This episode of Riverdale is rather prophetic in a way. With the truth about Hollywood scum coming to light, many people are asking themselves: what will happen to these powerful man when they do bad things?
Well, if you’re in Riverdale, it seems you get off easy.
In last week’s episode, Betty gave Nick St Clair’s name to the black hood in order to keep him away from Polly. She goes to check up on the boy, and discovers that he’s still alive. While at his hotel, the police arrive to take him into questioning.
Cheryl’s mother meets with the Lodges and tells them that she (or Cheryl) won’t be pressing charges, and that the Lodges can continue with their business dealings with the St Clairs. Cheryl, who overhears the conversation while in Veronica’s bedroom, resigns herself to her fate. When Veronica tells Cheryl that she was also almost assaulted, Cheryl’s mood quickly changes and she tells Veronica that she’s not going to be a puppet for her.
Betty receives her next call from the Black Hood. When she questions why Nick is still alive, the Black Hood tells her that he couldn’t kill Nick because he isn’t one of Riverdale’s sons. But the Black Hood knows he’s seen the real Betty, and “the real work can begin.”
Meanwhile, poor Jughead is left picking up the pieces after his relationship ended with Betty. He seemingly finds solace in Toni, but at Pop’s she tells him that she’s actually more interested in girls – and not at all interested in being his rebound. Betty and Archie spot the two of them together, but before they can feel too sorry for themselves, they each get simultaneous calls from their parents.
Lo and behold, somehow Alice Cooper has discovered that the children took Jingle Jangle at the party in Nick’s room. Sheriff Keller and Mayor McCoy are in tow as well as the other children’s parents. Reggie admits that he procured the drugs under Nick’s insistence, and had got them from a dealer on the southside. When Mayor McCoy discovers that her daughter Josie, whose father has struggled with addiction, also took part, she goes full mommy monster.
The mayor and the sheriff decide to raid South Side High and wrangle some snakes. Archie arrives in time to hide Jughead away, but it doesn’t stop Juggie from seeing his friends and fellow gang members be arrested.
Later that day, Betty receives her follow-up call from the Black Hood. He tells her that her next project is to discover the identity of the Sugar Man (hint: it’s not Rodriguez). He tells Betty that the Sugar Man is responsibility for the spread of the drugs in Riverdale, and that she should seek Cheryl Blossom’s help.
Cheryl isn’t particularly helpful to Betty’s, surprise, surprise. She does divulge that it was a boogeyman her mother made up to scare her and Jason. But when Cheryl later presses her mother about it, Penelope claims to know nothing.
But while going through a memory box, she finds an old child’s drawing of her, Jason and the Sugar Man.
The bust at South Side High puts everyone in that neck of the woods on edge. FP’s right-hand-man, Tall Boy, asks Jughead to meet them. Jughead arrives and meets a mouth-piece of the rival gang the Ghoulies. He’s then told about a potential alliance between the two gangs. Considering the Ghoulies are the ones responsible for pushing the hard drugs in Riverdale, that’s not exactly please news for Juggie. But the plan can’t go ahead without Jughead’s blessing, considering he’s FP’s son.
Jughead, in a panic, is able to trust Archie again. The two decide to pay a visit to FP in prison. After telling him their news, he shares his idea: a drag race. It’s the sort of thing the flashy Ghoulies go for. The winner of the race will win control over the the southside.
When the two boys go to deliver their challenge, they’re interrupted by the arrival of Betty and Veronica, who have been caught (seemingly on purpose) by some gang members.
Yes, B&V are back together – tag-teaming their crime-solving like how things should be. At Pop’s Veronica, listens in on a conversation Betty has with Sheriff Keller about the Sugar Man. Keller tells her that the Jingle Jangle only hit streets after Clifford Blossom died.
When Veronica asks Betty, the blonde caves and tells her best friend everything about the Black Hood, which begs the question: where are the boundaries for the serial killer’s rules? But Veronica immediately agrees to help Betty track down the Sugar Man, and the two girls (after getting the name of the dealer off Reggie) stage a fake deal in order to follow the dealer to his den.
But all together again, the girls learn about the boys’ idiotic idea to have a dragrace with the Ghoulies. Betty offers to help Jughead fix up Reggie’s car. While she can explain things to Veronica, she’s still hesitant to explain why she broke up with Jughead. Seemingly keeping him at a distance is far safer than the truth.
At Pop’s, Cheryl sees Nick St Clair, who is on his way out of town with his parents. He tells Cheryl that no one will believe her story, especially since her mother took hush money from his parents, and the deal between the Lodges and the St Clairs is still going through. She confront Penelope about the money, and shows her mother that she has the check the St Clairs had written to Penelope to keep quiet.
Cheryl offers that she will give back the check if her mother gives her information on the Sugar Man. But Penelope, as stubborn as her daughter, refuses.
Not to be one to let anything go, Cheryl calls Veronica and tells her about the deal. Veronica goes to her parents and tells them that Nick nearly assaulted her. Her parents, finally acting like parents, become incredibly irate, and agree to cancel the deal.
On the day of the race, Veronica begs Archie to stay behind, but he assures her that he has a plan up his sleeve. He joins Jughead in the car, ready to face off with the Ghoulies. As they set off, they need to beat the Ghoulies over a narrow bridge, but as they approach, Archie tells Jughead to stop. The Ghoulies’ soar over the bridge, seemingly to win the race.
Jughead becomes irate at Archie, but he soon discovers that his friend had called the police to arrest the gang members in the car. The rest of the spectators scatter. Jughead tells Archie that his stupid idea only bought them a few months, where winning the race could have secured their safety. But Archie still believes he did the right thing to protect his friend.
As she arrives home that night, Cheryl finds her mother sitting by the fire. Penelope admits that the Sugar Man exists, but has in fact been several different men throughout the years. Clifford had decided to take Jason to meet the current Sugar Man, and that meeting triggered the events that led to Jason’s death.
Feeling the guilt about not protecting her daughter, Penelope throws the check into the fire. Then, she reveals the true identity of the current Sugar Man to Cheryl.
After learning the truth from Cheryl, Betty gets her call from the Black Hood. Only the girl has the upper hand. She tells the Black Hood that she has already alerted the police, leaving the drug lord’s fate in the hands of true justice.
It’s then revealed that the Sugar Man is Mr Phillips, Jughead’s English teacher that allowed him to start up the school newspaper again. He was strictly a no-drugs article kind of man. Though Betty thinks the man is in safe hands, we do see him be murdered by the Black Hood while in custody.
Again, with access to those cells, who the hell is the Black Hood?
But no, no. This isn’t the most shocking moment of the wrap-up.
Hermione receives a phone call one night, and responds to some tragic news with no emotion. She sits down with her husband and her daughter, and tells them that the St Clairs had been in a terrible car accident. Nick has suffered, and it will take months for him to full recover.
“Oh well, karma’s a bitch,” replies Veronica.
Chills. Is Veronica becoming more like her parents the more she’s dragged into Lodge Industries? She clearly knew what was going to happen. And Betty’s final exchange with the Black Hood? Which of these girls in Riverdale is the ultimate threat? I personally wouldn’t want to face any of them in a dark alley.
You know, if we were to follow using Archies’ songs as drug references, maybe the next Sugar Man could be a Candy Girl? Eh, eh? Any takers, Cheryl?
“Chapter Nineteen” is a solid follow-up to last week’s episode, which is possibly the best episode the show has produced to far. It can be tough to top a season with a murder mystery. Like Twin Peaks, the main focus is on one discovering the killer of one person. But unlike Laura Palmer, we don’t really care about Jason Blossom. Thankfully, the writers of Riverdale have been clever enough to build a mystery that I think is certainly shaping up to be far superior.