Riverdale Has Caught Up to Its Flash Forwards, and Things Don’t Look Good for Jughead

The CW's Riverdale is a show of mystery. The first season delved into who killed Jason Blossom while the second season saw the serial killer The Black Hood terrorize Riverdale. Last season, Season 3 dealt with the mysterious Gargoyle King, but Season 4's mystery is one that has been less tied to events happening in "real time" and more based in a glimpse of the future delivered to fans in the Season 3 finale. In a flashback scene closing out the season, Veronica, Archie, and Betty ominously burned Jughead's things and vowed to never speak of what had transpired. Now, after a season of additional spinouts that teased a truly dark fate for Jughead, Riverdale's timeline has finally caught up to that fateful night and we have a more chilling look at what transpired.

Spoilers for tonight's episode of Riverdale, "The Ides of March," below.

The idea of the future is one that was very central to tonight's episode as each of the series' Core Four dealt with things that could impact the trajectory of their young lives. For Jughead, it was the continued issues at Stonewall Prep that became an issue for him when DuPont accuses him of plagiarizing the story that earned him his Yale acceptance. Soon after, Jughead is essentially gaslit about the situation and is called to account for the issue. However, before Jughead can go before the tribunal of sorts to address things and, presumably clear his name, Brett reveals to Jughead that he does in fact have a sex tape of his intimate moments with Betty. If Jughead reveals the truth in his tribunal, Brett will release the tape. When DuPont gives Jughead the option to leave the school quietly or try to prove his innocence, Jughead chooses to resign. However, when Brett and Donna invite Jughead and Betty to an Ides of March party, Jughead accepts and tells Betty he has a plan.

We never really see that plan, however. Betty arrives at the party but can't find Jughead. Veronica and Archie have come, too, and they sneak off in the woods to have sex while Betty goes to look for Jughead. Jughead puts on the creepy rabbit mask to go confront Brett and Betty ends up confronting Donna who reveals that she's been talking to Evelyn Evernever and knows another code word to send Betty into a fugue state where she'll hurt those she loves. Next thing we know, Archie and Veronica find Betty standing over a bleeding Jughead. She's holding a rock and seems to have no idea how she got there and Archie declares that Jughead is dead.

What just happened? Taking these events for face value and connecting to them to some of the flash forwards we've seen earlier this season, it would appear that Jughead is truly dead but, this is Riverdale. With the possible exception of Jason Blossom, no one is ever really dead and there is at least one flash forward that hints that there is a lot more to what happens in the "Ides of March" than meets the eye. One of the more recent flashbacks showed a distraught Betty sitting in Pop's telling Archie that Jughead is "never" coming back. It's sort of implied that Jughead is expected to come back. Add that to the plan Jughead apparently had that we haven't yet seen, maybe Jughead is somehow faking his death, with Archie declaring him to be dead just part of the show they're putting on, something to make Brett and Donna think they've won.

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Hey, it's Riverdale after all. Anything is possible.

Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8/7pm on The CW.

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