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Riverdale season 4, episode 9 review: Tangerine

Riverdale’s midseason finale wraps up some major arcs, introduces new ones and ends with a SHOCKING reveal about Betty’s future.

In the winter finale of Riverdale‘s fourth season, Cheryl and Jughead get long-awaited answers from estranged relatives and much-needed closure. Elsewhere, FP agrees to help Archie get revenge on the Dickinsons for beating up local kids on the condition that it will be Archie’s final act as a vigilante.

Meanwhile, Betty is forced to face her demons again after Alice almost stabs her while in a trance, Polly attacks a nurse named Betty, and neither has any memory of what she did. Plus, Veronica gets a surprise visit from a college recruiter during a party at La Bonne Nuit.

Here’s a look at what went down in Riverdale‘s midseason finale, “Tangerine.”

Betty killed Jughead?!

As we know, Archie, Veronica and Betty will all be accused of and arrested for Jug’s death in the future… but this week’s flash-forward revealed a shocking twist: Betty may have actually killed him, accidentally, while essentially being mind-controlled!

The flash-forward gives us a glimpse of Jughead lying motionless in the forest with blood on his head, seemingly the result of being bludgeoned; and Archie checks Jug’s pulse, says he’s dead and asks in horror Betty what she did. So, the evidence is definitely mounting that Riverdale has killed off Jug for real this time, whether Betty is really the killer or not. But fingers crossed, he’s somehow alive!

As for the whole mind control thing, Betty goes to see Evelyn in prison, and Evelyn reveals Edgar programmed Polly and Alice to become “Betty” and kill “Dark Betty,” a.k.a. the real Betty. Evelyn triggered both of them by calling and saying the word “tangerine” three times. (For any fans of USA Networks’ Jason Bourne spin-off, Treadstone, tangerine is basically Riverdale‘s version of “Frère Jacques.”)

With help from Charles, Betty discovers she’s seemingly immune to the trigger but is also able to communicate with her younger self while in a kind of fugue state. In the hopes of destroying Dark Betty, Betty goes back to when it all started: the day she killed Caramel. She stops her younger self from doing it and tells her to go play instead. Young Betty is relieved and happily runs off.

So, everything cool now, right? Not so much. To Alice’s alarm, Betty later shatters her bedroom mirror in the middle of the night to make sure Dark Betty is really gone. Betty is confident that she is. But, four weeks in the future, it seems that may not be the case. (Side note: How was it just Thanksgiving, but now spring break is in four weeks?)

And the new Baxter Brothers ghost writer is….

Jughead Jones. DuPont deems Jug worthy of inheriting the mantle based on his drafted chapters, but Jug decides he needs to meet with his grandfather, Forsythe, before officially signing on. Charles locates Forsythe, and Jughead visits his home: an abandoned school bus in the woods.

The visit is worth his while because, as Forsythe reveals, Jughead’s theory is a bit off. Forsythe did write the first novel, but he sold it to DuPont for $5,000. Over the years, he became increasingly bitter about the franchise’s success and took his anger and frustration out on his wife and FP, until he ultimately decided it be would best for him to just leave.

And he’s quite good at leaving. After meeting with Forsythe, Jug goes to visit FP in the hospital (more on that in a sec) and offers to bring Forsythe by for a visit. FP consents and get his hopes up in spite of himself. Unfortunately, Jughead returns alone, revealing that Forsythe ran away when he offered to bring him to see FP. FP is hurt but grateful to have Jug by his side.

Back at school, Jug signs the ghost writer contract and gets initiated into the Quill & Skull society, members of which include Brett, Donna and the rest of the writers’ group.

He who lives by the sword

Archie reached a breaking point last week, but he hits rock bottom in this week’s episode. After beating up Dodger’s brothers, Archie and FP celebrate their victory at Pop’s. Just as they get up to leave, FP soon gets shot. Luckily, it’s only a flesh wound, but Archie sees red when Fangs informs them that the shooting was a twisted parting gift from the Dickinsons, who are heading out of town for good.

Accompanied by Veronica and Kevin’s rendition of Elton John’s “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” over at La Bonne Nuit, Archie tracks down Dodger and almost beats him to death in front of his mother, Darla. Archie warns her to leave town with her boys and never come back, or he’ll kill them all. She seems to get the message… as do a group of kids from the community center who show up at the worst possible moment.

Finally ready to admit he has a problem, Archie goes to see Mary and explains that he’s been so angry that Dodger got to live and Fred didn’t. Later that night, Archie is back at the center, which seems weird since the only reason he moved out was to protect Mary from the Dickinsons. But, anyway, he gets a surprise visitor: Frank, Fred’s brother, who Archie seemingly has never met or hasn’t seen in a long time.

A “good story”

Contrary to what was implied last week, it turns out Veronica hasn’t actually been accepted to Yale or seemingly any other school, except for Harvard before she turned them down; and she gets rejected by her Dartmouth, which actually feels pretty fair considering she had the audacity to refer it as a “safety school.” Between that and calling herself a “shoe-in” at Harvard, I just really can’t with her right now.

Fortunately for Veronica, Columbia really can with her right now… maybe. After Hiram flexes his mayoral power to revoke La Bonnue Nuit’s liquor license, Veronica decides to throw a big party before the order goes into effect, so Hiram retaliates by inviting the Columbia recruiter who’s conducting Veronica’s admissions interview.

Concerned, but unwilling to abandoned her plans, Veronica does her duet with Kevin (Can he sing more often, please?!). To Veronica’s surprise, the recruiter is intrigued by her performance and asks Veronica to tell her the “good story” behind it.

Time To Say Goodbye

Cheryl smokes out her mystery gaslighter literally by releasing poison canisters in Thistlehouse while wearing a gas mask. Penelope is revealed to be the culprit; and during Cheryl’s subsequent interrogation of her, Penelope admits she was jealous of Cheryl being “happy” with Jason.

With the answers she needed in hand, Cheryl then locks Penelope in the bunker (Apparently, Cheryl just casually has chloroform on hand in the event that she needs to move someone to a secret location against their will).

With her mother taken care of, Cheryl is finally ready for the closure she really needs. She gives Jason a viking funeral on Sweetwater River and invites Toni, of course, as well as Archie, Veronica, Jug and Betty since they were there the day she tried to kill herself in Sweetwater River (So, can Cheryl finally get a bit of a break now, please, for once?!).

Next: 20 most shocking Riverdale moments

Did you enjoy Riverdale‘s midseason finale? Do you think Jughead is really dead? Let us know in the comments below!