Riverdale Ep. 32 recap “Chapter Thirty-Two: Prisoners”

It’s certainly torture to drag out storylines the way Riverdale has in its second season, but with episodes like “Prisoners” it makes it all feel worth it.

The Black Hood is back. It wasn’t a janitor. It wasn’t a copy-cat killer (sorry, Juggie). But the man in black is actually here again to make the sinners of Riverdale pay.

At Midge’s funeral, Cheryl Blossom publicly announces that she and the black-clad Vixens will avenge Midge’s death. It seems like a bold statement from a group of pom-pom wavers, but sisterhood is good stuff, right?

But Cheryl’s first target is Sheriff Keller. Hermione Lodge goes to Cheryl and asks her to write an op-ed on why the sheriff needs to step down. Cheryl gleefully agrees, playing into the Lodges’ hands. But poor Sheriff Keller (who does sort of suck at his job) feels the pinch right before the mayoral election. He needs to catch the real Black Hood – and probably fast.

Jughead is insistent that Chic is connected to the Black Hood killings. Eventually Betty comes around to the idea as well, and the two return to the Sisters of Quiet Mercy where Betty’s brother spent his time as an orphan. Svenson also lived there for a time and worked as a groundskeeper there at the same time as Betty’s brother.

When the dynamic duo look at the files on Charles Smith, they finally learn that Chic is an impostor. The photo of the real Charles Smith is certainly not the man claiming to be him. The reveal certainly doesn’t feel shocking, but rather satisfying that this little dweeb is as awful as we all want him to be.

Betty takes the picture to her mom, who just happens to be with Chic at the time. When cornered, Chic lashes out at Alice with a knife, but he’s knocked out and tied up for questioning.

Chic admits that he’s not really Alice’s son. He lived with Charles at the Shady Ass Inn (not real name). He claims that Charles ODed on Jingle Jangle after Alice turned him away at the door.

Alice realises that Chic is telling the truth and begins to spiral. She lives Betty and Jughead alone with Chic and finds FP. In his trailer, she admits that she had his son (!) but that he was dead. Poor FP looks like he’s being hit with everything in all directions at once. But Mädchen Amick and Skeet Ulrich are so moving in this scene. All the love and stars for these two.

While her mother is out, Betty receives a call with the Chordettes singing gleefully. And that only means one thing: the Black Hood is ringing, dears. When Betty answers, the Black Hood asks for Chic, and for once, Betty seems awfully tempted. He leaves clues in his call, leading Betty and Jughead back to the Inn of Hell (also not its real name).

At the hotel, Betty and Jughead talk to one of Charles’ and Chic’s former neighbours. She tells them that she used to hear the two arguing all the time. Then one day, arguing stopped and only Chic was around. But she did see bloody sheets. Call the police, woman? Nah.

Betty confronts Chic about potentially murdering her real brother, and he gleefully neither denies or confirm (actually, he sort of does both). When Alice returns from FP’s, she decides to tell Hal the truth about the man Chic murder. It’s still the reason that Chic has the Coopers wrapped around his finger.

But while her parents argue, Betty decides to take Chic away. With ‘Ms Grundy’s’ gun, she drags Chic to the cemetery where she hands him over to the Black Hood, who had never left.

When Betty returns home, she comforts her mother. She tells her that Chic will never bother them again. But suddenly, Betty realises that her father isn’t around. Alice says that he went to go look for his daughter…

Dun dun dunnnnnn!

We all knew it. WE ALL knew it!

If Hal really is the Black Hood, it certainly raises some questions. It was much more convincing that he’d be the Black Hood in the first half of season two. But certainly a man who lived with a prostitute while not divorced from his wife is a massive sin. One that the Black Hood would certainly find problematic in someone else. But maybe he’s just a massive hypocrite with a inferiority complex.

Meanwhile, outside of crazy serial killer world, there’s another crazy around!

Archie is being stalked by a man in a literal black hood. He has his Michael Myers moment on his way to Svenson’s house to investigate. He’s beat up and tied up at a warehouse.

Veronica then receives a call from none other than Nick St Clair: Skeezeball of the Year. He tells Veronica that she needs to hand over a cool million or Archie will face the consequences. Ronnie tries to scrounge up the money, but can only steal so much from her parents. Unsurprisingly, the Lodge Srs refuse to hand over any cash for someone who “isn’t blood.”

She meets with Nick, who suggests that they “finish what they started” aka sleeping to make up for the rest of the cash. Veronica reluctantly agrees. Nick gleefully tells Archie this and sets up a little livestream so Archie can watch while his girlfriend sleeps with someone else.

But Archie manages to escape, just in time to find Veronica in the hotel room…standing over Nick’s roofied body. I don’t think two wrongs make a right, Ms Lodge.

The girl turns the tables and ends up getting a million from the St Clairs after holding their son for ransom. She shows off the money to her parents, then demands that Hiram make things right with Archie.

Again, this seems like such a bad idea. And if something horrible doesn’t happen to Hiram this season – there is no justice in this world.

It’s not at all surprising at Svenson wasn’t the real Black Hood. When the second season is over, it will certainly be interesting to look back and try to figure out what the writers were trying to do. They purposefully left their fans feeling unsatisfied, which is a bold move.

There are precisely three episodes left of season two. Seasons three has already been confirmed, so I think the writers will really need a think about how they want to handle things going forward (which should go without saying). Sophmore slumps are real, kids. But it feels as though Riverdale has found its stride again. It just needs to keep on this path.

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