‘Riverdale’: Yes, That Was a ‘Zodiac’ Homage at the End of ‘Nighthawks’

But does it mean something more?

riverdale archie veronica nighthawks
The CW

(Spoilers ahead for the October 18 episode of “Riverdale,” “Nighthawks”)

So at the end of this week’s “Riverdale,” the man with the hood showed up again to do some more murder. That’s not surprising on any level, obviously, since that guy is at the center of the plot of the show in season 2. First he shot Fred Andrews in the season 1 finale, then he returned in the season 2 premiere to kill Ms. Grundy with a cello bow.

So while not surprising that this guy is at it again, the method is a bit surprising, because it’s a pretty obvious homage to the 2007 David Fincher serial killer movie “Zodiac.”

Two unsuspecting teens in a parked car doing some Jingle Jangle and about to hook up get blasted in the face by a man with a gun, with the cinematography doing a pretty close approximation of a similar scene from “Zodiac.” You can watch that scene below.

It’s obviously not an identical scene — it happens much more quickly on “Riverdale,” and the killer goes to the opposite side of the car as the Zodiac Killer did in the movie. But it feels nearly impossible for that scene to have been constructed without “Zodiac” in mind.

I wouldn’t think the homage should be taken literally. Which is to say I don’t think the Zodiac Killer is a character on “Riverdale.” But it is an apt reference to make in a different way: this event essentially marks whoever this guy is as a serial killer. Is every episode this season gonna end like this? I’d be down for it, and apparently so would this murderer dude.

This murder does leave us with one big question, though. What’s the connection between these kids and the other people he’s gone after (Ms. Grundy and Fred Andrews)? The Jingle Jangle may be the key, if the killer is connected to some sort of greater criminal enterprise. Or maybe there’s a connection to Ms. Grundy, since they’re students who probably knew her.

Whatever it is, we’re gonna have to wait to find out for sure. But that’s OK, because we’ve got plenty of other things to worry about with “Riverdale,” like what Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos) is going to do with Pop’s and what kind of nefarious Serpents business is Jughead (Cole Sprause) going to get roped into.