Is Riverdale's Long-Awaited Zombie Apocalypse Finally Happening?

Photo: Courtesy of the CW.

After three seasons with plot points that include a killer game of "Gryphons and Gargoyles," multiple murderous dads, and one teenage fight club, it's clear that there's no insane place that Riverdale won't go. That's why, when zombies invaded Riverdale this Wednesday, we really shouldn't have been too shocked. Is the long-awaited apocalypse nigh?

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Eh, maybe not — but it does give Afterlife With Archie QUICK DESCRIPTION OF WTF THIS IS FOR NON-ARCHIE READERS fans something to talk about.

On Wednesday's episode "Jawbreaker," Jughead (Cole Sprouse) and his newly-appointed town sheriff father F.P. (Skeet Ulrich) discover that there are zombies running amuck in their small town. Well, not zombies, exactly: Just Riverdale folk hopped up on a special brand of fizzle rocks that makes them act a lot like zombies.

No one is eating faces (yet) but the people consumed by fizzle rocks strain "G" do turn into growling, aggressive, mouth-foaming monsters, which is almost as bad. They also, apparently, don't care very much about their own personal safety: For some reason, these laced fizzle rocks cause people to slam their heads against anything they can find, over and over again. Yikes.

This plot point could be an homage to a different work from the Archie Comics universe. Before he was the Riverdale showrunner, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa wrote the alternate universe-set Afterlife With Archie comics, about a zombie apocalypse that comes to Riverdale. In the comics, it's Jughead's just risen-from-the-grave pup, Hotdog, who spreads the zombie plague.

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Some fans were convinced that Riverdale was going with the zombie thing way back in season 1, when the deceased Jason Blossom (Trevor Stines) appeared to sister Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) in all his half-dead glory. Back in 2017, Aguirre-Sacasa also teased that bringing in the supernatural wouldn't be completely out of the realm of possibility.

"When Greg Berlanti — who of course is the godfather of all these shows and my boss — and I were talking about possibly doing Afterlife with Archie, or introducing the character of Sabrina, I said, 'Yeah, but we can’t just suddenly have magic and supernatural elements on the show,' and Greg, without missing a beat, said, 'Of course you can.' I was like, 'Wait! Yeah, we can,'" Aguirre-Sacasa revealed to Entertainment Weekly.

Sister show The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which streams on Netflix, features plenty of characters rising from the grave, but so far Riverdale has stayed about as grounded a show that made Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes) a teen speakeasy owner can be. Could this fizzle rocks situation officially plunge Riverdale into the supernatural realm? Stay tuned.

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