What evil lurks in the heart of Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart)? Possibly quite a lot, if we are to believe what the flashforward at the end of Wednesday’s episode of Riverdale, “Tangerine,” is implying. Did Betty kill her beloved boyfriend Jughead (Cole Sprouse), or is Riverdale just trying to make us think she did?
In “Tangerine,” Betty learns that her mental hospital-bound sister Polly (Tiera Skovbye) nearly clawed a nurse's eyes out — a nurse who just so happens to be named Betty. Strangely, Polly insists that she doesn’t remember doing so, despite their being video footage that shows she definitely did.
Later, when Betty’s mom Alice (Madchen Amick) gets a phone call and immediately goes after Betty with a knife, Betty realizes hypnotism is at work. She pinpoints imprisoned cult member Evelyn (Zoé De Grand Maison) as the culprit, and Evelyn confesses that she hypnotized Polly and Alice into attempting to kill “Dark Betty” using the trigger “tangerine” repeated three times in a row.
With the help of her newfound brother/FBI agent Charles (Wyatt Nash), Betty hypnotizes herself to “kill” her own Dark Betty, which essentially means going back into her mind to the moment where the darkness within her was born. In this case, it’s saving her younger self from mercy killing her cat Caramel at the insistence of her serial killer dad Hal (Lochlyn Munro).
At the end of the episode, Betty once again uses the tangerine trigger, just to make sure she really did kill Dark Betty. She ends up smashing her mirror, suggesting that Betty doesn’t really believe that Dark Betty is really gone.
This poses some problems for Betty, given the flashforward at the end of the episode. Archie (KJ Apa), Veronica (Camila Mendes) and Betty are in the woods, where Jughead’s body is lying on the ground. Archie checks Jughead’s pulse, then declares “He’s dead.” He turns to Betty: “What did you do Betty?”
It’s then that it’s revealed Betty is holding a rock, suggesting that she may have been behind hurting — and possibly killing — her boyfriend.
Since Jughead’s (supposed) death only takes place four weeks into the future, it’s hard to imagine Betty and her boyfriend going from sickly in love to murderous in less than one month. Still, if Betty’s darkness isn’t gone, it’s possible that she hurt Jughead not because she wanted to, but because she couldn’t control herself. Maybe she was even hypnotized in a different way — possibly by Charles, who is secretly working with boyfriend Chic (Hart Denton) to take down the Coopers.
That is if Jughead is dead at all. One other theory is that Jughead is not really dead, but is trying to craft the “perfect murder.” Writing a story about the perfect crime is an assignment Jughead is tasked with at his fancy new school Stonewall Prep, where he has a literary enemy in Bret (Sean Depner). Could Jughead have faked his own death — with the help of his friends — in order to one-up Bret? If that is the case, maybe Betty is using her family’s twisted history as part of Jughead’s “story.”
Sure, it’s possible that Betty really did kill Jughead, but if there’s one couple that would plot the perfect murder together for fun, it’s Bughead. Would Riverdale kill off their favorite ship as well as one of their most iconic characters, just for a shocking twist? I’m thinking not — but that doesn’t mean another crazy turn of some sort isn’t coming.