Riverdalethe five-episode event, titled Valley-of-the-river, is just one episode, but we’ve already seen a weird, dark take on a city that already had some crazy storylines. It’s a twisted alternate reality that will kind of tie into the rest of the season in a way that isn’t apparent … But the answer to what’s going on in Valley-of-the-river could be in an otherwise throwaway line in the premiere: is Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse) comic book collection key to the mystery of Valley-of-the-river?
Within the hour, which picks up after the season 5 ending cliffhanger that saw Archie Andrews (KJ Apa) and Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart) seemingly explode by a bomb under Archie’s bed, Betty and Archie are very much alive. , very much in love, and trying to have a baby. That’s not the only oddity, considering we last saw them watching a cartoon pack of dynamite almost explode. There are also little details like Archie Vegas’ dog apparently alive, after we found out he was dead during the season 5 time jump. Or Julian, the sailor doll that Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch ) thought to be inhabited by the spirit of the triplet that she ate in the womb and then burned, was back and whole in the episode’s final scene.
(And by the way, is Valley-of-the-river really much crazier than Riverdale? Oh good? Anyway.)
And of course, there’s the wild swing at the end of the episode, as the whole town comes together to solve their collective and individual issues, ranging from a bug infestation in Jughead and Tabitha Tate’s new apartment (Erinn Westbrook), To All The Maples Die, tying Archie up, painting him with runes, placing a wooden wreath on his head, then cutting his heart out while everyone else is dancing. RIP, Archie. You know, little things like that.
So what is pass in Valley-of-the-river? Most fans assumed it was a coma dream via Archie after the bomb exploded, but Archie died at the end of the premiere – as well as Riverdale boss Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa actively denies the theory – puts the kibosh on it. It could still be Betty’s dream in a coma or someone else’s. Maybe Kevin Keller (Casey Cott) hit his head on the way out of town after deciding to pursue a career on Broadway in the Season 5 finale? But it’s more likely that something else is happening here, especially since Aguirre-Sacasa also noted that not only Valley-of-the-river serialized, but the events will continue to be serialized throughout the remainder of Season 6, even when they show they have left “Rivervale”.
With that preface out of the way, back to the premise: Is Jughead Jones’ comic book collection the biggest clue to what’s going on here?
The first has a strange exchange between Archie and Jughead as the former helps the latter move in with Tabitha. Carrying around a bunch of large boxes, Archie asks how many more comics Jughead has. âIt’s only a fraction,â Jughead says. âThe rest is still in storage. “
“I’m going to be honest with you Jug,” Archie said. “I didn’t know you were this in the comic.
âWhat can I say, Archie, I contain multitudes,â Jughead replies.
Just a throwaway joke from a guy who likes to use five dollar words, right? May be. Or, it’s possible that Jughead’s comics are the key to understanding exactly what’s going on in the series. The first piece of evidence? These comics are not going to go away. In a promo for the second episode of the season, Jughead flips through a comic book – specifically the Archie Comics book. The Adventures of the All New Mighty Crusaders # 2, which was released in 1983. There isn’t much clue to this problem, necessarily, it’s a revival of Archie’s version of the Justice League (i.e. a group of heroes teaming up to fight evil), and there have certainly been Easter eggs and references to Archie’s Red Circle superhero comic book lineup on Riverdale before.
But more importantly, the script cover for the hundredth episode of the series, which also ends the Valley-of-the-river event, seems to have Francesco Francavilla’s cover variant of Jughead’s Time Police # 1 above, based on a few Instagram posts from the crew. In this book, written by Sina Grace, Jughead turns the timeline upside down and finds himself on a jaunt not only through time, but through the multiverse as well, ultimately encountering multiple versions of himself.
It’s pretty clear the multiverse is all the rage right now, with Marvel kicking off Loki and continuing them with Spider-Man: No Path Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, at DC to come Flash movie. What if Jughead saying “I contain multitudes” was actually a clue that what we are seeing here is an exploration of not just a dark and alternate alternative? Riverdale, but a trip to Archie Comics’ largest multiverse?
This might help explain the fact that there almost seem to be two Jugheads in the first one: the one dealing with an insect infestation; and the one who tells the episode, who is aware not only of Valley-of-the-river, corn Riverdale also. it could Also help explain how Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka) presents herself later this season, despite The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina often dropping Easter eggs which included characters from the neighboring Greendale reading Archie Comics which contain the main Archie characters (Archie, Betty, Jughead, Veronica, etc.), or Sabrina holding a mug with the cartoon version of The Archies printed on the side.
So maybe what we see here in Valley-of-the-river is a parallel universe, or it could be a comic book multiverse story concocted by resident Riverdale author Jughead Jones. While the benchmark for hosting Jughead definitely appears to be fuzzy area, there is also a long line of horror comics in both Archie and Without – and of note, Tales from the Crypt the comic actually predates fuzzy area of a decade. It’s not impossible to imagine that what we’re seeing here is a jaunt into Jughead’s comic book collection or the original comics he created himself.
And to go further, what better tribute would there be to the source material than to skip the hundredth episode of Riverdale take a journey through the history of not only the series, but Archie Comics as a whole, with Jughead as a guide?
Whatever is going on here we are clearly starting to Valley-of-the-river. But for my money? Keep an eye out for Jughead’s comic book collection.
Riverdale airs Tuesdays at 9 / 8c on The CW.
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