Spoilers for Riverdale Season 3, Episode 9 ahead. It's difficult to say exactly what happened to Archie on Riverdale. His hinterland hideout was fraught with danger and hallucinations, so picking apart fact from fiction is far from easy. However, primarily when it comes to the ending of the Jan. 16 episode, we're going to need answers soon. Like, um, is Archie alive? Things do not look good for him at all.
Here's what we know, or at least think we know: Archie was attacked in the woods by a bear, though the bear itself was never seen. We could be boring and assume that's because Riverdale didn't want to budget out funds for a stunt and/or CGI bear... or add it to a pile of evidence that suggests Archie's reality is being tampered with by outside forces (cough: fizzle rocks). The attack happened after Archie spotted some people he didn't recognize in the woods, and he returned to his cabin with gashes on his chest. He radioed a woman who seemed to be his boss, but their conversation was cut off by feedback. Suspicious? I think yes.
Archie patched himself up, but nobody came at first, and he awoke to find a bunch of people he thought were dead coaxing him to play Griffins and Gargoyles. What followed was a series of dream-like scenes with increasing stakes: First he confronted the Black Hood, then he stabbed Hiram Lodge, and finally, he beat himself to death with a baseball bat.
Of course, there weren't really any dead people playing G&G with Archie, and Betty, Jughead, and Veronica weren't there either. They were busy back in Riverdale waging gang warfare, running a makeshift orphanage, and singing sad songs from Cabaret.
But what caused Archie's hallucinations? He guessed that it was merely because he'd lost a lot of blood. Again, that's a boring and logical answer. Wouldn't it be much more Riverdale if someone had broken into his cabin while he was asleep and drugged him with Fizzle Rocks? Archie was never that involved with the game, so why else would he be dreaming about it if not given a suggestive substance? The only flaw in that theory is that Vegas, Archie's dog, was guarding his bed, and definitely would have barked to wake him up if there were an intruder. It would therefore make more sense if he was drugged before any of this happened, meaning that even the bear attack itself may have been a hallucination.
Still, at the end of the episode, park rangers arrive in Archie's cabin to find him bloody and non-responsive. Could Archie really have gone so far to avoid Hiram Lodge and the steady stream of serial killers in his hometown only to get taken down by a Grizzly? Close calls have happened on Riverdale before. We all thought Jughead was dead for a minute, and he turned out fine.
There's one reason I think Archie is alive, and it's brought to you by years of analyzing Kit Harrington's ponytail in between seasons of Game of Thrones. Unless the actor is pulling a major social media scam on fans, KJ Apa's hair is still red — and it wouldn't make any sense for him to dye it back to his natural color (as his character did to go into hiding) and then back to red if he wasn't still playing Archie.
Unfortunately, we won't know for sure until next week's episode, but we should get an answer then. Keep analyzing "No Exit" until Riverdale returns for more theories about what actually happened to dear old Archiekins.