Riverdale – Anatomy of a Murder
By: Jay Smith
Still in Pop’s after Papa Jones’ arrest, Archie (KJ Apa) and Veronica (Camila Mendes) are explaining to Betty (Lili Reinhart) that the gun was planted and that they need to find Jughead to tell him and their parents. Fred (Luke Perry) and Mary (Molly Ringwald) are livid while Hermione (Marisol Nichols) and Alice (Mädchen Amick) dismiss the teenagers’ claims. Betty reveals that it was Alice’s idea for Veronica and Archie to break into the trailer in the first place and the parents turn on her. Veronica defends Alice, but Hermione had heard enough and thinks the case is closed just like Fred does. Archie still wants to tell Sheriff Keller their side, but Mama Andrews tells him everything he says will be dismissed because of trespassing. Betty lies awake and texts Archie and the two leave to find Jughead. Jughead (Cole Sprouse) is in a payphone booth calling his mom to surprise her with an impromptu visit to Toledo. From the conversation and Jughead’s reaction she doesn’t want him there. Jughead changes his ticket, but doesn’t stay at the station because it’s now closed. Hermione is frantically looking for passports and explains to Veronica that because of the arrest of Papa Jones this will potentially open up the floodgates to the illegal activities she’s done to acquire the drive in land. Hermione tells Veronica to back a bag just in case.
Archie and Betty arrive at a closed station and Archie tells her he thinks he’s gone or is planning to go to Toledo to be with his mom and sister. Veronica calls Archie to vent and gets slightly upset that he and Betty went on a manhunt without her. Veronica gives a half riddle into Jughead’s location and we see all three teens arrive at Pop’s and they see a broken Jughead in a booth. They apologize to him and inform him that he’s being framed. Keller (Martin Cummins) is interrogating Papa Jones (Skeet Ulrich) and we get a flashback of Jason (Trevor Stines) and Papa Jones talking to initiate the deal for the extra cash he needed to run away with Polly. Papa Jones tells Keller after Jason told him his plan, he had kidnapped him for ransom. But Jason got loose so he had to shoot him. After the search party had died down Papa Jones dumped the body. The night the get away car was torched, Papa Jones had been following Jughead and Betty that night and once they left he set it ablaze. The teens approach Keller in the precinct hallway and they try to warn him about Papa Jones being framed, but he tells them that Jones has confessed to everything. Jughead watches his father being led in handcuffs down the hall and Papa Jones can barely look at him.
The Blossoms are having breakfast when Penelope (Nathalie Boltt) shows Polly (Tiera Skovbye) the morning paper with Papa Jones’ mugshot and the news that he’s the killer. Cliff (Barclay Hope) says he looked Papa Jones in his eyes and the family can finally rest. Polly and Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) give each other slight looks like they don’t completely feel like the news is real or accurate. In school everyone is talking about the news or embracing Cheryl. Veronica is happy Hiram wasn’t mentioned, but wonders if he hired someone to plant the gun. Archie reaches under the table and holds her hand. Kevin (Casey Cott) sits down with them and Betty has too many questions because she honestly believes Papa Jones didn’t do it. Kevin gets agitated when Betty mentions Alice seeing Joaquin talking with Papa Jones. The room gets quiet and Jughead walks up to Cheryl. He apologizes on his father’s behalf and she repeatedly hits him. Weatherbee (Peter Bryant) calls for Jughead to his office immediately. Betty finds Cheryl in the bathroom and tries to comfort her. Cheryl opens up and admits she doesn’t feel relieved that her brother’s killer is caught. Jughead leaves the office and he finally takes a moment from Betty’s theories and tells her he’s done thinking otherwise on him really killing Jason. Fred is on the phone and once Archie settles in he tells him Weatherbee thinks it’s best if Jughead is homeschooled the rest of the year. Jughead stops on the steps and listens to the conversation. Archie wants to help Jughead but Fred wants him safe and thinks the Jones’ are trouble. He mentions Archie moving to Chicago with his mom. It catches Archie off guard and he retorts that maybe he will go stay with her. Jughead gets off the stairs and tells Archie he’ll sleep in the garage tonight. Betty hears a noise and travels downstairs. She runs into Alice, who has a gun, and they both travel to the basement. Alice demands the intruder put their hands up and once they turn around its revealed to be Hal (Lochlyn Munro). Hal admits to stealing Keller’s murder wall the night of the last drive in because of the potential motive one of them could have to being Jason’s murderer. He reveals that their great grandpappy was a Blossom making them Blossoms by blood and they changed their name to Cooper to be disassociated with the family name. Alice realizes this makes Polly and Jason relatives by blood and why Hal sent her away. This also makes Betty question how far would the Blossoms go to keep the teens apart and the family immediately gets up to leave.
They arrive on the Blossom estate and barge in once Cliff opens the door. Betty tells Polly that they are there to get her and Alice tells everyone about the incest connection between Jason and Polly and Papa Jones is being framed to hide that fact. Penelope and Clifford aren’t affected by the incest coming out but we can see Polly is sick while touching and looking at her stomach. Alice grabs for Polly and before the Coopers leave Penelope threatens Betty. Archie wakes Jughead up early and the two head to Pop’s. Mama Andrews is meeting them and in a nutshell she tells them it’s not looking too good for Papa Jones and the one phone call he made was to Joaquin. Mama Andrews tells Jughead to see his father because it might be his last chance. Jughead sees Papa Jones and breaks down how he thought everything was finally going great for himself and puts together that Papa Jones only wanted to leave town was to run and not to get the family back together. Papa Jones is cold to Jughead the whole and tells him not to visit him anymore. Once he leaves Papa Jones finally shows his real emotions.
Veronica and Archie are talking at her place and they question why Papa Jones didn’t call a lawyer or Fred instead of Joaquin. Veronica needs to know if Joaquin knows if Hiram helped orchestrated this whole thing. Archie, Veronica and Kevin have Joaquin (Rob Raco) in Archie’s garage and they interrogate him. Joaquin confesses and recounts his side of the story. He got a call on July 11th for a clean up job. He saw Jason’s dead body on the basement floor of the club, helped put it in freezer and cleaned up anything else. Kevin calls him a criminal and tells them he heard Mustang (Chris Rosamond), the Serpent that Archie fought, mention something about a rich guy when Veronica asks about a possible connection to her father. Veronica asks for Mustang’s location and Joaquin initially refuses, but reconsiders once Kevin threatens to expose him.
Betty is happy to have Polly back home but they’re both still on edge with everything else going on. Betty’s phone rings and it’s Jughead telling her that Papa Jones is hiding something. The teens are at a shady motel as Joaquin is waking them to Mustang’s room. He enters first and they all follow him. They see the place a wreck and a dead Mustang in his bath tub with a needle in his arm. Joaquin and Kevin leave and he instructs them to call his dad. Fred, Keller and Hermione arrive and Keller wants to know why they are there. After Archie gives his side, Keller tells Fred it was likely can overdose because of the heat of the murder investigation. Before Archie can answer how did they know about Mustang’s residence, an officer shows him a fancy bag full of cash with the initials “H. L.” on it. Keller wants Hermione to explain the bag, but Veronica says it stands for “Hiram Lodge” and that he was doing business with the Serpents before Hermione quiets her. Before Fred leaves to take Archie home he lectures him on him possibly being murdered like Jason and he’s only trying to protect him. The Lodge women enter their apartment and Hermione breaks down while Veronica comforts her. Joaquin and Kevin are at the bus station saying their goodbyes. Before Joaquin goes, Kevin gives him a kiss and Joaquin uses the opportunity to tell Kevin more information.
Betty and Jughead revisit the murder wall after Jughead confesses that his father can’t tell a lie to save his life and they go over the suspects. Cheryl enters a room where Penelope is and she asks again why Cliff and Jason were arguing. She reiterates Jason not being up for the task of the family business, while Cheryl gets the flashback. Cheryl isn’t letting this go and probes some more. The only suspects left after a process of elimination are The Blossoms and Hiram. Cheryl gives her theories and lists her parents as why Jason initially wanted to run away invoking rage into Penelope as she grabs her daughter and they briskly walk to the shed. Penelope opens the doors and tells Cheryl to soak in the dark family business secret of syrup. Alice sees the wall and informs the two of the new dead body. Alice tells them of the new information and connections and thinks the presentation to Keller is too clean to be the truth. Kevin calls Betty and with Jughead they travel later that night to a spot that Joaquin told them about that has information and was considered a “contingency plan.” They find a backpack and inside is Jason’s letterman’s jacket.
The gang is investigating and questioning the discovery of the jacket when Betty puts it on Archie and checks pockets. She discovers a hole and pulls out a flash drive. They plug it in, and emotions are high once they see the video. Betty closes the laptop and calls someone warning them to get out of their house. It’s revealed to be Cheryl, who thanks Betty for the call, cries a little and heads downstairs. She stands next to her mother at her side of the table, while her parents eat dinner, and tells her father everyone knows about what he did. Cliff has a panicked look on his face and Cheryl’s is full of anger.
Alice enters the Sheriff’s office with Mayor McCoy (Robin Givens) and gives them the flash drive for them to see. Jughead narrates what they saw in the garage and we see the video of Jason tied up in the basement bar with Mustang trying to provoke him. Cliff enters the room, snatches Nana’s ring from Jason’s pocket, and shoots Jason in the head. We discover that Papa Jones confessed to everything because when Cliff saw him he threatened Jughead would suffer the same fate as Jason. Even with this discovery, Keller tells Jughead the list of crimes Papa Jones still committed that are keeping him in the cell. Veronica goes back home and apologizes to Hermione. Hermione tells her its okay and that Hiram is coming home. Mama Andrews is getting ready to leave and Archie promises to visit in the summer since his friends need him here now. Jughead narrates again that even though Cliff is the murderer the new question is why and he’s the only one to answer it. The police are on the Blossom estate when Cheryl and Penelope point them in the direction of Cliff. Keller opens the door and we see a hanging Cliff holding a gun and a fallen barrel of syrup with drugs in it.