There was a lot of distressing stuff going on in the Season 1 finale of Riverdale — that's putting things lightly — and one of the things most worrying to fans of the show is the growing divide between Jughead and his friends. At the end of the season, Jughead's dad is in jail, and the broody teen writer is forced to transfer to the rough-and-tumble Southside High and winds up joining the Southside Serpents. But the really upsetting thing is the show had a way to avoid all that but chose not to. A newly released Riverdale deleted scene with Jughead and Betty would have kept Jughead from slipping away.
The show's YouTube account uploaded the deleted scene from the Season 1 finale on Monday, and it's sent fans into an angry, confused tailspin since it could have totally stopped Jughead from going down the dark path it looks like he'll be on in Season 2. The cut scene shows Mr. and Mrs. Cooper offering to become Jughead's guardians in the wake of FP Jones' imprisonment. They offer to have Jughead stay in the Cooper household with them and he would also be able to stay enrolled at Riverdale High. Basically, it would just totally solve all his problems.
But of course, nothing can ever go right on this show so the scene ended up on the cutting room floor, and instead of the perfect ending for Jughead, we see him embracing his father's gang lifestyle and separating from his old friends. The fan reaction was pretty much unanimous frustration, as commenters voiced their wishes the show had kept the scene.
But there is a solid explanation for why the showrunners may have decided to scrap the Cooper guardianship story. As one Redditor pointed out, Riverdale apparently shot a bunch of different scenes and endings for its first season finale in order to change it around depending on the fan response and if they wound up getting a second season.
With such a fervent fanbase and a second season pick-up, the showrunners must have opted to keep Jughead's storyline more complex and unfinished, rather than wrap it up with a neat little bow like this cut scene basically does. The deleted scene was likely their alternate choice in case the series got canceled.