|“||In the months that followed, people will ask us, "Did we need to do it?" Go to such extreme lengths? Maybe, maybe not. But this I did know... If I was going to recover without the Preppies trying to kill me again and figure out how to solve my own murder, I needed the illusion to be perfect to buy myself time. So while above me, a world without Jughead continued spinning forward, I pored over every scrap of evidence we'd gathered, went over every detail of my time at Stonewall Prep, looking for hidden patterns, hints and clues. But this was a different kind of mystery than the ones we'd tackled before. This wasn't a "whodunnit." This was a "whydunnit." More psychological. I needed to get under my suspects' skin, inside their heads. I had to let my intuition take over to draw these disparate strands together. The missing Stonewall Four. The "accidental deaths" of DuPont's classmates. My attempted murder. How were they all connected? A key piece of information came from Hermosa. Which was that Donna...||”|
Jughead has spent the last two weeks hiding out in Dilton's bunker, typing on his typewriter. During that time, two obituaries were published. One from the Riverdale Register and another from the Blue and Gold. The town of Riverdale mourned Jughead’s death; Pop Tate nearly brought to tears as he read Jughead’s obituary from the diner. Same goes for Toni and Kevin while in the student lounge at Riverdale High.
While confined to the bunker, Jughead watched his wake on his laptop, live-streamed from a camera Betty had set up in the living room. He and Betty suspected the Stonies would show up. Betty and Jughead wanted to study them after they tried to murder Jughead and pin it on Betty. The hardest part about Jughead playing dead was letting the town believe that he was actually dead, which involved pretending that Archie and Betty were together. The greatest misdirect of them all.
Unlike everyone else, Jellybean discovered that Jughead was alive on her own. It was after Betty asked her for fake blood. Jellybean brought Betty the blood and asked if she needed it to help Jughead. She heard Betty whispering on the phone to Charles the night before. She didn’t ask to know where Jughead was, only that he was okay. Betty then revealed to Jellybean the entire truth behind Jughead’s disappearance.
Betty arrived at the sheriff station and told FP that the rock he found was covered in fake blood and that Jughead was alive and well. She offered to tell him everything, but they’d need his help, starting with a search party.
Hermosa asked Veronica if she helped Betty kill Jughead. She suspected that Betty and Veronica were secret girlfriends. Veronica insisted that she and Betty were just friends and that they didn’t kill Jughead. Hermosa threatened to start her own investigation should Veronica continue to withhold the truth from her. Veronica reluctantly told Hermosa the truth. She then plotted to use Hermosa’s private investigative skills to her advantage.
While the world above Jughead kept on spinning, he went over every scrap of evidence they had gathered to find hidden clues. But this wasn’t the typical mystery of "whodunnit." It was "whydunnit." Jughead needs to get into his suspects heads. So, he allows for his intuition to take over in order to connect the mysteries of the missing Stonewall Four, the accidental deaths of DuPont’s classmates, and his own attempted murder. Betty returns to the bunker to find Jughead going over the evidence. She informs him that Charles and FP found "him", and he’s agreed to help them. Jughead kisses Betty and then prepares to return to Stonewall.
Betty and Jughead arrive at Stonewall Prep, where they confront the Stonies as they discuss the philosophical novel "Crime and Punishment." Jughead notes that the one kind of crime story they never touched upon was the time tested genre, a locked room mystery, where all the suspects are locked in a room. One or more of them could be the killer, but the door isn’t unlocked until the truth is revealed. Betty proceeds to lock the door, locking herself, Jughead, Donna, Bret, Joan, and DuPont in the classroom. Donna knew that Jughead wasn’t really dead, but she couldn’t prove it. Betty then asks for everyone’s cellphones as Jughead starts to take them through the mystery, starting with the fact that both he and Moose were invited to Stonewall during their senior year. Jughead asks if it was like that for his granddad and DuPont, with whom he was roommates with. DuPont claims that much like Forsythe l, Jughead is also an arrogant fool. Betty and Jughead explain that this isn’t a story about murder. It’s a story about grandparents and their grandchildren. Of the sins from one generation being passed down to the next.
Halloween night. Jughead recalls being drugged by Donna, Bret, Joan, and Jonathan and locked in a coffin. Only to be let out a day later by Chipping. And when he returned to his dorm, Moose had vanished. Jughead assumed that he went out the same way as the Stonewall Four. The group of students that mysteriously vanished while attending Stonewall over a few decades. Betty and Jughead later discovered that Moose joined the army and that he was encouraged by Mr. Chipping. Betty and Jughead concluded that Chipping knew that Moose was going to get murdered and made him leave in order to save his life. DuPont tries to interrupt, but Jughead tells him to shut up.
After Halloween, DuPont announced the writing competition. Between Jughead, Donna, Bret, Joan, and Jonathan, one of them would be announced as the next ghost writer for the Baxter Brothers novels. Shortly after, Jughead discovered that his grandfather wrote the original Baxter Brothers book, which DuPont would later go on to "steal" from him. Betty adds that DuPont exploited Jughead’s grandfather. He took advantage of a kid from the wrong side of the tracks. And if that secret ever came out, it would damage the reputation of the Baxter Brothers brand. Jughead told Chipping about his grandfather, and the very next day, Chipping killed himself. Jughead initially thought DuPont urged him to do it. He recalls the blank expressions of Donna, Bret, Joan, and Jonathan following his plunge. He knew then that there was a deeper game afoot. Bret reminds them of Donna’s allegation that she was having an affair with Chipping, but Betty accuses her of lying. She points out how the affair Donna described sounds identical to the story she gave in her Quill and Skull tape, accusing another teacher of having an affair. However, the teacher Donna claims she had an affair with doesn’t exist.
After learning from his wife that Chipping was suffering from insomnia and drinking a lot, Betty and Jughead questioned what was weighing so heavy on him. The ghost writer challenge was to devise the perfect murder. Jughead deduces that the actual challenge was to commit the perfect murder. Mr. Chipping invited Moose to Stonewall to be the next victim and be killed by the next ghost writer. Betty and Jughead think that Chipping had grown a conscious and was feeling guilty, so he ran Moose out of Stonewall and killed himself. Betty and Jughead bring attention to the pattern of missing students in correlation to each ghost writer being awarded their contract. Same month as Chipping was awarded his contract, one of the Stonewall Four went missing and was presumably killed by Chipping. Ryan Allan, the previous ghost writer took up the mantle the same month as another one of the Stonewall Four disappeared. The sequence holds true for every ghost writer that preceded them. Which brings them to a couple months ago when Jughead was awarded the contract. Jughead believes this was done to put a target on his back. DuPont gave them a new challenge; commit the perfect murder against Jughead.
Jughead looks to Donna, Bret, Joan and DuPont and questions which one of them "killed" him. It was actually DuPont who gave him a clue. When Jughead asked who had rewritten his novel, DuPont revealed that they all collaborated on it. This led Jughead to believe that they all had a hand in his murder. Donna kept Betty busy. Bret led Jughead deeper into the woods, where he took off the bunny mask he was wearing and put on his beanie. The very same beanie that kept his head from being completely cracked open when Joan crept up behind him and hit him over the head with a rock. Betty then asks where Jonathan is. Donna claims he has food poisoning. In all their plotting, where they failed at was killing Jughead. Joan reveals it was Jonathan’s job to check his pulse. After Joan hit Jughead over the head with a rock, Donna blew Devil’s breath in Betty’s face, led her to the clearing and placed the rock in her hand, where she was later found by Archie and Veronica. At which point, two scenarios could’ve played out. Archie and Veronica could’ve tuned Betty in. Or, they could’ve help her cover up the murder she had just committed.
Flashback to that night: Archie checked Jughead’s pulse and said that he was dead. Betty instructed Archie to start pounding on Jughead’s chest while Veronica used the beanie to stop the bleeding. Betty performed CPR and revived Jughead. In that fleeting moment of consciousness, he told Betty not to take him to the hospital. And he wouldn’t wake up for another 36 hours after that.
Donna questions why a man on death’s door would say "no hospitals." Jughead explains that he had a feeling they were going to frame Betty, and he wanted to give her a fighting chance.
As Archie, Betty, and Veronica loomed over Jughead, Betty called Charles for help. They carried Jughead through the woods, to the old postal road where Charles was waiting for them with an FBI med-van. Charles told them to go back to the scene of the crime and clean it completely. He also instructed them to get rid of their blood covered clothes and get cleaned up. So, Archie, Betty, and Veronica went back to the clearing, threw the bloody rock in the swimming hole and burned their bloody clothes, along with Jughead’s beanie in the bonfire. Veronica questioned what they would do if Jughead didn’t live. Betty responded that they’d make a pact to never speak of the night again to anyone. They’d finish their senior year, graduate, and go their separate ways. That is how it would’ve been if Jughead didn’t make it. From there, they went home.
Bret and Donna recall seeing Jughead’s body at the coroner’s office. Betty reveals that she and Dr. Curdle Jr. are associates and that she paid him off to help them fake Jughead’s death. While Betty was keeping Donna, Bret, and Joan busy, Jughead was solving the mystery. Jughead asks DuPont to speak towards his claims. DuPont accuses Jughead of making this up. Jughead then reveals that he and Betty visited all the Baxter Brothers ghost writers, and when they shared their theories, each writer asked for their lawyers. DuPont claims that he never explicitly directed anyone to do anything criminal. Betty and Jughead accuse him of murdering the three members of his original society; Jane Dallas Brown, Charles W. Chickens, and Theodore Weisel in order to protect the secret that Jughead’s grandfather wrote the first novel. The only remaining member of DuPont’s literary society who he hasn’t killed is Jughead’s grandfather. Betty unlocks the door, inviting in FP, Charles, and Forsythe. Forsythe reveals that Theodore Weisel came to see him before he died. He told Forsythe that DuPont killed Charles and Jane because he feared they would spill the truth. Two days later, Theodore Weisel, an expert diver, drowned in shallow waters, mysteriously.
Forsythe realized that he was next. So, he went out for a pack of cigarettes and never came back. He’s been off the grid since 2002 collecting evidence to link DuPont to the deaths of Theodore, Jane, and Charles. Forsythe started by calling hotels and motels by the accident sights. One thing Jughead couldn’t figure out at first is why he was invited to Stonewall Prep if Moose was already there to be killed. Jughead realized he was bait in order to bring his grandfather out of hiding so DuPont could finish the job. Which is why Forsythe fled when Jughead found him. However, FP does credit him with being man enough to decide to come back and finally take DuPont down. Charles’ team has been combing through DuPont’s house for the last hour. They’ve found trophies of his victims. DuPont denounces claims that he’s a thief and coward, stating he’s a builder. With the Baxter Brothers franchise, he’s built the entire school. As Charles prepares to place DuPont under arrest, he throws himself out the window, plummeting to his death, much like Chipping.
At the FBI field office, Charles has recovered text messages between Joan and Donna. She tricked Joan into doing her dirty work so that her hands would remain clean. Charles asks Joan to tell him all she knows, but Joan refuses to confess. She reminds Charles that her father is an ambassador, and therefore she has diplomatic immunity. Charles informs Joan that if she leaves now, she’ll never be able to return to the country and her friends will take the wrap for Jughead’s attempted murder. Joan replies that they’re not her friends.
Charles asks Donna why she lied to Jughead about Bret having diplomatic immunity when in actuality it’s Joan. Donna claims that she was simply trying to keep him from antagonizing Bret. Donna claims that it was Bret’s idea to kill Jughead. Charles asks how Donna got Chipping’s tie pin. Donna reveals that it was given to her by DuPont, who said she had to lie to the headmaster so that Chipping’s death would be ruled a suicide. Donna states that she’s simply happy that DuPont, the real monster behind all of this, has paid for his crimes.
Charles moves his investigation onto Bret, who has a known history of antagonizing Jughead. In fact, the two of them were even seen going into the woods together. Bret’s facing time for attempted murder as well as the creation and possession of illegally recorded sex tapes featuring fellow classmates. Charles is willing to reduce Bret’s charge to attempted murder but only if he turns over his tapes. Bret proposes a counter offer to reduce his charge to conspiracy after the fact. Charles exits the room, claiming to take Bret’s offer under consideration. Moments later, Jughead and FP enter the interrogation room and beat Bret senseless while wearing brass knuckles. Charles returns and a beaten and bruised Bret agrees to accept his offer and give up the location of the tapes.
Jughead and FP accompany Charles as he recovers the tapes from within a secret compartment hidden behind a Stonewall crest. Jughead recovers his tape with Betty and destroys it.
Alice is the lead reporter on the case, broadcasting the discovery of the tapes as well as the Stonewall conspiracy town-wide. For now, Stonewall’s doors remain open but its secret society, Quill and Skull, has been disbanded. Archie and Veronica watch from his house. As do Cheryl and Toni from Thistlehouse.
At the Jones-Cooper house, Betty, Jughead, Charles, Jellybean, FP, and Alice watch her news report. Betty congratulates her on a job well done. Alice thanks FP with a kiss for providing her with the inside scoop. Betty then leaves, explaining that she has one last T to cross.
Betty surprises Donna in her dorm room. Donna is transferring to another school. Betty congratulates her for taking over the Baxter Brothers novels. The brand is relaunching as Tracy True. Betty accuses Donna of masterminding this entire thing in her effort to seek revenge for the murder of her grandmother, Jane Dallas-Brown, who DuPont killed in order to keep his secret. Donna dedicated herself to getting into Stonewall Prep and each step brought her closer to her grandmother’s killer. Donna reveals that on top of killing her grandmother, DuPont also stole from her the idea of Tracy True. Donna questions how Betty discovered her secret. Betty reveals that she learned from Hermosa, a private investigator. And this is the only thing they need to link everything back to Donna. Betty tells Donna to walk away from the Tracy True contract or else she’ll make sure that the world knows the truth.
In the bunker, as he and Betty put away the evidence, Jughead is disgruntled with having wasted months at Stonewall Prep and away from his friends. Betty reminds him that they solved eight murders, and they gave closure to every family of every missing child. Nevertheless, Jughead feels cheated. Betty assures him that he’ll find a meaning to all of this at some point.
At Riverdale High, Cheryl seems completely unsurprised by the revelation that Jughead is alive, reasoning that "no one ever really dies in Riverdale, do they?" She asks Betty about her kiss with Archie. Betty claims they were only pretending, but Cheryl isn’t convinced, and she tells Betty that her secrets is safe with her. Jughead exits the Principal’s office and tells Betty that Mr. Honey has allowed him to return to Riverdale High.
Betty and Jughead return home to find FP and Forsythe at the dining room table. Jughead asks if he should say goodbye, but Forsythe assures Jughead that he isn’t leaving anytime soon. While FP doesn’t know where this road with his father will lead, they are at least talking, which he attributes to Jughead.
Betty, Jughead, Archie, and Veronica meet at Pop’s. Jughead notes that the one good thing that came from this Stonewall fiasco is that his dad and grandfather are talking again, for the first time in 30 years. Archie suggests that they make a vow. However, their last vow was to have a normal senior year and that didn’t go as planned. They only have at most three months left. Jughead points out that he and Archie most likely won’t be graduating with them unfortunately. However, Betty and Veronica refuse to allow that to happen. Veronica tells them that they will put aside everything else, including the mysteries and dedicate all their time to studying. Kevin arrives to remind them that tomorrow he’s posting the sign up sheet for the variety show. And they’re all expected to perform.