The story on Riverdale so far: Jughead is dead, or is he? Everyone certainly thinks so, thanks to Betty (Lili Reinhart) and Skeet (Skeet Ulrich) identifying his body after it was found in the woods.
The episode begins with a Jughead (Cole Sprouse) quote: “Life’s not an Agatha Christie novel, it’s a lot messier. – Forsythe “Jughead” Pendleton Jones III, born October 2, 2001, died March 18, 2020.” I never gave any thought to it, but Jughead was born after the September 11 attacks. I don’t know why, but that gave me pause for a second. Maybe I’m just feeling my age, and realizing I have more in common with the parents than the kids on Riverdale.
Betty takes a call at home that causes her to break down in tears. Alice (Madchen Amick) films Betty’s explanation about the call. The call was from Yale, offering her a spot that opened up. They didn’t say so, but it was heavily implied that was Jughead’s spot.
Kevin (Casey Cott) acts as cameraman for Alice’s new documentary, Murder in a Small Town. of course there are no adult camera operators with experience available in Riverdale. Her interview subjects range from Nana Rose, who calls Riverdale “a town born in blood” to Pops, who laments the loss of Riverdale’s innocence.
Cheryl is worried about Betty, that she’s going to take her own life. She tells Betty that she’s now on suicide watch, but Betty does her best to rebuff her. Is this because she just wants to be alone to mourn or because she doesn’t want to let Cheryl in on the fact that Jughead really isn’t dead? In either case, Cheryl doesn’t take no for an answer.
We get the Bret (Sean Depner) confronting Betty flash forward scene from earlier this season as Betty packs up Jughead’s remaining things.
Archie (KJ Apa) and Veronica (Camila Mendes) are having some active midday sex when Veronica breaks things up because she can’t stop thinking about Betty’s current state. Hermosa walks in shortly thereafter, so Veronica stopping things shortly beforehand makes this scene slightly, just slightly, less awkward.
Alice interviews Skeet on camera for her documentary. Skeet, is this the best idea, discussing an active investigation with a filmmaker? He mentions he has a warrant he plans on serving soon.
That warrant seems to have had Donna’s (Sarah Desjardins) name on it. Skeet searches her room and finds Jughead’s Quill and Skull tie pin. She makes up a weak story about why she has it, and immediately breaks down, saying she was afraid to come forward against Jughead’s killer, Betty. She feeds Skeet a story about seeing Betty, Archie and Veronica standing over Jughead’s dead body.
We then get the flash forwards scene from earlier this season of Skeet arresting Veronica, Archie and Betty in the middle of the school day “for the cold blooded murder of my son, Jughead Jones.” So formal and informal at the same time, Skeet!
Alice films a spot for her documentary while her daughter and two friends are being questioned for murder! Priorities, Alice!
Each of the kids has a parent with them before and during questioning. Hiram backs up Veronica, Mary backs up Archie, but during their pre-questioning time alone, Alice tells Betty, “I know you did it.” Nice, Alice. Betty stays committed to her innocence, but Alice keeps pressing her for a confession. Skeet comes in, saying the forensics on the rock came back proving it was just corn syrup on it, forcing Skeet to release Betty, Archie and Veronica.
This news isn’t taken well by Donna and Bret. Donna exposits to the audience that they watched Jonathan smear Jughead’s blood on the rock (yet I’m still on Team Jughead Isn’t Dead).
Donna calls Betty at 3 AM. Donna knows the real rock had real blood on it, and suspects that Skeet is working with Betty and that Jughead isn’t really dead. Looks like Donna and I are on the same page here.
The next day, Betty suggests to Skeet that they hold a funeral for Jughead. He agrees, if she plans it. It’s just too much for him.
Hermosa got ahold of Veronica’s fake passports, heavily suggesting she leave Riverdale. Veronica rips up the passport in Hermosa’s face. That’s a little rash, Ronnie. Maybe you should have held onto that for a few days, you know, with that active murder investigation and all.
Attendance at the Community Center is way down. Apparently all the kids, who used to run with Dodger, a violent drug dealer, don’t want be associated with Archie now that he’s suspected of murder.
Alice interviews Toni (Vanessa Morgan) for her documentary. Oh hey, I almost completely forgot Toni was first introduced to us through the Serpents, Jughead and Skeet’s gang. Toni mourns her friend. The camera then pulls out to reveal Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch), also sitting there, who adds “I’m sorry I called him a hobo that one time.” Tone deaf as ever, Cheryl.
Donna and Bret show up to Jughead’s funeral, and are almost violently escorted out by Sweetpea before Betty intervenes. Donna speculates behind the motives of a closed casket funeral. Betty threatens to finish Sweetpea’s job if Donna makes a scene.
Skeet eulogizes his son, even calling Jughead “m’boy” one (final?) time. Betty is next. She reads a passage from The Final Problem, a Sherlock Holmes story. It’s about Holmes’s and Moriarty’s deaths, locked in battle as they fall to their doom, their bodies never recovered. Is this a way to hint that Jughead isn’t really dead?
At the funeral, Hiram (Mark Consuelos) tells Skeet he’s giving him some time off. Skeet doesn’t take the news well and quits. This seems like a bold move to take if your son isn’t actually dead, Skeet.
Donna confronts Jellybean in the middle of the funeral, trying to get her to admit that Jughead is really alive. You’re unraveling fast, Donna. As Betty kicks Donna out, Donna commands Bret to open the casket. When Sweetpea and Archie stop him, Bret acts like he was powerless to say no to Donna’s command. That was really weird. The Stonewall kids all leave.
Hermosa talks smack about Skeet’s detective skills to Veronica. Showing herself to be a better detective, she brags to her sister about finding out they all told their parents wildly different stories about where they were the night of Jughead’s death. Detective Hermosa is a subplot I can do without.
Kevin aks Betty in the privacy of the newspaper office if it’s true that Jughead is alive. He’s buying into Donna’s story about Jughead faking his death. He goes on camera with Alice saying “everyone wants it to be true.” He talks about Jughead loving Tom Sawyer, especially the chapter where Tom fakes his own death to see what peoples’ reactions would be. Reggie is the next interviewed by Alice. He’s pissed that Jughead, in faking his death, may have pulled off a more epic senior prank than he could.
Betty and Archie meet up at Pops. Betty confesses that the rumors about Jughead being alive make things that much more painful. Cheryl overhears all this from a nearby booth. I can’t help but wonder if they’re putting on a show for Cheryl. Regardless, Cheryl arranges for a memorial to be set up outside Jughead’s locker. This causes Betty to break down and run off, Archie to console her and the two of them to kiss?!?!? Cheryl snaps photos of this kiss going down. Okay, if they’re doing this thinking Cheryl would sneakily catch them, then they are playing chess and the rest of us are playing checkers.
Cheryl texts the photo around school. Classy, Cheryl.
Despite texting the rest of the entire school, Cheryl did not text the photo to Veronica, preferring to show her in person. Veronica is pissed off, or at least pretends to be. Veronica calls out Archie in front of everyone, and really lays into him, naming all the women Archie has made out in that music room: Veronica, Josie, Ms. Grundy (remember her?) and now Betty. Wow, that really is Archie’s go to makeout spot. But this really does seem just a little too pat, especially Veronica not blaming Betty at first. It just seems a little too showy.
Alice includes a piece in her Murdertown documentary focused on Bughead vs. Barchie. In it, Kevin says Archie and Betty coupling up proves that Jughead is definitely dead, which in my mind proves that Jughead is definitely alive! As they say in French, the jig is up!
Donna and Betty have another confrontation, this time in the Riverdale school newspaper office. Donna tells Betty that she doesn’t have her fooled, she knows Jughead is alive. But if so, where did she and her friends get Jughead’s blood for that rock? Donna’s big theory is that Betty will trip up because Betty can’t go long without having sex with Jughead. Oh boy.
Donna follows Betty around town, from Pops to Dilton’s bunker. Betty, suspiciously, has huge bags of takeout food with her as she enters the bunker. That’s a lot for one person to eat, and diner food isn’t know for it’s long term storage. Donna follows her down there and catches Betty in bed with…Archie?!? Ha, ha, Donna! Thought you had her!
Alice then asks Betty on camera how long she’s been meeting up with Archie in the bunker. This documentary just keeps getting weirder and weirder. Betty won’t answer on camera.
Riverdale doesn’t keep its viewers in the dark for long; Archie and Veronica talk post-coitus about how his relationship with Betty, and Veronica’s blow up at the two of them was all a ruse. Veronica is a little worried that Archie might have liked kissing Betty, but Archie does his best to convince her that she’s the only girl he’s interested kissing.
And then the big reveal. Betty is back in bed in the bunker…with Jughead! And thankfully, not in the Cheryl Blossom hanging out with a corpse in the living room way. Jughead lives! But why are they gaslighting his old prep school and the entire town of Riverdale? Oh! Donna, Bret and company really did attack him in the woods, his beanie somehow saving him from a fatal head wound. Speaking of his beanie, Betty reunites him with a new beanie that she knit herself.
Betty lists out the people who know the truth: Jughead, Betty, Veronica, Skeet, Jellybean, Dr Curdle Jr., Alice, Mary and Charles. It’s when I think about Charles that I think about this plan unravelling in their faces.
Alice interviews Veronica about her ruse with Archie and Betty’s “relationship.” Maybe admitting to this on camera isn’t the best thing to do before the mystery Jughead is working on is actually solved?
Betty sends Archie a flirty thank you text and Archie is about to respond in kind before toning it down a bit. But still, even their redacted texts are a bit too flirty for friends.
Alice sits down with Betty, Archie and Veronica, asking them on camera why they went to such lengths to fool the Stonies and all of Riverdale that Jughead was dead. Betty points out that they were trying to pin their attempted murder of Jughead on her. Betty is confident they have the upper hand.
Donna is convinced that Jughead is still alive. She counted the number of milkshakes in the bunker. There were three, Bret, three! Bret is happy with Jughead being dead and them getting the win. Donna answers that with a slap to his face. In case anyone had any doubts, Donna is the boss here, not Bret. She ends the scene threatening Bret, saying if he goes against her again, he’ll “go the way of Jonathan, may he rest in peace.” Wait, did they kill Jonathan off camera? First, he doesn’t get speaking time in class, now he’s dead? The kid can’t catch a break.
Hermosa, in an act of sisterly love, dug up dirt on Donna. Her name isn’t Donna Sweet, it’s actually…something else. They don’t tell us. But whoever her real identity is, it gets Jughead excited. Who could she be? Dupont’s secret daughter? Chipping’s? Mr. Honey’s?