Last night’s episode of Riverdale, “Chapter Thirty-Four: Judgement Night” was epic for multiple reasons. Spoilers past this point, but we finally found out that, yes, Hal Cooper is The Black Hood (or at least one of them). We also found out whether Fangs is dead (he is… or so they say). And then we were left with a massive cliffhanger: is Jughead really dead???
Short answer? He actually might be. But don’t worry, it’s not going to stick. Let’s look at the evidence.
The Batman Theory
At, uh, 2:25am on May 9, showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa posted the following Batman image, saying it “an inspiration” for this week’s episode of Riverdale:
This is one of the most iconic images in modern comics. And an inspiration for tomorrow’s episode of “Riverdale.” pic.twitter.com/ITRdGebbAh
— RobertoAguirreSacasa (@WriterRAS) May 9, 2018
Compare that to the moment at the end of the episode when FP Jones (Skeet Ulrich) carries the broken body of his son Jughead (Cole Sprouse) out of the woods:
— Brian E. Paterson (@BrianEPaterson) May 10, 2018
To give a little more context in case you didn’t see the episode, Jughead has been working on an expose about Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos). In order to protect the lives of his gang, the Southside Serpents, Jughead offers up his life in exchange for theirs. Penny Peabody (Brit Morgan) happily helps Hiram out, and her gang The Ghoulies beat Jughead to death.
Then FP brings Jughead out of the woods, just like Batman did with his former Robin, Jason Todd, in the image.
[This isn’t even the only Batman reference in the episode: Veronica (Camila Mendes) quips that Riverdale “isn’t Gotham City” at one point.]
So the background for the image is that fans were asked to vote: should Jason Todd live, or die? Fans called in and voted to kill off Jason Todd, with Batman eventually finding his body broken and bloodied by The Joker.
The trick is that like most comic book characters, Todd eventually came back. So could Juggie be dead, only to return as well? Or is this just visual reference?
A Heart-Stopping Moment
For another clue, let’s go to a second tweet from Aguirre-Sacasa:
— RobertoAguirreSacasa (@WriterRAS) May 4, 2018
That seems pretty clear in retrospect, right? That Jughead’s heart literally stops in the scene? Granted he can (and most likely will) come back from that… But what if for a brief moment, Jughead is dead. That would certainly give him a new perspective going forward.
Cole Sprouse Said Jughead Would Die On Riverdale
Look, Sprouse is a jokey weirdo who loves saying whatever comes to his mind. But as Bustle points out, Sprouse literally said “I die” when asked what happens in Season 2 on The Tonight Show:
I mean, he said it you guys.
So… Is Jughead Really Dead On Riverdale?
I’m gonna go with a big “no” here. They haven’t shown him off in promos, but Sprouse is one of the most popular — if not the most popular — castmembers on the show. He’s dating Lili Reinhart, who plays Betty Cooper. And Jughead is an integral part of the Archie Comics mythos.
So while he may die — briefly — he’ll be back.
Be sure to check our our Riverdale podcast, Riverdale After Dark, which updates right after every episode airs!