'Riverdale' Is Branching Out From The Comics With This New Villain

Bettina Strauss/The CW

In Riverdale Season 2, the Black Hood isn't the only villain on the loose. There's also the Sugar Man, an enigmatic drug dealer who's been keeping the town's Jingle Jangle in stock. But is the Sugar Man from Riverdale in the comics, like the Black Hood, or is he a new breed of criminal brewed freshly for the show? Spoilers ahead for Riverdale Season 2, Episode 6.

Despite early predictions that the character would be a nod to Archie spin-off Afterlife With Archie and perhaps tie in some supernatural elements, the Sugar Man is 100 percent original, which only makes him more mysterious. In the series' latest episode, "Chapter Nineteen: Death Proof," the Black Hood blackmails Betty into tracking down the Sugar Man as part of has continued quest to purge the town of sinners. She reluctantly agrees, but with a plan. Though he's been disseminating drugs to high school kids without consequence, Betty points out that he's still a person, and she's not just going to hand over his name to a serial killer on a silver platter. Instead, she uses the opportunity as a chance to reclaim the power the Black Hood has been wielding over her and take charge of her own life.

The only problem? The Sugar Man is more of an urban myth than any single man, and, over the years, the torch has been passed from person to person. Now, Betty just needs to figure out who's been keeping up the business after Clifford Blossom's death. So, she goes to the only source she knows: Cheryl. Initially, Cheryl dismisses the Sugar Man as nothing more than a fictional boogeyman her mother concocted to keep her and Jason out of trouble when they were kids, but, eventually, Mrs. Blossom comes clean: The Sugar Man is an all-too-real monster she tried to downplay in order to protect her children from hard truths. After Mrs. Blossom reveals the Sugar Man's current identity, Cheryl dutifully tells Betty, who notifies the police, not the Black Hood. "I found out who killed Jason Blossom. I found out who the Sugar Man was. You're next, Black Hood," she tells him. " I'm breathing down your neck."

In a rather surprising twist, the current Sugar Man turns out to be Mr. Phillips, Jughead's new English teacher and school newspaper adviser. As a relatively minor character, he was smart and unexpected choice, and Riverdale did a good job of throwing viewers off the scent. But looking back, it makes sense. When Jughead asked if he could restart the Red and Black, Phillips was adamant that he'd allow it only if Jughead stayed away from the Southside Serpents — his de facto rivals, since the Ghoulies were the ones selling Phillips' drugs — and Jingle Jangle in general, likely so Jughead wouldn't piece together the truth.

Unfortunately for Betty, the Black Hood manages to get his hands on Phillips even without her help. In the final moments of the episode, he somehow slips past security at the jail cell where Phillips is being held and shoots him point-blank, just as he did with his other victims. Phillips' fate is left unclear (It doesn't look promising, but Midge and Moose survived, so it's not impossible) but it does debunk the fan theory that the Sugar Man and the Black Hood are the same person. One criminal may be behind bars, but the other is still at large, and now, the Riverdale drug trade has been left up for the taking. Hopefully, no one else will cash in — Riverdale has enough problems without a new Sugar Man being added to the equation.