Take a breath, Riverdale fans. After that hellishly long hiatus, we're finally back. And despite the worrisome title of the season two premiere, "A Kiss Before Dying," it turns out Fred Andrews is going to be just fine. Probably. For now.
But as for the identity of the masked gunman who accosted Fred and Archie in Pop's, we're going to be waiting a lot longer for answers. The only clue we get here is that this person, or group of people, is seemingly targeting those close to Archie, since the episode ended with Miss Grundy returning only to be immediately killed. Miss Grundy, incidentally, is still preying on teenage boys like the straight-up sexual predator she always was and I'm not even gonna pretend to be sad about her untimely death.
So who shot Fred Andrews (and killed Miss Grundy, I guess)? Here are six theories based on what we've seen so far.
1. Hiram or Hermione Lodge
If this theory's good enough for Veronica, it's good enough for me. Sure, the rules of Riverdale suggest that the most obvious suspect is never going to be the right one, but Hiram's arrival just set off so many alarm bells, and he has a lot of reasons to want Fred out of the way. Hermione shooting (or conspiring to shoot) her ex-lover is pretty ice cold, but Hermione already feels like a very different and much more ruthless character to me this season, so anything's possible. Veronica didn't call her "Lady Macbeth" that one time for nothing.
Remember back when fans were theorizing that Miss Grundy's abusive ex-husband might have killed Jason Blossom? No dice there, but why mention the character at all if he weren't going to pay off at some point? Bringing back Miss Grundy only for her to be killed, makes this feel like an even more likely possibility…although wouldn't a jealous ex want Archie dead, not his loved ones? In that case, maybe it's a loved one of Miss Grundy's ex seeking revenge on his brother/friend's behalf.3. Betty's long-lost brother
The role of Betty's mysterious brother Chic has finally been cast so we know he'll become important later in the season. And per the casting description, he's "tough, resourceful, rough around the edges, and distrustful of new people," having learned to look out for himself after growing up in the foster system. "There's a darkness to Chic that is both sexy and scary." None of which necessarily suggests that he's a murderer, or has any reason to want Fred Andrews dead—but he might not need one. The casting description also says that Chic "hustles to scrape together a living on the fringes of society," so what if his hustle involves being a hired gun?4. Penelope Blossom
I know, I know, Cheryl's mom was in the hospital recovering from her horrifying third-degree burns after the fire at Thornhill. But she obviously wouldn't get her own hands dirty if she did want to kill Fred; she'd hire somebody. But Archie and the gang did solve Jason's murder, so Penelope definitely has reason to want revenge, especially after her husband committed suicide. If there's evil around and you're trying to find the source, a Blossom is never a bad bet.
There's a pretty clear motive here—Fred did just fire all of the Serpents on his workforce, prompting Archie to lie to the police to protect Jughead and FP from falling under suspicion. Buuuut Jughead also enlisted the Serpents to help dig up dirt on the shooter, which they did enthusiastically, and "It was gang violence" just doesn't feel like a very Riverdale reveal.