After the ominous flash forward during Riverdale's Season 3 finale, Jughead's Season 4 fate has been something of a mystery, one that's unfolding a bit at a time with additional flash forward scenes taking viewers to springtime. The first ominously showed Archie, Veronica, and Betty burning Jughead's blood-soaked beanie while last week's saw Betty and F.P. identifying Jughead's corpse. Tonight's flash forward, however, started putting pieces together -- and when it comes to Jughead's fate, the plot thickens.
Spoilers for tonight's episode of Riverdale, "Witness for the Prosecution," below.
Tonight's flash forward plays on the idea that Archie (KJ Apa,) Veronica (Camila Mendes,) and Betty (Lili Reinhart) killed Jughead or at least contributed to his demise by having F.P. (Skeet Ulrich) burst into biology class and arrest the trio for Jughead's murder. After F.P.'s declaration, the three look at each other with knowing -- and somewhat guilty -- looks. Case closed.
Or, is it? One of the plotlines for tonight's episode followed Jughead's time at Stonewall Prep, particularly his discovery that his teacher is one of the ghostwriters of his favorite book series -- a Hardy Boys send up called the Baxter Brothers -- but more than that, the man who originated the franchise went to Stonewall Prep with his absent grandfather. Sweetening whole situation for Jughead is that there is going to be a writing contest to determine who the next Baxter Brothers ghostwriter will be. At the end of the episode, the theme of the story the contestants will have to write ends up being "the perfect murder."
With Riverdale being a show that thrives on twists and turns, it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to imagine that the flash forwards viewers have been seeing are less a depiction of an actual future event and, instead, some sort of depiction of Jughead's story entry. Of course, it's also possible that the scene is pretty straightforward and somehow Jughead's closest friends betrayed him, leading to his demise. What is for sure is that Jughead's face is a major part of the season's central mystery.
"Next season is the kids’ senior year. It’s their last year in high school, and we really want to locate their stories in the high school world," Aguirre-Sacasa said this summer. "We started talking about what the big mystery could be, and we said it would be great if we kind of kept it in the high school kind of world. The other thing that we wanted to do is, this year Archie and Veronica weren’t that involved in the Gargoyle King mystery — it was more Betty and Jughead. We loved the core four together in the finale. We wanted to do something that tied them all together for the core mystery and for a big secret, and it felt like having them all around that bonfire, minus Jughead, would be a way to tie them all together so that when we get to the central mystery of what happened that night and what led to the events of burning their clothes, it would be all of our foursome and not the kids split off again."
Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.