Riverdale: To Riverdale and Back Again   Books Included 
April 28, 2017 1:25 PM - Season 1, Episode 11 - Subscribe

Alice wants Betty to help with the Jason Blossom investigation; Jughead wonders if it's the right time to give his father another chance; Fred and Mary attend the homecoming dance.
posted by litera scripta manet (19 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think this was Archie's best episode so far. I mean, even if his scheme with Veronica was doomed from the start, at least he mostly had his heart in the right place, and in several moments he was actually the voice of reason. Or something.

Some favorite moments/episode highlights:

- Also, Cheryl's comment about her dad having a wig for every mood
- Also Cheryl's "I love a good silverfox" comment. More Blossomcest fodder.
- Those creepy milkshakes. (I can't believe Polly doesn't immediately toss them down the drain as soon as Penelope Blossom's back is turned.)
- Cheryl tucking Polly in/checking that she's breathing
- Cheryl's "Hands off, Gollum" line to Polly
- Basically everything Cheryl/the Blossoms do
- The Ronchie duet is actually my favorite musical moment of Archie's, although I can't believe we had a Homecoming dance with no Josie and the Pussycats performance. That just isn't fair.
- Also all the other characters calling out the fact that Archie's music is less upbeat party music and more "slit your wrists" mood killer. And how Jughead tried to soften the blow with his "in a good way" comment.
- Speaking of Jughead, he seemed so optimistic (for him) in this episode. He and Betty both really sold the emotional highs and lows of this episode.
- I love Alice Cooper, and I love that Betty out Alice Cooper-ed her mother by inviting her dad to that awkward dinner/interrogation.
posted by litera scripta manet at 1:35 PM on April 28, 2017 [5 favorites]

So, about those milkshakes...In addition to the occasional completely "safe" "herbal" sedative, do you think they also include some special drug to ensure that Polly's babies spring from the womb with a full head of auburn hair?
posted by litera scripta manet at 2:09 PM on April 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

Archie has red hair. Are we supposed to get the idea that Archie has some Blossom in him?
posted by willnot at 4:44 PM on April 28, 2017 [5 favorites]

Archie's red hair is from the comics, I don't think the comics ever insinuated that he and the Blossoms were related.

Also I feel like whatever's in the milkshake is really trying to kill Polly's baby. Or Polly.
posted by divabat at 6:29 PM on April 28, 2017

Okay, so here's my dumb, half-formed theory that doesn't really make sense:

Jason and Cheryl aren't twins. Jason was adopted by the Blossoms because when Cheryl was born they knew the extended family/Maple Syrup Empire shareholders wouldn't consider a daughter a real heir. So they adopted a newborn boy and told everyone that Penelope popped out some surprise twins.

Jason's real hair isn't red, and most of the wigs in the Creepy Wig Room were his. (The red wig Clifford Blossom wears is different in colour and style to the ones on those mannequin heads.) Jason initially agreed to wear a wig (perhaps aware of his adoption) and be groomed as heir—but at some point he began to rebel against the pretense. As Clifford says to Cheryl in this episode, 'You know your brother rejected us. Our way of life, our business, everything. And after I had groomed him to take over the empire. When really, I should have been nurturing you. Because Jason never had the stomach for any of it, but you... you're a Blossom through and through'. Cheryl is the true Blossom heir.

So who is Jason? Now this part I'm less sure of, but how about this ludicrous idea: Jason is Polly and Betty's brother.

At the end of highschool, Alice Cooper fell pregnant. She and Hal fought about it at homecoming dance, and Hal pressured her to have an abortion. Alice reluctantly agreed, and told Hal she'd gone through with the procedure... but in fact she went away to the Sisters and had the child in secret.

Hal doesn't know the kid exists. But Alice knows that the baby boy the Blossoms adopted from the Sisters is her own child. In fact, she might be the only one who knows this.

And that's why, when a chance conversation between Polly and Jason bloomed into romance (fuelled by genetic sexual attraction) Alice was so desparate to break up the relationship. That's why the romance was 'forbidden'. Not sure if Ma and Pa Blossom were aware of Jason's provenance or not; they may have their own reasons for wanting to keep the kids apart.

It's also possible that Alice was pregnant with someone other than Hal's baby.

Btw I realise this is a crappy theory, because I've no idea how to reconcile any of this timeline-wise. I think Betty is 17 and Polly is a year older? Are Jason and Cheryl meant to be Betty's age or Polly's? Also, all the actors playing parents in this show are way too old to have their 17 or 18-year old kids when they themselves were 18-ish.

In any case the timeline is already really fucking weird because apparently back in the 80s or 90s or whenever a whole cohort of highschool kids grew up and got married and then all had kids in exactly the same year so that THOSE kids would all later be in the same year of highschool. So.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 7:41 PM on April 28, 2017 [10 favorites]

Also, those milkshakes = Minnie Castevets's special vitamin drinks. With extra tannis root.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 7:45 PM on April 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

And that's why, when a chance conversation between Polly and Jason bloomed into romance (fuelled by genetic sexual attraction) Alice was so desparate to break up the relationship. That's why the romance was 'forbidden'.

I'd been toying with a theory along these lines, although not this exactly. We know that the Coopers and Blossoms have a maple syrup feud, dating back to Grandpappy Blossom killing Grandpappy Cooper. But what was the feud over? And is possible that there is a shared relative between the Blossoms and the Coopers? Maybe a Romeo/Juliet forbidden romance kind of thing?

And of course, the overlapping part of these two theories is that the reason the Coopers and Blossoms were so against a Polly/Jason relationship is because of the incest, although maybe only the Coopers care about that part of it. The Blossoms may or may not be on board with the whole incest thing.
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:57 PM on April 28, 2017 [3 favorites]

So who do we think killed Jason?

My number one suspect is still Hal Cooper. Either he did it, or he's involved somehow. Clearly he's a terrible person. Also, he had the opportunity both to destroy the Sheriff's evidence wall (and maybe steal the gun?) and possibly set up FP. Plus, he's clearly a fringe character so it wouldn't be a problem to cut him loose from the show. And he does seem to have a massive grudge against the Blossoms.

Other likely suspects:

Either Hiram Lodge or Hermione Lodge. Hermione's motivation is less clear, but she's been acting pretty shady, and she's at least less obvious than Hiram. Also, we know Hiram will do bad things to get what he wants, but it's hard to say whether offing Jason would be worth it to him. It seems like his idea of revenge would be more about ruining the Blossom's financially, or something. Of course, we don't really know much about Hiram at this point.

More out there, but definitely can't rule them out:

Polly or Cheryl. Did Cheryl kill Jason our of jealousy, like Veronica said last episode? Did Polly kill Jason because he got cold feet, or something? Did Polly have a rage black out, like Dark Betty has? They both have moments of seeming pretty unhinged.

Of course, there are also the elder Blossoms, but I'm still inclined to think they didn't kill Jason. Penelope certainly seemed sincere in this episode when they heard about FP being arrested.

Then there's always the super shady Ms. Grundy. It was implied that she might have had an illicit relationship with Jason (that "independent study" Betty found out about).

Oh, maybe Jason spotted Grundy and Archie hooking up on July 4th, and later confronted Grundy about it, and threatened to go public, so she killed him.

OR what about this:

Maybe Jason committed suicide? Perhaps when he found out that he and Polly are related. Or something.

And there's still the whole South Side Serpents connection. Why exactly is Joaquin faking a relationship with Kevin? Why did FP have Jason's jersey?

SO MANY POSSIBILITIES. Either way, I guess we'll find out in the next two episodes.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:06 PM on April 28, 2017

I'd completely forgotten about Grundy.

Another thing that needs explanation: When Alice and Hal Cooper are fighting about Hal's past and present stance on abortion, Alice says at one point, 'And we both know what I'm capable of'. What terrible thing has Alice done? Killed Jason? Probably not, but if not that, what else?
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 8:27 PM on April 28, 2017

a whole cohort of highschool kids grew up and got married and then all had kids in exactly the same year so that THOSE kids would all later be in the same year of highschool. So.

Obviously done by Sabrina's fellow cultists so they'll have a group of sacrifices the right age to put in the wicker man next year. All to ensure a string of hometown football victories for the next generation.
posted by happyroach at 12:52 PM on April 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

Okay, so here's my dumb, half-formed theory that doesn't really make sense [...] Jason is Polly and Betty's brother.

It's worth pointing out that in the comics, Betty and Polly have an older brother named Chic. Chic's a secret agent for the government.
posted by painquale at 9:35 PM on April 30, 2017

Can we just talk about the weird time vortex this show is? It's based on the Archie characters which date back to, what, the 60s? I don't actually know but I know my brother and I watched them as cartoons in the 70s. But the show is set in the present day, now. Three of the parents are played by 80s/90s young actors Molly Ringwald, Luke Perry, and Madchen Amick. The music at the homecoming dance for these current day teens was all 80s covers. (Blue Monday. Kids In America. Safety Dance.) Songs that I would've danced to in high school.

Completely aside from the plot, my brain is boggling trying to process what it's seeing here.
posted by dnash at 7:44 PM on May 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Archie dates waaaay back to the 40's.

The comics have always been a bizarre mishmash of different time periods, and they've been very resistant to modernization. I think this is because older stories were published alongside newer stories in digest form, so kids got acclimated to all sorts of anachronisms like Jughead's beanie or malts at Pop's Choklit Shoppe or Archie's hand-cranked jalopy, and the occasional story with a punk Jughead or Weatherbee's goth niece were just part of the experience. This should have been really hard to translate to the screen, so it was really brilliant to make Riverdale a pastiche of Twin Peaks. That show has the same sense of timelessness that Archie comics do, but it's used to create a feeling of dreaminess and unreality. Riverdale leans into that, hard.
posted by painquale at 9:21 PM on May 1, 2017 [8 favorites]

Hands off Gollum!

I love Cheryl so much. Conversely, it seems like Jughead gets worse by the week.

I don't have a conspiracy theory to match those above, but I think Alice Cooper is the murderer. She comes from the "wrong side of the tracks", is well known to FP, and her sudden interest in being an unpaid intern at a school paper is really suspicious. Especially since the high school paper is apparently the only place people have any interest in solving the murder. Plus, she looks crafty, doesn't she?
posted by Literaryhero at 6:39 AM on May 2, 2017

I bet we don't have nearly enough information to make a good guess at who the murderer is. Anyone who seems like a possibility is probably a red herring. I'm less inclined to take into consideration hints shown on screen than extra-diegetic factors, like what will be surprising for an audience or what will get good media buzz. So, I'm putting my money on Jughead. Making the narrator of the whole show the killer is a pretty neat idea, it's audacious because he's one of the main gang, and there doesn't seem to be any evidence that precludes him from being the culprit.

I'm probably wrong, but he's my top guess right now.

And then in the next season it'll be revealed that he was possessed by Hilda and Zelda, or Mad Doctor Doom, or Jingles the Christmas Elf, or Evilheart, or January Andrews, or a denizen of the Dinerville dimension, or someone else from the supernatural side of Archie Comics.
posted by painquale at 7:11 AM on May 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

My vote is for Mom Cooper, the scariest one on the show.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:13 PM on May 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

Did Polly have a rage black out, like Dark Betty has? They both have moments of seeming pretty unhinged.

Or did BETTY find out about their plan to run away, have a Dark Betty moment, and kill Polly?
posted by rhiannonstone at 8:26 PM on May 3, 2017

Doesn't FP have the jacket from the stashed car he set on fire?
posted by Margalo Epps at 2:40 PM on June 11, 2017

Haven't seen any further yet, registering that my prime suspect is absolutely Alice Cooper.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:30 PM on March 19, 2018

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