TV

Who Killed Jason Blossom On ‘Riverdale’?

Riverdale, a new television series based on the Archie Comics characters, debuted last week on the CW, and as Alan Sepinwall explained in his review, it’s a darker interpretation of the characters than we’ve ever seen. Much of Riverdale, so far, is a typical teen melodrama, heavily stylized and dripping with smart pop-culture references (Toni Morrison, In Cold Blood, Woody Allen, and Goonies, among others, so far). However, the biggest draw to the series for many of us is the Twin Peaks-like murder mystery that bookends all the relationship drama.

We’re only two episodes into the season, but it’s never too early to try and solve a mystery. Piecing the clues together, so far, let’s try and answer the question: Who killed Jason Blossom?

Here’s what we know.

The Facts

On the early morning of the July 4th, Jason Blossom and his sister, Cheryl, took an early morning boat ride. Before they set off, however, Cheryl asked her brother, “Are you scared?” which is not a question one would typically ask before a routine boat ride in the river. Hours later, Cheryl was found on the shore, wet, and distraught. Jason was missing.

Cheryl explained to the police that she had dropped her glove from the boat, and that Jason had reached over to grab it. The boat tipped over, Cheryl said, and Jason never came back up. Authorities dragged the river, but could not find Jason’s body. He was presumed dead.

We know now that the reason they couldn’t find Jason’s body was because it wasn’t in the river at the time. As we learned in the second episode — after Jason’s body was recovered from the river — he didn’t actually die until a week after the fourth of July.

However, on the morning of the 4th, while Cheryl and Jason were out boating, Archie — who was having an illicit affair with his music teacher — heard a gunshot near the river (he was prevented from informing the police of this, however, because he didn’t want to reveal that he and his teacher were having sex that morning). While Jason did die from a gunshot wound to the head, we also know it wasn’t the same gunshot Archie heard because Jason didn’t die until a week later.

Motive

We know that Jason was dating Betty’s sister, Polly, and that they had a fight over the course of the summer. We also know that, before Jason died, Polly was taken away. According to Betty’s mom, Alice, Jason did something terrible to Polly. Polly was “a shining star before she let that boy Jason ruin her life,” Alice said, and then suggested to Betty that “all boys are like Jason Blossom.” On the morning Alice found out that Jason had died, she also uttered to her husband, “I hope he burns in hell.”

Meanwhile, Betty thinks Polly may have been institutionalized and that whatever happened between Polly and Jason drove her mad.

I should also add that Cheryl acted for much of the summer as though her brother, Jason, hadn’t really died. She had been very dramatic in an attempt to extract sympathy from the rest of the town, but until Jason’s body washed up onshore, Cheryl seemed fairly nonplussed about her brother’s death. After the discovery of his corpse, however, a weeping Cheryl confided to Veronica, “You don’t understand. He was supposed to come back!”

The Narrative

Early in the summer, Jason had sex with Polly. It could have been consensual sex, or it could have been rape. Either way, I believe that Jason impregnated Polly. I think she disappeared not because she’d gone mad, but because she’s hiding out until she has the baby. Her pregnancy is likely what triggered the fight between Jason and Polly.

Here’s my theory: If Jason had ruined Polly’s life by raping and/or impregnating her, then Betty and Polly’s Mom, Alice, and their father, Hal Cooper, probably found out and sent Polly away. In the meantime, it also gave them motive to kill Jason for ruining their daughter’s life. Jason knew they had found out and he was scared for his life. So, on the morning of the 4th of July, Cheryl and Jason set out on a boat trip with the intention of faking Jason’s death so that he could avoid the ire of Betty’s parents. This is why Cheryl asked Jason, “Are you scared?”

Their scheme went as planned, as far as Cheryl knew. She jumped out of the boat, and Jason rowed away. Cheryl pretended that her brother had fallen in and gave her story to the police. However, when Jason escaped, he ran upon someone with a gun. That person didn’t shoot Jason; he or she just fired a warning shot to ensure that Jason wouldn’t escape. This is the gunshot Archie heard. Instead, the murderer took Jason somewhere else, tied him up (which explains the ligature marks found by the coroner), and a week later, the murderer shot Jason in the head and killed him.

The Suspect

The question is: Who was it? The obvious answer is Alice Cooper. She’s the one who most outwardly hates Jason, and who resents Jason for ruining her daughter’s life. But, if it were Alice, she wouldn’t be investigating the case on her own as a reporter for the town newspaper (in that capacity, she paid off the coroner to gain inside information about the autopsy). What’s more likely is that it was Betty and Polly’s soft-spoken father, who has — so far — remained a quiet, background figure.

What I also think is that, when a toxicology report comes back on Jason, we’re going to discover that he had ingested some unusual medication. I believe that we will discover that the medication came from Hal Cooper. His occupation in the series hasn’t been revealed yet, but from the comics, we know that Hal is a druggist. It might also explain the strange, uncharacteristic close-up of Betty’s Adderall in the pilot episode. There is no prescribing doctor on the label, but dollars to donuts says that it’s Hal Cooper, and that we’ll eventually find out that he was behind Jason’s murder.

That’s my primary theory. My secondary theory is that Cheryl’s wealthy family found out that Jason had raped and impregnated Polly and, in an effort to spare themselves the embarrassment, either killed Jason or had someone else kill their own son.

There’s 11 more episodes in the first season. We should find the identity of Jason’s killer in in April.

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