The CW’s Riverdale may be inspired by the classic Archie Comics, but this is not the clean-cut crew you remember. The series showcases the darker side of the small town, with its residents engaging in all kinds of bribery, manipulation, and — you guessed it — murder.
As fans know, Riverdale‘s freshman season has been packed with plenty of drama, including the mysterious death of Jason Blossom (Trevor Stines). The character was killed under suspicious circumstances during the Fourth of July weekend, leaving his family (seemingly) devastated and the rest of the town rocked by tragedy. But while Riverdale may seem idyllic from the outside, the investigation into Jason’s murder only seems to be turning up more and more suspects.
So who really killed Jason and why? Let’s take a look at some popular fan theories surrounding the Riverdale murderer.
1. Alice Cooper killed Jason
Betty’s mom, Alice, is one of the most oft-mentioned names, when it comes to theories about who killed Jason. Considering how manipulative and cold-hearted she has been this season, it’s not hard to see why. First of all, she has a strong motive, as she harbors a grudge against Jason for dating and impregnating her teen daughter, Polly.
But perhaps even more importantly, Alice just seems capable of cold-blooded murder. After all, look how controlling she is of Betty and Polly. If she can be that cruel to her own daughters, who knows what she could do to someone she dislikes?
2. Betty Cooper killed Jason
We may not want to believe that Riverdale’s sweetheart is capable of hurting anyone, but — as we’ve glimpsed throughout the season — Betty does have a dark side. She once threatened Cheryl Blossom after the latter insulted her sister, Polly. And let’s not forget that disturbing moment in the hot tub (more on that later).
As sweet as she may seem, it’s clear that Betty is not completely stable. While she may not have an obvious motive (as she doesn’t seem to have known much about Jason and Polly’s relationship), it’s possible that she may have just snapped one day.
3. Betty killed Jason as Polly
Adding an extra twist to the Betty murder theory? The possibility that Betty killed Jason not as herself, but as Polly. This one comes via redditor flashapples7, who posits that perhaps Betty experienced another one of her mental blackouts and channeled her sibling in order to murder Jason.
It wouldn’t be the first time that she pretended to be Polly. While enacting revenge on Chuck in the aforementioned hot tub scene, Betty suddenly began acting as her sister, calling herself “Polly” and calling Chuck “Jason.” She later dismissed the episode, but it’s clear there’s something strange going on under all that blond hair.
4. The Blossoms were involved
Another popular fan theory surrounding Jason’s death is that his own family was somehow involved. Let’s be real — the Blossoms are pretty creepy people and it’s not hard to picture them getting caught up in a murder. If any of Jason’s family members were part of the crime, it would likely be one or both of Jason’s parents, but not his sister, Cheryl.
Why? At Jason’s memorial, his mom, Penelope, was more concerned with appearances than actually grieving her own son. Cheryl — as mean as she can be — seemed genuinely heartbroken. Plus, she seems like too obvious of a choice to be her own brother’s murderer.
5. Archie was the real target
Not every theory surrounding Jason’s murder is about who killed him. There has also been some speculation about why he was the one to be killed. Some Riverdale fans have recently suggested that our main man, Archie, was actually the intended target and that Jason was never meant to die.
It’s not the craziest theory. After all, the two look a lot alike and also ran in the same social circle, having been on the football team together.
6. Hiram Lodge masterminded Jason’s death
Hiram has yet to actually be seen on the show, but he’s still managed to make an impact in recent episodes. Though he’s currently in jail for fraud, it’s been made clear that the Lodge family patriarch has reach even from behind bars. Case in point? Not only has his wife, Hermione, carried out business deals on his behalf, but it was also recently revealed that he paid off both the mayor of Riverdale and the South Side Serpents in order to secure a certain piece of land for Lodge Industries.
Given his apparently wide network outside of prison, it’s plausible — if somewhat unlikely — that Hiram had a hand in Jason’s death. As for a possible motive, it’s been made clear that Hiram wants to usher Riverdale into a new era — even from the confines of prison. Getting rid of the Blossoms, who are clearly a well-known family in the town, is certainly one way to cause ripples and force change.
7. Hermione Lodge murdered Jason
Hermoine doesn’t really seem capable of killing anyone, let alone a child the same age as her daughter. But she has been involved in some shady dealings over the course of the season, mostly at the behest of her husband, Hiram. Given her criminal connections, she can’t be entirely ruled out as a suspect in Jason’s death.
8. Miss Grundy murdered Jason
Miss Grundy, as she called herself, clearly has her own set of issues, having gotten romantically involved with a high school student. But is she capable of murder? She is a mysterious character and obviously isn’t against engaging in criminal activity. And while we know she wasn’t the one to actually pull the trigger on the Fourth of July, she herself admitted that she had conducted an independent study with Jason in a previous semester. So could she have arranged his death to cover up another inappropriate relationship? Maybe.
This theory can be put on the back burner for now, as Grundy has left Riverdale for the time being. Whether she will eventually get sucked back into the small town drama remains to be seen.
9. We haven’t met the murderer yet
While there are plenty of characters in Riverdale that could’ve been involved in Jason’s murder, there’s also the possibility that the real killer is a still-unknown figure who audiences haven’t even met yet. Yes, this is unlikely, given all of the shady residents that already live in the town. But hey, it’s Riverdale — anything’s possible.
Riverdale airs on Thursday nights at 9 p.m. EST on The CW.