The penultimate episode of Riverdale’s second season was one intensely devastating moment after another, starting with the riots that broke out after Fangs’s shooting, then Cheryl's major Katniss moment, and leaving us with Betty revealing her own father, Hal Cooper, as the Black Hood.
Of course, the most heartbreaking and shock-inducing moment came in the final minutes of the episode, with FP Jones solemnly carrying a limp, seemingly lifeless Jughead out of the woods after he sacrificed himself to Hiram Lodge and the Ghoulies in order to save Riverdale.
Needless to say, the season finale is going to have a lot of explaining to do. Here are the biggest questions on my mind.
Did Jughead seriously just die?CW Network
Call me a skeptic, but I am struggling to believe that Jughead is actually dead. It feels way too soon, plus Cole Sprouse joked about his character dying with Jimmy Fallon, which makes me think there’s no way he will actually die. Right?!
What would the Core Four do without their bridge to the South Side, their dedicated meddler, their trouble stirrer? And how would Betty cope with being a third wheel?
Plus, Lili Reinhart and Spouse just made their grand couple debut at the Met Gala. Would they be so toying to finally reveal their real relationship, only to take away their fictional one?
This Jughead-less world just doesn’t compute.
Why did the Black Hood go after Cheryl?CW Network
We know why Hal became the Black Hood, and we know why his victims became his victims — all except one. Hal was supposed to be on his way to meet Betty, and instead made a disastrous pit stop at Thistlehouse. But his motivation for doing so is unclear. We know the Black Hood targets sinners, so why would the Black Hood try to attack her when her own mother had heavily participated in the sin of prostitution in that very location?
Penelope Blossom does want her daughter out of the picture, and she did have a love affair with the Black Hood himself. Could Hal and Penelope be in cahoots, bringing these feuding families back together for the first time in decades and weaving these dueling storylines neatly together?
Who shot Fred Andrews (again)?CW Network
Will this Black Hood mess ever end? We finally found out who the real culprit is, and now there’s a copy cat still on the loose?! This is too much.
It does seem moderately safe to say that Hiram Lodge is somehow behind this copycat, especially since he put out a $1 million bounty for anyone who could catch the killer while simultaneously orchestrating chaos for the town by inviting the Ghoulies and Penny Peabody back to Riverdale.
Despite his precarious tip-toeing around the law, Hiram has seemed like a loyal husband and father, but was it all an act? That "October Surprise" to reveal his wife's affair looks worse for Hermione, the married woman whose husband was in jail, than for Fred, the separated single dad. Plus, in general, when it comes to relationship scandals, society tends to sympathize with a man and demonize a woman (we all know about #MeToo). And Hiram didn't seem that concerned for his family when he found out Hermione and Veronica were almost murdered in cold blood by Poppa Poutine’s son.
Is Hiram Lodge over?CW Networks/Giphy
We got a glimpse of Veronica and Hermione re-teaming at the end of Season 2’s penultimate episode. Veronica was unafraid to stand up to her father and refuse to be a pawn in his game. Quite frankly, she was disgusted by him, literally recoiling at his touch. Hermione, meanwhile, couldn’t even look at Hiram when he returned from taking care of the bloody situation in his study.
So, has Veronica finally convinced her mother of the man her father is, and will we get our mother/daughter power team back? Please, I need to see Hermione having some agency again.
Why didn’t Cheryl have to do the Serpent dance?CW Network
All of a sudden, Cheryl was accepted by the Serpents, walking among them and having a vote as to whether or not they face off against the Ghoulies. Sure, she is a badass archer with a fierce hooded cape and saved Toni, but she's more of a renegade hero than a follower.
Why did Betty have to go through that ritual strip tease for Jughead if Cheryl doesn’t have to for Toni? Or was this just a busy night and the sultry scene is coming next week, when Cheryl receives the fly custom jacket seen in the finale promo?
Why did Penny Peabody go to law school and pass the bar exam only to become a drug dealer?CW Network
This is a question I don’t necessarily expect an answer to, but one that will baffle me forever. Penny has a law degree! She doesn’t need to live this life of blatant crime. She can go back to doing barely legal casework and living a quiet life in Greendale.
Is Chic coming back?CW Network
After delivering Chic to the Black Hood, Betty never heard from Chic again. With all of the Ghoulies and Penny Peabody unexpectedly showing up, it feels like a major Season 2 reunion is imminent. Unless his whereabouts will be saved for Season 3…
What about Polly?CW Network
Is anyone going to tell Polly that her dad was terrorizing the town, or will she remain blissfully unaware in her cult with her two babies? If Jughead is dead, or at least out of commission while healing, and with their father now a confirmed serial killer, it seems like Betty could use some sisterly support.
Are Alice and FP free to get together now, or…?CW Network
OK, so this may not be the best time to strike up old flames, with Alice’s husband turning out to be a murderer and FP’s son in critical condition, but this relationship has been dangled in front of us all season, and where else will they lean for support?