Riverdale is so dumb, but I will concede that this week’s episode has done a number on my mind. I am thoroughly confused about what’s going on here.
To recap: Jughead is dead. Last week, his body was found, and Betty was standing over it holding a bloody rock. She may have killed him, or Jughead’s Stonewall prep classmates, Bret and Donna, may have killed him. The real predicament, however, is that it’s hard to tell if Betty killed Jughead, or if Donna killed Jughead because we all know in our heart-of-hearts that … Jughead is not actually dead.
It is thus very weird that we are all going through the motions of a whodunnit when we are all 98 percent certain that nobodydoneit. The bigger question, then, is not whodunnit, but who knows that Jughead isn’t actually dead? Because Donna and Bret are behaving like people who framed Betty for Jughead’s murder, while Betty is behaving like someone who knows that Bret and Donna framed her for Jughead’s murder. But again, notwithstanding the corpse that FP found in the woods — the same corpse that FP subsequently identified in the morgue as Jughead — we still know that Jughead is not dead.
The best I can deduce is that Archie, Betty, and FP are all in on a scheme to fake frame Bret and Donna for Jughead’s death, but that Veronica is not in on it, so Archie and Betty have to keep up the pretense that Jughead is actually dead for her sake. But also, they’re doing a lousy job of it, because instead of grieving/crying over the death of their best friend/boyfriend, they’re spending all of their time scheming to try and cover up the murder and shift the blame for it to Bret and Donna, even though — again — Jughead is not actually dead.
How do we know that Jughead is not dead? There were three clues in the episode that seemed to give it away. 1) The nod that Archie and Betty gave to each other before leading the search party — and FP, in particular — to Jughead’s “body”; 2) the way that Betty pushed Bret and Donna out of the coroner’s office, as though preventing them from determining if that was really Jughead’s body; and 3) the off-camera “confession” that Archie made to his mother, Mary, after she tried to console Archie about Jughead’s death, even though Archie didn’t appear to need consoling.
If I am right — and I think that I am — the best part about all of this is that Bret and Donna didn’t even realize that Jughead was dead, but now they’re freaking out because they know that Betty is about to pin the rap on them. Structurally and logically, the storyline makes absolutely zero sense; emotionally, however, it will be very satisfying. It’s basically like a Moffat-era Doctor Who arc, and we got a taste of how satisfying it’s going to be when Betty said to Donna at the end of the episode, “I am the daughter of the Black Hood, the nightmare next door. I’m training with the FBI and I’m coming for you, you psycho bitch.”
Yes, Dark Betty (Bam-ba-Lam).
p.s. A Prediction: Jughead’s “body” is somehow the charred, waterlogged, rotting remains of Jason Blossom gussied to look like Jughead’s corpse.
Header Image Source: The CW