Riverdale's teens return for senior year in the first season 4 trailer - but Betty's in trouble, Veronica's causing new scandals, and Jughead has mysteriously gone missing. The next season of The CW's teen drama was set up by season 3's ominous ending flash-forward, in which Betty, Veronica and Archie were in the woods, burning their clothes (and Jughead's beanie) and swearing to go their separate ways and keep a terrible secret.
Of course, high stakes are nothing new in Riverdale, a show that last season had a plot in which Betty exposed an organ harvesting cult and saw several citizens of the town killed off by a twiggy monster called the Gargoyle King. Archie had to deal with the emotional fallout of briefly becoming a forest ranger and being mauled by a bear, and Veronica went to war with her father for control of her underground speakeasy, La Bonne Nuit. You'd think that, after all that, the gang would have earned a quiet and peaceful senior year.
Unfortunately, it looks like that won't be the case. This promo for Riverdale season 4 opens and closes with a massive search for Jughead through Fox Forest, led by his father, FP Jones (who is currently the town sheriff). We also see Betty getting hit in the back of the head by a shadowy figure with a gun, a slideshow of crime scene photos from the cult members' "ascension" last season, and Veronica putting on a cabaret show at La Bonne Nuit. In other words, it's the same old Riverdale.
While even Riverdale's biggest fans would admit that the show is outlandish and cheesy, that's part of its charm. Based on characters created in Archie Comics, Riverdale was conceived as a grim, gritty, noir take on Archie and the gang, with the foursome regularly swept up in murder mysteries and the corruption at the heart of their home town. Archie was a convicted killer (though admittedly he was framed), Jughead is a gang leader, Veronica is the daughter of a ruthless mafia boss, and Betty has a dark side that apparently stems from her having the "serial killer gene."
This promo for Riverdale season 4 clearly sets up how the upcoming episodes will be built around season 3's ending stinger, with Archie pointing out that their lives as they know them will be over in nine months. Would the show really go so far as to kill off Jughead, and have the rest of the gang be responsible for his death? Is that Jughead at the end of the trailer, seemingly buried alive? All we know for sure is that things are never as they seem in Riverdale.
Riverdale season 4 premieres Wednesday, October 9th on The CW.