Time to leave Rivervale and head back to our prime universe, Riverdale. “Chapter One Hundred: The Jughead Paradox” marks the series’ 100th episode as well as the end of the special five-episode Rivervale event, and its filled with answers, emotion, death, twists, and so much more! For the remainder of this recap, we will be getting into heavy spoilers; so only continue reading if you’ve seen episode 6×05.
100th EPISODE — Unnerved by a series of strange happenings around him, Jughead’s (Cole Sprouse) quest for answers leads him to uncover the truth about Rivervale.
Many fans have been wondering if Rivervale is actually real, and Jughead seems to give us the answer from the very beginning: “The following isn’t an imaginary story, it happened.” We see a corpse lying by the Rivervale sign and while we do not get a face, there is something about it that looks like Jughead. Almost as if playing off of that, we see all those who died in Rivervale (Archie, Toni, Reggie, and Nana Rose) are back as their loved ones wake up from “nightmares” of exactly how they died. When we reach Jughead, he’s in Archie’s bedroom, the ticking of the Riverdale bomb clearly present despite the fact that there’s nothing under the bed. As he travels down the stairs, the bomb goes off and he then wakes up in the garage.
He goes back to his and Tabitha’s apartment, telling her about where he woke up, but surprisingly Tabitha doesn’t seem concerned and chalks it up to nerves about returning to school. Though, when he does return to the halls of Riverdale (or Rivervale) High, he and audiences are thrown for a loop. We see the teen version of all the characters, Jughead included, sporting some of their iconic high school outfits. This doesn’t really get explained in depth considering we see they are all still present at the school as teachers. Of course, with any 100th episode, familiar faces are expected and the first one we see is Ben Button, who died in Riverdale.
Clearly startled by the return, Jughead then meets everyone in the teacher’s lounge to find out even more confusing news: Archie and Betty are getting married this weekend, and he’s the best man. Now, a small detail to notice in this scene is despite Toni and Fangs waking up together in the beginning of the episode, we now see Toni and Cheryl as well as Kevin and Fangs sitting together. This hints at the fact that the two universes are starting to collide. Betty is then interrupted by Dr. Curdle, who tells her that Jughead Jones is dead and he has his body. However, she shuts it down, expressing Jughead is currently with her.
Knowing something is very wrong, Jughead goes to visit Dr. Curdle and look at the corpse, who is clearly another Jughead. The doctor claims it must be a paradox before sharing that the other Jughead was strangled and found at the lonely highway. After collecting his personal belongings, Jughead heads to the town sign, seeing how each side has a different name. Then, he discovers a comic book that Jughead had with him when he died. It’s a Rivervale issue with Betty and Archie about to get married on the cover. Though the most important detail is the title: The Jughead Paradox.
That discovery leads him to find all of Jughead’s other comic books about him and his friends. Jughead reads each of them from the beginning, then sharing his realizations with Tabitha and telling her how the first 95 comics are called Riverdale, but then after an explosion, it turns into Rivervale, a parallel universe. Tabitha reads them after, leading to both of them remembering recent events clearly while other memories are harder to recall. Next, he goes to Betty and Archie to ask them about the explosion. Neither remember it, but Betty tells Jughead about Archie’s nightmare that we saw in the season six premiere.
When it comes to Veronica and Reggie, we find out a little more about how the two universes differ. Veronica’s father (who isn’t actually Hiram in this universe) died in Rivervale the night before her quinceañera. This also means that there’s a new villain with Hiram out of the picture. Reggie then makes a hilarious observation when he realizes he looks different in earlier issues, a nod to two actors playing the character of Reggie. Lastly, Jughead takes it to Cheryl, who informs him that Jason is very much still alive. This major change is proven when Jason walks into the room and actually speaks to Jughead, which mark his very first words on the series.
We see Veronica and Reggie starting to have a sweet moment before getting interrupted by one of the best parts of the episode: Ross Butler. The actor returns as Reggie, introducing an amazing dynamic between him and Charles Melton. Both quickly begin to fight for the title of the better Reggie. Veronica, stuck in the middle, tries to find the best solution when both want to attend the bachelor and bachelorette parties. Reggie (Butler) crashes the bachelorette party while Reggie (Melton) goes to Archie’s bachelor party.
Meanwhile, Jughead is attempting to study more about parallel universes and finds a very alive Dilton and Ethel to assist. Dilton actually believes Jughead’s theory and also shares his research on the subject. Parallel universes are supposed to be exact copy or mirror images, which Rivervale isn’t. Jughead is ready to take action and do whatever needs to be done. Dilton tries to get him to drop it, but he refuses, knowing there’s a reason why he’s the one that connected all of the dots.
At the bachelor party, Jughead and Archie get into a discussion about the wedding and the redhead voices how his dad would’ve loved the fact that he was marrying Betty. Archie then shares how he keeps hoping that somehow, Fred will show up. Back at the Pembrooke, Veronica tries to have a good time with both Reggies, but Melton’s version makes it clear he is not interested in sharing, which Butler’s agrees with. A frustrated Veronica expresses how she is more woman than either of them can handle alone.
The next morning, the group is clearly hungover from the parties, only to be awakened by the news that Jason has been captured by the Black Hood. Heading to the restroom, Jughead tells Archie that he thinks he knows where Jason is being held. The duo then go to rescue him with Sheriff Keller. They manage to save him and reveal that in this universe Clifford Blossom is the Black Hood. Veronica then makes it home to find both Reggies wrestling, attempting to blame each other for “starting it.” She says until they can both act like adults, they’re grounded and if they can’t co-exist, they are out of her life.
At the rehearsal dinner, both Alice and Hal are there to make a toast for the new couple. Though, Hal is quickly cut off when a distraught Toni enters the diner to reveal that someone strangled Cheryl. Betty and Jughead go to Thornhill together to investigate the crime scene, but then a bigger realization hits Jughead; Dilton must be this universe’s big bad, which is why he wanted Jughead to let it go. It doesn’t take very long for Dilton to confess his role in everything, sharing how both universes are going to implode. Ethel, seeing everything Dilton has done, is the one who manages to stop him by poisoning him.
Veronica later comes home to discover the Reggies had a duel, which led to both of them dying. She goes to the floor, holding the hands of both Melton and Butler’s Reggie. Back at the high school, Ethel shares a way to save Riverdale, the prime universe. Jughead needs to recreate the moment in Archie’s bedroom when the bomb went off. With this plan, Rivervale would cease to exist. Not wanting to blow up Archie and Betty, Jughead figures out a way to alter the scene: him and Veronica will take their place. He shares his plan (full of Riverdale flashbacks) with Veronica, who doesn’t take very long to agree, which is probably partly due to the fact that she just lost Reggie. It’s official, after all this time, Vughead is canon!
They decide to do it during Archie and Betty’s wedding, neither one in the mood to attend the event, but things don’t end up going as planned. Archie confronts Jughead after leaving Betty at the alter because he realized Jughead must be planning to separate the universes. Jughead tries to use Veronica to reason with the redhead before he does anything, but Archie tells him that he strangled Veronica because Jughead told her the truth, which clearly means he did the same to Cheryl and the other Jughead. That’s right— Archie Andrews is Rivervale’s big bad. Though, Archie doesn’t hesitate to defend himself, saying that no one stays dead here and everyone will come back.
Just like that, the real reasoning is revealed: Archie was marrying Betty in hopes his father would come back. Archie says how his father would never miss his wedding and that Fred loved Betty. When Jughead begins to question him, he reveals that he was there for the birth of Rivervale and saw everything. In Archie’s eyes, Rivervale represents another chance for him to be with his dad. Apa does a fantastic job with the scene and the dialogue is absolutely heartbreaking the longer it sits with you.
A brutal fight begins between the best friends and just as it looks like Archie will kill Jughead, Betty appears in her wedding dress, shooting Archie to save her ex-boyfriend’s life. She says how when Archie left her at the alter, her life flashed before her eyes and something just clicked, leading her here. The duo set the scene of how we left Archie and Betty off in Riverdale, but end up being interrupted by narrator Jughead. He tells them that he’s figured out a way to separate the universes without erasing this one.
Narrator Jughead sits Betty and Jughead down to tell them about the great Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe in the sky, aka where he went after Archie killed him. We see all of the characters in their Archie Comics’ outfits, creating a beautiful and peaceful atmosphere. Here is where narrator Jughead discovers the comic book that gave him all of the answers. Jughead is going to save Rivervale by becoming a story generator for the universe. The catch is that once he starts writing, he will have to stay in isolation. Betty is clearly upset by the news, trying to think of another way, but Jughead asks her to be strong for him, saying he needs Betty in his corner for this.
The other Jughead and Betty once again recreate the bomb scene, but this time Archie has resurrected. He attempts to break the door down as Betty and Jughead cling to each other, but in the end, the explosion never happens and Archie disappears. Betty and Jughead head downstairs to find everyone else waiting downstairs, completely forgetting about the sacrifice made and what just happened. It’s a small yet adorable scene as everyone goes back to their normal lives in Rivervale. We seem to be back to square one as we see Jughead and Tabitha move his belongings into their new apartment, including the comics.
Though, we then find out that Jughead isn’t actually alone in the bunker, Ethel is with him. She asks him the question everyone has been wondering, but Jughead tells her that they’ll never know if anyone did something to change the course of events in Riverdale, which transitions us back to the prime universe. We’re back to Betty and Archie in his bedroom, but this time, someone calls the blonde to tell her to get out of the house, altering what happened and most likely saving their lives. The only issue is no one gets Jughead out of the house and he’s in the garage when the explosion happens. Even though he covers his ears, we realize that Jughead has seemingly lost his hearing.
Riverdale will return with new episodes of season six on Sunday, March 6.