The Riverdale gang has some major explaining to do after that insane season 3 finale. Jughead (Cole Sprouse) may have successfully figured out the real identity of the Gargoyle King, and the reason for all of the Gryphons & Gargoyles shenanigans this year, but apparently that and the death of Hal Cooper (Lochlyn Munro), aka the Black Hood, aren't enough to keep the Core Four safe...possibly from each other. What really happened during Riverdale's senior year spring break, and why does it look like the remaining members of the Core Four killed Jughead?!?
At the end of the season 3 finale "Survive the Night," Jughead, Archie (KJ Apa), Betty (Lili Reinhart) and Veronica (Camila Mendes) are enjoying a drama-free life and a milkshake at Pop's, when the show flashes forward to spring break of senior year. Archie, Betty, and Veronica are in their underwear, standing over a fire. Betty instructs them to burn all of their clothes...including Jughead's beanie. After this, they will finish out the year, and go their separate ways, which is the only way they will get away with all of this.
It's a very How To Get Away With Murder moment, and implies that not only does the gang do something very bad, but does something so terrible that it breaks apart their tight-knit friend group. The fact that Jughead is missing, but his hat is not, implies that maybe that bad thing happened to Jughead. Yikes.
Of course, that may be the direction Riverdale wants us to go down, but it seems fairly implausible that the gang would murder Jughead. (Well, okay, it makes sense that Betty and Archie would never do such a thing — but are Jughead and Veronica even friends, really?) What seems more likely is that we'll get more information about this flash forward in every episode of season 4, thus filling in the missing parts of the scene and giving us a clearer picture of what's really going on here.
My theory is that the gang does kill someone — but it's not Jughead. The most likely suspect, in my opinion, is forever scheming Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos), who, at the end of the episode, is bench-pressing and plotting from his new home in Lodge Industries Prison, which may as well be called Hiramland. Since there's no stopping this mobster, even when he's behind bars, maybe the Core Four finally decided to put a stop to him by straight-up killing him.
Seems a little crazy, even for Riverdale, but given that the season 3 finale also included Edgar Evernever (Chad Michael Murray) harvesting organs and grave-robbing Jason Blossom (Trevor Stines) in order to fool Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch), I think we should broaden our expectations of where Riverdale is willing to go.