Well, we told you there was going to be blood.
Riverdale's musical episode just ended with quite the surprise when Midge—who replaced Cheryl as the star after issues with her mother and also a creepy note-maker—wound up dead on stage during the show. It appears that the Black Hood has returned, and was not actually that random creepy janitor after all.
It's unfortunate too, because before the murder, we were really enjoying the musical stylings of the entire cast, and we were naively looking forward to actually watching the show until Carrie's big entrance was ruined by a bunch of knives. But we had also been looking forward to Cheryl's performance as Carrie, and we didn't get to see that either...mostly.
Jughead acted as documentarian, first of just the musical rehearsals and then of the sinister plot that left sinister messages for director Kevin Keller, demanding that he replace Cheryl as Carrie. Kevin's decision was eventually made for him when Cheryl's evil mother arrived to deny permission for Cheryl to be in the musical. That meant it was Midge's time to shine as Cheryl's understudy.
Throughout the night, we were led to believe it was Ethel who was so angry about being denied the chance to audition that she was sending the notes, though she swore the cut up magazines in her dressing room trash can were for her vision board.
(Side note: Can we talk about how this high school had individual dressing rooms for cast members??)
While Cheryl had her own Carrie moment when she confronted her actual mother covered in blood, Midge was supposed to make her debut as Carrie, but then the curtains opened and a murdered Midge was displayed alongside an announcement that the Black Hood has returned.
To make sense of this and what comes next, we got on the phone with creator Roberto Aguirre Sacasa. Then, the Black Hood broke our recorder, and we had to email him instead, but he did still offer a few bits of insight on tonight's musical extravaganza and its bloody ending.
Midge's death will kick off the end of the season.
"We love Emijlia [Baranac, who plays Midge] so much, and we tried so hard to keep her around, but at the end of the day it's how the story needed to play out. We needed something to propel us into these last few episodes, and you'll see the death of Midge really was the perfect opportunity to kick off this next and final story arc for the season. RIP Midge."
Aguirre-Sacasa says Midge's death is "almost a tipping point—for everyone," especially considering that we're currently in the middle of a mayoral race.
The Black Hood and the Note Leaver are probably not the same person...or are they?
"More will come to light about who sent those notes in the next episodes, and what their endgame really is," Aguirre-Sacasa said as vaguely as possible.
Carrie the Musical just so happened to fit in perfectly with the current struggles of Riverdale.
"It was really kind of kismet that the songs in Carrie lined up so well with what our characters were currently going through," Aguirre-Sacasa says. "When it came to assigning songs to our characters, it worked out really well. We even went so far as to rework a love ballad (originally sung by Tommy and Sue in the original musical) to be between Betty and Veronica as a way to help heal their friendship. Since Carrie is all about the trials and tribulations of high school, it fit perfectly within the context of Riverdale."
And while many characters have come back together through song...not all is well.
"While the current relationships have been healed throughout the course of this episode, there's still a lot our characters need to sort out. The Mayoral race is coming out, the high school election, Hiram's plans for the South Side… Riverdale is a town on the brink of something big, and that's really going to test our characters and their respective relationships moving forward."
Things are (finally) looking up for Cheryl.
"Things are definitely on the up-and-up for Cheryl from here on out. Not only is she finally in a good place emotionally, but she also now has a very positive and loving relationship in her life. But this is Riverdale, so that doesn't mean she's out of harm's way just yet."
Did you hear that, kids? A very positive and loving relationship for Choni!
Everything is about to come together in a big and unexpected way.
"Whether or not our characters know it, their plots are much more intertwined then they realize. Every story line comes together to create the bigger picture that is the town of Riverdale, and what's happening with The Black Hood will have ripple effects across the rest of this season and beyond."
If that felt very different compared to a typical episode of Riverdale, it was supposed to.
We wanted this to really, truly feel like a high school production. At its core, Riverdale is a show about high school students, and even though they're dealing with serial killers and murder mysteries and the mafia, they're still going to class and dating and other things normal teenagers do. This episode is kind of a look into what Riverdale could have been if it had just been a normal high school drama, and we wanted it to feel as authentic as possible.
Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on the CW.