Spoilers ahead for Riverdale Season 4, Episode 2. We've known since Riverdale's Season 3 finale that at some point during spring break of his senior year, Jughead goes missing, but now, we may have our first hint about why he disappears. In the Oct. 16 episode, Jug is recruited to attend an elite school called Stonewall Prep, and just after his dad says "it's going to be a good year," the scene cuts to a flash-forward of everyone in the woods looking for him. This doesn't allay all the theories that Jughead is missing because he's dead, but it could, at the very least, explain what leads to his disappearance.
The synopsis for Riverdale's Oct. 30 episode reads, "At Stonewall Prep, Jughead learns about a series of mysterious disappearances that have occurred to former students at the school." Jughead is always investigating things and getting himself into trouble, so perhaps when he stumbled upon these Stonewall disappearances, those responsible decided to make him disappear, too — in fact, Jughead's own grandfather may have been one of their victims. At the end of the Oct. 16 episode, FP reveals that his father went to Stonewall Prep "for a couple of months 'til he dropped out," shrugging it off because he "quit at everything including me. Went out for a pack of smokes and he never came back."
FP clearly thinks that his father left him, but what if someone at Stonewall just kidnapped him on that cigarette run? He could show up this season if Jughead is able to discern what's going on and track the missing people down. (You know, if he doesn't die first.) The staff and students at Stonewall seem welcoming, but Riverdale fans should know all too well that there's more going on. According to TV Guide, the character description for Jughead's new teacher Mr. Chipping says, "While he's eminently inspiring to his students, there's a darkness hidden far beneath the surface." Mr. Chipping is the one who tracked Jughead down and convinced him to come to Stonewall, so he likely has an ulterior motive. Riverdale star Cole Sprouse even basically confirmed Stonewall is behind Jughead's disappearance.
"The school also kind of serves ... as the setting for the flash-forward," he said during San Diego Comic-Con, per Entertainment Tonight.
The flash-forward he was talking about is not the one in Wednesday night's episode, but the scene from Season 3 in which Betty, Archie, and Veronica sat around a fire, covered in blood and burning their clothes. Perhaps the person whose blood it is was the one responsible for Jughead's disappearance... someone like Stonewall Prep student Brett Weston Wallis, which is a play on the name of American Psycho author Brett Easton Ellis. That book (and later movie) was filled with murder, which further hints that someone (maybe not Jughead) is dead in the flash-forward.
As for why Jughead goes missing like Stonewall students from years' past, it could have been a hazing attempt gone wrong. If the rich kids from Gilmore Girls have taught us anything, it's that wealthy students love to form weird secret societies with death-defying initiation stunts. In one scene in the trailer, Jughead appears to be locked in a coffin. That seems like just the kind of thing a weird literary secret society would do to a new member. Hopefully Betty, Archie, and Veronica can piece that all together before it's too late.