Having just wrapped up the Black Hood storyline, The CW’s Riverdale is setting up the remainder of this season, and some viewers have noticed a recurring theme throughout the last few episodes. It all begins with “Chapter Twenty: Tales From the Darkside,” and continues in last week’s “Chapter Twenty-Three: The Blackboard Jungle,” with more references expected to come soon. The references in question revolve around author H.P. Lovecraft, who – among many other things – created the fictional Necronomicon, a “book of the dead” that has the potential to revive the dead.
The first reference, from “Tales From the Darkside,” is a fairly subtle one. When Archie and Jughead are delivering the crate for Penny Peabody, the name on the side of the crate is none other than H.P. Lovecraft. The full text reads Miskatonic University via H.P. Lovecraft/Polar Expedition Jan. 13, 1923.
Then, in “The Blackboard Jungle,” Toni name drops Lovecraft while reading some of Jughead’s work, which doesn’t feel like a coincidence. Then, later in the episode, Kevin is seen holding a book while hanging out in Riverdale High’s student lounge. The book is Clive Barker’s The Damnation Game, and there are more than a few similarities to one of the best horror comics in the Archie universe, Afterlife with Archie. According to a synopsis from CBR:
The 1985 novel is a tale of horror, in which a man makes a deal with some type of devil or demon figure. This monster possesses many frightening supernatural abilities, not the least of which is the power to summon the dead. If we turn to the themes and elements of this story, it sure looks like this is a direct correlation to Afterlife with Archie, which involved the dead of Riverdale coming back to life as zombies thanks to the interference of dark powers that involved Sabrina.
I’ve been saying this season one: Riverdale is going to become Afterlife with Archie. Either that or Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa really likes messing with people who think that. It’s not like there haven’t been other hints. Cheryl’s dream at the beginning of season two? The fact that Sabrina is going to be introduced on Riverdale soon? You call it grasping at straws. I call it hope. The show already feels like it’s in a moment of clumsy transition as it jumps from one genre to another, but when all the pieces start fitting together, I think we’re in for something truly special.
Riverdale airs every Wednesday night at 8 PM!
Images: Archie Comics, The CW