Say goodbye to Stonewall, Riverdale fans, because the latest episode finally wrapped up Season 4’s prep school story and explained Jughead’s super-complex murder fake-out. Since everything that went down this season has been pretty confusing, Riverdale devoted its full March 11 episode to laying out all that had been going on behind closed doors. Riverdale‘s explanation of Jughead’s fake death is pretty wild, so let’s break everything down.
Spoiler alert: This post contains spoilers from Riverdale Season 4, Episode 16, "The Locked Room." It turns out, faking your own death gives you a lot of time to solve complex murder mysteries. While Betty, Archie, and Veronica kept up the facade that the Stonewall Prep students had actually killed Jughead, the beanie-wearing weirdo had all but figured out every detail of the nefarious goings-on at Stonewall. Once he got one last piece of the puzzle from Veronica and convinced his grandfather to come out of hiding, Jughead stormed into Mr. DuPont’s classroom with Betty and unleashed the full explanation.
Sometimes it really is the creepy guy you immediately suspect, because Mr. DuPont was behind not only Jughead’s attempted murder, but so many more actual murders. After DuPont had extorted Forsythe Jones I out of the first Baxter Brothers book back in the day, he killed all of the classmates who knew about the deal in order to cover it up. After that, DuPont instituted a tradition whereby each new Baxter Brothers ghostwriter would have to commit a perfect murder in order to win the contract. That, of course, is what led to Bret, Donna, Jonathan, and Joan plotting to murder Jughead and claim the contract… which ended in failure as Joan was unable to strike Jughead hard enough with the rock and Jonathan flubbed his task of checking Jughead’s pulse afterward.
The Baxter Brothers‘ murderous tradition also explained Mr. Chipping’s bizarre behavior. As it turned out, Chipping had recruited Moose to be the perfect murder victim for the next author, but since he had been so distressed by the whole situation, Chipping had a change of heart and forced Moose to join the Army in order to save him from Stonewall. Chipping’s intense regret was also what led him to jump out of the window and kill himself.
To bring it all full circle, Mr. DuPont went out the same way as Mr. Chipping. Once Jughead brought his grandpa in to confront DuPont and Charles declared he was under arrest, DuPont jumped out of the window to his death rather than be taken in.
While DuPont was the overall mastermind behind all the murders at Stonewall, Donna also played a major part in the action. Veronica’s half-sister Hermosa (a private investigator, if you somehow forgot) discovered Donna was actually the granddaughter of Jane Dallas Brown, one of DuPont’s original classmates who he killed. Having been aware of her grandmother’s murder, Donna enrolled at Stonewall and got close to DuPont in order to get her revenge, which finally happened, thanks to Jughead and Betty, of all people.
And that’s it — the whole Stonewall Prep storyline is now officially over, which Riverdale made very clear by having Jughead transfer back to Riverdale High to be with his friends for the last few months of high school. Now fans just have to wait to see if he can actually graduate.
Riverdale Season 4 airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.
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