|“||Well, as it turns out, this is not simply a story about a murder in a small town. No. It's a story about friendship and conspiracy. And what happens when those two things dovetail into a highly sophisticated cover-up.||”|
MURDER IN A SMALL TOWN — Alice begins shooting a documentary about Riverdale and the latest mystery involving one of its own. Meanwhile, Betty, Archie and Veronica fall deeper into a web of lies as the investigation gets underway.
Alice is documenting the events surrounding Jughead’s murder. She grabs the camera and asks Betty who she spoke to over the phone. Betty reveals that Yale called to tell her that they have an opening for the 2024 class. The implication being that it was Jughead’s spot they’d offered her.
Alice makes her way to the edge of town, where Kevin records as she continues her documentary, "Murder in a Small Town." She reports how Jughead went to a party and never came home, only to be found days later at the bottom of a ravine.
As the oldest resident in town, Alice seeks insight from Nana Rose Blossom as to when the darkness began to take hold of Riverdale. Rose states that Riverdale is a town born of blood, and it has bathed in it every since.
Cheryl finds Betty at Pop’s and gives her condolences following Jughead’s death. She remarks that the Blossom family curse finally caught up to her. She makes Betty promise that she won’t take her own life. She knows what it’s like to lose her other half. Betty insists that she’s fine. Nevertheless, Cheryl’s putting Betty under suicide watch. Betty pleads with Cheryl to fall back as her mother is already being clingy, but Cheryl ignores her request. Instead, she offers to drive Betty to Stonewall Prep to collect the rest of Jughead’s belongings.
While packing up what’s left of Jughead’s items, Betty comes across his Quill and Skull pin. She puts it in her pocket. Bret enters and tells Betty to save her tears as no one is watching. He’s learned that she’s going to Yale, stating that it will just be the two of them in New Haven. While leaving, Betty comes across Donna and Joan’s room.
Archie and Veronica have sex at the Pembrooke. However, they are both concerned with Betty’s plan to antagonize the Stonies. Hermosa bursts in. Hermione called Barnard after Veronica announced that she might delay her attendance. From Hermione, Hermosa learned that Veronica is under investigation, though she doesn’t know what for. But, when she figures it out, she promises to tell their father.
Alice asks FP where he is in the investigation. FP reveals how he found Jughead’s body in the woods. Later, Dr. Curdle Jr. performed his autopsy and declared the cause of death as blunt forced trauma to the head. He also got a call from a hiker who found a bloody rock in the woods near where Jughead was killed. It was sent to the lab for testing, though the results haven’t returned yet. FP suspects foul play. He also has a lead but is waiting for a warrant to act on it.
Bret alerts Donna that FP is searching her room. He has a warrant and the permission of the headmaster to do so. FP got an anonymous tip that Donna has something personal that belonged to Jughead. In Donna’s room, he finds Jughead’s Quill and Skull tie pin. Donna claims that when Jughead got expelled, he threw his tie pin at them. However, FP isn’t convinced. Donna starts to cry and claims that she was afraid of Betty and that she might do to her what she did to Jughead. Donna reveals to FP that the night of the party, she and Bret decided to sneak into the woods until they saw Betty holding a rock and standing over Jughead, along with Veronica and Archie.
FP arrives at Riverdale High School and places Archie, Veronica, and Betty under arrest for Jughead’s murder. Betty presumes this is the result of the Stonies firing back. She assures Archie and Veronica that everything will fall into place.
Pop Tate reveals to Alice how his family has been serving up milkshakes to the residents of Riverdale for generations, which makes it particularly difficult when terrible things happen year after year.
Archie, Veronica, and Betty are placed in a cell. FP will be bringing them in for questioning one at a time so that they can get to the bottom of what happened that night.
Alice films outside of Interrogation Room 2. While she isn’t allowed inside with the suspects, a source from the sheriff office promised her exclusive access.
FP asks Veronica when was the last time she saw Jughead. Veronica claims that she can’t remember. He reveals to her his eyewitness accounts that place her at the scene of the crime the night of the party. Hiram intervenes and assures FP that Veronica had no involvement in Jughead’s murder.
FP asks Archie if he spoke to Jughead the night of the party. Mary tells him that he doesn’t have to answer. However, she’s said that to the last 20 questions FP has asked, and so far, he has nothing. As Archie’s lawyer, it’s Mary’s job to ensure he’s aware of his rights.
Alice is allowed a few moments alone with Betty with the security cameras off. Alice admits that she knows that Betty killed Jughead. However, Betty insists it was the Stonies. Although, FP has the evidence. Alice admits that she always feared this would happen. She can’t help Betty unless she tells her the truth. FP interrupts to inform them that the test results on the rock came back. It wasn’t blood that covered the rock. It was corn syrup, which is typically used to make fake blood, meaning that Betty and her friends are free to go.
Donna informs Bret that Betty, Archie, and Veronica were freed from jail and the rock tested negative for blood, which is unexpected given they watched Jonathan smear Jughead’s blood on the rock, meaning Betty either interfered and switched out the rock or FP is lying.
Betty is awakened at 3:00 AM by a phone call from Donna, who claims that she figured it out, claiming Betty got over confident and showed her hand. Donna insists that the rock was covered with real blood, but since the sheriff station is claiming it isn’t, Donna presumes that Betty is working with Jughead’s dad. From that, she concludes that Jughead isn’t dead at all. Donna saw a body when she burst into the morgue, but she never got a look at his face. She’s certain that Jughead is alive and that Betty is hiding him while she searches for proof to tie them to attempted murder. Donna is on to Betty and assures her that she will stop her.
Betty proposes to FP and Alice that they host a public wake for Jughead at the house.
Following Veronica’s arrest and subsequent release, Hermosa had a fake passport made with Veronica’s alias Monica Posh. Veronica accuses Hermosa of trying to run her out of town so that she can take over the family business, so she rips up the passport.
Archie approaches Toby, Eddie, and Malcolm at the community center and asks them where everyone is at. They reveal that no one else is coming as everyone is accusing Archie of killing Jughead. Archie swears that he didn’t kill anyone. However, Toby, Eddie, and Malcolm are still hesitant around him and leave.
Alice takes her documentary to Riverdale High, where she asks Toni about her relationship with Jughead. Toni explains how they were similar in many ways and how they actually spent a night together. It was the moment that cemented their friendship. Alice then asks for Cheryl’s feelings on the subject. Cheryl replies that she’s "really sorry for calling Jughead a hobo that one time."
As planned, Jughead’s wake is hosted at the Jones'. Archie, Betty, Veronica, FP, Alice, Jellybean, Mary, Cheryl, Toni, Fangs, Sweet Pea, Hermione, Hiram, Tom, Kevin, and Pop Tate attend. Donna, Bret, Joan, and DuPont arrive just before the service commence. They are instantly confronted by Sweet Pea, though Betty intervenes, explaining to Sweet Pea that FP invited them. Still unconvinced that Jughead is dead, Donna makes a comment about the choice to have a closed casket. Betty explains that the funeral home didn’t even want them to have the casket at the house, but it’s serpent tradition. She then threatens to throw Donna out should she make a scene. FP welcomes everyone and thanks them for attending. He recalls how resilient, loyal, and loving Jughead was. Betty approaches the podium and reads a passage from one of Jughead’s favorite Sherlock Holmes short stories.
Hiram approaches FP in the kitchen and proposes that he take a leave of absence from being sheriff. FP tells Hiram to go to hell and then he quits.
Donna interrogates Jellybean, demanding that she admit that Jughead’s actually alive. Betty interrupts and still Donna claims this is all merely an act. As Betty kicks Donna out, she tells Bret to go for the coffin, however, Sweet Pea snatches him by his shirt and pushes him away. Betty then tells him, Donna, and Joan to leave.
Hermosa took it upon herself to do some investigating and she discovered that Archie, Veronica, and Betty told their parents drastically different stories regarding the night of Jughead’s death. She did this by ingratiating herself with Mary and Alice. She’s now demanding the truth or else she’ll tell them that they were all lied to.
Kevin finds Betty at the Blue and Gold and asks if it’s true that Jughead is actually alive. It’s what people around school are saying. However, Kevin first heard it from Donna at the wake.
Alice asks Kevin why does he think the rumors regarding Jughead supposedly still being alive have gained so much traction. Kevin replies that everyone simply wants it to be true. He recalls freshman year and how they were assigned The Adventures of Tom Sawyer to read. Kevin barely knew Jughead at the time, but he was obsessed with the book, specifically the chapter which Tom fakes his own death to see how people in the town would react to his passing.
Alice then questions Reggie, who is angered by the rumors that Jughead is still alive. Not because he misses Jughead but because Jughead beat him by pulling off the most epic senior prank of all time by faking his own death.
Archie meets with Betty at Pop’s, as she's having trouble dealing with the fact that Jughead’s gone. Archie takes her hand and assures Betty that they’ll get through it together. Betty doesn’t know why everyone at school is saying that he’s still alive when he isn’t. The rumors are only making the grieving process more painful. Unbeknownst to Archie and Betty, Cheryl eavesdrops from the neighboring booth.
Betty and Archie arrive at school the following day to find Cheryl and a crowd of students standing at Jughead’s locker, where a shrine has been made. Betty runs off with Archie following closely behind. He follows her into the music room and promises her that she’s not alone. Betty just wants to feel good if only for a few moments. Archie reminds Betty that he’s always there for her. Archie and Betty then kiss. From just outside the music room, Cheryl takes several photos of Archie and Betty’s kiss and sends it out in a group chat to Toni, Kevin, and Reggie, who shows it to the football team.
Cheryl finds Veronica in the girls room and shows her the photo she took of Archie and Betty kissing. Veronica then confronts Archie and Betty in the student lounge as they chat with Toni and Kevin. She comments that the music room must be his special place as it’s where he takes all his women; Veronica, Betty, Josie, and Ms. Grundy. Veronica accuses Archie of taking advantage of Betty when she was grieving and most vulnerable. Betty takes responsibility, admitting that she kissed Archie. Veronica calls her a "scheming, two-faced bitch." And tells them both to burn in hell.
Alice questions why people are so ready to accept the fact that Archie and Betty are dating. Kevin thinks there were a lot of closeted "Barchie stans" waiting for this moment. There’s a lot of people who don’t think "Bughead" should’ve happened. It was always supposed to be Betty and Archie. As for the rumor regarding Jughead being alive, Kevin is certain that it is no more than a rumor as Betty’s relationship with Archie confirms this.
Donna confronts Betty in the Blue and Gold. She’s still convinced that Jughead’s alive and that Betty’s building a case to exonerate herself with Jughead’s help. Donna just doesn’t know where Betty’s hiding him. Betty refuses to keep having the same conversation over again. She calls Donna obsessed. Donna’s certain that Jughead’s nearby. Somewhere they can be alone. She saw the sex tape with Betty and Jughead and comments that Betty couldn’t possibly go two days without him. Donna’s waiting for Betty to trip and fall so she can be there to watch.
Betty returns home and tells her mother that Donna’s following her, as she's convinced that Betty is sneaking around. Betty admits that she has been visiting Dilton's bunker. First, she would stop at Pop's for dinner before heading into the woods as Donna followed. Donna breaks into the bunker to find Betty hooking up with Archie. Betty tells her to leave, and Donna rushes out. Alice questions how long Betty has been hooking up with Archie in the bunker. Betty explains that it started after Jughead died. She then tells her mom that she has to tell her something off the record.
After learning the truth from Betty, Alice resumes her documentary. As it turns out, this isn’t simply a story about a murder in a small town. It’s a story about friendship and conspiracy and what happens when those two things dovetail into a high sophisticated cover-up.
As it turns out, Archie hooking up with Betty was merely a ploy to steer Donna in the wrong direction. He and Veronica are still together. In between the look Archie saw on Donna’s face in the bunker and Veronica’s performance at school, he’s sure that they fooled her. Veronica asks Archie if he felt anything when he was pretending to be with Betty. He assures Veronica that she’s the only girl for him.
Meanwhile, Jughead is alive and well. He and Betty hookup in the bunker. They hope now that Donna will start doubting herself. This entire thing is a game of confidence. And when you don’t have confidence, mistakes are made and that’s what Betty’s hoping for. In the meantime, Betty’s counting on Jughead to figure out how the pieces of the mystery fit together. Jughead survived the Stonies "botched braining." Betty is thankful for his beanie, which apparently cushioned the blow. She then tells Jughead to close his eyes and hold out his hands. She gifts him with a brand new beanie that she personally knitted. Jughead asks if it was the right decision to let Alice in on their plan. Considering that Charles, FP, Jellybean, Dr. Curdle Jr., and Mary are already in, Betty explains that it felt like the right thing to do. He then asks if any old feelings came back when Betty kissed Archie. She explains that Jughead’s the only man for him. They then proceed to have sex.
Alice meets with Veronica at La Bonne Nuit. She asks if Veronica was worried that something might spark between Archie and Betty when they kissed. Veronica claims that she trusts her friends and that the thought never crossed her mind.
Archie gets a text from Betty thanking him for his help. Archie responds, though not with the full message he initially intended on sending.
Alice asks Betty, Archie, Veronica why they went to such lengths to convince the Stonies and the town of Riverdale that Jughead was dead. Betty explains that they were trying to pin the murder on her and if they knew that Jughead was still alive, they would circle the wagons and lock down tight. The only way to pin the attempted murder of Jughead on them is to force them to crack.
Donna informs Bret that she has proof that Jughead’s alive after tailing Betty to the bunker, where she was making out with Archie. They had takeout from Pop's and Donna noticed three milkshakes. She surmises Jughead must have hid when he heard her coming. However, Bret is certain that Jughead is dead. He tells Donna to take the win. They killed Jughead and no one is the wiser. Donna slaps Bret and tells him to never give her orders again, reminding him that she’s the brains of the operation. They still have a job to finish. She warns Bret against ever undermining her again unless he wants to end up like Jonathan.
Hermosa returns after doing some digging on Donna per Veronica’s behest. Veronica convenes with Archie, Betty, and Jughead in the bunker, where she shares the information Hermosa gathered on Donna. Veronica reveals that Donna Sweett isn’t who they actually believed her to be. With the final piece of the puzzle in hand, Jughead knows how to take down the Stonies once and for all.
- The title of the episode refers to the 1995 mockumentary of the same name directed by Gus Van Sant and starring Nicole Kidman as a woman suffering from narcissistic personality disorder.