The Riverdale community has been obsessed with trying to figure out who killed Jason Blossom since the pilot, and based on the newest episode, the big theory is circling around town good-doer Betty Cooper.
In the latest episode of Riverdale, a never-before-seen darker version of Betty comes out to play. After Chuck Clayton, the son of the school’s football coach, shames Veronica Lodge following an innocent date, Betty gets a group of girls together who have also been treated poorly by other players and hatches a plan to get revenge. When Ethel informs Betty the players keep a playbook of all the girls they’ve been with, Betty breaks into their locker room and discovers her sister Polly’s name beside Jason Blossom’s.
Betty essentially spirals into a blind rage and decides to get her revenge on Chuck by donning a very Uma-Thurman-in-Pulp-Fiction outfit, essentially torturing him by handcuffing him in a hot tub and turning the temperature up to near boiling temperatures. The most bizarre aspect, however, is when Betty starts referring to Chuck as Jason and herself as older sister Polly. It’s a disturbing scene that leads to Veronica questioning what Betty was thinking — to which the blonde replies she can’t remember anything that happened.
The moment has led to the community hypothesizing that Betty suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder. The condition is often referred to as multiple personality disorder and described by the National Alliance on Mental Health as an “involuntary escape from reality characterized by a disconnection between thoughts, identity, consciousness and memory.” It’s also a trope that has been used in a number of murder-mystery shows, and has been called out for being a lazy and ineffective “gotcha” tool.
On Twitter, fans pointed out that Polly and Betty have one of the more plausible reasons for killing Jason. In the pilot it was revealed that Polly and Jason had a relationship that ended poorly and meant much more to the older Cooper sibling than Jason. When they broke up, it hurt Polly more than anything else and Betty has been living with that resentment ever since.
Despite the apparent dissociative episode Betty suffered, others were quick to point out that just because she couldn’t remember what happened didn’t mean she suffered from the condition. Another Reddit commenter added while Betty may have channeled Polly in that moment, getting revenge on the man who broke her heart, it seemed very unlikely that she had been living with this condition for her entire life.
“It would be fun and interesting, but seems unlikely, as Polly was clearly known by people in town,” another fan on Reddit said. “It doesn't seem plausible that an entire town would go along with humoring her mental illness and dissociative state by pretending Polly is 'Betty', particularly teenagers.”
In a recent interview with TV Guide, actress Lili Reinhart, who plays Betty on the show, said dark Betty probably wouldn’t be coming out to much this early in the season. The only two people who know about her dark side are Veronica and her mother. The revelation that Betty has this more troubling side will affect her relationship with Veronica, Reinhart explained, but her mother already knew about what her daughter was capable of.
“That's why Alice is very overbearing and has her hands on every aspect of Betty's life, because she wants to make sure her daughter is not going to embarrass her or have a breakdown like Betty's older sister Polly,” Reinhart said.
This isn’t the first time that Reinhart has spoken about the darker side of her character and how it will play out in the show. In a promotional video for the series before it premiered, Reinhart said she felt the character wasn’t at a happy place in her life and the immense pressure she was under was beginning to get to her.
“You kind of see her start to crack on the surface a little bit,” Reinhart said.
It’s clear that the character is going to have some kind of breakdown, and the beginning of that crack Reinhart was alluding to can be seen in the most recent episode. The question is whether or not Betty actually suffers from a dissociative disorder and this is the beginning of it or if something else is going on that would explain what’s happening.
Despite all of the theories, there isn’t enough information about the events surrounding Blossom’s murder in Riverdale yet to make an educated guess. Like Twin Peaks, David Lynch’s weird, murder mystery show from the ‘90s that Riverdale takes some of its cues from, anything is possible right now.
There are still lingering questions about Jason’s relationship with his twin sister, Cheryl, who is still at the forefront of theories over who the murderer may be. The main takeaway from the newest episode is each character is hiding something and as the series progresses, more information about their resentments and secrets regarding Jason will come to, well, blossom.
Riverdale airs Thursday nights at 9 p.m. ET.