What's going on? Why is this happening? Is this real life?
These are just a few of the questions that roll through my brain every time I watch an episode of Riverdale. The CW teen drama masterfully confuses its viewers on a weekly basis, almost as if it's trying to outdo the head-scratching twists that became a characteristic standard on Pretty Little Liars. Let's just hope Riverdale doesn't fall as far into the pits of confusion as PLL did.
Season 3 of Riverdale focuses on the big mystery surrounding a game called Griffins and Gargoyles, which is basically Riverdale's version of Dungeons & Dragons. This ominous after school activity isn't like an innocent game of Scrabble or Monopoly. Oh, no! Filled with poisonous chalices and an unnecessarily complicated instructional manual, Griffins & Gargoyles thrusts its players into immediate danger at the hands of the Gargoyle King. As the Big Bad this season, the Gargoyle King is a heinous sight to behold. Despite his fantastical, beast-like appearance, one thing is clear: There is a person underneath that mask, meaning the Gargoyle King is not a supernatural entity.
So who is the Gargoyle King? Check out our top five suspects below.
Clifford and Claudius Blossom
In the episode “Chapter 39: The Midnight Club,” we learn that Penelope is adopted by the Blossoms and groomed from childhood to become Clifford's bride. Penelope grows up thinking of Clifford as both a brotherly and romantic figure, after she is plucked from The Sisters of Quiet Mercy at the age of eight. If you think this family can't get any creepier, think again! The Blossoms have truly outdone themselves when it comes to incest. The main reason Penelope even gets involved in Griffins & Gargoyles is so she can use the game as an escape from the horrors at home.
When Principle Featherhead is gruesomely murdered, The Midnight Club assumes it's at the hands of the gory Gargoyle King. Out of everyone who goes to Riverdale High, Clifford Blossom has the most to gain from this messy situation. Just think about it. After the murder, The Midnight Club dissembles and the teens stop speaking to each other. Penelope, unable to handle what has transpired, falls right into the arms of Clifford. Perhaps this is Clifford's way of trapping Penelope inside of Thornhill forever? We already know that he's a cold-hearted killer. Clifford ruthlessly murdered his only son, Jason, by shooting him in the head. Maybe Clifford's psychosis dates back to an early age and began with the killing of Principal Featherhead.
Of course, Clifford is dead now… or at least that's what Riverdale wants us to think. So who could be under that mask in present day? Well, Clifford's identical twin, Claudius, is very much alive. It's possible that Claudius has picked up where his deranged brother left off. We know the Blossoms love to wreak havoc and play twisted games at the expense of others. It makes sense, given how little Claudius has on his plate these days.
We don't know much about Edgar Evernever, including what he looks like. The mysterious farm leader is straight-up running a cult and has even managed to lure in Alice and Penny Cooper. The players of Griffins & Gargoyles, particularly Ethel, believe that the Gargoyle King is some god-like entity — much in the way that Edgar Evernever is worshipped by the disciples he's gathered at his farm. It's obvious that Edgar can get people to do and believe in whatever he wants. Even Alice Cooper, who is usually more investigative and cautious around such figures, is completely enamored by Edgar. She, like the rest of Edgar's followers, foolishly reveals all her deepest, darkest secrets to him. Yes, that means Alice has told Edgar everything she knows about Griffins & Gargoyles and also about the man Chic murdered in the Cooper household. That means Edgar Evernever has accumulated exactly what he needs to blackmail his followers and keep them in line.
Much like Edgar, the Gargoyle King has a lot of control over his followers. The players of Griffins & Gargoyles willingly drink blue poison and carve out symbols on their bodies. This mixing of the occult and ritualistic murders makes sense. Let's not forget that Polly and Alice are able to make Polly's twin boys levitate above a bonfire (which took place during a gathering of Edgar's disciples). Plus Edgar's daughter, Evelyn, attends Riverdale High and there's something overtly shady about her. Not only does she have her claws into Ethel, Alice, and Polly, but Evelyn is always around when someone suffers a supernatural-esque seizure. Perhaps, Edgar and Evelyn are in this together?
Marty Mantle and Daryl Doiley
The Midnight Club later expands to include more members from Riverdale High. Alice later laments to Betty that they were the only ones present when Principal Featherhead was murdered at the hands of the Gargoyle King. The members of the Midnight Club include: Fred Andrews, Alice Cooper, F.P. Jones, Hermione Lodge, Penelope Blossom, Sierra McCoy, Hiram Lodge, Tom Keller, Marty Mantle, and Daryl Doiley. The most obvious suspects based on this list would be Marty Mantle and Daryle Doiley since they have no stakes on the show. It's not like they are staple characters who have suddenly fallen to the dark side.
Reggie's father, Marty Mantle, and Dilton's dad, Daryl Doiley, are also the only two characters on Riverdale who we have not seen as adults. We know absolutely nothing about them, which makes them a good fit for this villainous title. Out of the two, Daryl Doiley is a more solid choice for the Gargoyle King. It's plausible that Dilton got his hands on Griffins & Gargoyles from his father and the bunker he plays the game could've belonged to his father as well. Poor Dilton might not have anticipated how unhinged his dad truly is, and that's ultimately what gets him killed.
What do you think about these theories? Who do you think is the Gargoyle King? Sound off in the comments below.