Riverdale: Season 3 Finale Ending Explained

Riverdale's season three finale weaved in a surprising amount of plot twists and turns, putting a cap on the past three years of horrors that have plagued the town. But just when things seemed to be back to (some sort of) normal, the show may have taken things into an even darker direction.

Major spoilers for tonight's season three finale of Riverdale, "Survive the Night", below!

The episode saw the show's Core Four - Archie Andrews (KJ Apa), Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart), Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes), and Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse) - plunged into a whole new kind of drama, which put them face-to-face with the true faces behind the Gargoyle King conspiracy. The group was forced by the Gargoyle King to carry out one final series of "quests", with the threat that they wouldn't survive the night otherwise.

After surviving multiple physical fights, a poisoning, and a bunch of other drama, the Core Four tried to recalibrate their lives. During a meeting at Pop's, Archie asked everyone else to promise to have a normal senior year, as it might be the last time they're all together in the same place.

The episode then cut to Spring Break in the following year, as Archie, Veronica, and Betty stood in the forest in front of a blazing fire in their underwear. Archie was holding Jughead's bloody beanie, which Betty told him to throw into the fire, alongside the rest of their clothes. Betty told them that after that, they'd need to never speak about what happened, and go their separate ways once senior year was done.

Wait, what?

Granted, there's absolutely no telling exactly what the full context of the scene is, as Riverdale is no stranger to plot twists with layers upon layers. But just going off of that final moment, the subtext seems to be that Jughead Jones will die in the future.

Sure, the moment does feel like a pretty major left turn, especially considering how the season wrapped up with Jughead on such good terms with the rest of the group. And having Betty be the one to have the coldest possible reaction in the scene is certainly surprising in its own right, seeing as "Bughead" has remained a sort of constant over the past season or so. But even then, certain moments from this season can already be interpreted as some sort of foreshadowing, between Jughead's issues of power and control with the Serpents, and the ongoing conversation about Betty's "serial killer gene".

But then again, this is Riverdale, so it's safe to assume that there's way more to the story than what we've seen in the finale. It doesn't seem out of the question that a later flash-forward scene could reveal that Jughead hasn't died (How to Get Away with Murder-style), or reveal much more context about what exactly is happening. Either way, fans have until the fall to speculate about what dark turn could lie ahead.


What do you think of the final scene of Riverdale Season 3? Do you think Jughead is really dead? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

Riverdale will air its fourth season this fall on The CW.