The second episode of The CW’s Archie Comics adaptation, Riverdale, turns the small town into a pressure cooker. The uncovering of Jason Blossom’s (Trevor Stines) body, by Kevin Keller (Casey Cott) and Moose Mason (Cody Kearsley), at the tail end of “Chapter One: The River’s Edge” creates a tension in the air that feels palpable on screen, and all of the characters react to that heat differently. Maybe it’s because there aren’t many other teen shows to compete at the moment, but there’s something very thrilling and familiar stylistically about the way that Riverdale immediately throws itself into second gear, with no signs of slowing.
“Chapter Two: Touch of Evil” takes us to the morgue, with Alice Cooper (Mädchen Amick) looking down at Jason’s cadaver and learning details from the autopsy. We know now that Jason clearly did not drown in Sweet Water River like his sister Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch) told the police, and the name of the game has officially changed from a simple accident to homicide. Jughead’s film noir-style monologue couldn’t have said it any better: the town is immediately changed. Riverdale is no longer a place that can be considered safe. It has instantly become a place full of lies and secrets.
Since Jason Blossom’s murder is the catalyst that keeps the story moving forward with purpose, it’s important to stay current on what we actually know about his death. The autopsy report gave some very critical information that changed even more about what we previously knew to be true in regards to what really happened to Jason. So let’s take a look at the most important things we learned, in case you decide to give the show a shot.
The gunshot wound
When Kevin Keller and Moose are rudely interrupted by Jason Blossom’s dead body, half submerged in the water, it’s very clear that it wasn’t Sweet Water River that introduced him to his maker. It was a bullet. Jason was shot in the head, maybe at point blank range. This means that without any doubt whatsoever, this was a very intentional act. Whoever was involved in Jason’s (probably premeditated) murder knew exactly what they were doing, and they didn’t have any qualms about doing it either. This new information brings up all kinds of questions, especially with regards to the story that Cheryl has been telling the town all summer. The murder is made all the more complicated by the fact that plenty of people in the town had reason to dislike Jason – including several members of the central Riverdale friendship group.
The time of death
Up until the final minutes of “Touch of Evil,” the audience had been operating under the assumption that Jason died after falling in the river, on the very same Independence Day that he and his twin sister went out on their boat. At the end of the episode, however, Cheryl Blossom is pulled from class after to autopsy comes to a different conclusion: that Jason did not die until a week later. This opens up a whole can of worms, and calls into question much of what we thought was known about the murder. Where was Jason all that time if he didn’t die on July 4th? If the gunshot that Archie (K.J. Apa) heard wasn’t the gunshot that killed Jason, then what was it? Moreover, the new information about the time of death means that certain people who appeared to have rock-solid alibis for the murder – specifically, Geraldine Grundy (Sarah Habel) and Archie himself – are now back in the mix as suspects.
The ligature mark
Also uncovered by the autopsy: Jason was clearly being held against his will, somewhere, by someone. The possibility of torture is even in play now – after all, he didn’t die until a week after he was reported dead. No one, that we know of, saw him popping into the Chock’lit Shop for a late night burger, so someone had to be keeping him holed up somewhere. The reason why is still a mystery, and these horrible new details alter how we have to approach the list of suspects. Whoever did this to Jason has to have motive beyond just dislike; this is a deeply personal murder tied to very strong emotions, like revenge.
This episode ends with something we couldn’t help but see coming at some point. It’s almost so obvious that it probably isn’t even close to the truth, especially since we’re only two weeks in. Cheryl Blossom is arrested. The most interesting part about her arrest though, is that apparently she sees it coming from a mile away, even telling the whole classroom, “I’m guilty.” Although she’s been spending the entire episode trying to find information about Jason’s death, by any means (like being extremely weird and creepy in her mortal enemy Betty Cooper’s bedroom), Cheryl seems to have made peace with the fact that she may be going down for her brother’s murder. We’ll have to keep watching what’s going on in the little town of Riverdale to get to the bottom of things.
Riverdale airs on The CW every Thursday at 9 pm EST.