Spoilers ahead for tonight's episode of Riverdale, titled "Chapter Thirty-Four: Judgment Night."
If you're a comic book fan, you might have recognized that final, terrifying shot of F.P. Jones carrying a battered and bloody Jughead out of the woods tonight on Riverdale.
It isn't just that it bears some resemblance to a classic Batman story from the '80s: it was, in fact, a direct and intentional homage, according to showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa.
In the 1988-89 comic book story arc “A Death in the Family,” The Joker kidnapped the second Robin, Jason Todd. He tortured Jason, beat him with a crowbar, and made his estranged mother, Sheila Haywood, watch, then left them for dead in a building rigged to explode.
Todd stayed dead longer than most comic book characters, but in 2005, DC Comics finally resurrected him. Now he is running around the DC Universe as the Red Hood, an identity that has appeared in video games and animated movies. Jason's potential role in the upcoming Matt Reeves film The Batman has been a subject of frequent fan speculation.
This is one of the most iconic images in modern comics. And an inspiration for tomorrow’s episode of “Riverdale.” pic.twitter.com/ITRdGebbAh— RobertoAguirreSacasa (@WriterRAS) May 9, 2018
One would be hard-pressed to believe that Jughead actually died at the end of the episode, though...and even that is a kind of reference, because when Jason Todd died, DC allowe dfans the opportunity to vote on whether or not he survived, meaning that after the issue that ended with Batman cradling Todd's lifeless body in his arms, there were two versions of the next issue's opening drawn: one where Batman mourns the death of his surrogate son and one in which he celebrates Jason's survival.
Jughead spent all of season one resisting the lure of the South Side Serpents and learning from his father's mistakes, only to take on the role of the Serpents' head in season 2. Now that he has learned his lesson, what's next? Well, maybe they can put his leather jacket under glass at Pop's.6comments
Earlier this week, former Riverdale actor Ross Butler shared an image on Instagram of the Robin costume from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which overtly referenced the events of "A Death in the Family."
Riverdale airs on Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW. Next week's finale is titled "Chapter Thirty-Five: Brave New World."