“I’m guilty.” Last night Cheryl Blossom sent shockwaves through Riverdale High with the seeming confession of the death of her beloved twin brother, Jason. But come on. “A Touch of Evil” is only episode two of Riverdale’s 13-ep first season. There’s no way the mystery of what happened to Jason Blossom will be so easily unraveled with “the twin did it.” However, this ep did pull a thread that’s sure to unfurl a shocking secret: What went down between Jason and Polly Cooper?
Betty’s sister Polly was mentioned in the show’s pilot as a cautionary tale of a good girl gone girl interrupted. Their sneer-smiling mom warned her bubbly blonde sophomore not to follow in Polly’s footsteps. Take your Aderall, Betty. Stay away from boys, Betty. Be a good girl, Betty. “You’ve accomplished so much,” Mrs. Cooper declared, “I just don’t want anything jeopardizing that. I mean just think of your poor sister. She was a shining star before she let that Blossom boy ruin her.” Betty argued Archie’s not like Jason, and Mrs. Cooper hissed back, “All boys are like Jason,” suggesting Jason was only after one thing. Presumably once he got it, he dropped Polly hard.
More details about “Polly and Jason’s epic demise” surfaced when Cheryl grilled Betty at cheerleading tryouts. In response to Betty saying simply, “Polly and Jason dated,” Cheryl scoffed, “I wouldn’t say dated.” Her snark suggests the two had sex, but there was no relationship beyond that. “It didn’t end well,” Betty admitted, before Cheryl cruelly clarified, “In fact, Jason’s probably why your sister had a nervous breakdown, and now lives in a group home. Isn’t it?” Betty refused Cheryl’s bait to share her deep-burning opinion. But do either of these heartbroken sisters know the truth?
After the cheerleader tryout by fire, Betty revealed to Veronica, “When Polly and Jason got together, it meant everything to her, and nothing to him. Things got super intense and weird and toxic. And my mom turned on Polly, like Polly wasn’t her daughter anymore. She said all these awful things to her. Jason hurt Polly. But it’s my mom who broke her.”
Then came episode 2.
“In a way, we’ve both lost siblings.” Cheryl coos, when she and Betty score some time away from gossiping classmates and meddling parents. There, the fiercely focused redhead quickly shifts gears to interrogate the doe-eyed good girl. Cheryl presses, “What do you think went down between them?…I kept thinking he said something to her, or she said something to him. I mean, didn’t they have a big fight this summer?” Cheryl suspects “crazy” Polly killed her brother in a petty lovers’ quarrel. But what if their fight wasn’t so petty?
As a rich, popular star athlete in a small town, Jason was the kind of kid who could get away with anything. What if it wasn’t just a bad breakup caused by common “boys will be boys” callousness post-sexual conquest? What if Jason raped Polly? This could explain the fight of which Cheryl spoke. The trauma of it all could have caused Polly’s breakdown, especially when coupled with her mother’s potential victim-blaming. And the stigma that rape culture inflicts on victims could explain Mrs. Cooper’s uncharacteristic muteness on the matter.
Jason’s background becomes more intriguing when Cheryl breaks down and confesses to a confused Veronica, “He was supposed to come back!” This suggests the Blossom twins faked Jason’s drowning, likely as an escape plan? But something went wrong, that something left him dead for real a week later. What could have spurred this golden boy to run away to begin with?
As the police and a hot-blooded cheerleader on the trail of his killer, Jason’s secrets are bound to be uncovered soon. And casting notices reveal Polly Cooper (Tiera Skovbye) is due to appear in six upcoming episodes. With her will come the truth of Jason Blossom’s summer break-up, and probably the answer to what sent him running from Riverdale.
Kristy Puchko ships Betty and Veronica, because duh.