Last week Riverdale fans were faced with a tragic cliffhanger. After having been mauled by a bear in the Canadian wilderness, Archie was found non-responsive on is bed in his cabin, covered in blood and looking every bit like this was the end for the red-haired boy next door. Tonight, it was revealed that that may very well be the case.
Spoilers for tonight's episode of Riverdale, "The Stranger", below.
Right off the bat tonight Riverdale made one thing clear: Archie Andrews survived the bear attack, narrowly. The rescue crew that found him got him to the hospital where he spent quite a bit of time recovering before deciding it was time to go back home. However, the Archie that returned to Riverdale wasn't the one that left. In addition to dark hair and fresh new scars, this new Archie came back a little colder, a little more unsettled, and a lot unprepared to be back. He's not even drinking is usual strawberry milkshakes anymore, either.
As fans of the series will recall from last week's episode, this shift in personality is something that Archie himself orchestrated to an extent. After being attacked by the bear, Archie experienced some feverish hallucinations in which he played Gryphons and Gargoyles with various specters of his past. As the game continued, Archie found himself on a final quest where he had to "kill" his previous self, one that he described as "bad", "weak" and "stupid", taking a baseball bat to his dreaming self.
It seems now that he was successful in psychologically ending his previous self. Over the course of the episode we see Archie slowly strip room down until it's barely more than a prison cell in terms of its sparseness. We also see him continue to struggle with his experiences -- especially the images he saw while hallucinating -- so much so that he even bolts from the SAT exam, unable to proceed and practically unable to function.
By episode's end, viewers are left with a shell of the Archie we once knew, now practicing with a punching bag in his bedroom, sneaking drinks of illicit alcohol from a bottle tucked away in his desk drawer.
Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.
What do you think about Archie's transformation? Let us know in the comments below.