When Riverdale returns tonight, its two main couples are doing fine enough, but there's another relationship you might want to be worried about.
Apparently, BFFS Archie (KJ Apa) and Jughead (Cole Sprouse) are facing some tough times ahead.
"It's pretty tenuous," Sprouse told E! News over the phone. "As the season continues, it become a bit more tenuous…the black hood especially, it almost turns them against one another."
"The black hood" refers to that masked man who showed up at Pop's and shot Archie's dad, Fred, in the chest at the end of the season one finale. That shooting and the events that follow create a certain amount of terror in the town of Riverdale.
"Jughead is forced to recognize how many shades there are in the dynamic of good and evil, and where he stands on that spectrum, and Archie is sort of the lawful good character who's so morally unapologetic and vigilant—he's kind of a justicar in that way—and it renders Archie kind of incapable of recognizing that there are many shades of good and evil that Jughead is trying to navigate through."
("Justicar" appears to refer to characters in the game "Mass Effect" who pledge themselves to a code and go about righting wrongs according to that code.)
Apa seems to agree, without the video game reference.
"With Fred being shot, it does start to eat away [at Archie's relationships] because that's all he's focused on. All he's focused on is taking care of his dad and sorting out what happened," he told us in a separate interview, explaining that Archie and Jughead "find themselves in a bit of a gnarly situation."
"They get pretty deep into things they probably shouldn't be doing."
Archie's dad's shooting sends Archie into "full beast mode" basically as soon as the premiere starts.
"I think immediately from the get-go, Archie finds himself fully blinded by this revenge for whoever shot his dad in that diner, and there is more events that take place as we go on that intensify that hunger for revenge," Apa said. "I think it's kind of like his Bruce Wayne/Peter Parker moment. He's stepping up and he's going full beast mode, for sure."
With the violence and other issues blamed on the rougher residents of the South Side, this all puts Jughead in a difficult position, since he's now part of both worlds while his dad is in jail.
"Kid is angry," Sprouse says. "He's just an angry guy. He's been dealt a pretty poor hand of cards, and he doesn't really know how to play it at first, and he's navigating a brand new world away from his closest friends and his upbringing."
Jughead still serves as the show's narrator, but his position as "the outsider" has to change a bit in season two.
"At least for the first half of the season, he's learning what it means to have to be involved within a world," Sprouse explains. "Season one, he was a very proud, conscientious objector, would try to turn away from making decisions when he had the opportunity to turn away from it. He preferred to watch and be on the fringes, and he's learning that he doesn't get that choice anymore, especially in the society that he's not being embraced within."
Sprouse describes Jughead as a "victim of circumstance" whose hand is being forced.
"It's taking a toll on him in a way that it does a lot of young men in similar positions, which is that it comes out through aggression and anger and dissatisfaction with the world around him."
As for the romantic relationships, both Bughead and Varchie will be dealing with some seriously grown-up issues in season two. Betty's (Lili Reinhart) not only trying to support Jughead in these difficult times, but she's dealing with learning some hard family history of her own. And while Veronica (Camila Mendes) does her best to be Archie's rock, her father's return from prison shakes things up quite a bit.
"That's the first time they've experienced that kind of strife together, so I think it really forces them to kind of explore new feelings and emotions and stuff in their relationship," Apa says of Archie and Veronica. "I think Veronica too is trying to be a better person, and struggling to know what the right thing to do in that situation."
For Betty and Jughead, she's doing her best to adapt to Jughead's new world, but he's the one who feels the need to keep her at arm's length.
"He's obviously away from Betty which is a little strenuous, but he's embracing a world now that is dangerous and he doesn't know if he wants to welcome Betty into that world," Sprouse says. "Betty thinks that she can sort of handle everything, and it frustrates Jughead because he doesn't want to see her as like a tourist in a land that could do her harm, so from a protective point of view, he's pretty wary of that."
In fact, he's not all that keen on bringing any of his North Side friends into his South Side world.
"It isn't just a Betty/Jughead relationship thing," Sprouse says. "It's welcoming anyone that he loves into a world that's not only doing him harm, but could possibly do them harm as well."Not only is Jughead's world a little darker this season, but the entire world of Riverdale has gotten a little (or a lot) darker. Apa describes it as "a lot more interesting and kind of terrifying" compared to season one, and has a warning for everyone. to prepare yourself, I would start now, because it's going to get rough."
Riverdale premieres tonight at 8 p.m. on the CW.