Tonight’s Riverdale more or less confirmed what Lili Reinhart told us back in December: The Black Hood is still on the loose. But with Chic Cooper’s arrival and all the Southside High drama, who’s got time to worry about that creep? There are plenty of other pressing issues in Riverdale—namely, why in Jason Blossom’s name hasn’t Cheryl been front and center in every episode this season?
Fortunately, creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa says we won’t have to wait much longer, as huge developments are about to take place. (Look out for episode 14, specifically.) What’s more, several forgotten characters might be on their way back to town. With so many questions—seriously, what is Chic Cooper doing in Betty’s bedroom?—Aguirre-Sacasa hopped on the phone from the Vancouver set to fill us in.
First, can you confirm the Black Hood is still out there?
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: Well, at the very end of tonight’s episode, Archie says to Agent Adams, “Listen, if you’ve been following me, you know that I was involved [in trying to solve the mystery of] the Black Hood, but I gotta tell you, there’s a part of me that doesn’t think we got the right guy.” That is a thread that we will follow in the second half of the season.
Will viewers feel that they know for sure who it is by the end of the season?
RAS: However the Black Hood’s story continues, I believe it will have a definitive ending by the end of the season.
So, basically, whether it’s Svenson or not, we’ll definitely feel confident knowing who it was.
RAS: Exactly. Correct.
In tonight’s episode, Chic enters the picture and he’s…creepy. What can you say about his impending stay in Riverdale?
RAS: We kind of joke in the writer’s room—whenever we introduce someone, they have to be a force of darkness and chaos. On Riverdale, you can’t ever just introduce someone and have it be fine. It always comes with problems. Chic is no exception. We’re pretty cryptic about our plots; the writers know [that] the actors don’t know everything. So two or three episodes in, the fine actor that plays Chic—Hart Denton—calls me and asks, “Now, am I a good guy or a bad guy?” I started laughing and was like, “I think even if you think you’re a bad guy, you never think of yourself as a bad guy.” So I’ll say this: In some ways, Chic is very different than from his sister Betty. I think what we’ll discover in upcoming episodes is that there are more similarities than you might originally think.
Will the Coopers regret letting Chic into their lives?
RAS: That’s a very good question. Like anything in Riverdale, there are going to be good things and bad things. In the end, I’m not sure. But I will say that we’ll find out next week what Chic was doing in Betty’s room, and we’ll start exploring the darker similarities between the two siblings, which I’m excited about.
Speaking of siblings, we find out that Polly gave birth to twins, Juniper and Dagwood, but she leaves town again before we even meet them. This can’t be the last we’ll see of them.
RAS: Right. She did give birth, and you haven’t seen the last of Polly. And we haven’t even met the twins!
And should we assume that Betty, Polly, and Chic, all have the same mother and father in Hal and Alice Cooper?
RAS: I think that’s the assumption, yes.
Is it fact or assumption?
RAS: I think it’s an assumption and stay tuned.
Interesting. Meanwhile, switching topics, a few episodes ago it seemed as if Cheryl was stalking Josie, especially after she became very possessive over her. Madelaine Petsch said Cheryl would be getting an unexpected love interest this season, so it seems like Josie would be that person. But we haven’t had any new developments since. What can you say?
RAS: I promise you that storyline comes back huge. Hugely. That’s not something we’re dropping. It’s something we’re attacking head on. I think you’ve got maybe three or four episodes [until we come back to that].
The Lodge’s butler, Smithers, also seemed to have disappeared early on this season, and it seemed Hiram was behind it.
RAS: I love Smithers, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw him again. I remember at first, the network and studio were like, “Really? Smithers?” But I love that guy. We may not have heard the last of Smithers.
Let’s talk about romance on the show, especially as Valentine’s Day approaches. What can you share in terms of what’s to come whether you’re Team Bughead, Barchie, or Varchie?
RAS: All of our characters went through a harrowing ordeal in the first half of the season. Even though Bughead broke up, their feelings for each other are very much there—but they’ve got to sort through a bunch of stuff between them. In a weird way, they have to become friends again to see if it’s even possible to reconnect. The Bughead saga is far from over.
Meanwhile, I like Archie and Betty together. Don’t kill me, Bughead fans!
RAS: Interesting! Well, get ready and wait until episode 14 [which airs next month]. That’s all I’m saying!
Fair enough. And finally, I love the way Archie is being written this season in relation to Betty, Veronica, and Cheryl. He’s very close to all of the women. In tonight’s episode, for example, he was honest with Veronica about kissing Betty while they were broken up, and he’s extremely protective of the women after learning of Nick St. Clair’s attack. In the wake of the #MeToo movement, are you consciously trying to write Archie as a more feminist character?
RAS: As we were writing these episodes—even the episode that aired tonight—they were written before [the Time’s Up movement] started. It’s a fine line to balance because on the one hand, you don’t want the girls to be rescued by a guy. You want the girls to be able to fend for themselves and be strong. On the other hand, when we talked about Archie finding out that Nick had [tried to sexually assault] Cheryl and Veronica, when we were talking about that scene when Archie confronts Nick, even though his legs were in casts, we were like, “He’s gotta kick the shit out of this guy.” There’s gotta be a visceral response to being in a room with this guy, who is a serial harasser and perhaps even worse. That just felt like the most truthful thing, you know what I mean? The girls had already rallied around Cheryl, and it felt like if Archie just went up there and didn’t do something in response to Nick’s behavior, it would have been false to the character and a bit deflating.
We push the envelope on Riverdale in terms of sexuality and violence and things that are innate to the genre and pulp and noir. Since the last couple of months, we do talk about it more in the room. We’re trying to be a little more careful with what situations we put our characters in. But we are usually pretty aware, and we have been talking about it more. I think a lot of writers rooms have.