They claim they saw Betty, Archie, and Veronica kill Jughead, but that doesn’t line up with the final scene of “Tangerine,” in which Betty was holding a rock and Archie had declared his friend dead. Bret and Donna have to be lying, and that means we can’t trust anything else in these scenes.
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As we’ve known since Season 1, Jughead is a writer. He was even selected to be the next ghostwriter for the Baxter Brothers series, and these flash-forwards almost feel like they could be lifted off the page, say from his writing or at the very least from his mind.
The theatrical nature of the flash-forwards
Some of the glimpses of the future we’ve gotten have been a bit too dramatic. FP’s son was supposedly just murdered, and he’s bursting into classrooms and theatrically arresting his son’s three closest friends for his “cold-blooded murder”? Something doesn’t track.
The ties to Stonewall Prep and its secret society
From Jughead’s investigation into the Quill and Skull society revealing how many past members have died in “accidents” immediately prior to Bret and Donna’s flash-forward to Jughead’s initiation into the society featuring him bashing in a skull with a rock to get a key immediately prior to the “reveal” that he was killed in that fashion, there’s no way that his new school isn’t somehow connected to whatever’s going to happen over spring break.
Jughead’s father and friends’ reactions are off
There’s been nothing realistic about any of their reactions. If Jughead had in fact been killed — and especially if FP suspected his closest friends of the crime — the arrest and subsequent scene in the police station should play out very differently.
There’s no way Betty killed him
It would be one thing if there was actually any “mystery” surrounding the identity of Jughead’s “killer,” but Riverdale hasn’t leaned into that at all. Instead, it’s telling us that Betty, Archie, and Veronica at least had something to do with his murder. While “Tangerine” does bring back Betty’s dark side, even at her darkest, it’s nearly impossible to imagine her killing her boyfriend.
If we take the Riverdale flash-forwards at face value, Jughead's (Cole Sprouse) dead, Betty (Lili Reinhart) likely killed him, and Archie (KJ Apa) and Veronica (Camila Mendes) helped her cover it up. But that can't be the truth, right?
Introduced at the end of Season 3 and continuing on in Season 4, flash-forwards to spring break have shown Betty, Archie, and Veronica burning their bloody clothes (and Jughead's beanie), Jughead's body in the morgue, FP (Skeet Ulrich) arresting those three for his murder, Bret and Donna serving as eyewitnesses to identify them, and Archie proclaiming his best friend dead and asking the victim's girlfriend what she did. Now, Riverdale has done some crazy things over the years, but if this is really how the Core Four's senior year is going to end, it would take the cake.
The episode will air prior to the premiere of Hale's spinoff series.
Instead, it seems much more likely there's more to the story than meets the eye and it's some sort of elaborate plan, likely orchestrated by Jughead, related to whatever's happening at Stonewall Prep. Click through the gallery above to see why we just don't believe Jughead's dead (at least not yet).