Riverdale Ep. 34 recap “Chapter Thirty-Four: Judgement Night”

There is nothing more satisfying than being totally right in all your fan theories.

After the horrible ‘reveal’ that Mr Svenson was the Black Hood, Hal Cooper finally came into the light as the true serial killer.

Much of Riverdale was fending off the riots following Fang’s release from prison. The Serpents blame Reggie and the Northsiders blame the Serpents for the riots. Both sides eventually learn that it was Midge’s mother who shot Fangs, putting both sides on edge. But there’s a lot bigger things going on than just a simple North and South rivalry.

Last week’s episode left Cheryl fending for herself when the Black Hood came knocking at her door. She manages to escape and get her bow and arrow (and hunting cape). She scares the Black Hood away after shooting him in the shoulder with her arrow.

Cheryl calls Betty that she’ll be tracking the Black Hood through the woods. Betty later gets another call, but from FP, telling her that her father had been brought into the emergency room.

When she goes to confront him, she finds that Hal isn’t there anymore. Instead, in his place, is his doctor.

Hiram puts Hermione into action, telling her to go to the Register to offer up a million-dollar bounty for whoever caught the Black Hood. When the Lodge women meet at home, Veronica becomes upset about the bounty, assuming that the bounty will be paid for by the ransom money that she secured.

Veronica barricades herself in her dad’s office and begins searching his office for a clue about the money. What she finds instead of a folder labelled “October Surprise.” Inside are photos of Hermione and Fred together, along with an article tearing Fred (who is campaigning on Family Values) apart.

When Veronica confronts her mother, Hermione reveals that she already knew. The extent that she goes to stand by Hiram’s side is pretty unnerving. Veronica also agrees, and begins to tell off her mother for her blind support. But they are interrupted when Papa Poutine’s son arrives. He threatens to kill them, just like Hiram killed his father.

The Lodge women manage to barricade themselves in the office long enough for Hermione to get a gun. She kills the son, but she fully realises how little Hiram really cares for their safety.

Meanwhile, the Serpents and Archie’s pals have more to deal with than just each other. In last week’s episode, Jughead gets the call that their rival gang, the Ghoulies, have been released from prison after their drag race.

The Ghoulies confront the Northsiders at Pop’s, but Archie fends them off with a Molotov cocktail (taught to him by Pop!). The kids are saved when FP, Fred and Former-Sheriff Keller arrive on the scene.

When Archie and Fred go home, Archie notices that the back door to their house is opened. He’s then attacked by a Black Hood – one he recognises as having the same eyes a the man who shot Fred.

Fred, with seemingly the worst timing ever, walks into the room. He throws himself in front of Archie to protect him and is shot. The ‘Black Hood’ manages to get away. Thankfully, Fred is wearing a bullet proof vest, thanks to Keller.

But it’s not really the Black Hood (or is it). It’s Black Hood. For at the same time, the Real Black hood is sitting with his wife and daughter in their living room.

Hal insists on showing them a little home movie. In the movie is a little Hal (who looks a lot like my nephew, so I can think of that every time I see him now). It’s slowly revealed that Hal’s family was the one to kill off the Conway family. Hal, being Mr Svenson’s age, convinced the young boy that he really didn’t see Grandpappy as the killer of the Conways.

It takes Alice a moment to realise what is happening, until Hal forces Betty to say that Hal is the Black Hood. He then reveals that he had wanted Alice to record the whole conversation so that “people understand when they find us.” Eugh.

Alice taunts Hal into distraction by calling him a mama’s boy and “the worst serial killer ever.” Betty takes the opportunity to knock out her dad. Hal is arrested, but it isn’t the definite end to the Black Hood.

While Hal is being brought to the cop car, Betty sees Archie and tells him the truth. But when Archie claims that he was attacked by the Black Hood, the two become confused. Hal himself admits that he wasn’t the one involved in the debate shooting. Which can only mean one thing, right? Hiram fucking Lodge.

During their conversation, Betty gets a call from Jughead, saying his goodbyes.

It’s not just the Ghoulies that are back to create hell for Juggie as Penny Peabody is back, too. She sets her Ghoulies out to kidnap Toni. The situation is dissipated quickly when Jughead comes to get her with bow-and-arrow-toting Cheryl in tow.  But the news still angers the Serpents, who believe they are looking weaker.

In fairness, the Ghoulies are about as frightening as a latte-drinking hipster in Shoreditch. The make-up does them no favours. I think they’re trying to go Warriors, but it’s mostly just silly.

After FP announces Fangs’ death to the Serpents, the gang becomes hungry for blood. Though Jughead tries his best to stave things off, the gang vote to start a war with the Ghoulies.

To stop the war, Jughead offers Hiram an exchange. Hiram backs off with the Ghoulies and Penny (who are both paid by Hiram) and Jughead offers his life.

The final scene of the riots is FP carrying his son’s corpse to his friends. Seemingly Jughead was killed off by the Ghoulies and Penny. His Serpents tattoo is no longer there. But if there’s one thing I learned from watching Game of Thrones: no one is dead if they don’t have an on-screen death.

There’s a lot to talk about here.

For one, Cheryl as a superhero with a literal cape is my favourite.

But the reveal of the Black Hood was so good. It was almost as good as when Jason’s killer was revealed in season one (almost). It’s even more intriguing that we clearly don’t have the end to this story. It will be interesting to see whether no not this gets wrapped up at all in next week’s finale. Lochlyn Munro (who plays Hal Cooper) is so spectacular in this episode. I really hope he stays on as a menacing father in future seasons.

Thirdly, there’s no way that Jughead is dead. If you think the riots in Riverdale look threatening, I wouldn’t want to see the teenage girls that take to the streets if he actually is dead. The show would lose too much of its connection to the Southside plot line. Also Betty would be left out on a limb.

And most of all: I really, really want these Lodge women to take matters into their own hands. I would vote for Fred in the election, but if Hermione took control of her campaign, this woman could do something seriously good.

And it all ends next week. So we’ll see where season 3 decides to take things. It’s definitely been a mixed back, but so far these last number of episodes have done a pretty good job at making sure (mostly) everything has been paying off.

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