Things don’t look so good for Jughead in Riverdale season 4, but there’s one line that could change everything.
Riverdale has been teasing us with Jughead’s eventual demise since the finale of season 3 when they began unleashing flash forwards to the core four’s senior year spring break. Ever since then, we’ve been getting tiny tidbits and clues in almost every episode. Some of these scenes gave us some idea of what was going to happen, while others only muddied the waters much further.
No matter what crazy clues they threw at us, the primary question from fans remained the same: Jughead can’t really be dead, can he? Our unwillingness to believe that Jughead’s life had been cut short stemmed equally from our love of the character and our knowledge that in Riverdale, nothing is ever quite what it seems.
At Stonewall Prep’s Ides of March party in Riverdale season 4, episode 13, we finally caught up to the first flash forward, or at least got close enough to it to start putting some pieces of this puzzle together.
To give you a quick refresher, here’s what happened. After unfairly losing both his place at Stonewall Prep and his Baxter Bros. contract, Jughead attended the prep school’s party with a plan. He assured Betty everything would be fine and told her that he needed to expunge Bret’s leverage, which in this particular instance came in the form of a Bughead sex tape. Jughead got his knife and his bunny mask and he and Bret went into the woods to settle their differences.
Meanwhile, Betty and Donna went to a different place in the woods to air their own related grievances. Betty astutely pointed out that the tape couldn’t ruin her reputation any more than her father already had, and threatened to expose all of Donna’s dark secrets. Unfortunately, Donna was prepared for retaliation, and claimed that Evelyn Evernever gave her a trigger word that would make Betty fugue and hurt the people she loves.
We don’t know what happened with either set of combatants after that. All we know is that when Archie and Veronica found Betty and Jughead in the woods, Betty was holding a rock and Jughead had a bloody forehead and no pulse! We also saw Bret and Donna gazing toward the woods looking pretty pleased with themselves, as usual.
We still have a lot of crying, coroners, clothes burning, and police line-ups to get through before we have the full story, but we’re closer to the truth than ever, and theories are already starting to fly.
From the start, many fan theories have involved Jughead’s “death” being part of the “perfect murder” assignment that the students of Stonewall Prep were given. Fans have been speculating that this is all some elaborate enactment of the perfect murder that Jughead or one of his classmates wrote about.
Now that the sex tape is a factor, we can entertain the possibility that Jughead is either faking his death to save himself and Betty from the tape being released, or to frame Bret to gather incriminating evidence to blackmail him right back. Maybe his plan is even bigger than Bret. Maybe he intends to create a scandal at Stonewall such that the school’s secrets are exposed and the rights to the Baxter Bros. franchise are returned to his family! Sure, these are all slightly far-fetched, but Riverdale has come up with many ridiculous explanations in the past, so any and all of these theories could be at least partly true.
In reality, I’m on board with all of these theories because they would mean that Jughead isn’t actually dead, which is honestly all I care about at this point. It doesn’t matter how or why they pulled off this elaborate hoax, just that it is a hoax.
Unfortunately, the problem with plans in Riverdale is that they almost always go wrong. So even if Jughead’s fake death was planned, there are still a myriad of things that could’ve caused his actual death.
Maybe they just couldn’t execute their plan properly. Maybe Bret and Donna outsmarted Betty and Jughead at their own game. Maybe Jughead took something to stop his heart temporarily that will actually have a permanent effect!
The last one really scares me for one reason. Charles. Betty and Jughead have been asking for Charles’s help more and more in Riverdale season 4, but we know that he’s not on their side. If Betty and Jughead needed help faking a death it would make perfect sense for them to go to Charles, and he would totally screw them over to get back at the Coopers for Chic.
Luckily there was one line in Riverdale season 4, episode 13 that actually gives me some confidence that Jughead alive. No matter who interferes, or what crazy things happen, this one line will help me sleep at night until Jughead’s fate is finally confirmed.
As he so often does, Jughead was narrating the entire “Ides of March” episodes. He brought us through the entire week, beginning with Mr. DuPont’s threats and ending with the party. In fact, the narration even continues…after his death! When Veronica and Archie found him, Jughead’s voice played over the scene, saying “it started out like any other week. Who would have guessed that by Friday night,” before Archie exclaimed, “he’s dead!”
Riverdale is weird, but I don’t think it’s the kind of show where dead people narrate their own story. If Jughead is still narrating, that means he’s still telling us what’s up. He’s still weaving his own narrative of the events. It’s possible that these flash forwards are actually happening within his “perfect murder” story or a Baxter Bros. book, since we already know he’s pulling his stories from his real life.
We still have a lot to see when it comes to Jughead’s “death,” but if he keeps telling us about it, I think it’s safe to assume that he’s still alive to do so. What do you think? Let me know in the comments!