Riverdale season 4 episode 16 review: Did you miss me?


This week’s Riverdale is a satisfying conclusion to the season-long mystery of what happened to Jughead at Stonewall Prep.

Last week’s episode of Riverdale led us to the truth about Jughead’s mortality — that being that he’s been alive the whole time. This week, Jughead and Betty reveal, in a locked room with the Stonewall Preppies, just how all the threads of the season come together and who “killed” Jughead.

First off, we’re back to basics with a voiceover narration from Jughead to kick off the episode as he describes what it was like to play dead for two weeks, including watching his own wake. (Thank God Dilton’s bunker gets Wi-Fi.)

But the majority of the episode takes place at Stonewall, a bottle episode of sorts, as Jughead gleefully busts into the room in the middle of DuPont’s lecture with a, “Hey guys, did you miss me?” Seeing Jughead back among the living with his Serpents gear on warms my cold, cold heart.

It begins with DuPont and the Baxter Brothers, and his stealing the idea from Jughead’s grandfather, Forsythe the first — the “original sin” of Stonewall. Once DuPont had committed such fraud, he had to cover up his crime in order to not be found out, which involved killing the rest of the Stonewall Literary Society. Once Forsythe the First figured out what was happening, he made a run for it (abandoning baby FP in the process).

But apparently, DuPont’s original murders weren’t just one-offs to cover up his fraud in an act of egotism. Betty and Jughead lay out a pattern of new Baxter Brothers ghostwriters with missing Stonewall students over the years, suggesting that DuPont’s game involved not just writing the perfect murder, but executing it.

This is where good old Mr. Chipping comes in, poor guy. Unlike Donna pretended, he didn’t kill himself over the salaciousness of his affair with her, but rather the guilt of the crime he committed to win his own Baxter Brothers track, and what he saw was going to happen to Jughead and Moose, too.

Of course, Jughead won the Baxter Brothers contract without ever being pulled into the perfect murder scheme, which means it was a ruse all along for whoever the real winner was. Which begs the question — who “killed” Jughead?

Jughead points out that DuPont himself gave it away when he revealed that the Stonies collaborated on the winning story (i.e. the murder plot). While Bret lured Jughead into the woods, Donna distracted Betty (and dosed her with the scopolamine). Meanwhile, Joan snuck up from behind and hit Jughead with the rock. And the suspiciously now absent Jonathan was supposed to check Jughead’s pulse.

(Jughead hilariously points out that, between the four of them, they couldn’t even kill him right.)

Donna then guided a disoriented Betty to Jughead’s body and put the rock in her hand. The preppies then sent Archie and Veronica into the woods. As with last week’s episode, we see the flash forward scenes again, but get more context. Once again, Archie checks Jughead’s pulse and thinks he’s dead.

For the first time, though, we see Betty snap out of it, dropping the rock and rushing over to Jughead, actually reacting like we know Betty would have. Betty snaps out of it and tells them to do CPR and between Archie’s chest compressions and her breathing, Jughead is revived.

Poor bloodied and beaten Jughead wakes up and says not to take him to a hospital. In the present, he says he doesn’t know why he did this, other than from some instinctual level to protect Betty. (While this is sweet, it’s a bit of a stretch, even for the crazy paranoid man that Jughead is. We learn that Jughead was out for 36 hours but he managed to wake up to say, “No hospital.” Okay!)

Betty calls Charles, who picks up Jughead with an old ambulance. He tells them to clean the scene and burn their clothes. We once again get the flash-forward scene of Archie, Betty, and Veronica burning their clothing.

This time, the context feels a bit shoehorned in. Betty’s dialogue about going their separate ways and forgetting about what happened has an extra, “That’s what we’ll do if he doesn’t make it.” It’s the definition of retroactive continuity. Sigh. But whatever.

While Donna is so arrogant that she lets the whole thing play out, still trusting she won’t be caught or that Betty and Jughead won’t figure out her part in it, Bret gets increasingly squirmy which is fun to watch.

"Bret:  “But we saw Jughead at the coroner’s office. Was he in on it?”Betty:  “Who? Dr. Curdle, Jr.? Yeah. We go way back.”"

After dealing with a full season of these obnoxious brats and no end in sight, it’s so vindicating to finally watch them get their comeuppance, even if it’s not quite enough.

There are quite a few satisfying moments, though, as Betty and Jughead put the final nails in the coffin. DuPont also remains unruffled until Jughead explains that he and Betty went to see all the Baxter Brothers ghostwriters — who asked for their lawyers.

Dupont responds that he never explicitly directed anyone to do anything criminal, at which point, Jughead says, “Betty, I think it’s time we let in our guests.” And in walk FP, Charles, and Forsythe the motherflippin’ First!

DuPont certainly wasn’t expecting to see him again, and neither was I, frankly. Apparently, Forsythe has been collecting evidence on DuPont for almost 20 years. Maybe this almost makes up for him being a deadbeat dad?

And while Betty and Jughead had everyone distracted, Charles had a team going through DuPont’s house and found all of his serial killer trophies. DuPont still tries to talk his way out of it, but Forsythe tells him it’s over.

Just as Charles goes to arrest him, DuPont jumps out the window and says, “I am a man of honor … to the end.” (It must be some weird Quill & Skull thing to jump out of Stonewall’s window when the end is nigh.)

Charles rounds up Donna, Bret, and Joan and interrogates them. Donna, of course, plays the victim and blames everything on DuPont, which Charles sees right through. Bret tries to talk his way out of it, and says if Charles doesn’t lower his charges, he’ll release Jughead and Betty’s sex tapes on the internet.

Charles nods and says he’ll think about it and leaves the room. And in walk Jughead and FP with brass knuckles. Jughead closes the blinds, and sometimes I wish this show wasn’t on The CW, so we could see FP beating the ever-loving crap out of Bret.

But we still see his hamburger-meat face after agreeing to turn over his collection of tapes to Charles, which is pretty damn satisfying. While the episode works to tie up all of the loose ends of the season, there are still two things left hanging.

First, the end of last week’s episode revealed that Donna’s last name isn’t, in fact, Sweet. In the final moments of this week’s episode, Betty goes to see Donna at Stonewall one last time, who is packing up her things to transfer to another school.

As it turns out, Donna is the granddaughter of one of the original members of the Stonewall Literary Society who DuPont killed (and who also invented Tracy True, Riverdale‘s rip off Nancy Drew). Her true motive was to pin everything on DuPont and win the contract as revenge.

Donna proudly tells Betty she’s won the Baxter Brothers contract, which is relaunching with Tracy True at the center. Betty tells her to let go of it or she’ll turn over medical records to police which tie her to the conspiracy, excellently pointing out that she doesn’t deserve to profit off of Jughead’s attempted murder.

This reveal makes sense, but also feels a little hollow in Riverdale terms. It seems like Donna should have been connected to someone we already know rather than a long-dead character never seen onscreen. Because of this, I doubt it’s the last we see of Donna.

Second, Riverdale has worked very hard to position Charles as Betty’s personal savior and hero these last few weeks. But we can’t forget that he and Chip are in a relationship! Perhaps Charles is working Chip and using him to investigate some other case. I’m hoping this is the case, as Riverdale has worked really hard to get us to like Charles and it’s starting to pay off.

Or, Charles is, in fact, two-faced and is working against Betty. But to what end?

dark. Next. Riverdale season 4 episode 15 review: Cinema verite

What did you think of the reveal surrounding the Jughead mystery? And do you think Charles can be trusted? Share your thoughts about Riverdale with us in the comments!