A high school student stood up in class, rocking her Cover Girl lip stain, wearing a dress almost the same shade, that version of red that happens when you let the sun melt your closed eyelids.
“I’m guilty,” she said while offering her wrists for cuffing. Her brother went missing a little bit ago, and the story she told came under scrutiny when his dead body floated up to the banks of the river, a dark black bullet hole in his forehead. She said he drowned. Huh.
Episode three of the CWs Riverdale gets right down to the business of divorcing you from reality. After Cheryl Blossom confesses in a classroom and walks away to...go to jail I guess? Anyway, then she's like “I should be more specific about what I am guilty of doing.” She in fact almost literally says that.
What she's actually guilty of is lying. She knew her brother Jason didn't drown because that was the cover story they came up with for when he fled Riverdale. Why he felt the need to flee wasn't covered (it will almost definitely be a season-long plot point), but that's probably because Cheryl’s parents descended and stopped the cop who looks like he's straight out of a Cialis commercial from questioning her without a guardian present.
It makes sense they would show Cheryl being vulnerable, admitting to mistakes, and tossing her fate to the mercy of the cops. Later on in the episode she says “Maybe I don’t know Jason,” a response to that time earlier when she looked straight at Mr. Handsome Cop and said “Jason wasn’t mean.”
Turns out Jason might’ve been mean though, since he was engaged in some good ol’ fashioned womanizing, not to mention slut shaming, and potentially other gross misogyny. Actually, this episode has quite a bit going on, and it’s pretty impressive it all felt relatively balanced. The slut shaming storyline, the moments of Archie with Josie and the Pussycats and the racial politics discussed (not perfectly, but it’s something), plus a whole ton of set-up with characters like Alice Cooper (alcoholic), Dilton Doiley (alcoholic too? definite gun-nut-survivalist), and Ethel (no idea). The theories abound, discussed more on the Rivertell recap podcast. Tweet at us with #Rivertell, let us know why Principal Weatherbee is the killer.
Jugghead certainly won’t be the next Truman Capote despite the show’s constant references to the creator of the True Crime genre. Things will really get rolling once they figure out how to have him play more than a minor role in an episode’s plot, because right now he’s being used for setup, which is fine, but it’s leaving a slight hole in the moral landscape. Crime dramas and mysteries are usually reliant on the idea that everyone is a suspect, and they’ve certainly toyed with drawing viewers’ eyes in a few directions, hinting at personality traits that could nudge someone over into murderville. Except Jugghead. He just wants to write and solve this darn mystery! I bet there is a secret or two hiding under his neat hat though. There basically has to be. This show wouldn’t let someone have zero secrets.