The first four episodes of this season of Riverdale have increasingly shed light on the mysterious game of Gryphons and Gargoyles that has recently become a focal point of the show, and episode 5 continued the trend in a new and increasingly concerning way, with the game taking one more victim before this week's visit to Riverdale wrapped up.
WARNING: Spoilers ahead for "Chapter Thirty-Seven: Fortune and Men's Eyes."
The main focus this week is Archie's continued time in juvie, which has not gotten any less violent. After trying to stage an escape, Archie is tied to his bed with ropes while the Warden brands him with a hot iron. The Warden later tells Archie that his next fight will be his last, and knowing the Warden, that doesn't mean it's because he wants to let Archie kick back and relax.
This results in Archie's decision to fully commit to breaking out, and he recruits some help from Veronica, Betty, Josie, Kevin and Reggie to do so. The group decides to create a diversion during Archie's next fight so that he can sneak out via a sewer gate at the bottom of the pool the fights take place in — a plan that is ultimately successful thanks to a quick diversion.
Archie's escape is interspersed with scenes of Jughead acting as Gamemaster in his own game of G&G, where he has set out a quest for his players — Cheryl, Toni, Fangs and Sweet Pea — to save the Red Paladin, Jughead's prompts and commands eerily echoing exactly what's playing out with Archie and the gang.
Jughead is now deep into the game, and has become convinced that Gryphons and Gargoyles only exists within Riverdale due to a number of reasons, including the fact that the realm's name, Eldervair, is an anagram of Riverdale and the puzzling-in-2018-note that the gang couldn't find anything about G&G on the internet. Jughead is convinced that he, his friends and their parents have unwittingly been playing the game for years, off-board, and plans to ascend up the ranks until he can meet the Gargoyle King.
This theory is exacerbated when the Warden confronts Betty at the end of her motorcycle chase and refers to Archie as "the Red Paladin," seemingly indicating that he has been playing a real-world version of G&G, something that is eventually confirmed at the end of the episode when the Warden is seen sitting in his office.
There, he examines a pair of game cards from G&G, one of which reads, "Kill the Red Paladin." After gazing at the cards and seemingly accepting the fact that he had failed in the quest he or someone else had set out for him, the Warden emptied a pill into a goblet of blue liquid and drank it, a voiceover by Jughead revealing that the Warden committed suicide by cyanide poisoning.
The Warden marks that fourth victim of G&G that Riverdale has shown viewers — Dilton Doiley, Ben Button and Principal Featherhead the first three, with Ethel Muggs having attempted to put herself on that list as well. Judging by the rate the show is going, it's a safe guess that the Warden won't be the last victim the game claims before Betty solves this mystery.
Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on the CW.
Photo Credit: The CW