After a rollicking premiere that landed Archie in jail and sent Betty into spasms, Riverdale’s third season is off to the races — and the combination of murder/mystery and otherworldly cultishness is bringing one very specific vibe to the teen audience. That’s all according to showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s master plan. The crew will be dabbling in a world influenced by True Detective and seek solace at a speakeasy over the course of the season, which shouldn’t surprise fans of the hilariously over-the-top high school detectives.
Aguirre-Sacasa, speaking to Entertainment Weekly and The Wrap, explained that the many elements he’s teased in the upcoming season — like the Dungeons & Dragons-esque game Griffins & Gargoyles and the farm cult — will overlap to form a delicious, True Detective-inspired mystery throughout the season. “We jokingly call it ‘teen detectives meets True Detective’ because we find Betty and Jughead investigating this really disturbing crime that seems to speak to the very twisted history of Riverdale,” Aguirre-Sacasa says of the season.
That means that, while “the Farm is a big plot of the season,” its link to the murders is initially unclear, especially when Aguirre-Sacasa mentions that the small-town cult (which takes from Wild Wild Country and introduces Edgar and Evelyn Evernever) is hardly as suspect as G&G.
First things first is the link between Betty’s seizures and the Gargoyle King, which the showrunner playfully mentions. “That’s one of the big mysteries,” he said, “is, are the seizures connected to the Gargoyle King? What is the Gargoyle King exactly?” Then, one of the murder victims was playing G&G, lending an explicitly fantastic element to the crime.
But that’s not all. Speaking about the season’s big flashback episode, in which the main actors play their characters’ parents, the creator said that the kids find out that “their parents, when they were in high school, were also playing this game, and there was a similar murder that happened in the past.” So dungeon-crawling, cults, and generational murders. Are we sure this isn’t the show about the witch?
But at least the kids will be able to piece together their conspiracy theories in a place of comfort when Veronica opens up a speakeasy underneath Pop’s. The ‘20s-themed bar will show up in Episode 3, providing a space for Josie to sing and — presumably — its detectives to lean hard into the neo-noir weirdness of the upcoming season. Time is a flat circle as Riverdale's second episode nears its airing.