Yep — that just happened. Riverdale finally dropped the Jughead bombshell fans have waited half a year for, but a lot of viewers are probably still scratching their heads trying to figure out what really happened. Although Jughead's murder seems more clear-cut than ever, this Riverdale theory about Jughead's death may reveal everything is not as it seems, and it could all go back to the Baxter Brothers novels.
Spoiler alert: This post contains spoilers for Riverdale Season 4, Episode 13, "The Ides of March." In the final moments of Feb. 12's latest episode of Riverdale, the show finally seemed to reveal the cause of Jughead's death, which had been teased all the way back since the Season 3 finale. A series of flash-forwards have heavily hinted Betty was somehow responsible for killing her boyfriend, and now viewers know what (seemingly) happened.
After being accused of plagiarism and leaving Stonewall Prep, Jughead pocketed a switchblade before heading to the school's Ides of March party. At the same time, Betty was growing even more suspicious of Jughead's classmate Donna, so after Jug followed Bret into the woods, presumably to try to kill him, Betty trailed Donna into those same woods. But the confrontation did not go as Betty had planned, with Donna revealing she visited Evelyn Evernever in prison and the former cult leader told her a word that would trigger the hypnotized Betty to enter a fugue state and hurt the ones she loved.
Shortly after that disturbing exchange, Donna and Bret reconvened at the party, and Archie and Veronica came upon Betty frozen, standing over Jughead's lifeless body with a large rock in her hand. It really seems like Donna hypnotized Betty to kill Jughead, but there may definitely be more to this than that.
Remember how Jughead said he had some sort of plan shortly before the Ides of March party? The episode made it seem like that plan was simply to kill Bret in the woods, but obviously Jughead must have had something more intricate in mind, right? When you remember the Baxter Brothers novels that have been at the center of Jughead's whole Stonewall Prep journey this season, another possibility becomes clear: Jughead may have faked his death with Betty's help.
At the beginning of the episode, Mr. DuPont warned Jughead he would lose his Baxter Brothers contract unless he delivered the perfect murder story by the Ides of March. That galvanized Jughead to begin writing an autobiographical piece about his own experiences at Stonewall Prep, although he was not able to complete the whole novel in time. So, what if Jughead's plan was to fulfill his Baxter Brothers requirement by telling his perfect murder story in real life rather than on paper? After all, his death at the hands of his hypnotized girlfriend would make for a wild ending to his novel, and since it happened on the Ides of March, he would have gotten the story in right under the deadline.
While this theory does seem to make sense, there are still some major questions to be accounted for... like what Bret and Donna were really doing in the woods. Could they have been helping Jughead with his scheme to enact his final chapter, or did Donna actually find a magic word to hypnotize Betty? These next few episodes of Riverdale are bound to be major ones, so don't miss them when they air Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.