When 'Riverdale' Season 2 Returns In 2018, Friendships Will Be Tested

The only thing more fun than the many fan theories about who the Black Hood is is seeing how Riverdale manages to subvert fan expectations at almost every turn. But like many shows, the CW drama is taking a brief hiatus over the holidays. After the midseason finale on Dec. 13, when will Riverdale Season 2 return? Fortunately, fans won't be kept hanging for more than a few weeks after the inevitable cliffhanger.

Riverdale will be back with all-new episodes on Jan. 17, according to the CW's winter premiere schedule. And while that month-long hiatus means no new twists or turns, it also provides more time for fans to analyze Season 2's first nine episodes.

The biggest mystery so far is definitely which member of the town is the Black Hood. Most of the chief suspects (that is to say, any middle-aged, green-eyed men who live in the town) have so far been debunked, or at least there's been some serious doubt cast on their viability. After Betty and Veronica's deep dive into whether Sheriff Keller is the culprit, they didn't find much evidence that ties the sheriff to the murders; and the school janitor Mr. Svenson may be the sole survivor of the Ripper's attacks, but Archie didn't seem to recognize the man's distinctively bright eyes as the ones of his father's attempted killer.

When the show comes back in January, though, there are plenty of new developments in store. First of all, Betty's long-lost brother, Chic Cooper, is joining the show in Season 2, and with all of the stories this season about how fractured families are responsible for the violence in Riverdale, the baby Alice gave up for adoption will certainly be an important addition. Actor Lilli Reinhart agrees, as she told Harper's Bazaar, "Chic coming into Riverdale really plays a huge part in the Cooper family." She went on to call the storyline "really juicy stuff," and promised that it would bring "a completely new dynamic to the Cooper family." That's exciting, especially knowing that it won't be the type of storyline wrapped up neatly after just a single episode.

Things are also fractured in both key romantic relationships on the show. Varchie and Bughead both just went through breakups, and there might be the tiniest flicker of chemistry between Archie and Betty at the end of the show's penultimate fall episode. But whatever drama arises from that shakeup, star Cole Sprouse promised ScreenRant that nothing will jeopardize the Riverdale four's friendships. "I think they’re… young kids. I mean they fight, they make up. They fight, they make up," Sprouse said. So even if there are some hurt feelings between the foursome by the end of this midseason finale, the crew will always have a strong bond.

Katie Yu/The CW

And, speaking of love, the reveal that Cheryl is actually Josie's secret admirer will certainly have consequences, especially once the Pussycats' lead singer realizes that her friend is attempting to scare her. As for Cheryl's motivations, Madeline Petsch told Entertainment Tonight that Cheryl's crush is real, not one of her devious manipulations. "She's discovered that she has no love, no home base, no friends, and this season her undercurrent is absolutely low. She's really looking for love and she's looking for it in all the right — and all the wrong — places," Petsch said.

Between those hints, all of the romantic drama and the ongoing murder mysteries happening this season, it's honestly no wonder that Riverdale needs more episodes than it did in Season 1 to piece together exactly what's happening in this once-tranquil suburban town. (22 this year, to last season's 13.) So sure, the series is taking a break, but there's so much to be excited for when Riverdale returns in early 2018.