Stay on target SDCC 2019: ‘Riverdale’ Cast Spills Details on Core ‘Mystery’ for Season 4Top Movies and TV Panels to Keep on Your Radar for SDCC 2019 The mystery of who killed Jason Blossom is the most intriguing element of Riverdale. It’s what set the plot in motion. It gives the characters their motivation, and it ultimately keeps us coming back week after week. Last night’s episode showed us that the mystery doesn’t have to carry all the weight. The show can take a break from the mystery and still produce a fun, if a little trashy, hour of televisionThat’s not to say the mystery wasn’t touched on at all. It just took a back seat. No one was surprised to learn that when Cheryl Blossom confessed to being “guilty” at the end of last week’s episode, she wasn’t talking about killing Jason. Cheap way to force a cliffhanger? Oh yes, but it’s softened by the fact that we all knew exactly what they were doing. Cheryl clarifies that she’s guilty of lying about what happened on July Fourth. Jason didn’t fall and drown. He wanted to escape his parents and leave Riverdale. She was helping him fake his death.KJ Apa as Archie Andrews (Photo: Dean Buscher /The CW)Archie also confesses that he was near the river, and heard a gunshot the morning of July Fourth. He leaves Grundy out of it because, despite his desire to do the right thing, he’s still being manipulated by her. He tells them he was there working on his music. (He says he was there with his dog. Under normal circumstances, that would be on the offensive comparison, but Grundy is a child predator, so…) Unfortunately, that means word gets back to his dad that he wasn’t on a road trip with Jughead that weekend. Archie is grounded. Grundy also isn’t happy that he made life inconvenient for her and she cancels their music lessons.Fortunately for Archie, Cheryl is grateful that someone corroborated her story and offers to pay him back. She gets him a session with Josie and the Pussycats, and they invite him to a rehearsal. He tries to get them to sing one of his songs, but Josie explains in no uncertain terms why she doesn’t want to sing some straight white boy’s song. From her absolutely perfect monolog, we learn two things. One: When her mom became mayor, she got a bunch of hate mail. And two: They’re called the Pussycats because they have to claw their way into rooms that people like Archie can just walk into. But the show drops the ball on Archie’s well-deserved schooling and, after hearing some of his lyrics, they perform some of them anyway. Archie must be one hell of a songwriter if he can make ongoing institutionalized racism go away just like that.As we hear later at the Taste of Riverdale, it’s not a bad song. Archie’s dad also meets Grundy and starts flirting with her, making for the most uncomfortable scene of the episode. He asks her directly if she thinks his music career is worth supporting. She confirms that Archie has talent, and his dad soundproofs the garage so Archie can practice. The next day at school, Archie asks Grundy if they can continue their music lessons. They continue the lessons, along with the molestation.Betty and Veronica, once again, get the real meaty story of the episode. Veronica goes out on a date with Chuck Clayton, the captain of the football team and the coach’s son. After making out a bit on the date, Veronica arrives at school the next day to find that Chuck posted a photo of her with a maple syrup splotch imposed over her face. It’s Riverdale High Football’s way of slut-shaming, apparently. Veronica refuses to take that sitting down.When direct confrontation in the locker room fails, Betty decides to use her journalistic powers for good. She asks around the school and finds out that the football team has a history of humiliating girls like this. Ethel, played by Stranger Things‘ Shannon Purser (Barb!), goes on the record with a story about being called “sloppy seconds” after she helped Chuck with a math question in the library. They learn that there’s a book the football players keep score in, earning points for the different things they do (or claim to do) to the girls at school.Shannon Purser as Ethel Muggs. (Photo: Diyah Pera/THE CW)Cheryl shows up uninterrupted to call the girls sluts and say the book can’t exist. If it did, her pure and good twin brother would have put a stop to it. Veronica makes an impassioned speech about how she believes the girls’ stories and that Cheryl should never call them sluts again. That seems to be enough to convince Cheryl to join Betty and Veronica in breaking into the school and finding the book. (Cheryl has such major shifts in personality this episode. It’s to the point where I’m not even sure the writers know what to do with her.) They find the book, and lo and behold, Jason’s name is in it. He knew about it, and he was complicit.Finding the book isn’t enough for Betty and Veronica, though. They want to make Chuck admit what he did and pay for it. Betty convinces Chuck that she wants to be more of a bad girl. He makes some comments about how her sister, Polly was like that, according to Jason. He probably shouldn’t have done that, as we’ll soon find out. She tells him to meet her at Ethel’s house. Ethel and her family will be away, and they have a hot tub.Chuck arrives at the appointed time and is met by Veronica, who tells him that they’ve decided to share. She leads him to the backyard, where the Lynchian portion of the episode is. Oh yes, remember that this show was inspired by Twin Peaks? It finally did and gave us the strangest, most out-of-nowhere sequence of the season so far. Betty comes out in a Black wig, calling herself Polly. She and Veronica drug him with a muscle-relaxer and handcuff him in the hot tub. By slowly increasing the temperature, they force him to admit everything on camera. Betty doesn’t stop there. She threatens to drown him with her heel and pours maple syrup on her head. Addressing him as Jason, she demands he apologize to her as Polly.Betty (Lili Reinhart) isn’t playing around this episode. (Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW)Veronica is freaked out by this and brings it up with Betty at school the next day. Betty denies that she ever called herself Polly, or that she called Chuck Jason. Betty denies that she ever called herself Polly, but Veronica doesn’t believe her. And Betty still has the wig in her locker. Through Jughead’s narration, we learn that the article did some good. The coach was forced to cut his son and five other players from the football team. Ethel’s name is cleared, and Cheryl exclaims “#JusticeForEthel.” HA!As the episode ends, we learn the source of the Fourth of July gunshot. The scout leader was having his troupe practice shooting. As he could get in trouble for having the gun, he convinces Betty and Jughead not to print that story in favor of a bigger one. That morning at the lake, he saw Miss Grundy’s car. Things are about to fall apart for Archie and Grundy.While this week’s Riverdale had some problems (Archie’s entire storyline), Betty and Veronica teaming up to defeat slut-shamers was so satisfying. Their friendship continues to make Riverdale work as a show. Though it appears to have garnered mixed reactions, I loved Betty’s out-of-nowhere turn at Ethel’s house. It was weird, confusing and a perfect reminder that this show is not just another teen soap opera. Its Twin Peaks inspirations don’t begin and end with a small-town murder. It’s not afraid to get weird and scary to remind us that none of these characters are who they seem.