How Much Did ‘Riverdale’ Really Reveal About Jughead’s ‘Death’? (RECAP)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 4, Episode 13 of Riverdale, “Chapter Seventy: The Ides of March.”]
Beware the Ides of March — and Stonewall Prep parties in the woods.
“The week started like any other,” Jughead (Cole Sprouse) asks as the episode begins. “Who would’ve guessed where I’d be by the end?”
Yes, we’ve finally caught up to the flash-forwards and Jughead’s “death” on Riverdale. (Does anyone really believe he’s dead? Or that his girlfriend Betty killed him, as these glimpses at the “crime” and what follows have been telling us?) But “The Ides of March” doesn’t tell us much more than we’ve already seen other than the events that led up to Betty (Lili Reinhart), Archie (KJ Apa), and Veronica (Camila Mendes) standing over Jughead’s supposedly dead body.
This “murder” occurs at the Ides of March party in the woods behind Stonewall Prep. Early on in the episode, Jughead is accused of plagiarizing the short story that got him into the school. He’s more than ready to bring down the whole house of uniform-wearing and Quill-and-Skull-decorated cards, only to be silenced at his hearing due to Bret (Sean Depner) threatening to release Jughead and Betty’s sex tape.
“This game has been fixed… from the beginning,” Jughead informs his father after he chooses to leave Stonewall rather than fight the accusations. “There’s no way I was winning that today.” But might he have found another way to win?
Betty’s surprised when Jughead accepts Bret and Donna’s (Sarah Dejardins) invitation to the party. “You trust me, right?” he asks her once they’re alone. “I have a plan. But first, I’m going to need to take care of that leverage Bret has over us, and then I will tell you everything. It’s all going to be OK, I promise.” The couple already searched everywhere they could think of in the school for Jughead’s missing laptop and didn’t find it (or the tape), so clearly that tape won’t be easy to find. But might it be easier if, say, the blackmailer thinks he’s dead?
Jughead heads to the party, wearing his Serpent jacket and carrying a knife. Once there, he removes his beanie and dons a bunny mask, going over to Bret and staring at him until the prep school teen leads him int the woods. As he follows, Jughead removes the mask and replaces his beanie.
Meanwhile, Betty just misses her boyfriend and instead follows Donna into the woods. Betty promises to expose all her secrets, but Donna reveals she’s been doing her own investigating and found out “some fascinating things.” She even visited Evelyn and learned “the magic word” — and no, not “tangerine.” “She told me the other magic word, the one that makes you fugue and hurt the people who you love,” Donna says. “Want to hear it?”
Next thing we see, Archie and Veronica return to the party after a tryst in the woods. Joan (Doralyn Mui) and Jonathan (Alex Barima) “helpfully” direct them into the woods to find their missing friends, and as half of the Core Four head off, Bret and Donna return to the party.
That’s when Archie and Veronica find Betty holding a rock over Jughead’s body. “He’s dead,” Archie declares after checking on his best friend. “What did you do, Betty?”
Clearly Bret and Donna at least tried to manipulate Betty into killing Jughead, but are we really to believe that the secret society won and not only got Jughead out of the school and rewrote his Baxter Brothers novel, but also succeeded in getting his girlfriend to kill him? This has to all be part of Jughead’s plan, and it’s likely just a question of who knows what. Oh, and obviously Jughead’s not dead … right?
Riverdale, Wednesdays, 8/7c, The CW