The origins of the Gargoyle King's reign of terror were revealed on Wednesday's Riverdale episode "Chapter 39: The Midnight Club," with a prequel tale that played out like a John Hughes movie on acid. However, while we were all paying attention to the young Riverdale cast crushing their parent impressions, the new episode may have also dropped a huge clue as to the identity of the Gargoyle King. Are the Blossoms to blame for the blue lips of death?
In the new episode, Riverdale reveals the gross pseudo-incestual relationship between Penelope (Nathalie Boltt) and Clifford Blossom (Barclay Hope), who are, in the flashback episode, played by Madelaine Petsch and Trevor Stines. (The twincest is real.) It's revealed that Penelope was not a Blossom by marriage, but by adoption: She was betrothed to Cliff when she was plucked from The Sisters of Quiet Mercy at a mere eight-years-old. In fact, part of the reason she gets involved in the Gryphons & Gargoyles game in the first place is to escape her super icky home life that involves shacking up with her soon-to-be spouse.
Maybe Riverdale revealed this piece of information to finally appease fans who don't understand the weird dynamic between Penelope and the late Cliff. (Shout out to Refinery29's Ariana Romero, who literally predicted this twist a year ago.) Or maybe it's just to prove that the Blossoms are, truly, a bunch of depraved individuals, just as we already suspected from Cliff killing his own son in cold blood and Penelope attempting to murder an elderly woman for insurance money.
Orrrrr maybe it's all of the above, plus a big, fat clue that Cliff and Claudius Blossom are the Gargoyle Kings of Riverdale.
As flashback Penelope states clearly, "the Blossoms are terrible people," which is why her brother/boyfriend Cliff does not get to join in on any reindeer games when the "Midnight Club" finds Gryphons & Gargoyles.
When a young Hiram Lodge (Michael Consuelos) shows up with drugs, the group partakes before playing an invitation-only game of G&G. Things get seriously twisty, and Alice sees the Gargoyle King monster roam the halls. Penelope denies that anyone was in that (ridiculously huge and complex) costume that night. Days later, their Principal (Anthony Michael Hall) is found dead in the bottom of a stairwell, with the same blue lips that Dilton (Major Curda) had before his own suicide to the Gargoyle King two decades later.
It's the mysterious death of the Principal (which Alice blames on the Gargoyle King) that separates the group... and throws Penelope into the arms of Cliff, with whom she would go on to marry and have twins with. Cliff had the most to gain from the Gargoyle King showing up in the school that night.
Think about it: We know that Cliff is a straight-up murderer, from a very murder-y family. He's even the cousin of Hal (Lochlyn Munro), the Black Hood. Perhaps Cliff's killing started way before he shot poor Jason in the head — maybe he orchestrated the Gargoyle King deaths as a way to trap Penelope forever in a place of fear. She did, after all, say that she "wanted to live in Thornhill forever," as the outside world was just too terrible and cruel.
Now, I know what you're thinking: Isn't Cliff dead? As far as we know... yes. But his twin brother, Claudius, is apparently just as bad of a guy, and very much alive. We just haven't seen this random identical twin, who showed up midway through season 2, since the show began. Is it possible that Cliff and Claudius orchestrated the first Gargoyle King death together, and that Claudius finished the job? Sure, and it's just as likely that Cliff is really the man we know as Claudius today — they are identical, and it's totally possible that Riverdale is pulling a bait-and-switch.
Of course, for all we know, the Gargoyle King could be someone we've never met before... or even a supernatural entity from Greendale. If you're asking me, though, we should keep our eyes on the Blossom family: These weirdos could be up to something.
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