All The Riverdale Fan Theories You Need To Know

Photo: The CW.

The story of Archie Andrews, small-town football player/musician/teenage Don Juan, has captured audiences’ hearts — including mine — since 1941. According to my parents, they couldn’t so much as go to the grocery store without picking up an Archie comic to satisfy my thirst for the latest Betty and Veronica drama. (#TeamVeronica!)

So when I heard that my beloved childhood comics were being turned into a CW show, teased as Pretty Little Liars meets The OC, I was pretty skeptical. I was very, very wrong.

Riverdale is the ideal guilty-pleasure watch: It’s funny, salacious, dark, and kind of beautiful. Oh, and did I mention there’s a murder mystery?

It’s going to be quite a ride. So, grab your favorite booth at Pop Tate’s, sip a milkshake, and join me as I take a little trip to Riverdale each week and round up the best theories about what Archie, Betty, Veronica, Cheryl, and Jughead are really up to.

Is Archie about to get a lot more undead?

There’s a pretty outrageous theory floating around, which suggests that Riverdale is actually a zombie apocalypse show masquerading as a teen drama. And before you roll your eyes, I am CONVINCED that this is true.

Reddit user DeCurt1998 put forward the idea, based on the fact that Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa also created and wrote the “Afterlife with Archie” comic book series. The theory also explains why Jason was shot in the head — it’s the only way to kill zombies, you guys!

Click here for a more detailed breakdown of the clues.

No, really, is Archie about to add zombies?

The mere existence of EP Aguirre-Sacasa’s comic series isn’t the only evidence Riverdale could turn into a teen soap reboot of The Walking Dead.

The creator confirmed Archie Comics character Sabrina the Teenage Witch — yes, that Sabrina the Teenage Witch — may appear soon, telling The Wrap, “We could [see her in season 1]. As I say, never say never, but it’s certainly within the realm of possibility.”

Sabrina’s possible appearance adds to the Riverdale-as-zombiepocalypse theory since she’s the one who kicks off the undead events of “Afterlife With Archie.” Now we’ll just have to wait and see if comic horror makes its way to the CW.

Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW.

Is Veronica’s family evil?

Part of Riverdale ‘s charm is how it uses the veneer of suburban respectability to hide all sorts of ills. Good girl Betty is on the verge of losing it; when Jughead isn’t documenting the comings and goings of his gang of friends, he’s living in a school closet; star quarterback Jason Blossom ends up dead with a bullet through his brain. You get the picture. One character we haven’t really gotten to see the dark underside of yet is Veronica Lodge. Sure, we know her dad Hiram is in prison for fraud, and that her mom has been helping her with his shady dealings, but how does Jason’s murder play into all that? Redditor McSlever has a theory:

What if the murder is just a cover-up organized by Hiram Lodge to buy the drive-in theater at a bargain price to further his real-estate ventures? It’s not as crazy as it sounds. After all, if Scooby Doo has taught us anything, it’s that there’s nothing quite like a violent murder to scare people off the trail of the real crime.

For more details, read the full theory here.

Photo: Courtesy of The CW.

Is Archie secretly up to something?

Episode 5 saw our favorite redhead throwing himself into football and songwriting as never before. While his friends are off trying to solve a murder mystery, Archie is basically juggling extra-curricular activities and working out shirtless. It can’t be that simple, right?

What if this is all a subterfuge, meant to throw us off the scent? If Archie did have something to do with Jason’s death, what better way to hide it than by being the most boring character in this cast? We see you, Archie.

Is Ms. Grundy lying about why she concealed her real identity?

That weird feeling you’ve had about Ms Grundy this whole time? You were right. It turns out there’s more to this soft-spoken music teacher/sexual predator than meets the eye. Her real name is Jennifer Gibson, and she carries a gun in the glove compartment of her car.

Grundy tells Archie that she changed her identity to get out of an abusive relationship — but I’m not so sure. There’s too much coincidence here. After all, she also gave private music lessons to Jason Blossom, and she sure seems to have a thing for redheads…

Photo: The CW.

Is Jughead homeless?

After one last night of canoodling at the drive-in, it’s time to pack it in. This episode gave us a little more info about our friend Mr. Jones, including the fact that he A) has a sister named Jellybean, and B) Fred Andrews fired his father after he was caught stealing materials from a job site. Add all that to the fact that his favorite childhood haunt is closing its doors forever, and our little Juggy is just not in a great place.

Jughead’s attachement to the drive-in seems a little weird at first — I mean, have you heard of Netflix? But then we see him leave the dinky office for the first time, and the camera lingers on an unmade bed. Has he been living there? That would certainly explain why he’s so flustered about the whole thing. But if that’s true, then how come no one knows about it?

Photo: The CW.

What’s up with Hermione and The Southside Serpents?

First off: LOL, Southside Serpents. As if a town as quaint as Riverdale could have a serious gang element.

But let’s assume that this is a thing — why is Hermione Lodge dealing with these shady people? Sure, she told Veronica that she’s acting on behalf of Hiram, who wants the Serpents to drive the value of the drive-in down so he can buy it at a bargain price. But is that the whole story? Seems to me that there could be some half-truth to her first explanation, which is that she knows some of the Serpents from high school. Could Hermione have a more slithering past than we thought?

Photo: The CW.

Was Jason running away from something?

There’s definitely something off about this murder. Why were Jason and Cheryl in that boat? And why did Cheryl seem so calm about Jason’s death until they found the body, confirming that he had, in fact, been killed? Maybe Cheryl was helping Jason run away. Was he going to meet Polly, who’s been living in a group home? Or was he just tired of being Riverdale High’s star quarterback?

Remember Cheryl’s words: “He was supposed to come back.” But from where?

Photo: The CW.

Did Betty Kill Jason As “Polly”?

Okay, so that Betty/Polly role play was seriously disturbing, but it does give way to some interesting theories. This one comes via redditor flashapples7, who posits that perhaps some M. Night Shyamalan -worthy shit might have gone down in this sleepy town.

You’ll probably have noticed that Betty slipped and called Chuck Jason while she was channeling her sister. What if she actually killed her sister’s ex-boyfriend while in this fugue state? If Law & Order: SVU episodes are anything to go by, that could mean that everyday Betty might not be in touch with Polly/Betty’s actions. In any case, it seems pretty clear that there’s more to this Jason/Polly relationship than we know.

Photo: The CW.

Is Riverdale in the Upside Down?

Think about it — what if Barb isn’t actually dead, but has in fact reinvented herself as Ethel — basically a version of Barb — in a slightly less gloomy corner of the Upside Down? The color scheme of Riverdale is pretty noir after all…

Fine this isn’t exactly a real theory but Barb 4eva!

Photo: The CW.

Betty’s mom is SUS

Cliffhanger or no, I refuse to accept that Cheryl is responsible for her brother’s death. It’s just too clean.

Alice Cooper, on the hand, is a little too happy with the whole situation to be innocent. Last week I floated the theory that Polly could somehow be involved. But what if Alice took it upon herself to protect her daughter’s reputation?

Photo: The CW.

Is there more than one killer?

Now that we know that Jason actually died a week after that gunshot was fired, the details of his demise seem open for interpretation.

Could there have been two killers? Indulge me. What if someone shot at Jason on July 4, injured him, and left him to die? Someone else could totally have come along to finish the job, hence the one week interval.

WHAT IF it was Ms. Grundy? If she’s sleeping with Archie it’s not out of the realm of possibility that she was also sleeping with Jason. Both, after all, are handsome gingers. I’ll just leave you with that thought.

Photo: The CW.

Is Riverdale Just Gossip Girl in disguise?

If you’re a Gossip Girl fan, you’ll have caught the similarities between Rufus Humphrey and Lily van der Woodsen, and Fred Andrews and Hermione Lodge. They are all parents. They all have a past that will undoubtedly come back to haunt them. Their children all want to hook up. And so do they.

But while we can definitely expect some will they, won’t they from the Andrews/Lodge camp, there are some loose ends that will have to be tied up first. Their names? Hiram Lodge and Mary Andrews.

Wait, I’ve heard this story before. But where? Oh, right. Gossip Gir l. Rufus had Alison, and Lily had Bart Bass, another absurdly named rich fraudster.

Some could make the mistake of thinking Veronica is the new Blair. They would be wrong. Blair would never have cupcakes flown in from Magnolia Bakery. How basic.

Photo: The CW.

Did Cheryl kill Jason?

This seems almost too obvious to be true, but it certainly seems possible and plausible that Cheryl killed her beloved brother. After all, that first scene was a little weird: Why were they by the river in the early morning dressed for what looks like a Victorian summer garden party? Were the two in a cult? Could Jason’s murder have been an initiation gone wrong?

And most importantly, why did Cheryl ask Jason if he was scared?

Photo: The CW.

Were Cheryl & Jason Pulling A Lannister?

Ok, hear me out. I cannot be the only one to be getting an incest vibe from Cheryl and Jason. There’s something very Cruel Intentions about the way she’s grieving for him. Did someone find out and take the matter into their own hands?

Photo: The CW.

Who fired the gunshot?

We know that Archie and Ms. Grundy say they heard a gun being fired while they were doing the nasty. So, who fired it?

So far, my money is on Mrs. Cooper. She seems to have an ax to grind with the Blossoms — especially Jason. But who really knows? As far as we know, the two lovebirds could be involved in some way and trying to cover it up.

Photo: The CW.

Is Betty’s sister involved?

We don’t know much about Polly Cooper, Betty’s sister and Jason Blossom’s ex-girlfriend. She doesn’t appear in the episode, but through family conversations, we learn that she’s living in some kind of facility, after going through a nervous breakdown.

Alice Cooper seems to believe that her eldest daughter’s mental health issues begin and end with her passionate relationship with Jason Blossom. Could Polly somehow be involved in his murder? Could Betty?

Photo: The CW.

Who dies?
The sleepy town of Riverdale might be a little more dangerous than we thought. The trailer appears to open with a violent crime à la Pretty Little Liars, which suggests that much of the show’s plot will focus around finding out who the killer is.

But first things first — who dies? From the trailer, it seems the likely victim is Jason Blossom, high school quarterback, and brother to head cheerleader and Regina George wannabe Cheryl Blossom.

As for who kills him, let me just say this: In the comics, Jason is an obnoxious rival of Archie with a soft spot for Betty. Could this be a clue?

What is Archie lying about?
In the trailer, Archie’s father Fred Andrews asks him who he is lying to. That’s all well and good, but here’s what I want to know: What’s he lying about?

Could it have something to do with the murder that seems to have the town in a tizzy? Is he cheating on Betty with Veronica again? (Or vice versa?) What exactly is lurking underneath that shock of red hair?

Photo: The CW.

Who is Archie sleeping with?
Archie, Archie, Archie. I see you, making out in that car with someone who is neither Betty nor Veronica. Who is this mystery woman?

Whoever she is, I bet she has something to do with the murder. Just a hunch.

Photo: The CW.

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