‘Riverdale’ Goes out With a Bang, Sets up ‘Crucible Moment,’ Says EP (VIDEO)

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(L-R): KJ Apa as Archie Andrews, Camila Mendes as Veronica Lodge, Cole Sprouse as Jughead Jones and Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper in "The Sweet Hereafter" season finale episode of Riverdale

Last week, Riverdale fans learned that Clifford Blossom had killed his own son, Jason (Trevor Stines), to cover up his heroin-smuggling ring. While one would expect an episode that ends with a homicidal father’s suicide by hanging and the resolution of a season-long mystery to be the season finale, this show has proven in its first year that it likes to keep us on our toes. So it’s fitting that tonight’s actual season finale built on that Blossom plot to set up more mystery in Season 2.

“There was a lot of discussion about revealing Jason’s killer in the penultimate episode,” admits Riverdale creator and executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. “That was [co-EP] Greg Berlanti’s idea, and I thought it was a great one.”

Mostly because it allowed the writers more room to really expand the storyline. “I’m really happy because it almost feels like the penultimate episode was a finale in its own way, and then this is also a finale. Really, it’s like a two-hour finale!”

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That is not to to say everything was tied up in tonight’s hour. In fact, more problems emerged as Riverdale’s residents tried to deal with the fallout from the Blossom tragedies and readied for their beloved town’s 75th Jubilee celebration.

Archie (KJ Apa) and the gang rescued Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) after she tried to 13 Reasons herself on a frozen lake; the Lodges learned that Hiram was headed home from prison; and Polly Cooper (Tiera Skovbye), the most pregnant cheerleader since Glee‘s Quinn Fabray, returned to Riverdale High, although fans missed her most glorious entrance in this deleted scene.

But it was Jughead (Cole Sprouse) who had the most on his plate. Not only did he face a move out of town and into the foster-care system, he was embraced by the Serpents, who stepped in at the last second of the episode to “adopt” the kid while his dad (Skeet Ulrich) sits in jail for his role in the Blossom drug nastiness. Their unexpected arrival, of course, came just as Juggie and Betty (Lili Reinhart) were about to get down to some serious bedroom business…as were Veronica (Camila Mendes) and Archie!

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And find out why Veronica is going to have an emotional time in Thursday's episode.

“When we were talking about the finale, we did think, ‘Okay, are both of the couples going to go all the way?” says Aguirre-Sacasa. “Then we actually thought for a long time it was going to be that Veronica and Archie would be the ones who slowed down—because traditionally, Archie is the one that moves fast and Veronica is the one that is a bit more of a sophisticate—and that Betty and Jughead would go all the way.”

Even though that was the original intention, “it just felt right” that the two would wind up being interrupted by the gang members. And what of Juggie’s decision to slip on the Serpent jacket? Well, Aguirre-Sacasa doesn’t blame the boy for accepting an offer he couldn’t refuse.

“We love our homages on Riverdale,” he continues, likening Betty’s horrified reaction to her beau joining his hood’s sons of anarchy to “that last scene in The Godfather when Diane Keaton is looking at Michael Corleone, Al Pacino, being surrounded by his family, and she is on the other side of the door.”

Riverdale -- "Chapter Thirteen: The Sweet Hereafter" -- Pictured: Luke Perry as Fred Andrews

Luke Perry as Fred Andrews

And speaking of doors, our beloved Fred Andrews (Luke Perry) was left at death’s door in the last scene of the night, after a masked man shot him during a holdup at Pop’s. Whether this is a “Fade out on Fred” for good or not remains to be seen, but it doesn’t sound promising.

“Archie seeing his father gunned down in front of him is, to me, exactly like Bruce Wayne seeing his parents gunned down in Crime Alley, or when Peter Parker learns about his uncle Ben’s murder at the hands of the burglar,” says Aguirre-Sacasa. “Those were defining, crucible moments for those characters, and this will be for Archie…gone are the days of a happy-go-lucky Archie.”

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And now that he’s saved crazy Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) from an icy death, we have this chilling suspicion those two may become even more entangled come next season. So you gotta pull through, Fred!!