'Riverdale': What Does the Disappearance of SPOILER Mean for Archie?

Spoilers for tonight's episode of Riverdale, titled "Chapter Twenty-Six: The Tell-Tale Heart."

Tonight on Riverdale, Archie's relationship with FBI Agent Arthur Adams -- presumably no relation to the comic book artist of the same name -- took a few strange turns.

First of all, Adams -- who had been quietly hanging back for several weeks, waiting for Archie to bring him information about Hiram Lodge's criminal activity and only occasionally expressing frustration that the investigation was going nowhere -- incerased his demands, pulling Archie aside, looking for inconsistencies in the stories he was telling, and eventually showing up when Archie was not home to accost Fred Andrews.

Between showing up to talk to Fred and dropping an envelope full of $100 bills on Archie, things started to get uncomfortable -- and Archie finally told Hiram that he had been recruited to work with the FBI, and did not know what to do.

Hiram seemed momentarily surprised, but recovered quickly and told Archie that he would take care of the situation. He referred to Agent Adams as "Arthur Adams," using a first name that, unless we missed it, Archie had not yet heard.

Since Archie's previous trip to Hiram had resulted in the death of Papa Poutine, he asked that Hiram not kill an FBI agent on his behalf, and Hiram assured Archie that he would never consider it.

From that point on, we never saw Agent Adams again. Instead, Andre -- the Lodge's confidant -- picked Archie up in a car, saying that "the boss" wanted to see him.

Rather than driving to the Lodge's hotel room, Andre drove Archie out into the woods, where "The Boss" -- Hermione Lodge -- was waiting for him.

Hermione told Archie that Agent Adams had never been an FBI agent at all, but rather was a trusted representative of the Lodges' who had been sent to test Archie's loyalties. He had passed.

This is a fairly satisfying ending to the Agent Adams subplot, especially since from the moment he arrived, many fans had suspected exactly this. So why are we questioning it?

Well, in part because this is Riverdale, and by its nature we have to question whatever direct answer the show provides to anything.

But also, Adams's absence during Archie's meeting with Hermione feels suspicious. Another possibility that some fans had discussed was the notion that Poutine was not the only other criminal angling for Hiram's share of the business, and that Adams could have been surreptitiously working for one of them in order to spy on Hiram. Archie is gullible enough to fall for the FBI bit (clearly), but would never hurt the Lodges without very good reason, so the law enforcement cover could be a perfect way to approach him.

If, however, this is a thing that has happened before, Hiram's surprise could have been registering the betrayal that he was being subjected to, and his resolve to deal with the problem could have been to kill the man.

Archie's insistence that he not, coupled with the way Archie's fears about Papa Poutine were passed along to Veronica, could have been enough to motivate Hiram and Hermione to concoct a fantasy that explained Adams's presence as well as his disappearance.

Besides Hiram's surprise -- which might have been faked, or could be genuine but only indicative that Hermione was testing Archie without his knowledge -- the only other real evidence that Adams might be dead comes from the money.

At some point in the episode, Adams gave Archie an envelope, claiming that the FBI routinely paid its informants. The envelope contained a thick stack of $100 bills -- likely about $10,000 in cash. That such a significant (at least to Archie) sum of money went unremarked-upon could suggest that the Lodges simply did not know that the transaction had happened -- suggesting that Adams was not actually in their employ.


There are other possible explanations for this -- the discussion of the money ended up on the cutting room floor, or the Lodges simply have enough money that it was not missed -- but what seems more likely is that the money, put in Archie's jacket pocket, will somehow come into play down the line.

Riverdale airs on Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW. New episodes return March 7.