'Riverdale' Season 4, Episode 16 Recap: What Really Happened to Jughead, Revealed

Ever since the Riverdale Season 3 finale, The CW show has been hinting that Jughead (played by Cole Sprouse) was murdered, only for him to be revealed to be alive in the March 4 episode of the show. Riverdale Season 4, Episode 16, titled "The Locked Room," finally explained exactly what happened to him, bringing together multiple threads from across the season to explain the massive conspiracy that the students of Stonewall Prep were involved in against Jughead.

Crucial to the Jughead mystery is previous episode "Witness for the Prosecution" (Riverdale Season 4, Episode 5). In that episode, we got a scene where the Stonewall Prep students learn that in order to win the contract to write the Baxter Brothers mystery, they would have to write the perfect murder. However, in "The Locked Room" we learned that not only did they have to write about it—they had to commit it as well. After Jughead won the contract, Principal DuPont (Malcolm Stewart) set the other students a challenge—anyone who could get away with murdering Jughead would get the contract.

As Jughead and Betty (Lili Reinhart) explained in Season 4, Episode 16, this gave Bret (Sean Depner) and Donna (Sarah Desjardins) an idea. Bret led Jug into the woods (as we saw a few episodes ago) while Donna kept Betty occupied. Another student, Joan (Doralynn Mui) actually hit Jug with the rock, while Donna drugged Betty with devil's breath, putting her in a state of suggestibility and making her believe she killed her boyfriend.

However, "The Locked Room" reveals that their scheme failed due to their incompetence. No one actually checked Jug's pulse to see if he was really dead, and when Betty and co found him they were able to give him CPR while using Jug's beanie to stop the bleeding. This explains why they and the hat were covered in blood during the flash-forward in the Season 3 finale.

riverdale season 4 spoilers jughead
'Riverdale' Season 4, Episode 16 revealed that Bret and Donna had tried to kill Jughead in an attempt to win the Baxter Brothers contract. The CW

After Jug asks them not to take him to hospital, Betty gets her brother Charles (Wyatt Nash) to take him away in an FBI medical truck, allowing him to fake his own death until he can get all the evidence he needs against DuPont and the rest of Stonewall Prep.

However, Riverdale Season 4, Episode 16 reveals that the mystery actually went deeper than that and linked with another plotline from the season—the conspiracy around the true creator of the Baxter Brothers novels. After Jughead came to DuPont and told him that he knew that DuPont had stolen the idea from Jug's grandfather Forsythe (Timothy Webber), DuPont knew Jughead had to be killed at any cost.

However, Jug learned that he was far from the only person who people had been ordered to kill in the name of the Baxter Brothers contract. While in hiding, he spoke to the former Baxter Brothers ghostwriters and found out that each of them had had to commit a murder to get the contract. He and Betty also learned that three members of the original Stonewall Prep literary society had been killed to keep the secret that DuPont had stolen the Baxter Brothers idea.

He also discovered that originally it was someone else the students had been asked to kill. Moose (Cody Kearsley) had been admitted to the school as the chosen victim, but then Mr. Chipping (Sam Witwer) got cold feet and ensured that Moose was expelled before any harm could come to him. Similarly, Jughead was invited to the school as part of a scheme to draw Jug's grandfather in, giving Chipping and DuPont the chance to kill Forsythe and keep the true origins of the Baxter Brothers secret. This was the point where Chipping killed himself by jumping out of the window, wracked with guilt over his role in the scheme.

After his decades-long plot was revealed, DuPont too jumped out of the window in "The Locked Room," putting an end to the Baxter Brothers murder competition forever.

"The Locked Room," however, had one further revelation for fans of The CW show, as we learned what Hermosa (Mishel Prada) told Betty at the end of the last episode. It turns out that Donna was the granddaughter of the woman who had invented the Baxter Brothers character Tracy True and had been killed to hide the fact that DuPont had stolen that character too. As this gives Donna a motive for many of the crimes committed over the last few episodes, Betty uses it to blackmail her, warning her that if she causes any trouble Betty will release the medical files linking Donna with her murdered grandmother.

With 16 episodes of mystery solved, Episode 16 ends with a soft reset of the show, with Jughead back at Riverdale High and the central four characters committing to focus less on solving mysteries and more on ensuring that Jug and Archie (KJ Apa) graduate. Viewers will have to tune in when the show returns in April to see exactly how long it is before Archie, Jughead, Betty and Veronica (Camila Mendes) before they are drawn into more intrigue.

Riverdale Season 4, Episode 16 is streaming now on The CW app in the U.S. and on Netflix internationally.

'Riverdale' Season 4, Episode 16 Recap: What Really Happened to Jughead, Revealed | Culture