Just in case you forgot last episode, someone planted a gun in FP’s trailer and the kids are going to go catch them. That’s a good idea. Because, you know, they’re kids. Looking for a potential murderer. No problem.
Thankfully, Good Boy Archie suggests consulting the parents before looking for Jughead themselves. They gather the adults in Archie’s living room and they argue about what to do for a minute–Hermione is angry that her daughter broke into FP’s trailer in the first place, Alice narrowly dodges responsibility on convincing kids to do illegal things yet again, and Archie just wants the truth but Fred forbids him from looking for it–until they come to the general consensus that the kids should just stay out of it in order to stay safe. That’s not about to fly with Bad Girl Betty, though–she and Archie sneak out later to look for Jughead anyways.
In a telephone booth by the bus station, Jughead calls his mother to tell her he’s bought a bus ticket to Toledo–he’s coming to visit. The conversation quickly goes south. Clearly his mom doesn’t want him around, either. His only plan shot to hell, he returns to the bus window where a woman who clearly does not want to know his business sells him a ticket for the first bus out of town, which leaves the next morning. Oh yeah, and no loitering in the bus station; go find somewhere else for the night.
At the Lodge residence, Hermione and Veronica (both wearing silk pajamas, just in case there weren’t enough clues that they’re Super Mega Rich) argue about what FP’s imprisonment means for them. As she tears apart the apartment looking for any documents that tie them to FP, Hermione urges Veronica to pack a bag–they might have to run. In addition to being Super Mega Rich, Hermione is also Super Mega Guilty.
Veronica calls Archie to talk, catching him and Betty in the middle of their manhunt for Jughead. She gives them the tip that Jughead might be at Pop’s and gets dressed to go join them.
They find Jughead there in his booth and immediately launch into “we all screwed up” apology speeches (even though, once again, Betty didn’t screw up at all, because she’s Riverdale’s Best Girlfriend, but anyways). Veronica tells Jughead about the planted gun–that catches his attention.
In prison, FP gets interrogated by Sheriff Keller. FP confesses to absolutely everything: Jason approached him for a car to run away with Polly, so in exchange FP made a deal with Jason to distribute some weed. But when he figured out Jason’s plan to fake his death, FP figured he could make more money off of extorting Clifford Blossom, so he held Jason for ransom. When he got loose, FP shot him, dumped his body in the already-searched river, and torched the car. It’s not so much a villain laying out his evil plans as it is an angry man reciting a script; something isn’t right, but the kids get there just too late to stop him. Sheriff Keller tells them he confessed, and Jughead’s face falls flat again.
At dinner, Mr. and Mrs. Blossom tell Polly and Cheryl that the killer has been caught and they can start a new life with this vengence. The girls don’t buy it, even as Mr. Blossom tells of how he went to the station and “looked his son’s killer in the eye” and blah blah blah.
Meanwhile, Kevin has a hard time understanding why all of his friends want to go against his dad to free FP, but Betty still doesn’t buy that he’s guilty. Could he have been protecting Joaquin? Now Kevin’s mad she’s bringing his boyfriend into this, too. In the middle of the conversation, Jughead walks into the cafeteria–so much for not coming to school today–and walks up to Cheryl. He apologizes to her. She starts absolutely beating the shit out of him. Because Riverdale really is a shitty town, Jughead is the one who gets taken away by the principal. Cheryl runs to a bathroom and tries to explain to Betty, who followed her, that she can’t stand people talking to her because she’s Just So Sad, which is one excuse for violence, I guess.
Betty grabs Jughead on his way out of Principal Weatherby’s office and asks how he’s doing, but Jughead is too irritated to notice that she’s being nice. He has accepted that his dad will never do the right thing and he’s done making excuses.
Weatherby calls Fred Andrews to tell him Jughead’s getting kicked out of school. Archie gets angry on Jughead’s behalf, but Fred just wants his son to be safe and if that means not hanging out with Jughead then so be it–and Jughead, perched on the stairs, hears all of it. He goes to sleep in the garage for the night.
Betty, sleeping in full makeup because of course, is awoken by a noise. She creeps down the stairs with her mom, but it’s just Worst Husband Ever Hal Cooper, crouched over the files he stole from Sheriff Keller weeks ago. He only stole them because he was worried it would all get back to their family–a perfectly reasonable, illegal way for an innocent person to react–until he eventually spills the beans. Grandpappy Cooper wasn’t just murdered by a Blossom… he was a Blossom. The Coopers changed their name and severed ties with the family. I feel as though there’s no way I can do this moment justice in writing, but if you haven’t already figured it out–
Polly. Is. A. Blossom.
And the incest vibe continues with full force.
They take off to Thornhill, where they burst in and accuse the Blossoms of covering up the inscest (even though Hal also covered up the inscest, which is conveniently forgotten). The Coopers think the Blossoms are the ones who framed FP, because the inscest gives them motive. Polly is literally vomiting over the bannister. (Well, not literally, but no one talks to her in this scene except Mrs. Blossom who says the creepiest line ever: “Those babies would be the purest Blossom.” EW.)
Archie wakes up Jughead at the crack of dawn to go talk to his mom at Pop’s. She claims she pretended to be FP’s attorney so that she could talk to him (how did she do this if she, like, went to high school with Sheriff Keller? Whatever). FP didn’t budge from his story, though. Jughead cracks wise: “Well, if nothing else, at least he’s an honest murderer.” Classic. The last piece of information Mary gives the boys is that FP’s one phone call was to Joaquin.
At Mary’s request, Jughead goes to see his dad in jail. FP sticks by his story again, and Jughead is so visibly hurt he almost leaves without saying another word–until he sees his dad’s eyebrow twitch. Hm.
With the new information about Joaquin, Veronica, Archie, Betty, and Kevin confront him. Kevin, acting like a Mini-Sheriff Keller, coaxes the story at him: Joaquin assumes FP did in fact kill Jason because FP called him to help with the cleanup. Kevin is hurt that his boyfriend is an actual criminal (RIP the Romeo and Juliet story that could have been), but Veronica asks if he ever heard FP say anything about her father. There was one time Joaquin heard FP and Mustang–another Serpent–talking about someone who fit the description. They’ve got their next lead.
They go to find Mustang–but he’s overdosed in his bathtub. Kevin grabs Joaquin–he can’t be here–and tells the others to call his dad. When Sheriff Keller shows up, Hermione and Fred in tow, Archie makes up a story about how they just wanted to talk to another Serpent about FP, but it’s not a good enough tale to cover up the hundreds of dollars found under Mustang’s bed in a purse with Hermione Lodge’s initials on it. Veronica, possessed with guilt, almost tells him about her father’s connections with the Serpents, but Hermione shuts her up before any real damage is done. At home, Hermione is so frightened she begins to sob and Veronica holds her. No kid should have to do what these kids on Riverdale do, I mean, Jesus.
Joaquin gets on a bus to skip town, but he leaves Kevin with a kiss and one last piece of information. Jughead and Betty go to the journalism classroom, where their evidence is splayed out. Jughead thinks his dad is hiding something. But what? Cut to Mrs. Blossom’s face. Cheryl wants answers–why was Daddy and JJ fighting before JJ left? What was JJ running away from?
In a truly spectacular letdown of a sequence, Mrs. Blossom grabs Cheryls hands and drags her across the Thornhill grounds, shrieking about “How Dare She” and “You Want Answers?” before throwing her into the syrup barn. “There it is! There’s the sticky, dark, dirty truth! Maple Syrup! Drown in it, why don’t you!”
Yeah, OK. Whatever.
Betty gets a call from Kevin; Joaquin told him about a contingency plan. They throw their coats on, grab their flashlights, and hunt in the bushes for a bag, which turns out to contain Jason’s old jacket. After a truly creepy moment where Betty insists that Archie put the jacket on, she finds a flash drive in the lining. “Nancy Drew strikes again.”
They put it into a computer, and immediately recoil. Veronica begins to sob. Betty calls Cheryl–“You have to get out of that house.” Instead of heeding her warning, Cheryl walks downstairs toward her parents, eating dinner in the dining hall. “You did a bad thing, Daddy. And now everyone knows.”
The kids show Sheriff Keller and Mayor McCoy the video, and we see it clearly: Mr. Blossom walks in, takes the ring from Jason’s pocket, and shoots him point blank. But why? Because maple syrup?
But when they approach the Blossom house to arrest him it’s too late–he has already hung himself in the syrup barn. A tipped barrel reveals drugs within.
- Is anyone else disappointed the Jughead manhunt lasted all of five minutes?
Not a lot of honorable mentions for this episode because honestly, this episode really made me angry. It was pretty good there for a while–a fun mystery, as Riverdale sometimes can be–but it just proves that Riverdale doesn’t trust its audience. There’s nothing in here that suggests that Riverdale even cares about giving its viewers a rewarding experience–they just want to give us Sexy Teens and Sticky Murders. Which is one type of entertainment, I guess, but it’s not an overall positive one.