SPOILER ALERT: Spoilers for Riverdale Season 3 Episode 9 titled "No Exit" below.
Well, in the January 16 episode, they tried to do it again, except this time with Archie, and the reaction has been very, shall I say, 'fool me once...'
To sum up the cliffhanger, Archie, living an isolated life in the woods with his dog Vegas, is brutally attacked by a bear. After calling for help and dressing his wounds to the best of his ability, Archie has a fever dream in which he ultimately realizes he needs to die to make all the chaos end and starts bashing a second copy of himself. Then we see Archie — not the dream iteration, but the real Archie — laying in bed, having lost a lot of blood and looking pretty lifeless.
As in dead. Archie looks dead. He had a dream about dying, and then he dies. Just like that myth about dying in a dream meaning you die in real life.
Actually, if you die in a dream, it "symbolizes inner changes, transformation, self-discovery and positive development," according to the dream scientists at Dream Moods, so this could be a good thing for Archie! If he's alive — which everyone seems to think he is.
Rather than mourning the loss, fans immediately started doubting the plausibility of this storyline. After all, they can't kill off their most shirtless cast member!
"Wait what?! I'm not gonna believe for a second that Archie is dead. Nope! No! We're not doing this tonight!" wrote one fan at the episode's conclusion.
Others sleuthed for clues that Archie couldn't possibly be dead, pointing out that Archie-portrayer KJ Apa was on set long after last night's episode finished shooting, his IMDb page indicates that he still has more episodes coming, and that there's still Archie footage in this season's extended promo that we haven't seen yet.
Of course, the most telling sign that he's going to pull through this near-death experience is that he was just cast in Riverdale High's upcoming production of Heathers: The Musical.
I, for one, am looking forward to Riverdale's extraordinary doctors helping Archie through an inevitably speedy recovery. In the meantime, here are more reactions to the episode's wild cliffhanger.