Tonight's episode of Riverdale revolved heavily around laying the town's murdered teen, Jason Blossom, to rest. But as it turned out, Jason was harboring some secrets of his own - secrets that could only further implicate several members of the town's community.
And while some members of last week's suspect list were missing from tonight's episode, a few characters raised some red flags of their own, making the hunt for the Riverdale's murderer even more complicated and interesting.
With that in mind, and a new suspect or two in our sights, we examine the biggest theories as to who could really be Jason's killer. Are there any suspects that you think we missed? Let us know in the comments.
With Jason’s funeral around the corner, the Blossom family moves forward with last minute preparations – and a secret agenda. Meanwhile, Archie’s (KJ Apa) attempt to refocus his energy on football comes to a halt when an opportunity to work with a new music mentor presents itself. Betty (Lili Reinhart) dives deeper into her investigation of Jason’s death and unearths some dark revelations about her family.
Elsewhere, after uncovering secrets about her own family, Veronica (Camila Mendes) forms an unlikely friendship with Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch), who is having a tougher time with Jason’s impending funeral than she lets on. Finally, Hermoine (Marisol Nichols) turns to Fred (Luke Perry) for help after receiving a cryptic message from the Southside Serpents. Cole Sprouse and Madchen Amick also star.
Jesse Warn directed the episode written by Ross Maxwell.
Riverdale stars KJ Apa as Archie, Cole Sprouse as Jughead, Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper, Camilla Mendes as Veronica Lodge, and Luke Perry as Archie's father Fred Andrews, among others. The series' showrunner is Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Archie Entertainment's Chief Creative Officer and the writer of Afterlife With Archie, the publisher's wildly popular zombie series.
"Chapter Five: Heart of Darkness" airs Thursday, February 23 at 9/8c on The CW!
Again, Hiram remains an unseen figure in the world of Riverdale. But a few pieces of information were revealed about him in tonight's episode, making him worthy of still suspecting.
Hiram reportedly has a negative relationship with Clifford Blossom, as is referenced both at the Blossoms' dinner with Veronica, and in Hermione confiding to Veronica later in the episode. It's unclear what exactly happened between the two businessmen, and if it does actually tie to Sweetwater River in the business sense, meaning the town's maple syrup industry, or in the case of Jason's murder.
As we discussed last week, Hiram continues to have a wide network of people willing to do his bidding, meaning that he could have easily been involved in the killing without having to do any of the work himself.
And given the negative relationship that seems to exist between the Lodges and the Blossoms, one that seems to stretch back into high school, Hiram certainly has motivation for ordering the killing.
Not only would killing the popular teenage son of one of the oldest families in Riverdale help push 'old Riverdale' into a new social hierarchy, but it could be some sort of personal revenge for a past encounter between the two families.
The next parental figure who is currently a person of interest is F.P. Jones, Jughead's mysterious father. While he was missing from tonight's episode, he still remains relatively suspicious.
The main item still remains his business dealings with Hiram Lodge, which led to the South Side Serpents trashing the town drive-in theater for Hiram's gain. As we've discussed, we aren't aware of just how far Hiram would take that kind of business arrangement, meaning that the Serpents could have very well been involved with killing Jason on Hiram's behalf.
Another mystery continues to be what F.P.'s social standing was when he was a teenager, and how that could have an affect on these more recent events. As we saw, F.P. was not invited by Penelope to attend Jason's memorial, meaning that the Blossoms either aren't familiar with F.P. - which honestly seems unlikely, given that all of these parents seem to already know each other - or they just aren't aware that he's in town.
The later of these options would be the most interesting, considering that we know very little about Jughead's home life and exactly what his relationship is with his dad. There is a chance that very few people are aware of what F.P. is currently up to, which would make the reveal that he is the killer particularly interesting.
And, of course, there is the issue of the snake in the box that was delivered to Hermione, but it still is unclear who sent that and what exactly their motive was, beyond just intimidating her.
While he still is ambiguous enough of a character to draw suspicion, we will just have to wait and see what exactly F.P.'s ties to this entire situation are. As the synopsis for the show's seventh episode revealed, we will soon see F.P. and Fred Andrews go head to head, meaning that more revelations about him are sure to follow.
The revelations in tonight's episode gave us enough information to examine certain members of the Cooper family separately.
Alice Cooper (Madchen Amick), previously regarded to be the most suspect member of the family, was missing from tonight's episode due to a work retreat. While this didn't give us more information about the volatile matriach of the Cooper family, it did allow Betty - and the audience - to gather some new information from her father Hal (Lochlyn Munro), which we'll touch on in a minute.
The biggest case to Alice's guilt, despite her not actually being in the episode, lies in the folder of evidence that Hal appears to have stolen off of Sheriff Keller's murder board. While this action could easily be Hal trying to cover up his own actions, there could possibly be another connection at play here.
As we saw, Sheriff Keller had a candid photo of Alice in his evidence, which brings up a handful of possibilities. In the show's second episode, Alice paid off the medical examiner to let her have a closer look at Jason's corpse. The photo in question could easily be a shot of her leaving that event, which would raise some questions to Sheriff Keller given the mysterious nature of the case.
Or, possibly, he could have this photo of Alice because she is being considered a prime suspect in the case. Given her volatile nature and her desire to 'make things right' at all costs, she still could very much be considered a suspect in the whole ordeal.
While Hal had been little more than a glorified background character in the show's previous episodes, a few bombshells were dropped about him over the course of 'Heart of Darkness'.
Not only did he know about Jason and Polly's secret engagement, but he continues to harbor a strong connection to his eldest daughter, watching childhood home movies of her late at night. As he told Betty, he would do anything to protect Polly, which is why she was sent to live in a group home after her mental break.
All of this gives Hal the clearest motivation thus far to kill Jason, which is only expanded on upon the revelation about the Cooper's family tree. As Hal explained to Betty, Hal's grandfather was in the booming maple syrup business (now there's a phrase you don't hear every day) with Clifford Blossom's grandfather. When the Blossom ancestor attempted to run away with the money, the Cooper ancestor attempted to stop him, and was murdered because of it. This, according to Hal, is a big part of the reason why their family hates the Blossoms.
Given the Hatfields and McCoys style feud between the two families, and Hal's personal desire to protect Polly, it makes complete sense why he is the newest major suspect on the show.
While it is odd that all of this week's main suspects are parental figures, this episode gave us a lot of reason to particularly suspect the Blossom family matriarch, Penelope.
While we briefly touched on her unusual demeanor in last week's list of suspect, 'Heart of Darkness' gave us a more vulnerable - and terrifying - look at her character.
Then there is, of course, what we've seen of her relationship with her two children. She seems to have a deep disdain towards Cheryl, although it's unclear if that is because of what happened between the twins at Sweetwater River or something else altogether.
After Cheryl gave her eulogy at Jason's memorial service, Penelope took her daughter into her room and verbally abused her. She cut Cheryl off of her extracurricular activities and said that she would send Cheryl away to a boarding school 'if anyone wanted her.' This animosity towards her daughter could have easily extended to Jason as well, despite him being a seemingly perfect kid.
At the root of it, Penelope seems to be very focused on how her family appears to the rest of the town. Jason having been romantically involved with Polly - a member of, as we discussed, the Blossom's rival family - would easily have embarrassed Penelope, and could have caused her to reach a breaking point.
According to Grandma Blossom, Penelope is unaware of the fact that Jason and Polly were engaged, but that could easily be untrue given the old woman's senility. If she knew about their engagement, as well as the other nefarious activities Jason was allegedly getting into, she could have killed her son as a way to save face, and to shift the town's narrative about their family into one that paints her in a more positive light.
Of course, there is the issue of the guest list for the memorial, which Penelope explained to Sheriff Keller as being 'a list of potential suspects.' But if Penelope really was complicit in the murder, she would definitely think to cover her tracks and bring other people into suspicion. All of this definitely makes Penelope a character to watch out for.