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Breaking Down the Episode Titles of Riverdale Season 2

Riverdale is finally returning tonight, and it’s anyone’s guess what’ll occur in the 22 episode-long season 2. Who was the masked man we saw in the last episode? What role will the Southside Serpents play? Who are these strange and weird characters that creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa keeps teasing on Twitter?

The CW show has always been an effective combination of teen drama and horror elements in a way that’s both puzzling and fascinating. Constant references to classic horror cinema, exploitation, and Gothic romance spill out of the show in casual, throwaway lines between talks about dates and talent shows. This notably happens in the episode titles like “Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!” or “Heart of Darkness” which are impossible to live up to, but I absolutely love that contrast for reasons I’m not sure how to explain.

Creator Aguirre-Sacasa has been sharing set images and episode titles on Twitter leading up to the premiere. Here are all the ones we know so far, and what they mean:

“A Kiss Before Dying” alludes to the 1991 neo-noir film of the same name/Ira Levin novel. There’s a secret pregnancy, twins, faked suicides, and double-crossing. Sounds like perfect Riverdale material, if you ask me.

“Nighthawks” is a clear reference to the Edward Hopper painting. Maybe something’s going on at Pop’s Choklit Shoppe that’ll lead to a revelation about our loneliness in the modern world? 

“The Watcher in the Woods” is a 1980 horror film about two sisters moving into the countryside with their family, before they encounter some supernatural forces in the woods. Will a “Watcher” be our antagonist, waiting in the Riverdale woods to pounce? Will it be a Scooby-doo villain or will Riverdale finally take the supernatural plunge? (Please keep Kevin Keller safe!)

“The Town That Dreaded Sundown” apparently will include a stand-off with a suspiciously dressed man in black. Another horror film reference, this 1976 movie is loosely based off the story of the Phantom Killer—a serial killer who terrorized Texarkana, Texas in 1946. It seems like we’re miles away from Archie’s stage fright and girl troubles.

“When a Stranger Calls”refers to the 1979 movie where a babysitter receives threatening phone calls from a psychopathic killer. Looks like Betty’s going to get dragged into some dangerous situations.

“Death Proof”: Yes, the Tarantino movie where women are attacked by a murderous stuntman in staged car accidents. This is quite a title, and Aguirre-Sacasa hints that we’ll be seeing our main characters going head-t0-head. Knowing Riverdale though, it’ll probably be a something closer to Cheryl and Veronica’s dance-off than a fatal car wreck.

“Tales from the Darkside” is an anthology series from the 1980s. Here’s the eerie introduction to give you an idea. Aguirre-Sacasa sure likes torturing his characters, huh?

House of the Devil” takes its title from the 2009 slasher/haunted house film that also includes a big dose of Satanism. I thought the Blossom mansion burned down, where is this house?!

“Silent Night, Deadly Night” is a horror franchise centered around a serial killer dressed as Santa. Who doesn’t love a good holiday episode? I desperately need to know how Cheryl Blossom celebrates Christmas and I can’t wait for the puns/innuendos.

“The Blackboard Jungle” probably sits as the most curious title, as it alludes to the 1955 film “about teachers in an inter-racial inner-city school, based on the novel The Blackboard Jungle by Evan Hunter.” Maybe this episode will be focused on Southside High?

That’s it for the season 2 episode titles we know, are you ready for Riverdale‘s return? What episode are you most excited for?

(image: The CW)

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