The story of Archie Andrews, small-town football player/musician/teenage Don Juan, has captured audiences' hearts — including mine — since 1941. According to my parents, they couldn't so much as go to the grocery store without picking up an Archie comic to satisfy my thirst for the latest Betty and Veronica drama. (#TeamVeronica!)
So when I heard that my beloved childhood comics were being turned
into a CW show, teased as Pretty Little Liars meets The OC, I was pretty skeptical. I was very, very wrong. Riverdale is the ideal guilty-pleasure watch: It's funny, salacious, dark, and kind of beautiful. Oh, and did I mention there's a murder mystery?
It's going to be quite a ride. So, grab your favorite booth at Pop Tate's, sip a milkshake, and join me as I take a little trip to Riverdale each week and round up the best theories about what Archie, Betty, Veronica, Cheryl, and Jughead are
really up to. Read These Stories Next: Introducing Captain Marvel, Your New Badass Superhero Obsession Faking It: This Is How Sex Scenes Really Get Made Ryan Gosling Is The Manic Pixie Dream Boy Of La La Land
What Is The Lodge-Blossom Connection?
In "Anatomy Of A Murder," it’s all-but-confirmed the Blossom family had a hand in the heroin business. They’re exact part in the drug trade has yet to be explained, but Reddit has an idea.
“I think the Blossoms manufactured the heroin (under the guise of their maple syrup production, like Gus's laundromat in
Breaking Bad) and Lodge Industries was in charge of distribution,” theorizes @Alisonrose1992. That would explain why the Blossoms have been sending the Lodges payments for generations and why those payments ended the moment Hiram Lodge ended up in jail. More
Is The Killer A Man?
Archie himself may have accidentally spilled the sex of Jason Blossom’s murder. At WonderCon in March 2017, star KJ Apa was asked how he reacted to finding out who the killer is. The New Zealander responded by saying, “I think he couldn’t believe it as well.”
Well, that knocks out about 51 percent of
Riverdale ’s population. Photo: Courtesy of The CW. More
Is The Ring The Key To Jason’s Murder & More?
Jason’s murder might be the big mystery of
Riverdale season 1, but we’re also still wondering why the Blossoms have been giving the Lodges a mysterious payment since the 1940s and the full story behind the Blossom-Cooper blood feud. What if it all comes down the Polly’s heirloom engagement ring?
In a lengthy post, one Reddit user lays out the vast conspiracy that may connect all of these problems. “The Blossom payments to Lodge are extortion money for the Cooper ancestor's murder,”
PLX-One summarizes, theorizing a Lodge actually carried out the murder of a Cooper or had concrete proof of the crime. “The evidence is tied to the heirloom ring, which Jason was tortured [and] killed over.” More
Is Ethel Involved?
Ethel Muggs (Shannon Purser) has managed to stay out of the Jason Blossom murder mystery drama for weeks, but it’s time for her to become a suspect too. It’s clear the high schooler had money before her father lost it all to Hiram Lodge — consider her giant home and jacuzzi — so the question is: did Jason take advantage of that fact?
“Jason was scrounging for money to run away with Polly right before Hiram's arrest and Ethel's parents lost their money,”
Reddit user Wraith_Ferron writes. “It is possible that Jason used Ethel and got some money from her (while her family would have still had it), and she killed Jason for using her when she found out he was running away.”
Anything is possible right now.
Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW. More
Is Jughead The Murderer?
In brand new CW featurette "
Who Killed Jason Blossom?," Jughead's real-life alter ego Cole Sprouse claims his character is the killer. He could be joking, or her could be spilling the murderous beans.
"I killed Jason Blossom," Sprouse tells the camera. "None of the other guys are going know about it, either, because I'm only talking to the audience."
That's as good of a theory as any other one floating around.
Photo: Courtesy of the CW. More
Was Jason Murdered By His Own Father?
Blossom patriarch Clifford Blossom has been suspiciously “cold and distant” following his son’s death, as one
Reddit user points out. It’s completely possible Jason found out a gigantic secret of his father’s and was attempting to blackmail him as a way to get fast cash for Polly and their baby. Then Clifford retaliated by killing him.
Many believe Clifford’s big secret may be he’s Archie’s real dad, explaining why the still-alive redheaded football player is constantly confused with Jason.
Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW. More Read More
Is Archie about to get a lot more undead?
There's a pretty outrageous theory floating around, which suggests that
Riverdale is actually a zombie apocalypse show masquerading as a teen drama. And before you roll your eyes, I am CONVINCED that this is true.
Reddit user DeCurt1998 put forward the idea, based on the fact that
Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa also created and wrote the "Afterlife with Archie" comic book series. The theory also explains why Jason was shot in the head — it's the only way to kill zombies, you guys!
here for a more detailed breakdown of the clues. More
No, really, is Archie about to add zombies?
The mere existence of EP Aguirre-Sacasa's comic series isn't the only evidence
Riverdale could turn into a teen soap reboot of The Walking Dead.
The creator confirmed Archie Comics character Sabrina the Teenage Witch — yes,
that Sabrina the Teenage Witch — may appear soon, telling The Wrap, "We could [see her in season 1]. As I say, never say never, but it’s certainly within the realm of possibility."
Sabrina’s possible appearance adds to the Riverdale-as-zombiepocalypse theory since she’s the one who kicks off the undead events of "Afterlife With Archie." Now we’ll just have to wait and see if comic horror makes its way to the CW.
Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW. More
Is Sabrina The Baby Witch Coming?
Everyone is obsessed with this Sabrina plot thread, and the minds of Reddit have some up with a pretty good theory on the witch's identity. Archie’s portrayer KJ Apa told
in 2016 that Sabrina would appear in the “last episode.” It’s possible Sabrina won't be the teen we all know and love, but instead one of Polly’s soon-to-arrive twins, whom the mom-to-be will likely give birth to on or by the season 1 finale. Den Of Geek
“In the TV show [
Sabrina The Teenage Witch] they give her an evil twin sister,” Redditor SabbyMcD writes. “So what if polly is pregnant with Sabrina and Katrina Spellman? (OR the male equivalent given the [Blossom] grandmother said ‘one of each’).” More
Is Veronica's family evil?
Riverdale 's charm is how it uses the veneer of suburban respectability to hide all sorts of ills. Good girl Betty is on the verge of losing it; when Jughead isn't documenting the comings and goings of his gang of friends, he's living in a school closet; star quarterback Jason Blossom ends up dead with a bullet through his brain. You get the picture. One character we haven't really gotten to see the dark underside of yet is Veronica Lodge. Sure, we know her dad Hiram is in prison for fraud, and that her mom has been helping her with his shady dealings, but how does Jason's murder play into all that? Redditor McSlever has a theory:
What if the murder is just a cover-up organized by Hiram Lodge to buy the drive-in theater at a bargain price to further his real-estate ventures? It's not as crazy as it sounds. After all, if
Scooby Doo has taught us anything, it's that there's nothing quite like a violent murder to scare people off the trail of the real crime.
For more details,
read the full theory here. Photo: Courtesy of The CW. More
Is Archie secretly up to something?
Episode 5 saw our favorite redhead throwing himself into football and songwriting as never before. While his friends are off trying to solve a murder mystery, Archie is basically juggling extra-curricular activities and working out shirtless. It can't be that simple, right?
What if this is all a subterfuge, meant to throw us off the scent? If Archie did have something to do with Jason's death, what better way to hide it than by being the most boring character in this cast? We see you, Archie.
Is Ms. Grundy lying about why she concealed her real identity?
That weird feeling you've had about Ms Grundy this whole time? You were right. It turns out there's more to this soft-spoken music teacher/sexual predator than meets the eye. Her real name is Jennifer Gibson, and she carries a gun in the glove compartment of her car.
Grundy tells Archie that she changed her identity to get out of an abusive relationship — but I'm not so sure. There's too much coincidence here. After all, she also gave private music lessons to Jason Blossom, and she sure seems to have a thing for redheads...
Photo: The CW. More
Was Jason running away from something?
There's definitely something off about this murder. Why were Jason and Cheryl in that boat? And why did Cheryl seem so calm about Jason's death until they found the body, confirming that he had, in fact, been killed? Maybe Cheryl was helping Jason run away. Was he going to meet Polly, who's been living in a group home? Or was he just tired of being Riverdale High's star quarterback?
Remember Cheryl's words: "He was supposed to come back." But from where?
Photo: The CW. More
Did Betty Kill Jason As "Polly"?
Okay, so that Betty/Polly role play was seriously disturbing, but it does give way to some interesting theories. This one comes via redditor
flashapples7, who posits that perhaps some M. Night Shyamalan -worthy shit might have gone down in this sleepy town.
You'll probably have noticed that Betty slipped and called Chuck Jason while she was channeling her sister. What if she actually killed her sister's ex-boyfriend while in this fugue state? If
Law & Order: SVU episodes are anything to go by, that could mean that everyday Betty might not be in touch with Polly/Betty's actions. In any case, it seems pretty clear that there's more to this Jason/Polly relationship than we know. Photo: The CW. More
Is Riverdale in the Upside Down?
Think about it — what if Barb isn't actually dead, but has in fact reinvented herself as Ethel — basically a version of Barb — in a slightly less gloomy corner of the Upside Down? The color scheme of
Riverdale is pretty noir after all...
Fine this isn't exactly a real theory but Barb 4eva!
Photo: The CW. More
Betty's mom is SUS
Cliffhanger or no, I refuse to accept that Cheryl is responsible for her brother's death. It's just too clean.
Alice Cooper, on the hand, is a little too happy with the whole situation to be innocent. Last week I floated the theory that Polly could somehow be involved. But what if Alice took it upon herself to protect her daughter's reputation?
Photo: The CW. More
Is there more than one killer?
Now that we know that Jason actually died a week after that gunshot was fired, the details of his demise seem open for interpretation.
Could there have been two killers? Indulge me. What if someone shot at Jason on July 4, injured him, and left him to die? Someone else could totally have come along to finish the job, hence the one week interval.
WHAT IF it was Ms. Grundy? If she's sleeping with Archie it's not out of the realm of possibility that she was also sleeping with Jason. Both, after all, are handsome gingers. I'll just leave you with that thought.
Photo: The CW. More
Is Riverdale Just Gossip Girl in disguise?
If you're a
Gossip Girl fan, you'll have caught the similarities between Rufus Humphrey and Lily van der Woodsen, and Fred Andrews and Hermione Lodge. They are all parents. They all have a past that will undoubtedly come back to haunt them. Their children all want to hook up. And so do they.
But while we can definitely expect some will they, won't they from the Andrews/Lodge camp, there are some loose ends that will have to be tied up first. Their names? Hiram Lodge and Mary Andrews.
Wait, I've heard this story before. But where? Oh, right.
Gossip Gir l. Rufus had Alison, and Lily had Bart Bass, another absurdly named rich fraudster.
Some could make the mistake of thinking Veronica is the new Blair. They would be wrong. Blair would never have cupcakes flown in from Magnolia Bakery. How basic.
Photo: The CW. More
Did Cheryl kill Jason?
This seems almost too obvious to be true, but it certainly seems possible and plausible that Cheryl killed her beloved brother. After all, that first scene was a little weird: Why were they by the river in the early morning dressed for what looks like a Victorian summer garden party? Were the two in a cult? Could Jason's murder have been an initiation gone wrong?
And most importantly, why did Cheryl ask Jason if he was scared?
Photo: The CW. More
Were Cheryl & Jason Pulling A Lannister?
Ok, hear me out. I cannot be the only one to be getting an incest vibe from Cheryl and Jason. There's something very Cruel Intentions about the way she's grieving for him. Did someone find out and take the matter into their own hands?
Photo: The CW. More
Who fired the gunshot?
We know that Archie and Ms. Grundy say they heard a gun being fired while they were doing the nasty. So, who fired it?
So far, my money is on Mrs. Cooper. She seems to have an ax to grind with the Blossoms — especially Jason. But who really knows? As far as we know, the two lovebirds could be involved in some way and trying to cover it up.
Photo: The CW. More Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here? Three Cheers For All The Sex Positivity, Grey's Anatomy These Are The Best Reactions To Jason's Killer's Riverdale Reveal Jamie Clayton Spills On Sense8's Famous Orgy Scenes