Riverdale is just full of creeps, huh? Wednesday night's new episode introduced a freaky new wrinkle into the murder mystery (okay, well actually more like three freaky new wrinkles), and now Riverdale fans have a lot more to worry about than just unmasking the Black Hood. Namely, we're also wondering who the heck is stalking Josie!? The episode seems to give us an answer, but as any Riverdale viewer knows, things are usually a lot more complicated than they appear in this town. In fact, Josie's stalker may be someone much closer to her than she realizes. Spoiler alert: This post will discuss details from Season 2 Episode 7 "Tales from the Darkside." Don't read on until you've seen the episode.
The new episode takes a new format from the rest of Riverdale, breaking down the hour into three vignettes each focused on one character's response to a threatening new note left by the Black Hood. We see Jughead get blackmailed into delivering a mysterious, supposedly drug-filled crate for the Southside Serpents by Penny Peabody, and follow Betty and Veronica as they investigate their Black Hood suspect Chief Keller, only to find that what he's actually hiding is an affair with Mayor McCoy. But what may be the most potentially telling portion of the episode was the storyline focused on Josie.
Josie has struck up a close friendship with Cheryl Blossom recently, which we've seen blooming in the background for a while with Josie joining the Vixens and Cheryl singing with the Pussycats, but their bond has gotten stronger since Josie helped save Cheryl from Nick St. James. Now, Cheryl has even helped Josie get her big break by booking a meeting with a studio exec, but it will involve Josie going solo and leaving the Pussycats behind. Going behind the back of her friends and bandmates is worrying to Josie, since the Black Hood did just announce he would be going after sinners and she sees the dishonesty as sinful. On top of all that, Josie also has to worry about a stalker.
Throughout her story, we see Josie get anonymous, romantic gifts in her locker from a secret admirer. They start off small and harmless, but when she receives a drawing of herself with the words "If I can't have you, nobody can" scrawled on it and a pig's heart, there's definitely more urgent cause for concern. Josie and Cheryl put the blame on known harasser Chuck Clayton by the end of the episode, but after sharing a charming date with Chuck during which he seemed to earnestly admit that he's changed his ways, Josie doesn't seem to fully believe Chuck was actually the person behind the stalking (and neither do most of the viewers, I'm guessing). And if it wasn't Chuck, the show gave us two very prominent suspects: the janitor Mr. Svenson and Josie's new bestie Cheryl Blossom.
Mr. Svenson seems like the obvious choice, since we've never seen him in the show before and he seems to just keep popping up in the new episode whenever Josie is around. We know he and Josie have a rapport, since he often sees her practicing in the school music room long after class has let out and helps cover for her being in the school after hours. He also suspiciously perks up when he overhears Josie mentioning the gifts she's receiving, and is very quick to grab Chuck when Cheryl and Josie accuse him of stalking Josie. But to me, it all just seems too obvious to actually be Mr. Svenson.
The other major suspect that the episode leaves us with is Cheryl Blossom herself. This is the closest we've ever seen Cheryl get with another character (aside from Jason, I guess), and the last shot of Josie's story seems to lay it on pretty thick that Cheryl most likely sent that threatening letter and pig heart, as we see her drawing a picture of Josie that looks pretty much exactly like the one included in the creepy final gift. It's also pretty telling that Cheryl was the one who erupted at Chuck and accused him of stalking Josie pretty much immediately, while Josie took a back seat in that whole incident.
So, if Cheryl really is getting too close to Josie in more of a creepy, possessive way, then what could that mean moving forward? All I know right now is that we are probably going to be finding out a lot of new things about Cheryl pretty soon...