‘Riverdale’ Revealed Someone Important Goes Missing in a Flashforward

Riverdale is a lot more than “the town with pep,” as fans have come to learn over the past three seasons of The CW series. Every year, Archie Andrews (KJ Apa) and friends have faced down one mystery after another. There always seems to be some sinister force — be it a conspiracy, serial killer or deadly role-playing game — sweeping through their beloved hometown.

However, Riverdale Season 4 takes things even further. Rather than expanding the scope of this year’s tale, the show is ratcheting up the personal stakes. As revealed in the most recent episode, a core character is due to go missing later this season. Let’s take a closer look at what we know so far. Spoilers for season 4, episode 2 ahead!

L-R: Camila Mendes, KJ Apa and Lili Reinhart at San Diego Comic-Con
L-R: Camila Mendes, KJ Apa and Lili Reinhart at San Diego Comic-Con | Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

‘Riverdale’ Season 4 gets personal

In its season premiere, Riverdale solemnly addressed the absence of Fred Andrews and the real-life death of the late Luke Perry. Now the show is leaning into what will likely become one of the season’s most prominent plotlines.

After spending much of “Chapter Fifty-Nine: Fast Times at Riverdale High” deliberating whether he should enroll at the prestigious writing school of Stonewall Prep, Jughead (Cole Sprouse) ultimately decides to give it a shot. With his family and Betty’s (Lili Reinhart) support, he is dressed in his new uniform and ready for a new school. That’s when the flashforward hits.

Jumping to spring break, the episode concludes with a search party scouring the woods for the missing Jughead. The group includes Archie, Betty, Veronica (Camila Mendes), Kevin (Casey Cott), Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch), Toni (Vanessa Morgan), Jellybean (Trinity Likins) and FP (Skeet Ulrich).

Where is Jughead?

While Archie is ostensibly the main character of Riverdale, Jughead is just as vital, especially as the series’ narrator. As leader of the Southside Serpents and the town’s resident gumshoe, his disappearance has the potential to send shockwaves throughout the show.

Less apparent than the narrative reason for pinning season 4 on Jughead is exactly where he has gone. At this early stage in the season, there’s no telling what the precise circumstances behind his disappearance are.

A recent promo (see above) shows someone who appears to be Jughead buried alive. Even if this is the case, we don’t know who is responsible for putting him there. The Gargoyle gang is the most obvious culprit, of course. Yet, so much can happen between now and Riverdale High’s spring break.

Perhaps Jughead has crossed Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos) again or run afoul of Penelope Blossom (Nathalie Boltt). Then there’s always Edgar Evernever (Chad Michael Murray) and his Farm devotees. Riverdale certainly has no shortage of baddies who could be gunning for Jughead.

What does this mean for Betty and Archie?

We don’t even know if Jughead has been missing for an extended period of time or just a day or two. If he’s going to be attending Stonewall Prep, he’ll be somewhat disconnected from his family and friends. In this case, they may not even realize he’s missing at first.

If Jughead has a falling-out with his friends, this could be the show’s chance to explore the classic Archie Comics love triangle. It’s certainly no coincidence that all this talk of a potential Betty/Archie coupling is going around just as we’re getting glimpses of a missing Jughead.

That being said, it’s unlikely that Jughead will be permanently gone from the show. At most, Jughead may be absent for a few episodes. The only question is whether Betty will welcome him with open arms once the fan-favorite couple is reunited.