WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Riverdale
We knew that the identity of Jason Blossom’s killer was what launched Riverdale into existence, but even more mysteries have surfaced amidst the bombshell that the one behind the trigger was… Cliff Blossom, Jason’s own father. In an episode that unveiled incest between the Blossom’s crimson elites and the blonde Coopers, a false confession from Jughead’s father, and the strangest maple syrup-themed reveal ever committed to television, the murder of a son by a father lay at its center.
The mystery was actually solved by Archie, Betty, Jughead, Veronica, and Kevin, having uncovered the clues and insurance left behind by Jughead’s father. Having taken the fall for Cliff Blossom to protect his own son from the same murder, it fell not to the police, but the teens of Riverdale to pursue justice. With help from the Southside Serpents, and Jason Blossom’s hidden jacket, footage was recovered showing the entire murder. Cliff Blossom confronted his restrained son in the basement of the White Worm bar (where he had been held by Mustang on orders from Jughead’s father), removed the family heirloom engagement ring he intended to give to his third cousin, Polly Cooper, and shot him point blank in the head.
Beginning the clean-up, and cover-up, which fueled the entire first season to this point. From there, it does seem like the truth may be as FP claimed, having wrapped up the corpse, placed it into a freezer to throw off the investigation, before dumping it into the one part of the river that had already been searched.
The episode kept up the show’s habit of dropping even more cliffhangers or gamechangers in the final moments, showing the unique form of legacy protection that has kept the Blossom family atop their empire. When the kids found out that Cliff Blossom killed his own son (whom he claimed lacked “the stomach” needed for their business), they alerted Cheryl to the murderer living in her own home. Rather than seeming shocked or afraid, Cheryl was unmoved – marching quietly to her family dinner table and revealing that her father had done “a bad thing.”
We don’t know what happened next – whether Cheryl’s mother was shaken or similarly shrewd, whether Cheryl was simply referring to the murder, and not the botched cover-up – but by the time the police had arrived, Cliff had already hanged himself from a great height in the family’s maple syrup storehouse. And, just to ensure that the police and audience got all the insight and explanation they needed to look no further, knocked over a barrel of said maple syrup… revealing the packaged drugs concealed within.
So, there you have it. The way the story appears, at least as the showrunners intend, is that Jason Blossom was planning to run away with his pregnant girlfriend. A girlfriend who, unbeknownst to him, was a relative. Since his father seemed less than disgusted at their shared genetics, we can only assume that Cliff was motivated by something else. The most obvious answer, given the final reveal, is that Jason wanted no part of the secret drug trafficking that had truly led to his family’s wealth and connections. Rather than let his heir and successor flee, Cliff ended his son’s life personally.
Recent episodes had hinted at something foul within the Blossom house, but a parent killing their own child isn’t what most were expecting. You have to hand it to the storytellers here, too: they managed to deliver video evidence of the murderer answering the show’s central mystery… while raising even more questions and intrigue, and leaving the guilt or innocence of the other Blossom family members in complete uncertainty.
We invite Riverdale fans to give us their best theories, including the other guilty parties who may already be working to cover up the truth once more. Unless, of course, you believe Cliff Blossom acted alone. And now that he’s seemingly taken his own life, was Cliff Blossom the second death promised this season?
Riverdale airs Thursdays on The CW.