Warning: SPOILERS ahead for Riverdale's season 3 premiere
Riverdale is back, and it has us asking a whole lot of questions. The season 3 premiere of The CW's Archie Comics adaptation picked up at the end of a long summer of preparation for Archie's trial, after our red-haired boy hero was framed by Hiram Lodge for a murder he didn't commit. But while Archie voluntarily pleading guilty to a manslaughter charge and heading off to juvie was certainly a shocking way to open the season, it was far from the weirdest thing that happened in "Labor Day." There were also floating babies, a deer-headed forest deity called the Gargoyle King, and a dog rescue mission that culminated in Cheryl shooting someone with a bow and arrow. Yes, Riverdale is definitely back.
Soon this won't be the only Archie Comics adaptation on our screens, as The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina - which is set in neighboring Greendale - is coming to Netflix later this month. With Riverdale now teasing supernatural elements, we can't help but wonder if Sabrina might end up paying a visit to Archie and co.
Without further ado, let's run through the events of the Riverdale premiere, and outline our biggest questions for the upcoming season.
- This Page: Riverdale's Spooky Goings-On
- Page 2: Archie Behind Bars, Revenge of the Ghoulies & More
What's With The Floating Babies?
The last couple of minutes of "Labor Day" are when things get really weird, so let's work backwards from the end of the episode. Betty, who has grown increasingly exasperated with Polly and Alice's ramblings about the Farm and its charismatic leader, Edgar Evernever, emerges from the Cooper house to find a group of women gathered around a fire. Among them are Polly and Alice, each of them holding one of Polly's twin babies. To Betty's horror, her mother and sister hold the twins directly over the fire and then drop them. However, instead of falling to a fiery death, the babies float up into the air.
Now, it's entirely possible that this is actually a hallucination, rather than evidence that Riverdale is about to take a hard swerve into the supernatural. After seeing the babies float up into the air, Betty collapses on the porch and starts having a seizure. We also know that Betty has been taking a lot of Adderall in order to aid her efforts to keep Archie out of jail, and hallucinations are a known side effect of Adderall abuse (as are seizures, in rare cases). Whether the floating babies are the result of sinister magic or just Betty tripping on ADHD medication remains to be seen, but they're not the only evidence of the supernatural in this episode.
Who Or What Is The Gargoyle King?
With the Black Hood storyline wrapped up in season 2, Riverdale is now in need of a new boogeyman - and it looks like it could be a creepy entity called the Gargoyle King. After an awkward exchange of stares at Cheryl's pool party, Jughead comes home to find Dilton Doiley in his trailer, panicking about something that he thought was just a game, but has turned out to be far more real than he bargained for. Jughead has other business to attend to, and tells Dilton to wait for him at the trailer. When he returns, however, Dilton is gone and has left behind a creepy drawing with a map of Riverdale on the back.
Following the map, Jughead makes his way to the woods and finds a horrifying display: some kind of shrine with a deer head and antlers, surrounded by bones and candles, with two goblets that have some kind of blue liquid in them. Prostrate on the ground before the shrine are Dilton and another boy, Ben, with strange symbols carved into their backs. Jughead manages to rouse Ben, but he starts frothing at the mouth.
Why is the Gargoyle King? Why were Dilton and Ben "praying" to it? What did they drink, and who carved the symbols in their backs? Is this supernatural, or just another sick human mind? And does it have any connection to the Farm and the floating babies? With all these questions, it looks like we've found our big mystery for the season.
Will Riverdale Cross Over With Sabrina?
Though it may not be airing on The CW, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina has a lot in common with Riverdale. Both shows are produced by Warner Bros. Television and Berlanti Productions, both were adapted from Archie Comics for TV by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, and both shows are filmed in Vancouver. Riverdale has also name-dropped Greendale, with Archie and Jughead taking a trip out to the neighboring town for a drug deal in season 2, and getting a ride with a creepy farmer played by Candyman actor Tony Todd. The groundwork has clearly been laid for a crossover, and executive producer Greg Berlanti has plenty of experience with shared TV universes thanks to his work on The CW's Arrowverse shows.
Add to this the fact that Sabrina's first season will drop just a couple of weeks into Riverdale season 3, and we can't help but suspect that there might be some cameos on the way - or, at the very least, references to the events in Greendale. There's no indication yet that the Gargoyle King and Edgar Evernever's cult have connections to Sabrina and her chilling adventures, but it's quite a coincidence that Riverdale should get extra spooky just as the witches arrive.