Variety earlier in this second season that the series would “never become a slasher movie,” the characters in the small but no longer quite so peppy town have been saying there’s a serial killer on the loose. Jughead (Cole Sprouse) and Betty (Lili Reinhart) in particular have been sucked into the idea of a game of cat-and-mouse with the mysterious masked man sending cyphers to entice the teens to engage.
But the darkness and the danger doesn’t end there, as the fourth episode of the second season saw small town hero Archie Andrews (KJ Apa) purchase a gun and almost bring it to a fight with some Southside Serpents.
“The first four episodes is Archie sorting through his feelings and being consumed by revenge to the point where he tells Veronica, ‘I want to kill the Black Hood. I want to be the last thing he sees,'” Aguirre-Sacasa tells Variety.
Though it was very easy for Archie to purchase a gun (he let some scruff grow in to appear a bit older and used a fake ID), the show isn’t out to make a commentary on gun control or gun ownership. Instead, the idea behind Archie’s dalliance with the dark side came from some other famous comic book hero origin stories.
“I look at Bruce Wayne and Peter Parker, and they all have a moment where they have a terrible tragedy. Bruce Wayne’s parents are shot; Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben is shot by a burglar; in Archie’s case, his father is shot by the Black Hood,” Aguirre-Sacasa says. “That’s a catalyst for them to become heroes. Even Spider-Man, who turns out to be one of most light, always cracking jokes superheroes, his first impulse is to turn dark.”
Aguirre-Sacasa acknowledges that Archie “did or does have some version of PTSD,” stemming from seeing his father bleeding out on the floor of Pop’s. While he experienced some flashbacks that “consumed him” at times, and his journey with the Black Hood is not over yet, Aguirre-Sacasa says that Archie trying to solve violence with violence ended when the credits rolled on the fourth episode.
“At the end of the episode, he throws the gun in the river. To me, that sort of signals the end of Archie’s revenge quest,” Aguirre-Sacasa says. “Now he starts to turn towards being that hero he is going to eventually be.”
“Riverdale” airs on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on the CW.