Welcome to the Legion!

Photo: Diyah Pera /The CW

A town of secrets and lies

The parents of Riverdale need to calm way the hell down. A particularly creepy and sinister spotlight is shown on the Blossom household this week as they prepare for Jason’s funeral. At the same time, Cheryl’s parents have a secret agenda that includes inviting everyone they suspect has a motive to kill their dashingly handsome teenaged son. While we’re on the subject of the Blossoms, Riverdale manages to surprise (or at least keeps me invested) and make sense at the same time. Of course the Blossoms are a founding family of Riverdale — Charleston, SC is full of them, and every one is just as obnoxious as the other. Of course their family is in the middle of a blood feud (with the Coopers). Of course their fortune was built on dirty money, soaked in the blood of Betty’s great-grandfather. Of course Cheryl’s mother is a terrible person and probably has the same creepy vibe towards Jason as Cheryl does. I mean…you can chalk it up to a mother seeing a strong resemblance of her dead son in Archie, but why would you touch someone else’s hair like that if you didn’t have some kind of forbidden love for your offspring? Creepy. Creepy creepy creepy. Oh, and they live in a gothic mansion that Casper the Friendly Ghost would have LOVED to have haunted. And it’s named Thornhill. Go figure.

After everything we’ve seen, it makes sense that Cheryl is the way she is. Leave it to spending 24 hours with a family from hell to gain some perspective and appreciation about your own. Probably the most shocking revelation of all is that Cheryl is perhaps the most sane member of the Blossom clan. Let that sink in… More on the Blossom’s later.

“Chapter 5” also follows a post-Grundy Archie, who is inwardly spiraling by overachieving in literally every activity. Namely music and football. He wants to be captain of the football team because “captains get scholarships” to good schools where he can study music. Then Valerie from Josie and the Pussycats drops in and tells Archie that there’s another mentor he can look up, but he’s tough as nails. Both sides are beginning to stretch the boy a little too thin — the race to become team captain starts taking a toll on his body, and late-night music tutoring with Valerie is keeping him from concentrating on…well, just about everything. In other words, he’s working against himself and achieving nothing. Thankfully, Archie figures this out on his own and makes a decision. FINALLY! He gives up his running to become captain in favor of putting more concentration into his music. Sure, he’s not dedicating himself to music 100%, but the kid has a point: he’s not a musical prodigy, and football is still his best way to get a scholarship to a good college. Plus, colleges still like it when you have extra curricular activities, right?

Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW

As I said before, the Blossoms are hosting a memorial for Jason at the Thornhill mansion. But Clifford and Penelope Blossom have a ulterior motive: to gather the town’s top suspects under one roof so they and the Sheriff can observe them closely. What I’ve noticed about most of the adults in Riverdale is that almost none of them seemed to have left. They all went to school with each other, nearly everyone hates the other, and everyone has a damn secret. Forget the teen drama, what the hell is going on with these 40-somethings?

For Cheryl, the memorial is one final goodbye to her twin brother. However, she’s banned by her own mother to speak at the event since she already humiliated the family with her antics since Jason’s death. Being the queen bee that she is, though, (and with some encouragement from Veronica) Cheryl ditches her dower black frock and opts for all white. Actually, she’s wearing the exact same outfit she wore when Jason disappeared. She hijacks the memorial to deliver her genuinely heartfelt speech sans any typical incendiary remarks.

It was indeed a shining moment for a character one usually loves to hate. This transgression however, is later met with a violent promise from Penelope that Cheryl will be sent to a boarding school in Europe if she embarrasses the family like that again. Harsh.

Photo: Diyah Pera /The CW

As for the rest of the gang: Veronica bonds with Cheryl after witnessing first hand what the red bombshell has to live with, and Betty and Jughead use the open house as an excuse to snoop around Jason’s room in search of clues. Betty gleans some intel from her new beau(?), Trev. He reveals that Jason began dealing drugs and selling his possessions while dating Polly. In Jason’s room, Betty and Jug are surprised to find Grandmother Blossom, Nana Rose. She thinks Betty is Polly and divulges the biggest secret ever: Jason and Polly were engaged!!!

Let’s rewind a bit because this secret is actually pretty scandalous.

Betty is alone with her father while Alice is attending a spa retreat. She starts poking the bear of all questions: What happened to Polly? Hal Cooper revealed that after Polly’s big fight with Jason, she was suicidal. He found her in the bathroom one day trying to kill herself. After Betty reveals to Hal that Polly was actually engaged to Jason, he flies off the handle. Evidently, this new information only fuels his hatred for the Blossoms. Then he tells Betty why: great-grandfather Blossom murdered great-grandfather Cooper to cut him out of their lucrative maple syrup industry. In his anger, he also lets slip how he would do anything to protect his family. Anything.

Betty takes her father’s final words to heart and puts their name up on the her own murder board that Kevin recreated in the school newsroom. The episode then ends with a flashback revealing that it was Hal Cooper who raided Sheriff Keller’s house and destroyed everything concerning Jason’s death. He also took anything that would pertain to the Cooper family and hid it.

God, this town is so intriguing.

FINAL THOUGHTS: 

  • Hermione is being threatened by the South Side Snakes. Last week, she refused to pay the Snakes anymore than what was already agreed upon, to the chagrin of the gang’s leader.
  • Fred is still interested in Hermione, but she rebuffs him. Apparently they’re both still married. So where’s Archie’s mom???
  • Val seems to be filling the Grundy void quite nicely. This I am okay with. Not so sure that Josie will be okay with it, though.
  • Betty and Jug have a lot of questions, and Polly is the only one to answer them.
  • Yes. We will to get meet Polly next week. She will be played by Tiera Skovbye.
  • Our heroes will be attending a variety show next week. Let the battle of the bands begin!

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Christina E. Janke

Christina is the co-host of “Intro to Geek” on Shauncastic and Editor-in-Chief at Agents of Geek. Her love of all things Mass Effect knows no bounds. She also carries an obsession with comic books, video games, and quirky television shows. Her heroes are Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Gail Simone. She hopes to be just like them when she grows up.

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