Jughead Is at the Center of a 'Riverdale' Mystery — What Else Is New?

Chrissy Bobic - Author

Aug. 12 2021, Published 1:57 p.m. ET

Jughead on 'Riverdale'
Source: The CW

The first half of Riverdale Season 5 ends with Tabitha finding a bloody handcuff where she left Jughead to trip on maple mushrooms and work on his trauma. He was, presumably, supposed to figure out the blank space in his mind from his time in New York. And now that viewers know he's alive and the bloody handcuff was just a red herring, it begs the question: What happened to Jughead in New York?

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The good news is, despite the cliffhanger that gave way to a four month-long hiatus, Riverdale didn't kill off one of its most tragic characters. Instead, Jughead ran off during or shortly after his hallucinogenic state and he's living in Sketch Alley.

You know, instead of talking to his new gal pal Tabitha about what's going on inside his tortured mind. And part of continuing his work is going to be to face what happened to him for the seven years he was in the city.

Jughead and Tabitha on 'Riverdale'
Source: The CW
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What happened to Jughead in New York?

Jughead spent seven years in New York City before he returned to Riverdale. Fans see in the first flash-forward episode of Season 5 that he not only struggled to finish a second book for his publisher, but he also fell on hard times with some lone sharks.

Somehow, though, there is a chunk of time missing from Jughead's memory. As he sets off for New York to figure out what he can't remember, fans are cooking up theories to try to explain it.

One Riverdale fan shared a theory on Reddit that they believe Jughead is Riverdale's Trash Bag Killer (TBK). They pointed out how Jughead admits he has periods of time where he blacks out and can't remember what happened. If this theory is correct, it means when he blacks out, he kills or kidnaps his victims.

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Someone else shared on Reddit that Jughead might have suffered a brain injury back in Season 4 when he was hit in the head with a rock. If that's the case, then it means Jughead could be suffering from permanent memory loss, and the incident would at least explain why he can't remember what happened to him in New York.

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Another possible theory about what happened to Jughead in New York could involve those thugs who tracked him down in Riverdale. He went through a few rough patches during the time when he had his first book published and left Betty an awful voicemail, effectively ending any relationship they had, romantic or otherwise.

The chunks of time missing from Jughead's memory could involve getting into trouble with some bad people in New York. An NYC chapter of the Serpents, perhaps?

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Jughead's new journey on 'Riverdale' could bring him and Betty closer.

Even though Jughead is headed for New York, with a truck driver no less, he may be on a path to finally figuring things out. His goal is to get to New York, face his demons, and figure out what he's missing.

Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa told TVLine that Jughead's current path will eventually make his and Betty's storylines link up.

"Jughead's big mystery is sort of unpacking what happened to him in those seven years in New York, what led to him leaving that crazy message," he said, referring to the voicemail he left for Betty years ago. "But he does get involved in Betty's mystery and Polly's mystery. By the end of the season, I would say that he and Betty are working together to try to bring Polly home."

Watch Riverdale on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on the CW.

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