In the latest ‘Riverdale’ recap, Jason Blossom’s memorial digs up bad memories and a family grudge between two prominent families in town…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
If you’ve never lived in a small town, there are a few rules you must learn.
Everybody knows everybody else’s business and history runs deep — often generational — that connects friends and enemies alike with ties that bind and occasionally strangle the life out of a few people as well.
Those are lessons to learn as we dig into the latest episode of ‘Riverdale’ where we learn the grudge between the Blossom and the Cooper families run much deeper than the Romeo and Juliet relationship between Jason and Polly that seemingly put their parents at each others’ throats.
It turns out the Blossoms became the richest family in town — along with a gothic house called Thornhill — due to great grandpa Blossom killing his business partner to take over a burgeoning maple syrup industry that was blooming in Riverdale. The business partner who great grandpa Blossom killed was none other than Betty Cooper’s great grandfather, which explains the uneasiness each of the family’s felt when the oldest children to lead the next generation decided to get together.
We’ve heard a lot about Jason and Polly’s damaged relationship this season, which leads me to believe we will witness a flashback episode at some point this season. Regardless, Jason and Polly fell in love despite the century long feud between their families but perhaps whatever broke them apart also led to a murder being committed.
A murder that has everybody in town on edge and the revelation of this Hatfields and McCoys like situation just made at least one person in the Cooper family a prime suspect.
With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of ‘Riverdale’ titled ‘Chapter Five: Heart of Darkness’…
It’s quite clear that Cheryl and Jason Blossom had a deep connection as brother and sister with not so subtle hints all season long that there may have been a bit of twincest going on between the two of them. Regardless of their history, Cheryl is definitely haunted by her brother’s murder — most notably because she feels that she played a role in his death after serving as his accomplice as he tried to leave town to escape their monstrous parents.
In the middle of writing a eulogy for her brother, Cheryl falls asleep on his bed and wakes up in a fit of terror after dreaming that Jason got out of his casket and traipsed a bloody trail to seek vengeance on her.
After waking up, Cheryl gets an even colder reception from her mother Penelope, who tells her daughter that she won’t be speaking at her brother’s funeral after all. Penelope is concerned that Cheryl will embarrass the family like she did by lying about Jason’s disappearance and secretly helping him to disappear without a trace.
At school, Cheryl does her best to emulate her mother with an icy approach when handing out invitations to her brother’s memorial. Her cold exterior doesn’t fool Veronica, who quickly seeks her out to bridge a gap between the two of them and hopefully offer her some much needed support in this time of grief.
In return, Cheryl invites Veronica over to her house for a sleepover that only includes the two of them and a very awkward family dinner while munching on some maple ham. The uncomfortable dinner conversation includes a history lesson as Cheryl’s father tells Veronica how Riverdale was founded on a booming maple syrup industry — one that their family helped to foster, which explains how they can afford a compound that includes a gothic mansion and a cemetery on the property where everybody with the last name Blossom is buried.
Later that night after dinner is wrapped, Veronica quizzes Cheryl on why she was the only person at this sleepover instead of the two clones that follow her around school all day long. Cheryl responds by saying that Veronica was the only one who truly showed her sympathy after breaking down at the pep rally and that was an emotion the two witless wonders couldn’t muster if the three brain cells in their heads collided repeatedly while trying to figure out what to say in a situation like that.
If one thing is made abundantly clear by this morbid sleepover it’s that Cheryl is truly alone in this house with her parents and the chance that her brother could be haunting these halls might be the only comfort she’ll find right now.
Leader of the Pack
In a post-Grundy world, Archie Andrews isn’t holed up in his bedroom sulking the hours away while pining for his former teacher/lover. Instead, Archie has thrown himself head first into the two things that fuel him the most these days — hitting a punching bag shirtless for no apparent reason whatsoever. Oh wait, that’s not it.
No, Archie has decided to focus solely on football and music and hopefully find some time to actually go to high school as well.
Archie tells his father that he’s rededicating himself to becoming captain of the Riverdale football team because leaders like that are the ones who gets scholarships into college. A free ride in college will give Archie the means to pursue his real passion, which is music.
Archie receives help in both categories this week as Coach Clayton pits him against his archrival Reggie, who will compete for the captain’s spot on the football roster. Meanwhile, Archie has teamed up with Valerie, one of Josie’s pussycats to help him with his songwriting while also offering him a mentorship with a teacher named Oscar Castillo, who can help him understand the difference between strumming a song and creating actual music.
Unfortunately, Archie’s time with Mr. Castillo doesn’t end well because after devoting several hours to put his songs down on paper, the teacher scoffs as his feeble attempt at making real music. Instead, Castillo mocks his junior song writing skills by saying his songs are nothing more than sappy, high school dribble that are all about breakups.
Side note — aren’t approximately 75-percent of songs about breakups or relationships?
Anyways, Archie is very discouraged and nearly ready to give up songwriting until he receives a few more words of encouragement from Valerie to keep going.
As for football, Archie is eking by but forgetting plays on the field and getting creamed by Reggie when he’s running the wrong patterns. After one particularly brutal practice, Archie is left with a sore wrist, which earns him a sit down chat from Veronica who reminds him that he’s pulling himself in too many directions by trying to be the best at everything all at once. It’s also a chance for Archie and Veronica to share some alone time that didn’t involve seven minutes in heaven like their first chance encounter at Cheryl Blossom’s party.
With Miss Grundy out of the way, Archie seems to be the biggest bachelor at Riverdale High but who will be the lucky lady to have him write his next breakup song about her?
Snake in a Box
After closing a lucrative land deal last week, Hermoine Lodge is back slinging hash at Pop’s in the latest episode while keeping a lid on the fact that she’s still acting as proxy for her husband Hiram while he toils away behind bars. She’s handing stacks of cash to the Southside Serpents so they can drive down the value of the land that she’s currently swindling away from the mayor of Riverdale.
But Hermoine might have gotten in over her head when the biker gang demanded more money than what she was willing to pay and it results in a box being dropped off at the diner late one night when she was working all alone.
Inside, Hermoine finds Gwyneth Paltrow’s head a rattlesnake — a not so subtle reminder that she still owes the Southside Serpents.
Hermoine calls on Fred Andrews to dispose of the snake, who she just recently shot down for a second date after reminding him that they are both still married. Of course, Hermoine’s husband is in jail and Fred’s wayward wife hasn’t appeared yet in the series although she will show up in town sooner or later (Fred’s wife is being played by brat pack original Molly Ringwald).
As happy as Hermoine was to wrestle the land away from Riverdale on her husband’s behalf, she knows she’s probably in over her head but thankfully her day gets better when Fred pays her one more visit at Jason’s memorial and offers her the bookkeeping job at his construction company. It seems Fred is willing to overlook her husband’s crimes if it will keep Hermoine working in an office, far away from a late night diner where any manner of snake can sneak in.
Don’t forget, Fred has history with the Southside Serpents as well after firing FP Jones — aka Jughead’s father and the lead biker who was dealing with Hermoine — when he was busted stealing supplies from a job site. This just reeks of Fred getting pulled into Hermoine’s drama as she continues to sink her teeth back into Riverdale.
Laid to Rest
Jason’s memorial was supposed to be a time for friends and family to grieve together over his passing, but the Blossom family preferred to use this as a chance to get all of their enemies gathered under one roof in an attempt to point the finger at a potential murder suspect.
The break in at Sheriff Keller’s house last week where his ‘True Detective’ murder wall was torn apart and evidence stolen has Betty Cooper digging into the crime in the one place where police have very little reach — Riverdale High.
Kevin, Jughead and Betty rebuild the wall of evidence as best as memory can serve while trying to put the clues together that could lead to the culprit responsible for breaking into the sheriff’s house, which could then also implicate them in the murder of Jason Blossom.
Betty goes on a pseudo-date with Trev, who was one of Jason’s closest friends in school. Trev tells Betty that in the months prior to his death, Jason had cut off his nearest and dearest before selling off all of his worldly possessions while also dealing drugs. Both Jughead and Betty are curious why Jason, who came from the wealthiest family in town, would need to deal drugs to make spare cash?
The investigation into Jason’s disappearance and then death leads Betty and Jughead to attending his memorial so they can dig around his bedroom to look for answers about his activities before skipping town. Before they can unearth any clues, Team Scooby gets busted by Jason’s grandmother — Nana Rose — who just happens to be lurking in a dark corner in his bedroom.
Nana Rose mistakes Betty for her sister Polly and divulges the news that she had given Jason a family engagement ring that he planned to hand over to the woman he intended to marry. It seems Jason and Polly were engaged to be married until something explosive tore them apart and landed her in a mental institution.
Downstairs at the memorial, Archie takes it upon himself to hand over Jason’s football jersey to his mother — effectively retiring the number, which earns him leadership points with Coach Clayton — while she remarks at how much he resembles her fallen son. The gesture ultimately gives Archie the nod as captain of the football team, which he promptly declines because he knows he can’t give his full attention to the sport while working on his music simultaneously. He hands over the captain’s spot to Reggie while hoping that the coach will still keep him on the team just not as the leader of the whole squad.
And finally as the memorial gets underway, Cheryl shows up dressed in white from head to toe — wearing the same dress she wore the day Jason disappears — before taking the pulpit to give her eulogy whether her parents like it or not.
Cheryl’s heartfelt speech resonates with everybody in the room outside of her mother, who scorns her afterwards, tells her she’s out of the River Vixens and further discipline will be handed down if she misbehaves again.
Meanwhile, Betty catches her father in a heated exchange with Cliff Blossom that makes her curious about the relationship between the two families after Polly’s breakdown and Jason’s subsequent death.
Back at home, Betty corners her father Hal to give her some answers about the fractured relationship between her sister and Jason Blossom. With Alice Cooper out of town on business, it’s given Betty the chance to interrogate her dad without mommie dearest shutting down her every question.
Hal first reveals that after their stormy breakup following a rather volatile argument, Polly was found upstairs in a bath after slitting her own wrists. Polly’s suicide attempt prompted her mom and dad to put her in a mental institution while keeping all of this a secret from Betty.
The picture is starting to become clear on Alice’s overbearing nature towards her daughter with her growing obsession over Archie Andrews. Alice clearly believes rejection could send her other daughter down a similarly dark, downward spiral as what happened with Polly.
And finally, Hal also reveals the history of the feud between the Coopers and the Blossoms that dates back nearly a hundred years when the two families built a maple syrup conglomerate together. Ultimately, it was great grandpa Blossom who reaped the rewards after murdering great grandpa Cooper and the two families have been at each other’s throats ever since.
Hal’s confession not only gives Betty clarity about her sister’s condition but it also raises her suspicion about a brand new suspect in Jason’s murder. If Hal Cooper truly felt that Jason harmed Polly and put her into a suicidal state, perhaps he exacted revenge by killing him dead.
Soon after we see Hal putting away files that he stole from Sheriff Keller’s house — he was the one who broke in to tear down the murder wall while stealing all of the evidence in Jason’s case. Was Hal Cooper trying to cover his own tracks or perhaps he was protecting someone else because the sheriff was getting too close to the truth…
“Riverina” by The Temper Trap
“Shout” by Think Up Anger
“Muddy Water” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
‘Riverdale’ returns with a brand new episode next Thursday night at 9pm ET on the CW.