|“||The following isn't an imaginary story. It happened. It starts with a corpse on a lonely country road. While in the town of Rivervale... Archie Andrews has somehow just come back from the dead.||”|
The corpse of Narrator Jughead lays dead on the road just outside of Rivervale, clutching a comic. Meanwhile, at the Cooper house, Archie has just come back from the dead and is in bed with Betty, who awakens from a nightmare in which the whole town conspired to sacrifice Archie.
Alone at the Andrews house, Jughead is sleepwalking down the stairs when there's a sudden explosion and he is awakened from his sleep to discover himself barefoot in Archie's garage before returning home to Tabitha and informing her that he suspects that he was sleepwalking last night. Given that today's Jughead's first day back at teaching, Tabitha suspects that it's probably just his nerves.
Jughead returns to Rivervale High School, where he sees much younger versions of Betty, Veronica, and Kevin laughing in the hall. He also stumbles upon Archie and Ms. Grundy in the music room, while also crossing paths with Cheryl in her River Vixens uniform and Reggie in a Bulldogs sweater. But most shockingly, he sees a younger version of himself at the water fountain.
Jughead rushes into the bathroom and splashes some water in his face, hoping to get a grip of reality. There, he is approached by Ben Button, who according to Jughead's memory, died when he jumped out of a window and sacrificed himself to the Gargoyle King, but Ben denies every doing any such thing, suggesting that Jughead is either mistaking him for Mr. Chipping or is having hallucinations, the latter of which is a symptom of paranoid schizophrenia, Ben informs him.
Jughead joins Archie and the gang in the teacher's lounge, where Archie and Betty are discussing wedding plans, which Jughead has no knowledge of. Betty then gets a call from Dr. Curdle Jr., who reveals that Jughead's corpses has turned up in the morgue despite the fact that Betty is only a few feet away from Jughead. She suspects that Curdle is simply upset that he wasn't invited to her wedding and hangs up. Betty then informs Jughead what she learned from Dr. Curdle Jr.
After hearing from Betty that Dr. Curdle Jr. allegedly has his corpse on a slab, Jughead goes to see for himself. He unzips the body bag and sees his doppelgänger laying lifeless. Dr. Curdle Jr. suspects some kind of paradox. Jughead's doppelgänger was strangled and left for dead on the Lonely Highway. Before leaving, Jughead asks for his doppelgänger's clothes and personal belongings.
Jughead returns to his apartment and begins going through his doppelgänger's belongings. Among other things, he finds a Rivervale comic titled "The Jughead Paradox" with Archie and Betty getting married on the cover. He then proceeds to go through his own collection and discovers a set of comic books that seem to be about him and his friends. Hoping to find answers, Jughead sits down and reads every comic from beginning to end.
One particular issue recounts the moment Archie helped him and Tabitha move into the apartment. When Tabitha finally returns home, Jughead reveals to her that he's been having strange hallucinations and that the comics are about their life. The first 95 issues are called Riverdale and are set in a town called Riverdale until an explosion, and suddenly it becomes Rivervale. Tabitha is skeptical but considers Jughead's theory that Rivervale is a parallel universe to Riverdale, the only difference between the two being that Rivervale is warped, making it darker and nastier. After reading some of the comics, Jughead makes a believer out of Tabitha, who recalls the events in the comic, except for the fact that they happened in Rivervale by her recollection.
Jughead goes to Betty and Archie to ask them about the explosion, but Archie doesn't remember any bombing. However, Jughead suspects that the explosion created Rivervale. It is then that Betty recalls Archie mentioning having a dream about an explosion, but as far as he's concerned, it was just a dream.
Jughead's next stop is at the Pembrooke with Veronica and Reggie. However, there's a major inconsistency between the events of Rivervale and what the comics depict. The Riverdale comics depict Hiram Lodge as terrorizing Riverdale for years, but Veronica's father died the night before her Quinceañera. This leads Jughead to question who is Rivervale's "Big Bad." But Reggie has more pressing questions about his physcial features in the comics and the manner in which they differ. He looks much different in the earlier version of the comics, but there's a drastic change in appearance later on, which Jughead believes is an anomaly.
Jughead makes his way over to Thornhill, to share his comics with Cheryl. However, in Rivervale, Kevin and Mason didn't discover Jason's corpse whilst secretly hooking up at Sweetwater River, as Jason's very much alive. In fact, he joins Cheryl and Jughead as they discuss his alleged death. Jason asks if she's ready to hit the courts, to which Cheryl replies by telling Jason to wait for her in the car. Jughead recalls the yearbook having an in-memoriam page dedicated to Jason, but Cheryl insists that they didn't.
Jughead decides to investigate further and confirms that they do in fact have an in-memoriam page for Jason in the yearbook. Though Riverdale and Rivervale diverged in ways minor and major, they were analogous. But Jughead needs to better understand the rules of these worlds.
Veronica is a bit triggered after her earlier encounter with Jughead involving her deceased father. Reggie assures Veronica that he's got her and asks how to make it better. Suddenly, there's a knock at the door. It's Reggie, but the previous version of him (before recast).
Jughead goes to the library to check out a book on parallel universes, but the only book in stock was checked out years ago and never returned by Dilton Doiley, who by Jughead's recollection, is dead, but the librarian informs him that Dilton is very much alive and teaches physics down the hall.
Dilton and his assistant, Ethel, greet Jughead as he enters the class. Jughead shares his wild theories with Dilton, who believes him and is knowledgeable about parallel universes. Jughead believes that the explosion in issue 95 of Riverdale is what created Rivervale, like the Big Bang, though he still wonders why the events of Riverdale are playing out differently in their town. In Dilton's research, parallel universes are exact copies of one another. What Jughead's describing is something in between. Jughead asks what they're supposed to do about it, but there's not for them to do, by Dilton's account. At any given moment, there are infinite numbers of parallel universes in peaceful co-existence with one another. However, Jughead refuses to simply let it go, suspecting that he became aware and conscious for a reason. As for his dead doppelgänger, Dilton writes that off as an anomaly. He advises Jughead to stop trying to figure out the secrets to the universe.
Based on Jughead's discovery, there are two universes and two Reggies, which they all seem to be taking pretty well. However, the first Reggie, dubbed Reggie Prime, gets into a verbal altercation with current Reggie over who is more relevant. Nevertheless, Veronica can't have the two of them running around town, freaking people out. So, in the meantime, they're to stay at the apartment, as she has to get the casino ready for the bachelor and bachelorette parties tonight. However, Reggie Prime ultimately ends up attending Betty's bachelorette party as a stripper for the girls' entertainment, whilst current Reggie attends a poker game at the casino.
Jughead joins Archie, who has been thinking about his dad a lot lately. Admittedly, it's crazy, but Archie keeps imagining that somehow he'll show up for his wedding.
Veronica returns home with both Reggies, neither of whom are much in a partying mood anymore, but Reggie Prime decides to dance with Veronica nonetheless. However, when Veronica proposes the three of them get together and slides Reggie Prime's hand down her thigh, the other Reggie intervenes, explaining that he's not used to sharing. Veronica becomes upset and storms off, explaining that she's more woman than either of them can handle alone.
Archie, Betty, Jughead, Toni, Tabitha, Fangs, and Kevin recuperate in the teacher's lounge the following day after a hard night of partying. Toni recalls how when they were in high school and hung over, they could just skip class. Cheryl joins them with a letter in hand and reveals that Jason's been kidnapped by the Black Hood, who none of them are familiar with except for Jughead.
Jughead pulls Archie into the restroom and shares his theory of Jason's location. If the events of Riverdale are indeed repeating in Rivervale, then that would mean Jason is at the Whyte Wyrm.
With Sheriff Keller as back up, Archie and Jughead barge into the Whyte Wyrm and find Jason restrained to a chair. As they untie him, the Black Hood returns and aims his gun, but he is shot dead by Sheriff Keller. Jughead removes the hood to discover that Clifford Blossom is Jason's abductor and the Black Hood.
Veronica discovers Reggie Prime and the current Reggie in the middle of the fight. She doesn't care who started it, but she's tired of it and grounds them both to the Pembrooke to figure out how to co-exist with one another. If they can't, they're both out of her life.
Betty and Jughead rush over to Thornhill from the rehearsal dinner to find Cheryl strangled to death in her bed.
Following Cheryl's death, Jughead comes to the conclusion that Dilton is Rivervale's Big Bad and confronts him at the school, where he admits to knowing about what's going on. Dilton had to see what would happen if the universes remained conjoined, and now they know the universes become dangerously unstable until they implode. Ethel further explains that the two universes, Riverdale and Rivervale, are expanding and are bleeding into each other. And Dilton will have a front row seat to their destruction and become the first scientist to document a prime and pocket universes collapsing in real time. However, Dilton suddenly begins choking and dies after being poisoned with blue cyanide by Ethel, who doesn't wish to see everyone in two universes die. Unfortunately, according to Ethel, there's no saving Rivervale, but she does know how to save the prime universe, i.e. Riverdale.
Veronica returns home to discover that both Reggies have killed each other in a duel to the death.
Ethel explains to Jughead that they need to recreate the circumstances of Rivervale's birth, then they may be able to separate Rivervale from Riverdale. Jughead is certain that it has to be from the explosion in Archie's bedroom, as it was a confluence of good and evil, that being Archie and Betty's love, and Hiram's hate. Not to mention there was creation and destruction, as Jughead was in the garage writing, and the explosion was destructive. Lastly, there was science due to the piece of palladium Archie had on his desk and magic from Cheryl's curse on the town. So, all they have to do is accurately recreate the events in Archie's bedroom, and the universes should separate. The prime universe will stabilize, and their universe will cease to exist, as they're simply aberrations. And if they do nothing, both universes will collapse and everyone will die. To prevent this, they have to detonate a bomb under Archie's bed with Betty and Archie in it, but with them getting married, Jughead suggests that he and Veronica take their place, as they're counterparts to Archie and Betty if nothing else.
Jughead tells Veronica that it's up to the two of them to stop the universes from imploding and to save Riverdale, along with billions of lives. However, no matter what, Rivervale will cease to exist. Veronica proposes they wait until the wedding, as she's not currently in the mood. "Here's to Vughead becoming canon," she remarks.
While waiting for Veronica to arrive so they can set off the bomb, Jughead is confronted by Archie, who is not only aware of his plan to separate the two universes, but intends to stop Jughead as well, the same way he stopped Veronica by strangling the life from her because Jughead told her the truth. Archie also killed Cheryl and the other Jughead. He did so all in the name of seeing his father again, as no one stays dead in Rivervale. Archie assures Jughead that Cheryl, Veronica, and everyone else will come back. This is Archie's one chance to be reunited with his dad, leading Jughead to question how he even knows the rules of this world. Archie knows this because he was at ground zero for the birth of Rivervale. He saw everything, including the dead coming back to life, the other Jughead, and the distortions. It's not a copy or mistake, rather another chance to be with his dad. Jughead tries to explain that they have to separate the universes to save Riverdale, but Archie is determined to see his dad again, so much so that he slams Jughead onto a table and proceeds to choke the life from him until Betty shoots Archie in the back of the head, killing him. Still dressed in her wedding dresses, she explains that something in her head clicked when Archie stood her up at the altar and her life flashed before her eyes. She simply knew to come to the house.
Betty and Jughead head upstairs with the bomb and place it under Archie's bed. All that's left for them to do now is recreate the moment leading up to the explosion, so Betty and Jughead begin to kiss on the bed until being interrupted by Jughead's previously dead doppelgänger, who reveals that there may be a way to save both universes.
After Betty stops the bomb, she and the two Jugheads head downstairs, where Narrator Jughead, who is now alive and well, reveals that he was in the Sweet Hereafter after being strangled by Archie. Their version of the afterlife is at Pop's diner, which appears almost identical, expect it also sells comics and resembles an old-fashioned soda shop. There, Jughead was welcomed by Pop Tate, who told him to grab a comic to read and have a seat. And that's when he found it — a special comic book that came in between issues 95 and 96, which bridged the gap between Riverdale and Rivervale, telling the tale of two linked universes and how if that second universe was to become separated from the first, it would die unless a new power source could be found and maintained. Narrator Jughead realized what the power source could be, resurrected, and came to the Andrews house to reveal to them that the new power source is imagination. The explosion is destruction, the opposite of which is creation. Jughead will become a living battery and story generator that powers Rivervale by writing stories to fuel the universe so that it doesn't have to keep leeching off of Riverdale. So long as Jughead continues to write, Rivervale will live. Unfortunately, Jughead will have to be in complete isolation, as the world can never know that there are two Jugheads. Narrator Jughead is merely a narrator, he explains, whereas Jughead is the writer, which is why it has to be him. This is why Jughead is the only one to become aware. Betty is very reluctant to the idea and doesn't think she'll be able to live with herself, but Narrator Jughead reveals that soon they all will forget about Jughead's sacrifice for them, and he will fade from memory. Jughead looks Betty in the eyes and assures that everything will be okay.
Jughead heads into the bunker with endless food and paper, where he begins writing, while Betty and Narrator Jughead head into Archie's room with the bomb. However, Archie reanimates and resumes his mission to stop Jughead. He begins banging on the door with a bat as Betty and Jughead hug each other tightly and brace themselves as the bomb's timer reaches zero, but the explosion never goes off, and instead, Betty and Jughead return to their normal lives, with their friends waiting downstairs, all with no recollection of what just happened. Veronica asks what they were doing upstairs, but neither of them can recall.
After dinner, Jughead and Tabitha move his belongings from Archie's garage into their new apartment. Elsewhere, Jughead continues typing away from the bunker with Ethel and a plate full of burgers as his only company. She asks what happens in the prime Riverdale universe, but Jughead says they'll never know.
Meanwhile, back in Riverdale, Betty and Archie are hooking up in his room when Betty gets a call from someone telling her that there's a bomb under the bed and that they need to get out. However, Jughead is in the garage typing when the bomb goes off. He is startled, and his ears are left ringing, but he appears otherwise unharmed.
- Simple Minds - Don't You (Forget About Me)
- Ginuwine - Pony
- Scene: Betty's bachelorette party.
- ZHU - I Need That
- Scene: Veronica attempts to convince both Reggies to join her.
- Tassia Zappia - You Don't Want Me
- Scene: In an attempt to recreate the Big Bang that created Rivervale, Betty and Jughead kiss on the bed.
- The Archies - Sugar, Sugar
- Scene: Narrator Jughead tells Betty and Jughead abut his time in the Sweet Hereafter.
- AG, Cece and the Dark Hearts - Cross My Heart
- Scene: In the prime Riverdale universe, Betty and Archie are hooking up when she gets a call warning her of a bomb under the bed. Meanwhile, Jughead is typing in the garage when the bomb explodes.
- This is Riverdale's 100th episode.
- This is the first episode in which Trevor Stines ("Jason Blossom") speaks on screen.
- Pop's Chock'lit Shoppe in the Sweet Hereafter is a copy of the diner from the comics where everyone is dressed like their comic counterpart.
- Ross Butler reprises his role as Reggie Mantle, dubbed "Reggie Prime", from the first season.
- Reggie calls Jughead "Donnie Darko". He previously did that in "Chapter Two: A Touch of Evil".
- Jughead officially becomes the author of the chapters that hold the story together.
- The special comic book that came in between issues 95 and 96, titled "The Jughead's Paradox", references the gap between "Chapter Ninety-Five: Riverdale: RIP(?)" and "Chapter Ninety-Six: Welcome to Rivervale". The cover resembles that of the "Flash of Two Worlds!" comic book.