Riverdale: How to get away with murder

I don’t grade episodes that I recap, especially if the season is still airing. I firmly believe that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts and when you only see the parts in weekly doses, your idea of what a “good” and a “bad” episode can be skewed because you can only compare episodes to what have previously aired.

The season finale of Riverdale has yet to air but considering we have already dealt with dramatic funerals,  Dark!Betty revenge, super serious maple syrup tappings, and Jughead’s melodramatic speech about being a weirdo, I feel comfortable giving this episode an A because it resolves some of the mysteries we’ve been wondering about all season and introduces some new ones to get us hooked for next season.

I thought this was going to be a dumb CW show I would get to make fun of, but now I’m emotionally invested in everything.


We pick up right where we left off last episode, with Archie, Betty, Veronica worrying about Jughead and how to convince that Mr. Jughead is innocent. Archie suggests reconvening at Andrews Residence, saying, “My dad will know what to do!”

The adults are furious that the kids illegally broke into a trailer in the name of amateur sleuthing and Teen Queen Molly Ringwald points out that even if they did find evidence, it would be inadmissible in a court of law. Betty adds that Alice asked Veronica to break into the trailer and all of the parents judge Alice for her shitty parenting while the kids are sent to bed.

Betty and Archie can’t sleep so they sneak out to keep looking for Jughead, who is at the bus station buying a ticket for Toledo. He calls his mom to announce his impending arrival (but doesn’t mention that Mr. Jughead is in jail), but gets told that there’s no room at the inn. Note: Cole Sprouse’s acting has gotten very good. Him trying not to cry on the phone as he gets told by his mother that he’s not wanted almost cancels out the cringe worthy “I’m weird” speech and its accompanying memes.

I said “almost”.

At Chez Lodge, Hermione is panicking over Mr. Jughead being in jail and worries he will snitch about her bribing the mayor and paying off the Serpents. She tells Veronica to pack a bag, just in case they need to pull a Thelma and Louise in the middle of the night. Depressed, Veronica calls Archie to cheer up and he reports that he and Betty went to the bus station to look for Jughead, but it’s closed. Veronica suggests checking Pop’s again and she joins them to find Jughead sulking in a booth. They apologize for sneaking behind his back and swear that they believe his dad is innocent. They all go to the police station to try to plead on Mr. Jughead’s behalf but Sheriff Keller reports that Mr. Jughead already confessed.

His story is that Jason approached him for help to leave Riverdale and once Mr. Jughead remembered that the only other ginger in town besides his son’s friend is a very rich one, he decided to hold Jason for ransom but then Jason escaped so Mr. Jughead shot him, dumped the body, and then stole Sheriff Keller’s files to try to keep the police off the trail.

At school the next day, everyone is comforting Cheryl over her brother’s killer being caught while Archie and the gang try to figure out why Mr. Jughead confessed to a crime he didn’t commit. Betty remembers that Alice suspects something shady about Joaquin and Kevin gets very defensive about his boyfriend and the way his father is handling the investigation. Their fight is interrupted by Jughead walking into the cafeteria to apologize to Cheryl for what he did. In response, she slaps him and tries to beat him up.

After school, Fred tells Archie that Principal Weatherbee is recommending for Jughead to be home schooled for the rest of the year to avoid any potential retaliation from his father’s conviction. Archie protests that this is unfair and wants to protect Jughead but Fred is only concerned about Archie. He suggests sending Archie to Chicago to keep him safe and they get into a fight about which parent Archie is going to side with in the divorce.

Back at Casa Cooper, Alice and Betty are awoken in the middle of night by the sounds of someone in their house. They go down to investigate and Alice is ready to shoot the intruder but it turns out to be just Hal.

Hal admits that he snuck into the house to steal back the Sheriff Keller files he hid there, which proves that Mr. Jughead is partially innocent. Hal explains he wanted to make sure there was nothing in the case that could lead back to the Coopers because they too would have a motive for murder: the Coopers and the Blossoms are related. The Coopers changed their name after the maple syrup feud, which means Jason and Polly inadvertently committed incest.

Alice and Betty are horrified by this revelation and worry that the Blossoms killed Jason because they were ashamed about the incest and are planning to hurt Polly too. They march over to Thornhill to rescue Polly but it turns out the Blossoms knew about the incest and were cool with it. “There is nothing more pure Blossom than those babies,” says Mr. Blossom proudly.

The Coopers take Polly back home and Cheryl is upset that someone already committed incest with her brother and it wasn’t her.

Teen Queen Molly Ringwald acts as Mr. Jughead’s lawyer and although she is excellent at relating to teen angst, she is terrible about that whole “attorney-client privilege” thing. She tells the kids that Mr. Jughead’s one phone call was to Joaquin. The gang confronts Joaquin while Jughead sees his dad. Mr. Jughead insists he killed Jason in cold blood and he’s only sorry he got caught. The cheesiness of this confession alerts Jughead to the fact that Mr. Jughead is covering for something but Joaquin’s information doesn’t make him look any more innocent. He tells them that Mr. Jughead hired him and another Serpent, Mustang, to help dispose of Jason’s body.

The gang goes to ask Mustang questions but find that he has OD’d in a motel room. They call the police and Sheriff Keller is suspicious as to how they knew Mustang was related to the case but then his attentions gets turned to a bag of money with Hermione’s initials found in Mustang’s room.

“Not Hermione Lodge, Hiram lodge,” corrects Veronica. She admits the Lodges did business with the Serpents but then adds they will only speak when their lawyer is present.

Back at Thornhill, Cheryl tries to ask Mrs. Blossom what exactly about the family business that Jason couldn’t “stomach” which makes Mrs. Blossom goes berserk. “You think we murdered him and threw him in the river because Jason knew some deep, dark horrible secret about our business?” she screams.

She takes Cheryl to the barn to show her “the dark, sticky, dirty truth.”

Joaquin boards a bus to get out of town and Kevin sadly sees him off. Joaquin gives him one last clue: he tells him Mr. Jughead hid a piece of “insurance” in Jason’s varsity jacket. The kids find the jacket and discover a flash drive in the pocket. They plug it into the computer and watch a security tape showing a tied up Jason being taunted by Mustang and then Mr. Blossom walks in, takes back the Blossom engagement ring, and shoots Jason in the head.

Betty calls Cheryl to tell her to leave Thornhill ASAP but Cheryl opts to walk down the mansion stairs in slo-mo, release a few dramatic tears and then march into the dining room to tell Mr. Blossom that he did “a bad thing and now everyone knows.”

The kids turn the USB over to the police and it’s explained that Mr. Jughead falsely confessed because Mr. Blossom threatened to kill Jughead. Even though he’s innocent of killing Jason, Mr. Jughead is still going to be tried as an accomplice and for tampering with evidence. The police rush over to Thornhill to arrest Mr. Blossom and but he has hung himself in the maple syrup barn.

Okay, that’s the kind of scary stuff I thought Cheryl was going to find in there.

The Real Archie’s Weird Mysteries I Want Solved

  • Why does Jughead’s mother suck so much? I know Jughead voluntarily stayed behind in Riverdale but when he calls up in the middle of the night asking if he can come to Toledo, I feel like a parent’s “Something’s Wrong” alarm should be ringing off the hook. I don’t know, this woman allowed her children to be named “Jughead” and “Jellybean.” She’s clearly not firing on all cylinders.
  • Why did Mr. Blossom kill Jason? The top theories, in no particular order: 1) Mr. Blossom killed some other people and Jason knew where the bodies where buried 2) Jason had proof the maple syrup farm rightfully belonged to the Coopers 3) Jason made fun of his dad’s wigs
  • Hermione announced that Hiram is coming back into town soon and I haven’t seen any casting announcements so let’s take bets as to which 80s/90s teen heartthrob will play him: Zachery Ty Bryan? James Van der Beek? A Hanson brother?
  • Did Jughead Get a Burger? Still no, even though he really could have used some comfort food this episode. I had a burger this week and the hardest thing I went through was four rainy days in a row. This kid needs greasy diner food and he needs it now.

Susan Velazquez

Susan is a recent college grad and writer who enjoys all things from the 1980s, snarking on dumb television, and reveling in celebrity gossip. Oh, and she has serious interests like reading historical fiction, getting involved in social issues, and consuming French fries.

TV Show: Riverdale

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