Did [Spoiler] Kill Jughead on ‘Riverdale’? (RECAP)

Chapter Sixty-Six: Tangerine
Spoiler Alert
Jack Rowand/The CW

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 4, Episode 9 of Riverdale, “Chapter Sixty-Six: Tangerine.”]

Betty’s (Lili Reinhart) dark side and the Farm are back in play in the Riverdale midseason finale.

The Coopers are surprised to hear that Polly (Tiera Skovbye) attacked a nurse — named Betty! — at Shady Grove, and she’ll only speak to her sister. Polly insists she can’t remember anything that happened between being in the rec room and being chained to a bed. According to the doctors, she received a phone call about an hour before the incident.

And then Alice (Mädchen Amick) receives a phone call on the landline, and after hanging up, she goes after Betty with a knife until her daughter, realizing she’s acting like she’s hypnotized, snaps her out of it. Whoever was on the other end said something to trigger these attacks, Betty determines, and they turn to Charles (Wyatt Nash) to trace the calls.

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From self-made rockets to playing games with killers.

And just like these characters can’t seem to escape Riverdale and its craziness — at least Josie (Ashleigh Murray) has — we can’t escape the Farm connection. The calls came from Shankshaw Prison, where none other than Evelyn (Zoé de Grand Maison), member of the Farm, a.k.a. people they know use auditory cues and hypnotism to control people, is.

Evelyn confesses almost immediately. “When I deliver the activation, the receiver turns into you,” she gloats to Betty. “They try to kill dark Betty, evil Betty, other Betty.” It was Edgar’s (Chad Michael Murray) idea. The trigger word is “tangerine,” repeated three times. Betty hangs up before Evelyn can complete the sequence.

(Colin Bentley/The CW)

But what would have happened if she’d heard it? Would she have tried to kill herself? Charles suggests they find out and in the same breath — remember, this is the same guy who stepped aside and volunteered his sister to defuse a bomb — tries triggering her. Nothing happens. Is it because she’s already Betty?

Or could her activation just be delayed? When she walks up to her front door, her younger self steps out and asks Betty if she’s there to kill her like she killed Caramel. Betty’s hands are bloody. When she comes back to herself, her younger self, the bloody rock, and dead cat are gone, but she’s dug her nails into her palms.

Charles wonders if it was due to a combination of hearing the trigger earlier and returning to a familiar setting. Betty thinks that moment — killing her cat — was when the dark part of her was born, so if she can stop that from happening, could she keep that from happening? He triggers her again, and she goes outside, where she steps back into that memory. She takes the rock from her younger self and sends her to go play, and that’s … it?

Or not. That night, Betty sits in front of the mirror and triggers herself. Her mother hears a commotion from downstairs and enters Betty’s room to find her climbing back into bed. “I wanted to make sure that it was gone. The dark part of myself,” she explains. “And it was.” That’s when Alice sees the smashed mirror.

(Colin Bentley/The CW)

And then we jump forward four weeks, to Archie (KJ Apa) declaring Jughead (Cole Sprouse) — his head bloody — dead. “What did you do, Betty?” He asks. She looks down at the rock in her bloody hands.

Is Riverdale really expecting us to believe that Betty killed her boyfriend? There clearly has to be more to the story.

Furthermore, this flash-forward comes in the same episode in which Jughead is named the newest ghostwriter of the Baxter Brothers books and is then initiated into the Quill and Skull society. And the initiation just so happens to be using a rock to smash a skull and remove a key from inside. Coincidence? Probably not.

Riverdale, Wednesdays, 8/7c, The CW