Warning: Spoilers ahead for season three, episode eight of “Riverdale.”
With the Black Hood behind bars, a new threat has come to “Riverdale,” and it’s known only as the “Gargoyle King.”
On the season three premiere of the hit CW series, this mysterious being was named for the first time, but as of now, not many details are available. Here is what we know so far.
The Gargoyle King is introduced.
Jughead learns about the Gargoyle King when Dilton, who’s playing “Gryphons and Gargoyles,” knocks on Jug’s door in a panic.
“Ben and I thought it was just a game, a stupid role-playing game, but it’s not,” he says. “It’s so much more. He’s real.”
“Who? Who is?” Jughead asks.
Jughead starts to leave but then Dilton yells out, “The Gargoyle King.”
Jughead brushes him aside and tells him to wait at the Jones’ house and they will talk about it later. When he returns home, Dilton is gone. A paper covered in weird symbols and a stick creature is left. Jughead deduces that the symbols are drawn over Fox Forest Park, so he heads there.
He finds Ben and Dilton unresponsive and kneeling in front of an altar with symbols carved into their backs.
Ben starts to choke and Jughead tries to help him as a liquid starts to drip from his mouth. Jughead screams for help as the scene ends. On the second episode, it’s revealed that Dilton and Ben consumed cyanide, which ultimately killed Dilton.
The coroner tells Betty that he believes they are looking at “true evil,” something worse than what happened to Jason Blossom and worse than the Black Hood.
“Gryphons and Gargoyles” is a dangerous game.
Betty and Jughead later discover that the poisoned chalice Ben and Dilton drank from was part of the game they were playing, “Gryphons and Gargoyles,” which appears to be similar to “Dungeons and Dragons.” In their investigation, Betty and Jug find coins with the Gargoyle King on them, drawings of the king, and various knick-knacks from the game.
On the mid-season finale, Betty and Ethel learn that the game was created by youths at the Sisters of Quiet Mercy. The kids would be thrown into a room with a terrifying gargoyle statue and created the game to deal with the fear.
The Gargoyle King has a team.
When Jughead stumbles upon the Gargoyle King in the woods, he follows the creature and stumbles upon a group gathered around a fire. Jughead says there were around 10 people standing around in gargoyle masks standing like they were “worshiping a king.”
Archie says Joaquin may be part of it, so Sweet Pea, Fangs, and Jughead head out to find him. They locate Joaquin in the woods with a gargoyle mask on his person. When they question him, he says he was a “pawn.” He also says that Archie was marked for death. He tells Jughead that the symbol burned into Archie’s hip means “sacrifice.”
Joaquin says that “the man in the black suit” controlled the warden, so Jughead goes to confront Hiram and calls him the Gargoyle King. Hiram denies the claim, but though Hiram is not the king, he is lying about not being involved.
Hiram is working with the beast and the Sisters of Quiet Mercy.
At the end of the mid-season finale, Hiram is seen in his office, raising his glass to the Gargoyle King after getting the town of Riverdale quarantined.
Betty, who was put into the Sisters of Quiet Mercy by her own mother, becomes suspicious of Hiram when she sees him arrive at the group home. She suspects he is providing the Fizzle Rocks that are being given to the youths. She tricks Ethel into going with her to the “Gargoyle King’s chamber” to prove her point.
When she returns to the room, she finds Ethel sobbing on the floor because she realises that the king is actually a statue. Betty explains that they thought they saw the king because they were high on Fizzle Rocks.
“The Sisters feed us drugs that make us susceptible to visions that they suggest,” Betty says. “They let us play the game and then they use our delusions of the Gargoyle King to scare us into submission. … The Sisters are running some kind of scam with Hiram Lodge. I think he’s paying them to test his drugs on the patients.”
“But I’ve seen him in real life,” Ethel says. “In my hospital room. The Gargoyle King – he’s out there.”
“I know,” Betty responds. “I saw the Gargoyle King in town, too. Or someone dressed up as him, but at any rate, it doesn’t change the fact that in here, he’s just a hunk of cement.”
The Gargoyle King is both hallucination and reality.
So who or what is it?
That, we still don’t know. Showrunner and creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa described the Gargoyle King as “gruesome, gory, grim, and gnarly” on Twitter, but viewers have no idea what it actually is.
From the small glimpses viewers have gotten of the disturbing creature, it appears to have a wooden head shaped like a horse’s skull, wings and arms made of sticks, and horns. It also wears a tattered black sheet or robe.
Is it a man (or woman) dressed in a creepy costume? Is a mystical creature? (Riverdale is only a town over from Greendale, Sabrina Spellman, and witches.) Is it a made-up threat concocted by a group of people to scare the residents of Riverdale? Has Hiram been behind him the entire time?
Fans will just have to wait to see what else is uncovered as the season progresses, and we’ll be updating it all here.
“Riverdale” returns in January 2019.
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