Both the Coopers and the Blossoms suffered wretched losses last summer. The former saw their lovely eldest daughter sent away after a break-up induced breakdown. And the latter found their football-playing golden boy in Sweetwater River with a bullet in his brain. What happened to Jason Blossom seems intrinsically linked to whatever happened to Polly Cooper. And this week’s Riverdale ep, “Faster Pussycats! Kill! Kill!” finally began to untangle that snarl in earnest.
A brief recap of the events as we understood them: Jason Blossom, dashing captain of the Riverdale High football team, stunned friends and family when he began “dating” shy but sterling student Polly Cooper. Neither’s parents were pleased about this relationship. And in last week’s “Heart of Darkness” Mr. Cooper revealed why, unfurling a history that includes a business deal gone sour and ending in murder, generations before. However, the details of Jason and Polly’s relationship are foggy, with their respective sisters viewing it through very different lenses.
As Betty Cooper saw it, Polly fell hard for Jason, and so began to blossom (pardon the pun), wearing red lipstick and exploring her sexuality. But Cheryl Blossom has scoffed over the very idea that her twin brother thought of Polly as a girlfriend, having snarked, “I wouldn’t say (they)dated.” Instead, she’s implied her brother seduced and then dropped Polly. (Yet she still was disturbed to realize he’d participate the “scoring” game of the gross football clique. Bygones!) What both Betty and Cheryl agree on is that a major fight over the summer forever changed their siblings’ relationship. Now, I’d previously speculated that Jason may have raped Polly, spurring that fight, the scornful reaction of her mother, and his desire to flee Riverdale and possible prosecution. But along with sharing blood feud reveals, Mr. Cooper also tipped a curious detail last week when discussing his eldest, saying Polly was “sick.”
When confronted by Betty, her dad spun a tragic tale of how Polly was so devastated by the break-up that “she tried to hurt herself.” Specifically, he claims, she tried to kill herself. This suggests that Polly’s aforementioned halfway house is a place meant for mentally unwell teens. But when Betty tracks down her estranged sister down in a cryptic convent-like cage called Sisters Of Quiet Mercy: Home For Troubled Youths, she learns “sick” doesn’t mean suicidal, it means pregnant. With Jason’s baby.
(Not that it matters now, but preggo was my other guess. )
Polly—relieved to see the sister her parents said refused to visit—gushes to Betty about she and Jason’s thwarted plan. Yes. he dumped her, but only because his parents were forcing him to. (Perhaps they were threatening to disinherit him?) But the starcrossed lovers plotted to run away together that July 4th, where Jason went missing on Sweetwater River. Polly was meant to meet him on the other side, and together, they’d grab a stashed car and roar away from Riverdale and their overprotective (and possibly evil) parents forever, and raise their child together. Poor Polly didn’t even know her beloved baby-daddy was dead until Betty awkwardly dropped that bombshell.
Once Mr. & Mrs. Cooper have been caught in their lie, they’re quick to call Polly “crazy.” And Betty’s left wondering what to believe, telling Jughead (POST BUGHEAD KISS!)*, “What if Polly is (crazy) too? The way she talked to me. The way she looked at me!” Of course, you could argue that months being confined in an institution where your presumably slut-shamed for being an unwed pregnant teen could have that effect. Regardless, Betty decides to find proof by searching for Jason’s alleged getaway vehicle.
Not only do she and Juggy uncover it off the highway out of town, but they discover Jason’s letter jacket (which Betty inexplicably takes with her after declaring the place “a crime scene”) and those drugs that Jason’s teammate Trev told Betty the redhead jock was buying up before he went missing. Trev had said that Jason started dealing, and selling his things for some quick cash. This fits with the romantic runaway plan, as well as the appearance of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane styled Blossom grandma in last week’s show, who started ranting about her heirloom ring. Maybe Jason planned to give it to Polly as an engagement ring. Maybe he pawned it to buy the car. While money shouldn’t have been an issue for the affluent boy, clearly his parents were watching him like a hawk.
This all leads me to wonder what Cheryl knows. She’s admitted she was helping her brother run away (and somehow Sheriff Keller pressed the issue), but she’d shown nothing but abject disdain for Polly. Is it possible that Jason asked her for help running away, but left out the crucial detail of whom he’d be running away with? Maybe not. Remember, Cheryl suspected Polly was Jason’s killer early on. Either way, I’d be willing to wager Cheryl doesn’t know she’s set to be an auntie.
So with all this new information, who killed Jason Blossom? The Coopers, who essentially imprisoned their own daughter to keep her away from him, seem like solid suspects. Betty’s dad has no alibi for the night Sheriff Keller’s home office was wrecked and robbed. And while they were too busy that Independence Day getting Polly committed to sneak away to shoot Jason in the face, the teen dad didn’t actually die for until a full week later. So, they still had the potential opportunity. But with Polly locked away, why bother?
My guess is Jason got killed because over the drugs discovered in his car. And this suspicion is bolstered by the anonymous POV shots that suggest someone was spying on Betty and Jughead, and that those very drugs might be missing when Sheriff Keller finally arrives. Maybe Jason cheated a dealer. And if we’re looking for who among this shady sect of suburbanites might be a kingpin, I’d look to Jughead’s dad, FP Jones, leader of the South Side Snakes. The unsavory motorcycle gang has already forced the closure of the drive-in (where FP’s boy was desperately dodging homelessness). Then they threatened Veronica’s mom with a snake in a box. Is it such a stretch to imagine they might murder a prominent family’s first-born for crossing them? Yet as dramatically satisfying as it would be to watch amateur sleuth Jughead Jones realize his hunt for justice will hit his own father, that still feels too easy. My guess is FP will be the next red herring in this river wild noir.
*Kristy Puchko didn’t realize how much she wanted to see a Betty and Jughead hook-up until it happened! She ships it.