‘Riverdale’ season six, with its 5-episode ‘Rivervale’ event, thoroughly explores the genre of horror and puts its characters in a series of absurd and terrifying situations. As the residents of Rivervale constantly change their loyalties and unabashedly interact with otherworldly forces, the full effect of the quietly abnormal town becomes apparent.
Of course, fans are desperate to know whether Archie and Jughead, two of the most popular characters in the series, are alive or dead in this town that does not shy away from expired souls and bodies. Considering how wacky the world of Rivervale is, it isn’t surprising that the fate of the two boys seems uncertain. Additionally, dark secrets are revealed about Archie and Jughead that change our perspective of the two towns. So, let’s dive right in and find out more about these two. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Is Archie Alive or Dead? Is Jughead Alive or Dead?
In season 6 episode 5, Archie is back from the dead after his sacrificial killing in the premiere episode. Nobody is nonplussed by Archie’s sudden presence; in fact, everyone is getting ready for Archie and Betty’s weekend wedding, which only Jughead seems to be unaware of despite being the best man.
Right at the beginning of the episode, we come across a corpse in front of Rivervale’s town sign. Later, Dr. Curdle discovers that the body belongs to Jughead. However, we can see that Jughead is alive and with his friends even though he has begun to notice the existence of Riverdale. Although Betty brushes aside Dr. Curdle’s claims about the corpse, Jughead decides to go to the mortuary and look at the body himself.
Thus, Jughead comes face to face with the cold body of his doppelganger. He goes through his belongings and discovers a bunch of ‘Archie’ comics that address the paradox of Riverdale and Rivervale. Later, his doppelganger rises from the dead to stop him and Betty from sacrificing themselves in the explosion needed to separate the parallel universes of the two towns.
Clearly, no one stays dead in Rivervale. The doppelganger, who is essentially narrator Jughead, explains how he went to a heaven of sorts that looked like Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe and contained a massive collection of ‘Archie’ comics. There, he discovered the special edition comic book between issues 95 (Riverdale’s ending) and 96 (Rivervale’s beginning) that explains how the power of imagination, essentially creation, is needed to split the two universes and put a stop to the dark forces negatively impacting both. Since a destructive force gave birth to Rivervale (Hiram Lodge’s bomb), a creative force (Jughead’s writing) must save it.
Later, Archie is shot dead by Betty when he tries to attack Jughead, but he is soon resurrected due to Rivervale’s supernatural quality. Thus, Archie, writer Jughead, and narrator Jughead are alive in Rivervale. Additionally, Jughead is alive in Riverdale as well, although his ears might be damaged due to the massive explosion in Archie’s room that Archie and Betty seemingly escape from. Naturally, we expect that Archie too is alive in Riverdale.
Who is Rivervale’s Big Bad and What Do They Want?
Archie is revealed to be Rivervale’s “big bad.” Similar to how Hiram is the bane of everyone in Riverdale, Archie is the bad guy in Rivervale. He desperately wants to reunite with his dead father, Fred, who dies at the beginning of season 4 due to a hit-and-run. In his quest to bring back Fred from the dead — which is possible only in Rivervale since it’s where “everyone comes back to life” — Archie begins to murder his own friends who try to get rid of the destructive bond between the two universes.
As mentioned above, Betty shoots Archie when he tries to strangle Jughead to death. Thus, Archie dies temporarily. Later, narrator Jughead finds a way to bring normalcy to both Riverdale and Rivervale. However, Archie comes back to life and rushes to attack Betty and narrator Jughead, who are in Archie’s room trying to recreate the moment when Rivervale was born.
However, writer Jughead manages to write Archie out of Rivervale’s story; he separates the stories of the two towns. Thus, we see Betty and narrator Jughead leaving the room and coming down to meet their friends, who are all normal now and untainted by dark forces. Betty reunites with Archie, who is thankfully not the same as his previous murderous version, and Jughead goes to Tabitha.