Except we're not sure it's the truth.

By Samantha Highfill
February 12, 2020 at 09:00 PM EST
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Let’s face it: As much as this episode explained how Betty killed Jughead, I still don’t believe that Betty killed Jughead. Especially not after he went on about his “plan” and how it would all be okay. And ESPECIALLY not after he decided to write his book about his experience at Stonewall. Could Jug’s “murder” just be the plot of his book? IT’S POSSIBLE.

This episode of Riverdale took things one day at a time leading up to Friday/The Ides of March, so let’s do the same.

Monday

If Archie has any talent aside from… fitness?… it’s that he’s a teenager who can wake up before 10 a.m. Technically, he’s waking up before 5 a.m. in order to give everyone at Andrews Construction coffee and doughnuts, and then also make coffee for Monroe’s mom, who’s been helping watch the community center. And somehow, in the middle of all this, Archie decides NOW that he’d maybe like to go to college. But Mr. Honey quickly informs him that he’s too late to apply, and no, he can’t walk with his friends at graduation.

Also enjoying some coffee is Hiram Lodge, well, at least until he drops it. It seems his debilitating disease is affecting his muscle control, and when he yells that he doesn’t need Veronica’s help, she… runs to school and has sex with Archie in the music room? I mean, what’s he going to do, stop her? He’s a teenage boy who’s already not going to graduate, so he’s got nothing to lose. It seems Veronica has a new attitude about life: Stop thinking about the future and enjoy the time she has left with Archie! And by “enjoy,” she means “have sex every chance they get!”

Over at Stonewall Prep, Jughead is kicked out of Quill and Skull. DuPont also informs him that they’re terminating his Baxter Brothers contract for “failure to deliver satisfactory material by March 15.” The kicker? March 15 is THIS FRIDAY! So it hasn’t happened yet but they’re punishing him for it?!

Jughead vows to write an entirely new novel in five days — LOL — and Betty gives him the idea to base it on his experience at Stonewall. So it’s a prep school thriller, hence my suspicion that Jug’s murder might just be the plot of his book.

Monday then ends with Hiram showing up at the community center looking to train away his weakness. So this will go well.

Riverdale -- "Chapter Seventy: The Ides of March" -- Image Number: RVD413b_0250.jpg -- Pictured: Lili Reinhart as Betty -- Photo: Colin Bentley/The CW -- © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Colin Bentley/The CW

Tuesday

Jug gets to writing! But seeing as how it took him a full day to write 10 pages about JARHEAD and the prep school students plotting to kill BISON, it’s not going well. (Do you think he could get Jake Gyllenhaal to play Jarhead in his film adaptation?) But Jug has another problem aside from his book and his terrible character names: DuPont informs him that Jonathan is accusing him of plagiarizing the short story that qualified him for Yale. And when he goes to find his old laptop — why he ever accepted a laptop from Bret, I have no idea — it’s gone, so he can’t prove the story was his and his alone. He has until Friday, the Ides of March, before he goes in front of the disciplinary committee.

For now, Betty has an idea: She has Jug take a lie detector test in front of the other Stonewall students, which I guess proves something but is actually pointless? They already know they’re lying, Betty. You can do better.

Next up, she and Jughead search all of Stonewall for his old laptop, but they come up empty-handed. Well, sort of. What they do find in DuPont’s desk is a Baxter Brothers envelope that reads “Ready for print” and contains an edited version of Jug’s original book: The Boy in the River. DuPont explains that the Baxter Brothers contract details that the brotherhood owns everything Jug submits, even if Jug’s classmates rework the material. So perhaps the biggest twist of this story is that Jug sucks at reading?

Elsewhere, Veronica is trying her best to “have fun” — read: sleep with — Archie as much as possible, but work gets in the way. When a mystery woman who is very clearly Hermosa in a wig tries to get into the Maple Club, Toni, Cheryl, and Veronica set a trap. It ends with Veronica ripping off Hermosa’s wig and finding out that Hiram only told one of his daughters about his illness.

Speaking of Hiram, he suggests that an exhausted Archie sell one of his businesses, and his plan is to let go of Andrews Construction and pay Tom Keller a legit salary to help run the community center. But that plan will have to wait until after Archie takes the fall for the rum Mr. Honey finds in Veronica’s locker (which results in Arch getting a week detention and that’s it?! No wonder the kids in this town are insane).

Tuesday ends when Archie confronts Veronica on her horny behavior and she tells him Hiram is dying. His advice? Get Hiram fired up. So… piss him off? That’s the advice?

The Ides of March (so… Friday)

My apologies to Wednesday and Thursday. Apparently they were boring.

Veronica, in her plan to piss Hiram off, throws together an ad campaign presentation for Red Raven rum, demonstrating that it demolished Lodge rums in a taste test, and just like that, she has “awoken the dragon,” a phrase I hope Hiram never says again, along with what he says next: “Prepare to be eaten.” NOPE.

Speaking of a dragon — still hate it — Betty is back at it with her murder board, and she has a new theory: DuPont is the mastermind controlling the students. She takes Donna out for some milkshakes to see if she’s on the right track, but Donna literally laughs in the face.

Cut to Jug, who threatens to tell the disciplinary committee everything about this school, at which point Bret reveals that he DOES have a sex tape of Bughead and he’s not afraid to use it. And so, at the hearing, Jug agrees to leave Stonewall Prep, no questions asked. Unless that question is: Want to come to a party?

When Bret invites Betty and Jug to the Ides of March party in the woods, Jug says yes, before promising Betty that he has a plan and is going to take care of things. Then he tells her he loves her before they kiss… one last time.

Across town, Archie — who couldn’t bring himself to sell Andrews Construction after all — is recovering from MORE SEX with Veronica. And here’s where he tells her, “Ronnie, I won’t be able to walk with everyone at graduation.” For a split-second, I thought he was going to say, “Ronnie, I won’t be able to walk,” in reference to all the sex they’re having and I’m very bummed he didn’t go there.

But as far as graduation is concerned, he has a plan: go to summer school for his diploma, take a skip year, and then apply to colleges for the spring semester. And Veronica is on board. Now they have to get to this Stonewall Prep party… where they will have sex in the woods and MISS EVERYTHING!!!

While Veronica and Archie are off, Jughead shows up to the party wearing his Serpent jacket and a bunny mask, at which point he follows Bret into the woods to settle their unfinished business. But just as he follows Bret, Betty follows Donna. Alone with Betty, Donna reveals that she’s done some investigating of her own. It seems she paid Evelyn Evernever a visit and learned “the magic word.” No, she’s not talking about “tangerine” said three times. She’s talking about the word that makes Betty go into a fugue state and hurt people she loves. SO PLUG YOUR EARS, BETTY! (Spoiler: She doesn’t.)

Cut to Varchie returning from the woods to find Betty holding a rock over Jughead’s dead body. Just like that, the core four have been bested by the stuck-up four. For now.

Like I said, I’m still not convinced that Jug is dead. Betty going fugue and killing him would actually connect a lot of dots and potentially take this story in an interesting direction, but I don’t trust that this show is willing to make a leap that big. This episode, however, was better than the last few.

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