Every week of Riverdale is a roller coaster ride. Characters change alliances quickly and seemingly without provocation, making rash decisions that impact the entire town. Case in point: when Hiram Lodge quarantined the town at the end of the Riverdale midseason finale, trapping Archie, Fred Andrews, FP, and Jughead outside city limits. And although it's clear that he and Governor Dooley have something up their collective sleeves, it's unclear just what their master plan is.
Other than the ever-mysterious Gargoyle King, whose identity is still unknown, Hiram has been the primary villain this season. Not only did he frame Archie, throw him in jail, and put a bounty on his head after he escaped from juvie, but he seems to be plotting something much bigger and more nefarious. It's been implied that Hiram introduced both Griffins & Gargoyles and fizzle rocks, which is somehow connected to the game, to the town, and considering several people have already died as a result, it's likely things will only worsen.
Mysterious drug? Check. Creepy role-playing game? Check. Terrifying, occult-like monster haunting the woods? Check. However, Hiram's biggest play happened at the end of Episode 8, when he successfully got the town quarantined. Military personnel blocked Riverdale's border, and the soldiers threatened FP and Jug with guns, ordering them to turn around. It was also revealed that Hiram orchestrated this with the help of Governor Dooley, who told him on the phone, "Well Hiram, you got what you wanted — the town's quarantined. I'll do what I can to keep the outside world at bay."
While we haven't seen Dooley yet, it's clear that Hiram's getting help from high up the chain of command. And as Jug's voiceover explained, "That night was the fruition of a game that had been planned for and played across the years." But why the quarantine, and why now? Hiram has obviously wanted Archie, FP, Fred, and Jug out of his hair for quite some time, but it's unclear why he's pulling the trigger now. Maybe he wanted to keep someone — or something — inside the city, and keeping them out was just an added bonus.
Whatever the case, Mr. Lodge is still working to turn Southside High into a privatized prison, and he seems to be in cahoots with the Sisters of Quiet Mercy, which Betty — aka the Griffin Queen — and Ethel were last seen busting out of. Furthermore, Hiram also appears to be in charge of the Gargoyle Gang, which is just a bunch of guys in masks running around terrorizing people. What's not yet clear is how all of these things connect. Or does Hiram simply have his hand in several pots, hoping that one of them will magically turn into gold?
Fans will recall that, back in Episode 7, Jug and Archiekins stumbled on a deserted town. All of its male residents had left to work on Hiram's prison, and most of its remaining citizens were hopped up on fizzle rocks. They called Hiram "The Man in Black" (no, not that one!). Could this be his vision for Riverdale, too? A ghost town full of placated, hallucinating townspeople? Even for Veronica's dad, that seems dark.
Whatever Hiram is plotting, it all seems to be about making a name for himself. In an interview with Vulture, Mark Consuelos explained his character's motivations. "Obviously, he's trying to set up the legacy of power for him and his family," he said. "Maybe he's foreshadowing that he doesn’t really know how long he's gonna be there. There's a chance he won't be there, there's a chance he’'l get killed, there's a chance he'll grow old and run Riverdale. He was ejected from New York City, so it would be tough for him to go back there after being humiliated and arrested for fraud. Riverdale is his little kingdom. He's trying to prove he can rise from the ashes of prison and rule."
So whether or not Hiram really is the Gargoyle King, and whatever his quarantine will mean for Riverdale, hopefully he won't get away with his diabolical master plan because of those meddling kids.