The CW’s teen series ‘Riverdale’ is known for outlandish plot twists that simultaneously delight and horrify fans. In the sixth season, with ‘Rivervale,’ a 5-episode event, the show introduces supernatural elements into the main characters’ lives. However, questions from the finale of season 5 as well as the ending of season 6 episode 1 continue to bamboozle fans. Everyone is anxious to know about the fate of Archie Andrews (KJ Apa), who is caught in an explosion in the season 5 finale and is sacrificed by his friends in a pagan ritual in the season 6 premiere. Is he dead or alive? Where is he? Let’s find out!
Is Archie Andrews Dead or Alive in Riverdale?
At the end of season 5, we see Archie and Betty cuddling in bed after Hiram is exiled. However, the deposed mafia boss plants a bomb under the couple’s bed. Although Archie finds the bomb after hearing it ticking, we later see his house on fire. Fans expected the first episode of season 6 to address this massive cliffhanger. However, in season 6 episode 1, we see Archie and Betty living happily together and planning their future — except things are not what they seem to be. Their town is called Rivervale and it seems to be quite different from Riverdale. And nobody seems to remember anything about their Riverdale lives!
However, Archie has a nightmare about the bomb explosion and is comforted by Betty. Archie says, “Yeah, and the weirdest part, we were living in a town called Riverdale.” Betty laughs, amused by the spelling. Seemingly, the bomb explosion is not a part of the ‘Rivervale’ universe and is just a fear of Archie’s. The ticking sound throughout the episode highlights that the world of Rivervale is at once connected to and separate from Riverdale’s.
This makes us believe that the characters in ‘Rivervale’ do not have the exact same fate as the characters we see in ‘Riverdale.’ It is possible that Rivervale is an alternate universe/dimension, a what-if version of Riverdale that fully embraces dark paranormal forces. Thus, everything that happens in Rivervale may not happen in Riverdale and vice-versa.
Towards the end of season 6 episode 1, we see how Cheryl, embracing her witchy side, uses her effective pagan remedies and life solutions to garner the support of Betty, Toni, Fangs, Tabitha, and Jughead. Cheryl is plotting against Archie, who is a threat to her maple syrup business. Betty, desperate to have Archie’s child but deemed almost barren by Dr. Curdle, uses Cheryl’s “sin pie” and a fertility poppet in order to conceive Archie’s baby.
Afterward, in a pagan ritual, Archie is sacrificed for his “pure heart” so that the town and its dying maple trees can flourish. Archie is forced to take the burden of everyone’s sins. Shockingly, Cheryl stabs him and takes out his heart, displaying it to her captivated supporters which include Betty and the others. Jughead, in his narrator form, confirms that Archie is dead. Understandably, fans were shocked by Archie’s death and expected answers in the next episode. However, in season 6 episode 2, the focus is on La Llorona, a vengeful maternal ghost that preys on children.
Archie is barely referenced throughout the episode — we hear Betty state that she would like to name her son after Archie. Cheryl and Nana Rose raise a toast to Archie as their maple trees are flourishing again. Later, we see that a milk carton at Tabitha’s place has a missing poster of Archie. And nobody seems to be harboring any guilt! So, is Archie dead or alive? It seems as though in the ‘Rivervale’ universe, Archie is actually dead.
“I can say that Archie is dead,” stated the show’s creator, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. Fans theorized that ‘Rivervale’ might be Archie’s coma or fever dream. However, Aguirre-Sacasa confessed, “Archie is not in a coma because of the bomb.” It makes sense, because why would Archie’s coma dream continue without him? The creator also confirmed that Archie remains dead in season 6 episode 2 and that more losses can be expected.
Where is Archie Andrews Now?
In Riverdale’s parallel universe of sorts, people seem to be experiencing their best and worst possible fates. “I think if we had proposed everyone in Riverdale getting together to sacrifice Archie for their personal gains, eyebrows might have been raised. As it was, even in Rivervale eyebrows were raised, but we allowed ourselves to push characters a little bit further and go a little bit more extreme,” stated Aguirre-Sacasa. Archie’s death is an interesting way to explore the dark capacities of the other characters as well as the impact of a good individual on a town’s community. It is quite likely that the upcoming episodes will address Archie’s fate.
Additionally, the rest of season 6, after episode 5, will likely go back to the ‘Riverdale’ universe, where we will actually find out about Archie and Betty’s condition post-explosion. It is possible that the couple is recuperating in a hospital. It is also possible that the couple somehow escapes the blast. We don’t think the show will do away with its main character, Archie, in the ‘Riverdale’ universe. However, in ‘Rivervale,’ Archie is dead. Unless Cheryl or other witchy characters — such as Sabrina Spellman from ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,’ who has a cameo in this season— use some spells or try necromancy, Archie will likely stay dead in the ‘Rivervale’ universe.