TV Recaps

Riverdale Recap: Chapter Twelve: Anatomy of a Murder

Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW -- © 2017 The CW Network. All Rights Reserved

Wow. Ok. That was intense. The penultimate episode of Riverdale promised to deliver and boy did it ever. We now know the identity of Jason’s killer. We had to go through a roller coaster of emotions, false revelations, curve balls, and OMG moments before we got there. Let’s dive into the Riverdale Recap for “Chapter Twelve: Anatomy of a Murder.”

Riverdale Recap: Episode 12 – Chapter Twelve: Anatomy of a Murder
Airdate: May 4, 2o17

The episode picks up right where 11 left off, in Pop’s with Archie and Veronica explaining to Betty how FP was framed. Like good children, they go to their parents with the information. I appreciate that Archie’s relationship with his father is so solid, he knows he can tell him anything and should. It’s a great juxtaposition to the other parent/child relationships on the show. Fred, Mary, and Hermione are horrified their children were breaking and entering. The reaction from the three when they hear Alice is the one who put the kids up to it was hilarious.

Jughead is about to board a bus to Toledo to see his mother but decides to call her first. We don’t know what she says but she tells him not to come. Poor Jughead. I’m completely ok with stating his mother is the worst parent of all. Hermione is worried FP is going to spill some truths about her and Hiram and encourages Veronica to pack a bag just in case.

Photo: Katie Yu/The CW — © 2017 The CW Network. All Rights Reserved

Betty and Archie, concerned about Jughead, head out to look for him. After a quick check-in from Veronica, they find Jughead at Pop’s. As the gang reveals to Jughead the gun was planted, we cut to Sheriff Keller (whose first name is Tom in case you were wondering) interrogating FP. FP admits to kidnapping Jason to bargain with Clifford for ransom money. He says Jason got loose, tried to escape, and FP shot him. What? No way. There’s no way FP did it. He’s covering. Right?

The gang heads to the police station to tell Keller about the planted gun, except now that FP has confessed, it doesn’t matter. Everyone returns to school in the morning where tensions are high at the lunch table between Kevin and Betty. Jughead, seeming completely broken, apologizes to Cheryl who proceeds to slap and beat on him until Archie pulls her off. Weatherbee drags Jughead from the cafeteria and Betty meets a crying Cheryl in the bathroom. Vulnerable Cheryl moments are always a favorite. She confesses to Betty that she doesn’t feel relieved at all knowing her brother’s murderer has been caught.

Betty remains steadfast in her belief that FP is innocent and she’s going to prove it. Conversely at the Andrews household, Fred tells Archie that Weatherbee thinks Jughead should finish the semester at home; also Fred wants him to move out for “Archie’s safety” and for the first time all season, I want Fred to **** himself. Jughead overhears the whole thing… This poor kid. I just want to hug him.

Betty is awoken by a noise and finds her mother creeping through the house with a gun. They discover an intruder who turns out to be Hal. He confesses to stealing Sheriff Keller’s murder board because he wanted to prevent the investigation from leading to them. “Because of Great Grandpappy Blossom murdering Great Grandpappy Cooper?” Betty asks… Well, actually… Wait for it. “He wasn’t just murdered by a Blossom, he was a Blossom.” HOLD UP. WHAT? Basically, after the murder, Hal’s father split from the family and changed their name to Cooper. Betty is a Blossom. Polly is a Blossom; explaining why Hal wanted her to abort the babies. Polly and Jason are 3rd cousins.

The Coopers storm Thorn Hill in the middle of the night to retrieve Polly and expose the secret to Cheryl. “Nothing could be more purely Blossom than those babies”, I’m getting serious Cersei Lannister vibes from Penelope. But hey, they’re not brother and sister so it’s cool… Insert scientific commentary for everyone grossed out by the “incest”… Genetic mutation from closely related DNA only occurs after generations of incest. We’re talking siblings marrying siblings marrying siblings, etc. Cousins, even first cousins, have enough opposing DNA that any mutation wouldn’t occur. So no, Polly’s babies will not be deformed. Read Flowers in the Attic, those kids turn out fine and their parents are siblings.

Photo: Katie Yu/The CW — © 2017 The CW Network. All Rights Reserved

Mary Andrews puts on her lawyer cap and attempts to find some glimmer of hope for Jughead in this situation. FP is holding steadfast to his confession and Mary admits it doesn’t look good. Though she does share with the boys that Joaquin was FP’s one phone call.  Mary departs back to Chicago and our Molly Ringwald cameo has come to an end. I’ll admit, I was super excited for her because she’s an all-time favorite of mine but her stunt cast felt just like that, a stunt. It was cool to see her, but she didn’t really “fit” and I don’t think we need Mary Andrews around full time.

Jughead visits FP where the two share a heartbreaking scene. FP pushes his son away and encourages him to never come back. Jughead realizes something’s up and is more determined than ever to uncover the truth. Skeet and Cole play off each other really well, they’re one of my favorite duos on the whole show.

Kevin, Archie, and Veronica confront Joaquin who shares more clues to the big picture. On July 11th, he got a call from FP asking for help cleaning up a mess at the bar. While he didn’t see him shoot Jason, he did help him stash the body and clean up the blood. Also, Mustang is involved somehow. The four head to a seedy motel to talk with Mustang and find him dead of an apparent overdose in the bathtub. This scene made me think of Stand By Me. The sight of a dead body and the end of childish innocence.

Fred and Hermione come collect their children from the crime scene where a tearful Fred begs Archie to stay out of this before he too winds up dead. Hermione collapses in a heap of tears worried that the bag of money found at Mustang’s place will incriminate her. Joaquin bids Kevin goodbye, but not before sharing one final secret.

Cheryl pleads with her mother to divulge the truth about what Jason was trying to get away from; what was so awful he didn’t want to stay. In a very creepy, rage filled sequence, Penelope drags Cheryl to the barn shouting about Maple Syrup in an all confusing moment. What about the syrup? I don’t understand. This scene was weird and I feel like something was cut because it didn’t make that much sense.

Betty, Jughead, and Alice are trying to narrow down the suspects when Kevin calls Betty. Joaquin told him where to find the bag with Jason’s letterman jacket he stashed for FP a few episodes ago. They take it to Archie’s garage and try to sleuth the usefulness of this item. Betty, our own little Nancy Drew, makes Archie put on the jacket and starts pocket searching. I’m not sure why Archie needed to wear it for her to search it, that was weird, but whatever… Hidden in the jacket is a flash drive containing video footage of Jason’s murder.

Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead, and Kevin watch the video; while we saw this in the promo, it was still wildly intense trying to gauge reactions and fiending to see what they’re seeing. Betty slaps the laptop shut, gets up, and makes a phone call. WHO IS SHE CALLING?!?! “You have to get out of that house, listen to me”; cut to Cheryl “I understand. Thank you”. This whole sequence, beautifully shot and anxiety driven, leads us to the dinner table, “you did a bad thing,daddy, and now everyone knows.”

And there it is. Clifford Blossom killed Jason.

At this point, I thought the episode was over and I was totally reeling from this revelation. Even though I suspected Clifford, the actualization of it was so well done, I still felt shocked. But wait, there’s still 5 minutes left. Alice brings the flash drive to Sheriff Keller and Mayor McCoy. The video shows Mustang taunting Jason (not FP) and Clifford Blossom walking in, taking the ring from Jason’s pocket, and shooting his son in the head.

But wait. Why did FP confess then? Clifford visited FP the night of his arrest and threatened to kill Jughead if he didn’t take the fall for the murder. FP was just trying to protect his son from the monster that is Clifford Blossom. But that’s not enough to get him released from jail, there’s still charges to be laid on FP; tampering with evidence, obstruction of justice, mishandling a body, perjury, etc. Sheriff Keller arrives at Thorn Hill to arrest Clifford who is found hanging in the barn surrounded by overturned Maple Syrup barrels filled with drugs.

The questions of why is yet to be answered, but now we know who. What did you think of the reveal? Where you surprised or did you suspect Clifford all along?

Episode Takeaways:

  • This was, by far, the most I’ve liked Archie all season. He really stepped up and held strong in his desire to be a good friend to Jughead, Betty, & Veronica. Kudos to Archie for finally getting it together when it counted most.
  • The reveal that the Coopers are Blossoms was the most jaw dropping moment for me.
  • Jughead knows how to use a payphone? I didn’t know millennials even knew what those were.
  • Jughead’s mom remains the worst parent (after Clifford of course)
  • Why is Veronica wearing lingerie to bed? She’s 16.
  • It’s been spoiled that Jughead adopts a dog before the end of the season and I can’t help but wonder at what point it seems appropriate to visit the animal shelter in the finale?
  • I’m not convinced Clifford hung himself.
  • Everyone’s acting was on point this episode.

Preview for the Finale:

“Something wicked this way comes” Sabrina, perhaps?

New secrets and mysteries are promised in the finale to set us up for season 2.

About the author

Michele Curran

Michele Curran is the newest addition to the TV Source Magazine team! She's a New Yorker with passionate TV opinion, loves soaps, music, attending broadway and being a masochist for sports. Oh, and she's #TeamCap. Follow her on Twitter @MimiC1019.