The new season of The CW’s Riverdale returns from its summer hiatus in October, the perfect release date for a show so deliciously spooky.
Speaking of spooky, the latest teaser trailer is full of straight-up gothic horror imagery, a style we haven’t yet seen on the show. Check it out.
That’s a lot to take in at once, so let’s break it down in chunks, and theorize about what season three of Riverdale might have in store.
We open on Archie in handcuffs, being transported to what we can only imagine is prison. If you recall, season two ended with Archie being framed for the murder of Cassidy Bullock, who was actually killed by Hiram’s hitman, Andre (the new Smithers). If the rest of the trailer is any indication, Archie either makes bond or is quickly exonerated since we see him spending a lot of time with Veronica, Betty, and Jughead, like in this next shot of the crew in Archie’s jalopy.
We hear Veronica telling Hiram, “We will survive whatever you have in store because we are endgame.” She’s likely referring to her relationship with Archie and Hiram’s constantly meddling.
We also get a shot of Cheryl, Toni, and possibly Veronica dressed in black and running in a basement. The girls are probably infiltrating Sisters of Quiet Mercy, an asylum of sorts for troubled teens, where Cheryl was forced to undergo conversion therapy.
choni goes into soqm, takes pics of all the terrible stuff, and runs outta there before the nuns realize they have evidence. the gays are prevailing pic.twitter.com/FLmyLtL7YB
— emma (@PET5CH) August 29, 2018
Next, one of the more tantalizing Easter eggs: Archie with a Southside Serpent tattoo! Is it possible he joins the Serpents in prison?
We then get a shot of Bughead followed by… FALICE! Yup, that’s F.P. and Alice in bed together, with our first peek at Alice’s Serpent tattoo. It was revealed in season two that the former couple had a baby together–the real Chic, not the imposter pretending to be him–who may or may not have died of a drug overdose. A good Riverdale rule of thumb is to never assume anyone is really dead. With Alice’s husband Hal in prison for his Black Hood crimes, it looks like she’s falling back into old habits. But what will this mean for Betty and Jughead? Will they stay together when they learn they share a sibling and their parents are shacking up?
August 29: The day the Falice shippers had a heart attack. Help is needed. pic.twitter.com/YckjEqkyyM
— Falice ?????? (@FaliceIsMyLife) August 29, 2018
We get a glimpse of the Riverdale Vixens in action (looks like Josie is joining them this year), a shot of Archie in prison, a close-up of Toni, and another couple we’ve been waiting to see again: Kevin and Moose! After Midge’s death last season and their touching reunion in the finale, it looks like they’re officially together in season three.
We then see what looks like some sort of brawl in the prison yard, followed by Jughead and Archie restraining Fred as he lashes out in anger over… something. It’s hard to tell what’s going on since everything comes so fast.
But here’s where things get really interesting.
The pages of some sort of witchy book appear. It shows a devil-figure either embracing or harming a hooded woman, and another woman with missing eyes holding a scepter with a skull on the end. We know Alice gets wrapped up in Polly’s “farm” cult this season; maybe this is a text that inspired the cult. (This also reminds us of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which is telling its own occult story in the Archie Comics universe. Unfortunately, as showrunner for both series Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has confirmed, the shows will not crossover.)
Our next shot is of Betty appearing to pass out, maybe from looking at the book, or maybe because of whatever the hell this thing is.
This creature is giving us hardcore Hannibal vibes. Remember all of the antler-monster imagery on that show?
We then get a shot of Alice and Polly holding Polly’s twins up in some sort of twisted, culty ritual, followed by Archie throwing a glass bottle through the bars of his prison cell.
The teaser closes on the most intriguing shot we’ve seen yet–yes, it’s even weirder than the antler monster.
It’s Jughead yelling, “Help! Somebody help!” while standing between two (seemingly) dead bodies that look to be worshipping at an altar. The fires and twigs recall the same type of ceremony Alice and Polly were shown at. This probably has something to do with the cult. More than anything, it’s extremely reminscent of True Detective, especially the first episode of season one, when the detectives find the body of a dead woman who is in a similar praying position, wearing a crown of antlers.
Maybe the bodies Jughead finds aren’t dead at all, but incapacitated by some kind of drug. It could be the same thing that causes Betty to pass out. A hallucinogenic, maybe? We already know Riverdale has a problem with drugs, with heroin in season one and jingle jangle in season two. Maybe the cult administers some new drug that lures in members. That’s not exactly an unknown tactic when it comes to cults, after all.
Whatever the case, we can’t wait to see what Riverdale has in store for us when it returns to The CW on October 10!
Images: The CW, NBC, HBO