Riverdale Season 4, Episode 13 Recap: Et Tu, Betty?

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For a show that’s spent nearly twelve full episodes teasing a Barchie comeback, Riverdale episode 13 is full of our longtime OTPs getting intimate. But are these Bughead and Varchie moments just the calm before the storm? Life after high school gets even murkier for Riverdale‘s Scooby Gang (and this Murder Capital gets even Murder-ier) during “The Ides of March,” where we learn that these private school kids know how to party and that nothing gold can stay… not even a laurel wreath. Et tu, Betty?


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What’s grosser: The literal ticking clock introducing us to Jughead’s final week or Archie waking up at 4:45 AM. Golden Boy managed to help Mad Dog get into Notre Dame, but Archiekins has been so MIA that he won’t even be able to graduate. Seems like the type of thing that would be brought up before it’s too late, like putting him on academic probation from football last week, but Riverdale High isn’t known for its academic excellence. There’s this whole 15-minute storyline where Archie asks Hiram for business advice even though this man legit tried to kill him and frame him for murder, then ultimately just makes Mr. Keller foreman again and decides to finish his senior year over the summer and apply to colleges after a gap year. Yeah, it was as pointless as it sounds.

Speaking of institutions of higher learning, Jughead has been kicked out of the Quill and Skull because Betty broke into their lair. It’s an all-around bad week for the Core Four — Jughead is also informed that his Baxter Brothers contract will be terminated if he doesn’t submit a new transcript by the end of the week, which is conveniently the school’s Ides of March blowout bacchanal. He calls Betty to help him crank an entire prep school mystery out before the deadline, a “fictional” account of psychos who lock people in coffins and plot murders. Wonder if the Stonewall Prep writing group will dig it? We never get to find out because Jughead is accused of plagiarising the essay that got him accepted to Yale. Some random student who’s never talked before claims it was his using a Microsoft Word timestamp even I can fake. Because Brett gave Jug a new Macbook three weeks ago (and stole his old laptop, obvi), Jughead can’t prove it’s his. Jug’s disciplinary hearing is the same date as his Baxter Brothers deadline and the bacchanal. Interesting.

Betty swoops in to save the day with a lie detector test, admitted to Jughead in front of the group. That doesn’t convince them (because they’re clearly all in on this), so Bughead breaks into Mr. DuPont’s office to look for clues. They find Jug’s original novel marked “Ready for Print,” with a bit of polish by the other writing group members. Jug did not protect his personal IP, so it’s DuPont’s for the taking. Later, Jughead threatens to expose Brett’s secrets during his hearing, but Brett *does* have a secretly-recorded Bughead sex tape and won’t hesitate to release it at the first sign of trouble. Because of Brett’s threat, Jughead agrees to leave Stonewall instead of fighting the plagiarism charges. Brett asks Jughead and his townie friends to stop by the Ides of March forest party, an obvious trap that Jughead ignores. He says he’ll take care of everything before the party, but it judging by Jug’s tiny knife and creepy rabbit mask, his plan isn’t going towards the happy ending we’re all craving.

Veronica is super pissed at her dad… for being sick? It’s honestly not clear, but she channels her energy into an NSFW nooner with her boyfriend set to super porny music. Like, we get it: These teens are boning! Pointing it out like that just makes it weirder. While Archie is out here being responsible, Veronica is dancing all night, drinking at school, and talking back to Principal Honey. Archie lies that a flask in Veronica’s locker is his when Honey threatens to tell Barnard about Ronnie’s drinking, which is a dope thing to do. Kind of b*tchy that she just lets him, but okay. She tries to thank him with a classroom quickie, but he says no, like they didn’t have sex in school literally the day before. Ronnie isn’t happy Archie is harshing her mellow, but he’s just concerned about her abrupt change in attitude. She tells Archie about how lost she feels in the wake of her father’s diagnosis, and if anyone understands losing a father, it’s Archie. He advises her to spend more time with him while she can, even if it’s hard to watch. She decides to give Hiram a rundown of her business’s marketing plan to get him fired up through competition. Hiram is ready for war, and she thinks this brutal battle can save him from dying. This family is so weird.

At the Life and Death Brigade Stonewall Prep party, Archie and Ronnie leave Betty alone to have sex in the woods. Kinda rude, but okay. And where is Betty’s man, you ask? Fighting with Brett deep in the foreboding forest. I’m deffo scared, but Jughead is at his hottest when he’s wearing his gang jacket and looking determined. Betty has her own catfight to take care of, following Donna into the darkness. Donna’s a bit of a psycho, enough that she visited Evelyn Evernever in prison. Apparently, “Tangerine” wasn’t the only magic word Betty had to worry about. This one sends her into a fugue where she hurts the people she loves. We don’t know what the word is, but it works! Veronica and Archie stumble upon Jughead, dead in a clearing, with Betty standing over him holding a big *ss rock.


Cheryl’s anti-smoking PSA. Smoking gives you wrinkles, it’s canon.


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Listen, Riverdale tied up a bunch of loose storylines together nicely to explain Jughead’s death, but I still do not believe for one second that he’s dead. Neither Lili Reinhart nor Cole Sprouse have taken to social media (yet?) to say how sad they are to see Jughead go, a societal mainstay for main characters that get the boot, and the only character who’s reliably stayed dead on this godforsaken show is Jason Blossom, who showed up for six episodes as a wordless corpse anyway. There’s no way Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa would let Cole out of his contract, even if he wanted to go, because it would be terrible from a marketing standpoint. I’m interested to see how they get themselves out of this one and confident that there is a plan in place and we won’t just be feeling around in the dark for what makes the least most sense, Gossip Girl-style. Although, there was no trailer for episode 14 and Riverdale is taking a week-long hiatus, so maybe the writers did need some time to brainstorm. Take all the time you need babes, you’re doing great and we love you. Just please, give us Jughead back.

On a lighter note, there was a completely irrelevant storyline for Choni this episode where Hermosa joined the Lodge family tradition of believing blonde wigs can conceal your identity and Choni got to double-cross the double-crosser with a beautifully lit dance sequence. My one question is: Do we think Toni shops at Pretty Little Thing? Because I *need* the grey/silver crop top she was wearing at the beginning of this episode. We got our wish for more Choni PDA, which is great, but now I’m worried that it’s too much and we’re starting to fetishize woman/woman relationships. Where is the sexy dance montage of Kevin and Fang? Actually, where is *Kevin*? I know I’m just being nitpicky at this point and Riverdale is honestly pretty great about representation across ethnic and sexual backgrounds, I just love these characters so much and want to protect them. Just give us a Choni/Kevin spin-off, I beg of you.

This episode also featured a totally unnecessary plot about Hiram giving Archie life advice like Hiram didn’t send Archie to literal prison. Are we really trying to rehabilitate Hiram’s image? I don’t think this character deserves a redemption arc, especially one that’s instigated by an uncontrollable force like illness. Disease doesn’t give him a free pass for being a bad father, a borderline-abusive husband, and a conservative lawmaker, and having the people in his life forgive him just on the basis of imminent death is making me uncomfortable.

In honor of both Riverdale and Nancy Drew taking next week off, I’ll leave y’all with this nugget for thought: Why are we still using these thinly-veiling “Tracy True” references when the CW clearly has the right to use Nancy Drew’s name? Some mysteries will never be solved.

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