Welcome back to my weekly recap/reviews of The CW’s Riverdale. To read previous coverage, click here.
If you’re reading this, then you know Jason’s murderer ended up being Clifford Blossom, who killed his son in the basement, with a gun, while he was tied to a chair. Take a second to swallow that information. “Chapter Twelve: Anatomy of a Murder” was an intense episode that flowed remarkably, giving us inquisitive teenagers working together to investigate and solve a mystery, but without the full motive. An enthralling hour that was must needed needed, “Anatomy of a Murder” worked on its strengths, and set up what will most likely be a terrific season finale.
Having been wrongly arrested for Jason’s murder, it’s Veronica and Archie who figure out that a gun was planted in FP’s trailer. Strangely, FP confesses to murdering Jason, but of course there’s something more going on with that. Enter the Scooby gang investigating (and doing a better job than the cops, I might add, even if most of it would probably be deemed tampering with evidence). The investigation opens up doors with lots of skeletons behind them and some of them are kind of disturbing.
I’ve always referred to the Blossoms as the family from hell, and it turns out I was right to an extent. As indicated by Penelope, it seems like the family business had a lot to do with why Clifford killed his own son. And also maybe because, in a long line of reveals, came the revelation that Betty and Polly are actually descendants of the Blossom family… Betty’s great grandfather was Cheryl’s great grandfather’s brother. After he was killed, the family now know as the Coopers split from the Blossoms and changed their last name. So, basically, Polly and Jason are third cousins. So now the whole blood feud between the Coopers and the Blossoms makes more sense. As if things weren’t already screwed up with these two families.
What I love about this episode is that it kind of comes full circle. Everything that has been laid out about all of the characters’ families and their history comes back around to haunt them. Hal continues to be shady, but instead of being unreasonable, he actually tells the truth. FP’s history with the Southside Serpents comes into play and Joaquin plays a role as well. Hermione is worried that all her dealings, what with all the bribing and forgery, would make her a known associate of Hiram’s and have her arrested. The parents and the teens’ world collide and make for some great drama.
The person left in the middle of this chaos, lost amid the accusations and the possibility of his father being convicted for murder, is Jughead. He’s one of the characters who has come the farthest in terms of his developing relationship with his father. While this episode kind of distanced Jughead from FP, it might also bring them closer after it’s found out that FP confessed to protect Jughead from suffering the same fate as Jason. Riverdale also leaves the situation with Jughead’s mother open-ended. His heartbreak in the scene where he calls her is almost devastating. Jughead is very much a lost soul trying to find his place. Be it with Betty, or with Archie and his dad, Jughead simply needs someplace to feel at home. It’s a conversation that comes up as Archie pleads with his father to let Jughead stay with them permanently and it’s sad to see Jughead take the brunt of the weight because of his dad’s arrest.
One of the players in the story who didn’t seem to fit in at all is Archie’s mom, Mary. Back from Chicago to finalize her divorce with Fred, Archie flirts with the idea of moving back with her. At first it seems like there’ll be some conflict, but there isn’t and any potential love triangle between her, Fred, and Hermione is never explored and easily dismissed. Her storyline might have gotten more attention had she appeared earlier on in the season. The writers are probably saving the love triangle dynamic for when Hiram Lodge gets out of jail (and he will).
“The Anatomy of a Murder” had such a great payoff. The way the culprit was revealed at first, with Archie and the gang staring horrified at the computer screen, was really well done and it was creative without having to use a flashback scene. Long-held truths being dropped left and right flowed really well and everyone (save for Josie and the Pussycats, because Riverdale refuses to let them be great) got a chance to shine. Veronica, Betty, and the rest of their friends worked seamlessly together and proved that when they work with each other, they are a force to be reckoned with. All in all, a very satisfying penultimate episode and one of the best of the season.