Ummm, you guys... what just happened on Riverdale!? Wednesday night's new episode was probably the biggest, most action-packed hour that the series has given us, and with only one episode left in Season 2, it ended on a massive cliffhanger. Sure, Riverdale fans are pretty used to watching these broody teens die in gruesome ways, but nobody was expecting one of the show's main characters to possibly die! So let's talk it out: Is Jughead dead on Riverdale or not?
Spoiler alert: Do not continue reading if you haven't seen Riverdale Season 2 Episode 21 "Judgment Night" yet. The penultimate episode of Season 2 definitely has fans on the edge of their seats heading into the finale next week, with three big questions that we all need answered: Who is the second Black Hood, what is Hiram Lodge really up to, and is Jughead OK!? "Judgment Night" finally revealed that Hal Cooper was indeed the Black Hood, but also revealed that there is still another Black Hood on the loose. The episode also saw Veronica and Hermione finally cutting ties with Hiram after they realize he has been using them for his own ends, and Jughead found out that Hiram was behind Penny Peabody and the Ghoulies returning to town to take out the Southside Serpents. But the most pivotal moment of the episode came in its final moments, when Jughead gives himself over the the Ghoulies and Penny's wrath in order to protect the Serpents. They mercilessly attack him, and the episode ends with FP carrying Jughead's limp, bloodied body in his arms.
What the hell!? Riverdale can't do this to Jughead, right? It's not going to go full Ned Stark, is it? It would definitely be an almost unthinkably bold move for the teen drama to kill off one of its four main leads, but given how kill-happy the series has been this season, nothing is totally out of the question at this point. The show loves to shock its viewers with unexpected character deaths, so it might have been saving the biggest one for the finale.
There have actually been a few Riverdale Season 2 finale spoilers popping up in the last few weeks that suggest a grim end for Jughead this season. Showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has been warning fans about Jughead's fate on Twitter. He posted a photo of Jughead and said the episode would be "literally heart-stopping" for him.
Aguirre-Sacasa also revealed the inspiration for that final shot of FP and Jughead: An iconic comic-book image of Batman carrying his dead sidekick Robin out of the rubble of an exploded warehouse. The still comes from the 1988 DC Comic Batman: A Death in the Family.
Robin really did die in that comic (or at least, one of the men that donned the Robin persona to fight alongside Batman), but will the same fate befall Jughead?
Honestly, although Riverdale clearly has no problem killing off side characters, I cannot imagine the series offing a central character and essentially firing Cole Sprouse, one of the fan-favorite actors. More likely, in my mind at least, is that Jughead will be brutally injured and spend most of the season finale in a hospital bed, and his near-death experience will galvanize Archie, Betty, Veronica and the Serpents to finally work together to end the Black Hood mystery once and for all and to expose Hiram Lodge's true scheme in Riverdale.
I guess we will just have to wait and see what happens when the Season 2 finale of Riverdale, entitled "Brave New World," premieres on the CW on Wednesday, May 16.