So… what's actually going to happen in Season 3?
Well, if there are another 20-plus episodes to fill… A LOT. The most immediate hurdle for the good forces of Riverdale to overcome (and undo) will be Archie's arrest. Right as our hero was being sworn in as his high school's student body president, Hiram and his goons cuffed him for the murder of Shadow Lake resident Cassidy Bullick. No doubt retaliation. Not long before the gasp-inducing cliffhanger, the redheaded renaissance kid was threatening to expose the Lodge patriarch's machinations: "I'm just gonna come for you," he spat. "And I won't hesitate like I did with the Black Hood. I'm gonna make my bones once and for all!"
Unfortunately, the arrest stalls those plans. "[Archie] made a big threat to Hiram," Aguirre-Sacasa explained to Deadline, "and it felt like, short of killing Archie, the next best thing Hiram could do is get him out of Riverdale -- away from Veronica, away from his friends -- and send him to a place where a really bad accident might happen to Archie, some place like jail." If we zoom out to a broader vantage point, this all means the war for Riverdale is finally beginning in earnest. Hiram has built an army (Claudius at the prison, Malachai and the Ghoulies on the streets, Madam Blossom at a brothel, and his right-hand man Minetta in the sheriff's office) to establish a foothold in the town's underground, from which he can sow chaos and spread his influence. It will be up to Archie and his friends to take back the town and ensure that the balance of power doesn't tip too favorably in the wrong direction -- before every inch of Riverdale is commanded by someone with ties to Hiram.
"Archie was sort of intoxicated by Hiram -- his power and the way he moves through the world and his ruthless ideals," Aguirre-Sacasa told The Hollywood Reporter recently. "Archie kind of came back to the good guys' side by the end of the season, but there are consequences for what he's done this season. He and Hiram are squaring off, so I think that will be one of the main conflicts of Season 3, for sure." Key to winning this conflict will be picking off Hiram's allies, likely in the manner Veronica has already embraced (i.e., reclaiming Pop's and other key locations). "I think now they've set up a really great like superheroes versus villains story," Camila Mendes (Veronica) has said. "Now we really know who the good guys are and who the bad guys are, so I think Season 3 might have a nice comic book feel to it." Fitting!