The killer of Jason Blossom was finally revealed on this week’s Riverdale, putting to rest the driving mystery that has propelled the storylines both frontwards and back in this inaugural season of the Archies reboot. The resolution was not especially shocking, not that it ever is in these cases, but the story unfolded in this highly consequential hour at what felt like a lightening pace as the gang blew through each red hearing and clue on a collision course to the final unmasking of the villain. The only question now is what will the series do for an encore in season two?
But first we have to deal with the killer, and for a while there it seemed like F.P. was it. Jughead’s dad took credit for the whole thing: killing Jason, hiding the body, burning the evidence in Jason’s getaway car, ransacking the sheriff’s home office… Wait a minute. We know that Hal Cooper was the one that did that deed. and if F.P. was lying on that number, was he lying about everything else? We’ll, except for the burning of the car, which we know F.P. did because he claimed Jason’s jacket as “insurance.”
But insurance for what? What could F.P., if he were innocent, possibly need insurance for? How about making a deal with Jason to give him an escape plan in exchange for becoming a drug mule, only to realize that this kid was the son of one of the richest people in town, so F.P. kidnapped him instead only to find him dead on the basement floor of the White Worm while setting up the ransom call? Don’t you hate when you’re going about your day and when you come back and find the rich kid you kidnapped with a bullet hole in his head?
But as discovered last week by Archie and Veronica, F.P. did not have a gun in his trailer when they searched it just hours before the police followed suit and discovered it. Betty was skeptical, but Archie and Veronica were firm that before they started making out they searched that small trailer thoroughly and there was nary a gun in a lock box to be found. Betty’s doubts are eased, but there’s still a question of what to do about this information. Archie’s solution, as always, is to tell his father, who later tells Archie that all this chasing of clues like a noir detective is giving him serious thoughts that going to Chicago with is mom might be for the best for Archie. Archie, showing rare intelligence, disagrees.
As for Jughead, he got more grist for the writers’ mill, first confronting his father after his confession, and then calling his mom in Toledo to tell her he’ll be dropping by only to have her suggest that’s not such a good idea for whatever reason. When he goes to school, he’s treated like he’s the one that killed Jason, or perhaps he’s just treated like a leper, regardless Principal Weatherbee suggests that Jughead finish the semester at home. You know, if he had a home. Personally, Jughead’s had enough of his dad, and his broken promises, and despite the emphatic pleas of his friends that F.P. may be innocent, it’s only seeing it in his dad’s eyes that he realizes that his dad did not kill Jason Blossom after all.
So being shady as sin isn’t exactly a prerequisite for being the prime suspect, but it helps. Hal Cooper finds himself back on the suspect list breaking back into his own house and surprising Alice and Betty in an effort to conceal the fact that he broke into Sheriff Keller’s house and stole his files. He then revealed the real story behind the ancient Cooper/Blossom feud: that Great-Grandpa Cooper was original Great-Grandpa Blossom. The Coopers and the Blossoms are related! Now in the case of Jason and Polly, their technical incest is no where near as bad as Queen Victoria, who married her actual cousin, but still, it’s kinda creepy, especially when you take into a account the general creepiness of the Blossoms.
Over the last couple of weeks, the Blossoms have become more and more suspicious as they skulk around their manner, trying to draft Archie into their cabal, hiding key pieces of evidence in jewelry boxes and drugging their pregnant would-be daughter-in-law when she gets too close. Cheryl, who seems to have all the primary characteristics of a textbook sociopath, was always my primary suspect, but when she started hitting Jughead when he tried to apologize for his father’s trespasses, it’s hard to deny that there was genuine grief there.
The answer though was always starring us straight in the face, for a man that doesn’t have the guile to accept his aging white head of hair would surely kill his own son for abandoning a century of Blossom tradition. Yes, Clifford was Jason’s killer. He apparently thought of everything to get away with the crime except the camera in the basement of the Serpents bar that caught the murder on tape. F.P. downloaded the footage on a thumb drive and stuck it in the pocket of Jason’s jacket for safekeeping. Joaquin gave up the jacket’s location to Kevin before leaving town.
After the kids watched Jason’s Reservoir Dogs like execution at the hands of his father, Alice Cooper took the thumb drive to the police, who then went to Thorn Hill to arrest Clifford. Betty, showing her typical kindness, phoned Cheryl to tell her what they found. “You did a bad thing Daddy, and now everyone knows,” Cheryl tells her father who then goes out to the barn and hangs himself before the police arrive.
Of course, there’s one episode left before the end of the season, which is good because there’s a lot left unanswered. For instance, why were their drugs in the maple syrup? How much did Penelope Blossom know about her husband’s evil deeds? Might F.P. ever see the light of day? Sure, he didn’t kill Jason, but he was more than happy to clean-up the evidence and dispose of the body. What consequences will there be for Hermione Lodge? It seems that Hiram is getting our of prison, but might the Lodge’s be trading places now?
There are also the smaller, more inter-personal issues to deal with. Can Betthead ever get back on track? Will the Archie and Veronica romance continue? Will Alice and Hal be able to reconcile? What’s Polly going to do with her future and her unborn children’s future after this week’s info dump? And what new mysteries await the gang as promised in the preview for the season finale? Is Sabrina the Teenage Witch on the way to dig up some supernatural trouble? Fingers crossed.