Part of Riverdale's foundation, storytelling-wise, is that The CW series is set within a novel that Jughead is writing. It's a premise that was set up in the series pilot and reinforced over various narration ever since. But even for a novel, Riverdale is stranger than fiction and this week's "The Great Escape" may have just given viewers a big reason to question everything they thought they knew about Riverdale -- including Jughead's narration.
This season, Jughead (Cole Sprouse) and Betty (Lili Reinhart) have been investigating a mysterious roleplaying game called Gryphons & Gargoyles, the show's take on Dungeons & Dragons, that may be connected to some mysterious deaths. While this is going on, Archie (KJ Apa) is behind bars and forced into a prison fight club prompting Veronica (Camila Mendes) to stage a prison break. The two storylines came together in "The Great Escape" with Jughead running a session of Gryphons & Gargoyles to rescue the "Red Paladin" while Betty assists with the prison break.
The connection comes when, during the prison break, the warden tracking Archie loses track of him thanks to a fake out on Betty's part. At the exact same moment in the game, Jughead loses his plot thread for the Red Paladin. The moment gets even more strange when the warden demands Betty tell him where the Red Paladin is, and the implication is clear -- everything is so much bigger than a simple game.
But how does that work? Remember, Riverdale is supposedly Jughead's novel but what if it's not a novel he's writing at all but is instead sessions of roleplaying game as created by an expert storyteller (or gamemaster, if you will)? It would explain some of the bizarre events in the series if Jughead has really been directly controlling things from the beginning for the players -- the other characters in the show -- to interact with.
It also would deal with the idea that Jughead is an unreliable narrator. During Season 2's Black Hood mystery, Jughead himself made many fans' list of potential suspects causing some to wonder if his narration could be trusted. If Riverdale is all part of some large roleplaying game and Jughead is the storyteller, he doesn't have to be reliable -- he's creating the scenarios, not simply writing about them.
All of that said, it's entirely possible that the explanation isn't so simple. Jughead noted in this week's episode that the game exists only in Riverdale and we already know that it's a game that's been played for decades. There's also the mysterious cult The Farm to deal with as well as the suspicious Evelyn Evernever and her father, Edgar, who seem to have their hands in everything creepy and unexplainable in Riverdale.
What do you think? Is Riverdale all an elaborate game Jughead is running? Is there something far more insidious going on? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.