This 'Riverdale' Season 5 Photo Of Archie May Confirm Barchie Is Coming

- Riverdale -
This 'Riverdale' Season 5 Photo Of Archie May Confirm Barchie Is Coming

It's official: Riverdale is back on their bullshit. And I'm here for it. It's been so long since I've watched Jughead "weirdo" Jones dive into a mystery, or Cheryl deliver a devastating burn, or Veronica and Betty go "all dark, no stars," that I almost forgot the true heart and soul of Riverdale: shirtless Archie.

Thankfully, on Monday, Dec. 7, showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa shared a BTS photo from the Season 5 Riverdale set, showing Archie in all his shirtless glory to remind me. But this isn't your average shirtless pic. No, this one has props. The spoiler photo teases a shirtless Archie, his chest adorned with thick, red suspenders, and a fire fighter helmet covering his signature red hair. It's a lot.

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For any other teen show, seeing a photo of the male lead wearing what looks like a stripper costume would be shocking. But for Riverdale, it's really just another day at the office. But that doesn't mean the image isn't telling. In fact, there are many layers to the pic that seriously need to be unpacked. Let's break down all the clues in Archie's shirtless fireman pic, and what it could mean for Riverdale Season 5.

Barchie Is Happening

After you get past the image of Archie as a shirtless firefighter, it's impossible not to notice that he's standing in what appears to be Betty's room. That wallpaper is a dead giveaway (not to mention the photo of Betty and Kevin in the lower left corner — yes, I zoomed in). Does this mean Barchie is on? Does this mean that Barchie is on and that they're doing sexy role play?

There's been a lot of talk about Betty and Archie really giving their relationship a shot in Season 5. Asked to describe Barchie's Season 5 arc in one word on Twitter, writer Ted Sullivan said "Active." And, Aguirre-Sacasa previously teased fans that Betty seemingly putting a stop to her and Archie's budding romance in Season 4 wasn't the end of Barchie. "I don't think it's the end of the drama or it's the end of the love quadrangle by any stretch o the imagination," he told TV Guide in May.

Barchie finally being a real thing would be exciting, but it also feels a bit too easy... Since when has Riverdale ever been this straightforward? Which brings me to my next theory...

It's Part Of A Musical Episode or Sequence

Image: @WriterRAS/Twitter

Let's take a closer look at Aguirre-Sacasa's tweet — specifically the emojis. The first three — the fireman, the fire, and the snake — all relate pretty obviously to Archie in this pic. The next one, a rollercoaster, also seems pretty innocuous , but the comedy and tragedy faces are a bit more interesting. Yes, paired with the rollercoaster, it could just be that Aguirre-Sacasa is teasing a "rollercoaster of emotions," but it could also point to this being part of a show within the show. Sullivan has already confirmed on Twitter that there will be a musical episode in Season 5. And while I can't think of any musicals involving firefighters, I'm sure there are some out there.

That said, this theory has a few holes in it. Most importantly, on Twitter, Sullivan seemed to suggest that the musical episode hasn't been filmed yet when he confirmed that Vanessa Morgan would be "back from maternity leave" in time for the episode. (He could, of course, be stretching the truth. She could be filming it now, before going on maternity leave, but, who knows?)

Future Archie Is A Firefighter

After the first three episodes of Season 5 wrap up the gang's senior year of high school, Riverdale will be doing a 7-year time jump, allowing them to skip their college years and reunite in their hometown as adults. Assuming this photo is recent, and not from those early episodes, this could be teasing what 25-year-old Archie is doing with his life: fighting fires.

Archie is definitely the type to go into public service, especially if it means flexing his muscles on the job. As for the shirtlessness, maybe his t-shirt caught fire and he had to remove it? Or, maybe that's just the Riverdale firefighting uniform. (Honestly, having a shirtless squad of firefighters would be the most normal thing about this town.)

Future Archie Is A Stripper

Assuming the outfit is related to Archie's employment, it could be that this Riverdale native is doing his own local version of Magic Mike. Isn't that basically where the Red Circle was always heading anyways?

It's A Barchie Fantasy Sequence That Will Lead To A Bughead Split

OK, I know this one is a bit more detailed than the others, but hear me out. If Aguirre-Sacasa's entire tweet is a clue, not just promo for Season 5, then he's basically telling us that this photo is from the filming of the first episode of Season 5, which means it would be set before the time jump, right after that Barchie kiss. Even though she said she wanted to put a stop to whatever was going on between her and Archie, Betty could still have feelings bubbling over. And what would be more telling than dreaming about a sexy firefighter Archie busting into her bedroom?

And, if this photo is from the first episode of the season, then it stands to reason that the other emojis in the showrunner's caption, specifically the broken heart, might mean trouble ahead for Bughead. Could the emoji phrase of a ship, key, and broken heart means that the Barchie ship will be the key to breaking up Bughead?

Of course, there is one other option: Aguirre-Sacasa's just messing with us and Archie being a shirtless firefighter just isn't that deep. It wouldn't be the weirdest thing happening in Riverdale.

Image: Jack Rowand/The CW

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