This Riverdale review contains spoilers.
Riverdale Episode 12
“You did a bad thing daddy, and now everyone knows.”
With those words uttered by Cheryl Blossom to her wig-wearing father, the answer of who killed Jason Blossom was finally solved. It was the biggest — although certainly not the only — secret revealed in this rewarding penultimate episode of Riverdale‘s first season. But let’s tackle some of the other big developments before we get to the now late, and not so great Clifford Blossom.
If you were among those who felt that the arrest of FP Jones (whose portrayal by Skeet Ulrich continues to be a delicious exercise in smarm) seemed a bit too on the nose, congratulations, you were absolutely correct. FB may be shadier than a Thornhill oak on a mid-summer Riverdale day, but he’s not a killer. In fact, it turns out that in his own South Side Serpented way he is honorable. When Clifford Blossom threatens to kill Jughead unless FP takes the fall for Jason’s murder, the elder Jones does just that — refusing to back down in order to save the son who he has never been anything but a disappointment to. For his part however, Jughead never gave up hope that his dad good be redeemed. Tonight he came pretty damn close though, but thanks to Betty’s faith in all of the Jonses he had his own belief in his father vindicated.
Jughead is again put through the ringer here — feeling betrayed by his friends for their actions in last week’s episode, slapped by Cheryl after apologizing for his dad’s supposed crime, kicked out of school by an unfeeling Mr. Weatherbee, getting his plans to visit his mother in Toledo heartbreakingly thwarted, and getting rejected by his father in a tense jailhouse scene. After the initial Grundy-centric episodes of the season Jughead was finally given the opportunity to shine — one that Cole Sprouse has taken and ran with. His Jughead has truly come into his own, somewhat detatched from his comic book roots (WILL HE EVER EAT A HAMBURGER???) but very multi-dimensional. One of my initial fears about this series was hearing Jughead described in early casting notes as a “emo heartthrob.” There certainly is that element to TV’s Jughead, although this take on the character as realized by Sprouse is much more likely to be found skulking about inside your city’s coolest used bookstore instead of a Hot Topic.
Meanwhile, Veronica’s concerns that her father was indeed mixed up in the murder of Jason Blossom were validated. We still don’t know the reasons why, nor will we anytime soon. This is a lesser mystery for sure, and I’m already tired of the ‘Hiram as season two Big Bad’ that this last batch of episode has been projecting. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from these past twelve episodes it’s that this show rarely goes exactly where you think it will, so I’m hoping the impending arrival of Hiram is a red herring being used to divert attention from next year’s true villains — whom I’m holding out hope have something to do with a certain teenage witch who is rumored to make her debut appearance in next week’s episode.
When it comes to the other Lodge woman, Hermione seems more unscrupulous with each passing week under the guise of protecting Veronica, even as her actions continue to disgrace their family’s already not-great name. Tonight she hatched a hairbrained scheme to flee from Riverdale. While, as Alice Cooper so accurately nailed it, “Sheriff Clueless” may not have been able to bring her justice, she couldn’t have really believed that she could outrun a competent law enforcement official elsewhere, could she?
Throughout the season, speculation has run rampant that twincest between the Blossom twins was a mitigating factor in the murder of Jason Blossom. (Which makes sense seeing how showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa utilized those story elements in the Afterlife with Archie comic). But then, twist! Their was a sort of incestuous relationship here, but it was between Polly and Jason. In a delightfully Dynasty-worthy swerve, it turns out that the murdered Great Grandpappy Cooper — he whose murder set off the series’ maple syrup blood feud, marvelous — was actually a Blossom. The Coopers are the Blossoms, they just changed their names to distance themselves from their high-strung ginger kin. Therefore, Polly and Jason are related. Not that Penelope Blossom seems to mind that the third cousins, or whatever they are, were knocking boots. “Nothing could be more purely Blossom than those babies,” she coos in the episode’s creepiest moment.
Yeah, I still need a moment with all of this new information too.
Which brings us back to Clifford Blossom killing his son. This revelation raises an entirely new series of questions, but unlike Twin Peaks (or exactly like it, depending on your POV) the first season of Riverdale felt more about the characters than the central mystery driving the show. Clearly drugs were involved here. And the South Side Serpents. Maple syrup too, obviously. We will find out a bit more about all of this next week, but I suspect that everything Clifford and Jason were up to will continue to be shrouded in mystery at least for a good chunk of next season. And I’m fine with that, as one gets the sense that this show is just getting started and with this murder now solved the show can go anywhere. For now though, I feel that this was a more than satisfying conclusion to this storyline.
After all, Clifford’s wig room was a dead giveaway that he was up to no good, wouldn’t you agree?
Next week: The season finale, and “something wicked this way comes.” My prediction? Sabrina and the witches of Greendale! Man, I hope so.
– With Molly Ringwald now a part of Riverdale‘s supporting cast, the second issue of the comic based on the show — which hit stores earlier this week — pays tribute to one of the actress’ most iconic roles by having Archie and the gang getting detention a la The Breakfast Club. Speaking of which, doesn’t it seem shocking that the show hasn’t had a slow-tempo emo remake of “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” yet?
– Oh hey, Archie is involved with the main storyline in a meaningful way. It took almost the entire season but we finally got there. This bodes well for the finale and next season methinks.
– Reminder: There’s one episode left this season and we still haven’t seen Jughead eat a single hamburger. To quote The Smiths, “the story is old, I know, but it goes on.”
– Alas Mustang the South Side Serpent, we hardly knew ye. Or even remotely gave a shit about your death. I have to admit, I thought for a minute this was the second death that the show’s producers were projecting a few weeks back and felt a bit cheated. That was until we saw Clifford Blossom hanging from the rafters.
– So how deep are the Blossoms involved in drugs? Where will Cheryl go from here? Will she crack from this second tragedy and the revelation that she and the Coopers share the same bloodline? I CANNOT WAIT TO FIND OUT.
– Then there’s this fantastic Easter egg, revealed via the Archie Comics Twitter account:
– Best line of the episode? “Sorry to interrupt the witching hour at Thornhill” (FORESHADOWING?) or Cheryl’s aforementioned confrontation of her father.
– Betty refers to Archie as “Arch” in her text to him. I love when the characters invoke their comic book nicknames on this show.
– Of course the Blossoms eat waffles for breakfast. Probably every morning. For their entire lives.