The current third season of Riverdale has been fraught with perils and surprises galore, and it looks like things are about to get a whole lot more exciting. There have been two main storylines running concurrently: one involving Jailbird Archie and the other involving Gryphons & Gargoyles.
As we learned from last week’s Breakfast Club-inspired episode, Gryphons & Gargoyles starts out as a simple role-playing game. The parents of our current set of teens all played the game, and it seemed like good fun. Things go awry, however, when it comes to light that they were not the only ones playing. A mystery person set up a deadly trial for them to play, one that we have seen Jughead and Ethel play. Unfortunately (or fortunately, perhaps), the principal discovers the trial first and ends up dead.
This is why the parents have been so against the kids of the town playing the game. With a manual for gameplay in every kid’s hands now, it seems impossible to stop them. Last week’s episode ended with the bombshell that Jughead is now playing the game. The promo seems to indicate that he’s only doing so to get to the bottom of the mystery. We have seen him take a chance before when he chose a goblet that could have contained poison. Betty is obviously worried that Jughead is going to get sucked into the game and lose his hold on reality.
As for Archie, he’s not in the best situation. Not only did his attempt to unite the inmates result in the warden sending out the riot squad to beat all the prisoners down, but now, he’s isolated and turned into a prizefighting dog for the warden. It’s not clear how often it happens, but Archie is pulled from his cell in the middle of the night and taken to a gym where he has to battle it out with whoever his opponent is. He isn’t allowed to just win though. He has to put on a show and entertain the crowd for a few rounds.
There are some perks for being top dog. As we see in the promo, he gets to have a nice dinner with the warden. Getting real food in prison is a definite treat. He also received all of the previous victor’s rewards, a TV, books, radio. What he finds in one of those books is what leads to the next episode’s title, “The Great Escape.” The small pick ax leads Archie to decide that he needs to escape.
I do want to take a moment to say that, as Archie is in jail because he wanted to be and is being held legally (though being mistreated), the idea to “escape” seems like a terrible one. Then he’ll be on the run forever. Maybe he has a good plan though. We’ll know more when the episode airs.
It looks like he won’t be escaping alone and that’s what has everyone talking. Joaquin seems set to join Archie and it’s possible for more than escaping as the promo shows a quick shot of Joaquin kissing Archie. While K.J. Apa said at the Oz Comic-Con in Melbourne that he’d love a gay romance for Archie, we can’t be sure that is what we’re getting.
The moment in the promo was too brief to know if Archie reciprocated the kiss, if it was just part of some plot, perhaps an overly enthusiastic ‘thank you’ kiss, or if Joaquin, whom we know to be either bi or gay based on his relationship with Kevin Keller, was just taking a chance. Depending on the reason behind the kiss, there is a chance that we may see Archie start to question his sexuality.
It wouldn’t be the first time Riverdale featured LGBTQ+ characters: Cheryl Blossom, Toni Topaz, Kevin Keller, Moose Mason, in addition to Joaquin, are all out on the show.
The only way we will know for sure what happens between Archie and Joaquin, though, will be to watch the episode. Check it out Wednesday, November 14, 2018 at 8/7c on The CW.