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Riverdale season 4, episode 16 review: The Locked Room

Riverdale delivers some major season 1 vibes as Bughead deconstructs season 4’s surprisingly coherent “Why Done It?” mystery in spectacular fashion.

It’s a tale as old as time: a teen boy steals his classmate’s idea for a book… leading him to become a serial killer… and start a school to train the next generations of writers to become murderers to become writers… and then come full circle by recruiting his old classmate’s grandson to said school to lure said classmate out of hiding… but ultimately also to kill said grandson after he started to suspect his psychopathic classmates of being psychopaths because they were acting like psychopaths.

Wait… what?!

Let’s take it back now, y’all. Here’s a look at Bughead Tells All, a.k.a. “The Locked Room,” in which the tea is spilled on Stonewall (going back decades) and everything that happened in the woods that night.  

Riverdale, Riverdale 4x17

Riverdale — “Chapter Seventy-Three: The Locked Room-” — Image Number: RVD416a_0140b — Pictured: Cole Sprouse as Jughead Jones — Photo:Bettina Strauss/The CW — © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

All You Wanna Do

… is murder Jughead; but you failed, Stonies, ’cause ya basic. You’re just attempted murders — unlike the long line of Baxter Brothers ghost writers ending with Mr. Chipping when he dove out that stained glass window and beginning with DuPont, who chooses the same fate when Jug finally exposes the full extent exposes his treachery.

See, when DuPont decided to pass the torch, he devised a test to identify worthy heirs. In order to get the contract to write the perfect murder, they would have to commit the perfect murder… the perfect murder of a Stonewall student.

Remember those missing kids? Turns out their “disappearances” align perfectly with every time a new Baxter Brothers author was chosen.

In order to pick his successor, Mr. Chipping first had recruit the next victim: Moose Mason. But, overcome with guilt and unwilling to perpetuate the cycle any longer, he ran Moose out of the school before running out himself.

So, where does Jug fit into all this? He was recruited to Stonewall to lure his grandfather Forsythe out of hiding so that DuPont could finally silence the original Baxter Brothers author. But Jughead put himself in the crosshairs as well when he started asking too many questions.

DuPont named Jug as the next author to encourage Jug’s classmates to murder him and compete for the contract themselves.

Riverdale — “Chapter Seventy-Three: The Locked Room-” — Image Number: RVD416b_0014b — Pictured (L – R): Skeet Ulrich as FP Jones and Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper — Photo:Bettina Strauss/The CW — © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

No Way

Way! But their plan came horrendously unraveled due to one minor detail: Jughead didn’t die. Jonathan was the person responsible for checking his pulse, so that’s why Donna and Co. offed him.

But in his defense, Jug didn’t have a pulse when Betty, Archie and Veronica found him. They had to revive him with CPR… so I feel like this was actually Joan’s fault since she’s the one who bludgeoned Jug from behind. Clearly, she did not finish the job.

That being said, Jug did have to fight for his life. He declined to go to the hospital to protect Betty and to investigate his own murder, so Betty had Charles come with FBI medics. Jughead was unresponsive for the next 36 hours, though, hence Betty, Archie and Veronica’s contingency plan to take their secret to the grave and part ways after graduation if Jug didn’t survive.

But, of course, he did survive; and gradually, they started letting people in on the secret. JB figured it out on her own after overhearing Betty talking to Charles; Betty told FP; Archie told Mary; Veronica told Hermosa after Hermosa assumed Veronica helped Betty kill Jug so Beronica could happen; and Veronica then hired Hermosa, a P.I., to investigate, and Hermosa learned Donna’s big secret.

Riverdale — “Chapter Seventy-One: How To Get Away With Murder” — Image Number: RVD414b_0063b.jpg — Pictured: Sarah Dejardins as Donna — Photo: Katie Yu/The CW — © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Like, what was she meant to do?

It turns out Donna didn’t so much take on a new identity as conceal her connection to a rather big piece of the Stonewall puzzle: Jane Dallas Brown, one of the classmates DuPont murdered back in the day. Donna is her granddaughter and her ending up at Stonewall Prep was no mere coincidence.

Donna didn’t care how many bodies had to drop for her to exact her revenge; and, in the end, she seemingly does come out on top. DuPont’s dead, and Donna is selected to write the rebranded Baxter Brothers series: Tracy Drew. Tracy Drew was Jane’s intellectual property that DuPont then co-opted for the Baxter Brothers.

A gleeful Betty pays Donna one last visit, though, to give her a reality check. She knows Donna’s secret, and if Donna doesn’t give up Tracy Drew contract, she’ll blacklist her.

Riverdale — “Chapter Seventy-Three: The Locked Room-” — Image Number: RVD416b_0198b — Pictured (L – R): Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper, Camila Mendes as Veronica Lodge and KJ Apa as Archie Andrews — Photo:Bettina Strauss/The CW — © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Meanwhile…

Charles offers Bret only an attempted murder charge if he turns over the sex tapes. Bret counters that Charles needs to reduce the charge to conspiracy, or he’ll release the Bughead tape. FP and Jug have a word with Bret, and he immediately gives up the location of the tapes.

Jug feels cheated that he missed out on his senior year at Riverdale High, and both he and Archie lament that they won’t graduate on time. Betty and Veronica vow to ensure that they do.

Cheryl senses her cousin’s “romance” with Archie may not have been all for show, assuring Betty “your secret’s safe with me.” So are Kevin and Cheryl co-captains of Barchie now?

Also, we can add a new iconic Cheryl quote to the list:

“No one ever really dies in Riverdale.”

Yes, Cheryl, especially when you play house with your brother’s corpse. But also, like, she does have a point.

Lastly, while this episode did answer a lot of questions, even some we hadn’t thought to ask, there are still some big mysteries out there — namely, isn’t Charles a psycho bad guy? What’s going on there?! And what’s the deal with those tapes of everyone’s houses?

Next: 20 most shocking Riverdale moments

Riverdale returns to The CW on Wednesday, April 8, at 8:00 p.m. ET. Did you enjoy “The Locked Room”? Let us know in the comments below!