*Season 2 spoilers below!
The Riverdale roller-coaster shows no sign of slowing down following its season two finale.
The surprise Netflix hit, which follows high-schooler Archie Andrews and his peers through the dramatic, murderous happenings in the small town of Riverdale, left viewers with more questions than answers.
Ambiguity over Jughead’s survival, Black Hood’s Zodiac-style reign of terror and a shock dark twist for Archie sent fans into a spin – topped by the confirmation of a third series.
Series creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa addressed the twists-and-turns in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter – while also hinting at huge supernatural changes ahead of season 3.
Here are all the big questions answered and what viewers should expect when the show returns.
Season two’s key questions, answered (sort of)
The genre-bending drama drastically switched focus for its sophomore series.
Ditching its murder-mystery narrative surrounding the death of popular Riverdale High pupil Jason Blossom, it instead moved toward a darker, serial-killer storyline.
Jughead’s second coming
As the season drew to a close, the burning question on every fan’s lips concerned whether Jughead, a Southside Serpent member, had survived a savage beating from rival gang The Ghoulies.
The penultimate episode saw his father, FP Jones (Skeet Ulrich), desperately trying to revive his son, while girlfriend Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart) and Archie (KJ Apa) looked on in horror.
Writers toyed with audiences on social media, even opening the final episode to scenes of Betty paying tearful respects at Jughead’s grave.
But, in true Dallas style, it turned out that the much-loved character had simply dreamt his demise from his hospital bed.
Black Hood caught?
At first glance, it seemed the serial killing spree that terrorised Riverdale residents would end after Betty’s father, Hal, dramatically admitted to the murders as part of plan to purge the town of sin.
However, eagle-eyed fans theorised that his arrest – instigated by Betty – may be a partial red-herring.
Earlier in the season, Fred Andrews (Luke Perry) was attacked in his home by Black Hood at the same time as Hal was holding his own family hostage.
That meant Hal, unable to be two places at once, either only committed a splattering of the crimes – or, even more intriguingly – was covering for someone else.
The final episode confirmed this suspicion, revealing that he hired Tall Boy to replicate the Hood killings when murdering Fred.
Archie faces jail time
Amid the drama of the concluding storylines, viewers were left blindsided by the false arrest of Archie for the murder of Cassidy Bullock, a cashier at the Lodge family cabin.
Staged in front of the school, Archie is handcuffed as he is about to be sworn in as new class president.
The shock development is the dirty work of Hiram Lodge ( Mark Consuelos) – father of Veronica (Camila Mendes) and also a mafioso kingpin. Compromised during Archie’s Hood investigation, Hiram pays off Sheriff Minetta to make the arrest and buy himself some time.
Relations could get awkward if Veronica ever finds out, as she’s currently dating Archie.
The finale’s scatter-gun approach threw open as many mysteries as it solved.
Polly’s mysterious farm
Betty’s elder sister Polly (Tiera Skovbye) has been nowhere to be seen for most of the season – quietly departing at the start of the Black Hood saga to raise her twins Jupiter and Dagwood – so her appearance in the final episode raised eyebrows.
And, in typical Riverdale fashion, there appears to be more to her return than meets the eye.
Fans expressed suspicion over her offer to introduce her mother to a “friend” from the farm, which sounds very much like a cult, who could help her recover from the Black Hood drama.
The devious look in her eyes left fans fearful of her future intentions.
Speaking to Cosmopolitan, Skovbye said: “It is something that’s become important to her. But what it is, exactly, I don’t think we know yet.”
Betty’s dark potential
Hal’s daughter spent much of the season trying to be a good girl amid anonymous calls from Black Hood – before discovering it was her father.
But, from time to time, her dark side emerged, symbolised by her black wig during sexy role-play, lashing out at Chuck, and handing over Chick to Black Hood.
Sacasa confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that this side of Betty “will always be part of her character”.
“It felt like the black wig did take on a life of its own. With the darkness, either Betty was denying it or it was controlling her,” he said.
A supernatural third season?
During the same interview, Sacasa suggested that Riverdale could switch genres for a third time, and harness “high genre” values akin to The Godfather.
“It’s the Archie characters put into a specific genre, and we see how they relate and survive and adapt,” he said.
The new season will see Archie attempt to clear his name following his arrest.
“He and Hiram are squaring off, so I think that will be one of the main conflicts of season three, for sure,” Sacasa said, adding Hiram will get “much darker”.
But, most intriguingly of all, the creator told fans to look back at episode seven of season 2 for the best indication of the forthcoming series.
The January instalment broke convention and opened with messages stating the events featured in Riverdale had occurred in the past – a point emphasised by Archie’s narration.
Add to that the appearance of Farmer McGinty, a mysterious stranger who listens to religious radio stations claiming Black Hood is doing the Lord’s work, and the possibility for time-bending supernatural elements becomes a real possibility.
Unlikely? This is Riverdale.