Ever since the end of Season 3, Riverdale has been teasing the death of fan-favorite character Jughead Jones. But there was a flair of mystery about the whole thing. Through a series of flash-forward segments, we got more and more pieces of the puzzle, and every time, the case of Jughead’s mysterious death became a little clearer. But since we only got snapshots of the future, we couldn’t help but be convinced we weren’t getting the full picture, and that somehow, there was more to this story — that there was no way one of Riverdale’s core characters was really dead.
Even after last week’s “Chapter Seventy: The Ides of March,” which finally showed us the character’s gruesome death, there was still room for some other explanation. But with the series’ latest episode, “Chapter Seventy-One: How to Get Away With Murder,” Riverdale seems to confirm what we’ve all feared: Jughead really is dead.
In “The Ides of March,” Riverdale’s present day storyline finally caught up to the flash-forwards it had been teasing for almost a year. At a Stonewall Prep party, Jughead was bludgeoned to death under mysterious circumstances, and all signs pointed to Betty being the culprit. But it was also clear there was a lot more to it. Somehow, the Stonewall students were involved, and there was also the possibility that Jughead himself, who seemed to be attempting to finally get the upper hand on his rivals, was behind it all.
But now, in the series’ latest episode, there doesn’t appear to be any schemes, conspiracies or clever plans to fake Jughead’s death. Archie, Betty and Veronica dispose of Jughead’s body, and they all have to deal with the ramifications of what happened in the woods — something that weighs on them in different ways. The one who is most affected by it is, obviously, Betty, not just because she is Jughead’s girlfriend, but because she believes she may have been brainwashed into attacking Jughead.
Thankfully, that is not the case. In fact, we learn that Betty’s blackout during the party was not the cause of a murderous episode but because Stonewall’s Donna drugged her with a compound known as Devil’s Breath. This discovery, however, is a short-lived victory. Despite solving this particular bit of the puzzle — one which absolves Betty of any wrongdoing — she decides to strike back against the Stonewall students by doing something unexpected: leading Jughead’s father and Riverdale sheriff, F.P. Jones, straight to his son’s body.
A search party is put together, and Archie fakes the discovery of Jughead’s body. And, as we clearly see, it’s really him. There is no fake body or any sort of twist. Jughead is taken to the morgue, where both F.P. and Betty identify the body. It’s clear, beyond a doubt, that Jughead is lying on that slab.
So what does that mean for Riverdale? Well, it means that while we all thought Jughead was alive somehow, the series’ flash-forwards weren’t lying. For nearly a year now, the series has warned us Jughead was going to die, and we didn’t believe it. And yet, the answer was there all along.
Unless, of course, there is something else unraveling here. But what could it be? Could the characters of Riverdale all be in on it somehow, and hiding the truth from us, the viewers?
Airing Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW, Riverdale stars KJ Apa, Lili Reinhart, Camila Mendes, Cole Sprouse, Madelaine Petsch, Casey Cott, Vanessa Morgan, Mark Consuelos, Skeet Ulrich, Marisol Nichols and Madchen Amick.