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This post contains spoilers for the Riverdale Season 3 finale.

Well, that was a lot! On Wednesday night, Riverdale finally answered all (or at least most) of this seasons lingering questions—including, finally, unmasking the Gargoyle King. Who turned out to be. . . Bettys presumed-dead brother, Chic?!

As that mystery winds down, things are finally looking up for this sleepy town—which for three years now has faced an unprecedented rash of serial killers, corruption, and general shenanigans. Or at least, things were looking up before the episodes final moments. In a flash forward to next years spring break, we see Betty, Veronica, and Archie all standing around a raging fire—covered in blood and wearing nothing but their underwear. In Archies hands is Jugheads hat—also soaked in red. Betty instructs the group to burn everything (including the hat), then part ways and never speak again after the school year is over.

Obviously, were meant to wonder if this means Jughead is toast come next season—but is there even the slightest chance this series would ever kill off one of its most beloved characters?

Before we spend too much time trying to decide how cruel show-runner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and his writers are willing to be, lets review everything our merry foursome just survived. In this finale, Penelope Blossom sprang Betty out of The Farm just as Edgar Evernever was about to reduce her to several coolers worth of organs for sale. (Chad Michael Murray, how could you?!) But Bettys bad day was just getting started.

She also found herself at a lavish dinner, where Penelope revealed shed purchased Betty from The Farm sot hat she could go on one last Gryphons and Gargoyles quest with her friends. We learned that Penelope had been pulling the strings all along—and in addition to cultivating Bettys father, Hal, as a serial killer, she also took in his disciple, Bettys brother Chic. Chic and Hal have been operating as a murderous twosome: Hal as the Black Hood and Chic in the costume of the Gargoyle King. (Penelope had also forced Chic to dye his hair red and pretend hes Jason. The Blossom family should really invest in therapy!)

Somehow, Archie, Betty, Jughead and Veronica survived Penelope—but Penelope did manage to kill Bettys father in front of her, and sent her minions to kill the foursome as well. Cheryl and her archery-trained gang, the Pretty Poisons, wound up saving the day—and in the end, Jughead happily reported that Riverdale was at peace. Having survived the craziest season of Riverdale yet, the group made a pact to avoid any involvement with monsters, death cults, and so on.

What on Earth, then, was going on in that final scene?!

Riverdale has played the is-he-dead cliffhanger game before—last season with Jughead, and again this season with Archie. Speculation and rumors about Sprouse and other cast members potentially leaving the series frequently run rampant. In reality, though, its hard to imagine that the show would ever kill off any member of the core four—especially Jughead, a fan favorite who narrates the series. Plus, as goes without saying, the backlash from Bughead fans would be merciless.

Maybe Jugheads injured. Maybe he already peaced out of whatever insane activity the other three remained to clean up. Maybe he faked his own death. But for now, were not buying that hes actually gone—unless the plan is to make Season 4 Riverdales last, which, again, seems unlikely.

But going into Season 4, there are a few more questions to address. First: how will the series will handle Luke Perrys death—and Fred Andrewss absence? For now, Fred has been on a “trip,” with Molly Ringwald stepping in to take care of Archie in the meantime. Speaking with Vanity Fair, Aguirre-Sacasa explained that when Perry died following a stroke, the ending for Season 3 was pretty much already finished: “We thought that rather than try to squeeze something in, we would let the season play out and then really do it justice and honor both Luke and Fred at the beginning of Season 4,” he said. The loss of Perry and his character “absolutely is informing and changing what were doing in Season 4. Especially in terms of Archies story but really in the overall tone of the show.” Ringwald, he added, is likely to stick around for the beginning of Season 4 as well.

And then theres the arrival of Betty and Jugheads half brother, Charles. (For those keeping track, that would be the half brother Chic was pretending to be in Season 2, before he was revealed to be an impostor.) The real Charles works for the F.B.I.—and, as he revealed to a stunned Betty and Jughead, Alice Cooper knows him already. Alice herself has not, in fact, been brainwashed by Edgar Evernever, but has instead been working as a Bureau informant inside The Farm. Truthfully, its amazing it took this long for Riverdale to employ the secret-F.B.I.-informant gambit, or one like it. Charles seems like a pretty cool dude, and will almost certainly become an important player next season. (No-cult pact or not, Betty will obviously want to help find her mother, as well as the other Evernever acolytes who disappeared during the “Ascension” in Wednesdays finale.) Nobody in Riverdale is ever what they seem—so for all we know, Charles could turn out to be yet another bad guy. For now, however, well file him in the “good” column.

Finally, theres the endlessly diabolical Hiram Lodge, who got Hermione arrested for conspiracy to commit murder. (In Read More – Source