Wednesday’s “In Memoriam,” the highly-anticipated season 4 premiere of Riverdale, was a well-deserved tribute to the late Luke Perry and his character, Fred Andrews. The episode, which took place over the Fourth of July instead of the typical back-to-school season, left little room for tying up the threads of the Riverdale season 3 finale. One such thread was the fate of Jughead (Cole Sprouse), who was mysteriously missing from a flashforward in which Archie (KJ Apa), Betty (Lili Reinhart), and Veronica (Camila Mendes) mysteriously burned bloody clothes, and Jughead’s signature hat, in a bonfire. The good news? If Jughead dies on Riverdale, we’ll find out pretty soon.
The flashforward suggesting Jughead may be dead was morbid — could the rest of the Core Four actually kill their best friend? The scene definitely prompted many questions, considering Riverdale will take quite a long time to catch up to the spring break moment.
Showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, however, claimed that we may not have to wait that long to find out if Jughead is a goner or not. While there was no flashforward in the premiere episode, Aguirre-Sacasa said that was due to the special circumstances of the Perry tribute.
“Early on, we decided that episode 1 would not have a flashforward. [The CW called and I] remember thinking, ‘Hm. Are they going to say, We want the flashforward so we’re hooked into the rest of the season?’ And in the writers room we said we didn’t want that,” Aguirre-Sacasa explained at a screening of the season 4 premiere for press. “[Instead, The CW] said, ‘We’re in complete agreement. We want this episode to just be about this one thing.’ However, we do have flash forwards moving forward from episode 2 on.”
Hopefully, these continued flashforwards will expand upon what we saw in the season 3 finale and illuminate the truth about why Jughead isn’t with the gang at this important moment, pretty soon. If Jughead isn’t dead — and since he’s a fan favorite, I suspect he’s very much alive — we’ll have to find out whose blood is on the gang’s clothes.
Even if Riverdale’s flashforwards reveal something truly dark, Aguirre-Sacasa said the show will be more “grounded” this year, just like the show’s first season, which was more of a straight-up murder mystery with no organ farms to be found.
“It’s a highwire act. A lot of people said season 1 was much more grounded. So we used season 1 a little bit as a template,” he explained. “We definitely have crazy stories. But instead of let’s say four crazy stories per episode, we have two crazy stories per episode and two that are more emotional and psychological or real.”
Whatever happened to Jughead...it has to be better than the anxiety of not knowing, right?