Recaps

Riverdale Ep. 3.2 “Chapter Thirty-Seven: Fortune and Men’s Eyes”

After a decent first episode, “Chapter Thirty-Seven” begins to build up the typical building blocks of every season: Archie tries and fails, Betty and Jughead investigate a mystery, Veronica stirs up trouble with her parents. But more than ever, the show is blurring the lines of reality and the impossible.

Much of the episode establishes Archie’s new life in prison. His roommate, Mad Dog, does his best to keep his distance, but dishes out wise advice that we all know Archie is going to ignore anyway.

In juvie, Archie begins to navigate the world of the Serpents and Ghoulies once more (who are much more like gangs inside prison that they are outside). He manages to keep his heart of gold, though, but ignoring the Serpents’ challenge to go after a Ghoulie. He settles things with everyone inside the prison by suggesting a game of football.

Archie has always had some of the weakest plot lines. Each season, he’s manipulated by a different adult, and it appears that this time it’s the ‘prison warden’. Of course the warden is in Hiram Lodge’s pocket, because otherwise Veronica wouldn’t have a plotline.

She spends most of her life now trying to make sure Archie feels comfortable in his prison life. Apparently, the girl doesn’t have a life outside anything that doesn’t revolve around her boyfriend. It’s the main source of tension with her father, and it’s all getting a bit old at this point.

Veronica hosts a little cheerleading performance (including a very horrible, but cheesily fun cover of “Jailhouse Rock”), but a “prison riot” happens, causing Archie and the other boys to be beat up during their football game.

Afterwards, Archie learns that he is being blamed for it. He’s also told that Mad Dog was killed during the riot, despite not being at the game himself. The guard then tells Archie that he has been “tapped”, just like Mad Dog warned him about. But this tap makes him the new Mad Dog, whatever that means. But I have a strong feeling that it will be just as ‘exciting’ as Archie working for the mafia.

Jughead and Betty, as always, continue their Frank Hardy and Nancy Drew double act. Following the death of Dilton Doiley, the pair begin to investigate him and Ben, who unlike his dead friend, ended up in ICU.

Then the couple go to see Ben, the find a talisman and learn that it was left there by Ethel. When they speak to Ethel, she claims that Ben is her boyfriend and that the talisman was left to protect him. She agrees to take them to Dilton’s bunker where they played their “game”. But when they try to meet her at night, they bump into a masked figure of the Gargoyle King instead.

So Betty and Jughead return by themselves the following night, finding not just the game board, but a missing scout member. He explains that he had been waiting for Dilton’s return. But he also spills a lot of true details about Dilton, Ben and Ethel’s game, which turns out to be mostly a completely-explainable fantasy, mostly squashing the idea of anything really supernatural occurring here. Though when Ethel has a similar seizure to Betty, it begins to raise more questions than answer them.

Betty also meets the daughter of everyone’s favourite cult leader, Gracie Johanssen Evelyn Evernever. Evelyn spends much of her time seemingly stalking Betty after her apparent seizure. She seems to know a lot about Betty. More than what Betty knows about her, which is a nice change of pace for Riverdale’s sharpest mind.

Many of the side characters here continue to be pointless. Kevin, Josie… well, mostly just those two. What purpose do they serve? Even Ethel has become more of a break out star over both of them, and she doesn’t even sing. Really, maybe it’s just time to let them go. Have them as background characters, focusing more on the main stories, which seems to always have such brief scenes.

But while the children are running around creating mischief, their parents are all gathered by Hermione, who tells them that the secret that they “buried years ago” seems to be coming back to haunt them. And whatever “it” is seems to be targeting their children.

I love how this show just seemingly creates relationships between the parents that we’ve already been told didn’t exist in previous episodes. But Riverdale wants to have a flashback episode, so I’m here for the Losers Club vibe.

Two episodes in, though, and this show seems to be heading in a better direction writing-wise. It certainly is trying to set us up for quite the season, I think.

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Riverdale Ep. 3.1 “Chapter Thirty-Six: Labor Day”

After quite the sophomore slump, Riverdale is back with season three. I can’t say that I was excited for more episodes. Season two was a serious mess in many ways. But that was probably due to a lack of direction-planning from the writers.

In this first episode, viewers are given the set-up to what is sure to be the main plotlines of the season: prisons, cults, and magic? Yes indeed.

Jughead’s opening monologue tells us that it is the summer before the gang’s Junior year. So we have to believe that all of season one and two happened during their sophomore year? When I was a sophomore in high school I was in marching band and didn’t even have a learner’s permit yet.

I also looked like this:

God if I lived in Riverdale, I would be tired as hell, kids. I mean, this show can get pretty unbelievable but convincing us that these kids are 15 is probably the most lofty.

At the end of season two, Archie was charged with the murder of another boy (whom Archie saw killed in cold-blood by Veronica’s doorman). Like the good friends they are, the gang pitched in to help with Archie’s case. Betty being the most involved, helping out with an internship with Mary Andrews and Not-Mayor McCoy.

The whole affair is rather like a Depression-era courtroom drama. Though it is pretty difficult to be convinced by the mood, considering that there is little to no evidence against Archie other than he makes stupid decisions.

After the jury deliberates for a bit, the judge calls for the verdict to be postponed until after Labor Day, giving Archie one more weekend of freedom. Instead of looking for more evidence (which is a little late, considering there have already been closing statements), Archie insists on having one more weekend of freedom.

The gang go to pool parties, swim in the watering hole (including a cute Stand By Me reference). Archie becomes an honorary Serpent with his tattoo (again, these kids are meant to be almost-Juniors). FP and Jughead swear that the Serpents will be there to protect Archie physically, but the mental strength will have to come from Archie himself.

Also, weird, but why are the Serpents living in a Hooverville-style hobo jungle? What’s with this episode’s obsession with the Depression?

Speaking of, Riverdale hasn’t given up on beating this gang sub-plot to death. Jughead is informed that Hot Dog (the Serpents’ mascot) has been taken by the Ghoulies, who are now working closer with Hiram than ever before.

A small number of the usual Serpents go together to get Hot Dog, but are unsurprisingly caught by Penny Peabody. She (rightfully) tells Jughead that his jacket still says ‘Southside’ despite the fact that the Serpents no longer have Southside territory. And by not changing said name, Penny (somehow) believes that means the Ghoulies can declare war on the North side? Does anyone really care?

In the end, the jury is hung. But Archie being the ultimate Stupid Archie takes the plea deal offered by the state, sending him to juvenile prison. This is Archie and this is Riverdale. The most insane option has to be the correct one.

But this is why we are all here, isn’t it?

BUT.

This show loves a good “what the fuck?” ending, and this episode tried to throw everything and the kitchen sink at us.

Throughout the episode, Jughead noticed Dilton behaving strangely, playing some sort of D&D-style game. But Dilton later explains that he isn’t playing a game. He mentions the name of the Gargoyle King – some sort of demonic Wendigo.

Dilton leaves behind a map at Jughead’s trailer, prompting Jughead to go to the spot marked on it. When Jughead arrives, he finds both Dilton and Ben (‘memba him?) with marks carved in their backs, seemingly bowing to this a figure than can only be inspired by the Gargoyle King.

Both seem to be dead, but Ben suddenly wakes. Will he survive to tell Jughead the fuck is going on? Hopefully not, that would be too easy for our super-sleuths.

While that would often be enough to close out an episode on an interesting point, “Chapter Thirty-Six” pushes it further.

If you recall from previous seasons, Betty’s sister Polly ran off to join a farm where she could safely raise her and Jason’s babies. Turns out, the farm is just a bit of a cult. I was all on board the Manson Family train, until, well, that bat-shit final scene.

Betty returns home after the trial to find her sister and mother outside by a fire with a few cult pals. The two women hold the babies over a fire and promptly drop them. But instead of incinerated baby corpses, the babies float. FLOAT!!!!!

I’m pretty opposed to supernatural elements being added to a world late in the game. This feels a far-cry from the early vibes of season 1 (remember the kids sitting around, listening to Archie try to write songs?). While this is completely silly, I do wonder if it’s a nod to Archie Comic’s upcoming show Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. 

Or maybe it was all just Betty’s dream? I guess it’s the time to say “tune in next week”.

 

Riverdale Ep. 35 recap “Chapter Thirty-Five: Brave New World”

After a solid run of episodes, Riverdale rounds up season 2 with a sleepy, predictable finale.

Unsurprisingly, Jughead is not dead. And neither is Fangs, which is one of the biggest cop-outs ever. FP claims that the deputy that called him with the news was lying as a ploy. He tells his son, who appears to be in the same hospital bed where the doctor was killed, that the Serpents don’t exist any more as a gang.

This is a complete lie. As FP is completely determined to send himself and Jughead away to Toledo to meet up with the rest of the family. But when Jughead gets out of hospital, he learns that most of the gang is living in the Whyte Wyrm after the sale of Sunnyside Trailer Park. The place where, incidentally, Hiram Lodge is planning his next acquisition.

Cheryl learns from her mother (who is, again unsurprisingly, in cahoots with Hiram) that Hiram is planning a raid on the Wyrm via his lapdog, Sheriff Minetta. Archie, Jughead and Cheryl manage to get the remaining Serpents out of the Wyrm and into the North Side where they get refuge in the Andrews house.

I feel like the biggest victim in all of this is poor Fred Andrew. He and Archie learn that the man that attacked them in their home was Tall Boy, the former Serpent who was being paid by Hiram Lodge. This, of course, confirms to Archie that Hiram is a horrible man. Because we haven’t already been beaten over the head with this one!

The core four then proceed to try to take down Hiram in their own ways. Veronica blackmails her father into giving her the million dollars back that she got through a shady ransom. She then buys the Whyte Wyrm (because she’s like, what, 17?) and dangles it in front of her dad. She makes him an offer: the Whyte Wyrm, the last remaining piece of the Southside he doesn’t own, in exchange for Pop’s – the one place that her friends still can call their own.

Hiram agrees to Veronica’s terms, but with one last addition: she gives up her share of Lodge Industries as well as her trust fund and allowance. The girl agrees.

FP agrees to stay in Riverdale, but retires (for real) from the Serpents, offering his still-teenage son the role of the head of the gang. These children are way too young to be leading gangs and buying real estate. Right? Or have times changed that much? (I’m not that old.)

Fred eventually loses the election to Hermione. Just incase you were wondering if everything in Riverdale had to be horrible. But the two shake hands and seemingly that makes things ok? But Archie isn’t happy.

He goes to confront Hiram, vowing to take him down once he has the correct evidence. This is such a Bad Move that it deserves to be treated as a proper noun. It’s hardly surprising when Hiram later has Archie arrested for the murder of that random dude at the lake (‘memba that?). But as this is Riverdale, I highly doubt that we will be spending season 3 watching Archie live his life out Orange is the New Black-style.

This is supposedly Hiram’s big idea to tear the core four apart. Not sure how this will work, but they hardly seemed to have got along this season and they still did pretty well against him. But with Archie out of the way for the summer, Hiram can move his plans into action. The plans to destroy all of Riverdale! Open brothels (thanks to Penelope Blossom), sell drugs (thanks to Claudius Blossom and the Ghoulies), just tear shit apart!

Why? Because this is the most cartoon-ish villain a show based on a cartoon can manage.

Betty’s plotline was one of the more boring this week. She’s been a personal favourite of mine, but she did at least have some great moments. With Polly’s insistence, she goes to visit Hal in prison. In a very Silence of the Lambs-moment, she tells her father that “You have no power over me” in which she suddenly finds she has exited the Labyrinth.

The darkness, is of course, not really in our dear Betty, but in Polly. The elder Cooper daughter is still with her weird cult and makes her moves to get Alice involved. I do hope the ‘Farm’ or whatever is a big role in season 3. It’s one of the more intriguing mysteries left in the show.

It’s a big of a shame the show couldn’t go out with a roar like it did last season. Much of the episode was left floundering, trying to wrap up plotlines that would have otherwise been deemed plot holes (student body president – ahem).

I am so sick of Hiram Lodge as a baddie. It’s pretty clear that he’s going to be front and centre yet again next season.

If this nonsense is to continue, the least they can do if allow us one punch to Hiram’s face. Just one. That’s all I’m asking for a satisfactory season 3.

But, kids, this is the end! A pretty limp way to end a really hit-and-miss sophomore season. It’s been fun. It’s been not fun. But it will all start again in October. See you then.

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.

Riverdale Ep. 33 recap “Chapter Thirty-Three: Shadow of a Doubt”

Coming around the final bend of its second season, Riverdale is being endlessly relentless in one of its most tightly written episodes yet. Each component of the storyline seemed to have weight and meaning (minus the Archie/Veronica sex scene. These two make as much sense as comic Archie and Veronica do: not at all). And if these past few episodes have anything to say about what we’re in for in the last two seasons:

We’re in for a very, very insane ride here, kids.

After her stunt with Nick St Clair (you know, in which she turned the tables and held him for ransom), Veronica is being “courted”. The other families of the mob are interested in doing business with the Lodges. So they send their sons to Veronica with business ideas to pitch to her. And because she’s a boss, Veronica is absolutely glowing with the idea of a challenge.

She goes through the boys pitches pretty quickly. But one, a casino, catches her ear. She agrees to move forward, intending to use the ransom money to fund her business venture.

But Veronica’s business idea is quickly shot down by her father. Claiming that the family of the boy is, in fact, super shady Hiram tells her that there’s no way to have a cleanly-run casino. And the Lodges don’t shady business anymore! Of course! But Veronica becomes even more determined, seeking out Former-Mayor McCoy’s legal advice on how to do things legally.

In the week leading up to the debate, Archie is going door-to-door supposedly campaigning for this father. But in fact is looking in everyone’s eyes to find the Black Hood.

Hiram suggests that Archie reform his Dark Circle gang. That way, the gang can work with the new sheriff. One that knows Hiram Lodge pretty well. Unsurprisingly, though, it’s all part of Hiram’s plan to create unrest in Riverdale. He’s such a cartoon villain, that I feel almost certain that he’s going to get his comeuppance before the season is through.

Things begin to get more tense in Riverdale when Moose admits that Midge was fooling around with a Serpent on the side (ironic that this matters considering Moose’s consistent fooling around with other men). Reggie decides to become Extra-Reggie and fully takes on the responsibility for taking down the Serpent that killed Midge.

See the giant leap in logic here? I mean, Reggie is a stupid jerk but certainly he’s not that stupid, right?

Fangs admits to Jughead that he was the one hooking up with Midge. He didn’t go to Sheriff Keller because he thought he’d look guilty. Only now that he didn’t admit it, he looks even more guilty. On Jughead’s footage of the night of the show, Fangs can be seen in the dressing room “giving notes” to Midge in her dressing room. That footage, of course, is still at the sheriff’s office.

Archie and Jughead go to meet the new sheriff together and get back the footage. Unsurprisingly, the new sheriff doesn’t hand it back. But instead decides to watch it for himself.

The footage of Fangs is leaked. Later in the night, the Dark Circle arrive at the Serpent hangout, the Whyte Worm. They set a dumpster on fire and slash the tires of the Serpents motorcycles. Reggie tells Archie that Hiram is paying the Dark Circle to do his work.

Thankfully Former-Mayor McCoy sweeps in to represent Fangs. She tells Jughead that without evidence enough to charge Fangs, he can be released with in 24-hours. But while those hours tick away, the people of Riverdale become more and more certain that Fangs has to be the killer (despite the fact that all he did was canoodle. Again, how does this make someone guilty in the sane mine of ANYONE??).

Betty, meanwhile, is suspicious that her father might be the Black Hood (me too). So she goes to Cheryl for advice. Cheryl suggests going to the police, but Betty is convinced that she needs to confront him herself. So they both agree to investigate for hard evidence.

The youngest Cooper finds her way in by offering to work at the register with her parents in the lead-up to the debate. She finds her dad’s planner and cross-references every Black Hood attack with his schedule. All of the dates match up.

While in the Register‘s offices she receives a call from the coroner that a corpse showed up. Betty is certain that it is Chic, and admits what she did to Cheryl. But the boy is not Chic. But the guilt cripples her anyway.

That night, Betty admits to her parents that she had been in contact with the Black Hood, and that she had ‘delivered’ Chic to the Black Hood. Hal admits to Betty that he too has “the darkness” inside. Then he says, “that’s why we need each other.” Making him look all the more crazy.

Cheryl and Betty break into the B&B room that Hal was renting. Cheryl finds The Nancy Drew Secret-Code Activity Book among his things. The same book that the Black Hood used to write a cipher for Betty. When she confronts Hal about the book, though, he claims that it was a birthday present he was saving for Betty.

At the debate, Hermione reveals that the Dark Circle was started by Archie. Once the group that aimed to keep Riverdale safe, the gaggle of boys are dark and sinister. But before anything can come of it, Veronica spots the Black Hood in the loft. He takes his gun and begins open firing on the crowd, mostly aiming at Fred Andrews. This all happened despite the new sheriff’s insistence that the security would be tighter due to the threatening note that Fred received.

But importantly, Betty seeks out her parents during the shooting and finds her dad in the crowd, making him seemingly innocent. But Betty still seems determined that her father is the one orchestrating things.

Veronica becomes irate when she sees how upset that her mother is after the shooting. Veronica tells Hermione to step-down but Hiram refuses to allow her to do so. She switches sides and goes to the Andrews household to pledge her allegiance to Fred’s campaign.

The more harrowing thing of this week’s episode, though, is not anything to do with a serial killer. When Fangs’ release finally arrives, a mob awaits outside the jail. The mob go after him, but he’s protected by his follow Serpents. While in the crowd, Archie sees Reggie walking towards the Serpents with something glinting in his hands,

Archie dives to stop Reggie but the gun still goes off – striking Fangs in the stomach.

It’s a very well-shot scene and despite the fact that Fangs is pretty much a throw-away character, it’s pretty hard to watch. The shooting pretty much spells the end of days for peace Riverdale, though. Their judgment of a boy not on trial is awful. It almost makes you think that the Black Hood has the right idea.

But the episode doesn’t rest on Fangs. While Betty awaits her father in “the place where it all started.” Cheryl gets a visitor at her home – a man with green eyes in a black hood.

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.

Riverdale Ep. 31 recap “Chapter Thirty-One: A Night to Remember”

It’s the musical episode, kids! The CW and all of the cast and crew have been promoting the hell out of this (I even saw a promotion on Arrow Video’s Facebook page). Unfortunately for me, I feel completely ambivalent to musical. Though I did go to a high school that was mad about them. A rare but kind treat when you grow up in a small hick town.

I liked “Once More, with Feeling” so I’m okay with this. But all I could pray for going into this episode was one thing: let there be plot.

Jughead agrees to film the behind-the-scenes of Carrie: The Musical at Riverdale High. And Fred Andrews agrees to build the sets to spend more time with Archie, who is at least showing interest in music again. Mädchen Amick is playing Mrs White. Chuck continues his redemption arc. Archie, Betty, Veronica and Jughead begin to attempt to mend their broken friendships.

There’s a lot going on this week. So I get what I want.

The most important plotline, though, is someone is out to get Cheryl. After showing off her singing chops, she nearly gets offed by a sandbag. Kevin later informs Jughead that he found a letter in his locker from someone claiming to be the Black Hood. The letter demands that Cheryl’s role must be recast, but Kevin and Jughead keep it between each other.

Jughead, of course, shares the note with Betty. So Betty begins interviewing the cast to discover who might be responsible. Starting with Ethel, who believes she was born to play Carrie.

Kevin tries to pull Cheryl out after getting a second letter, but she refuses. But she doesn’t get much of a choice, as her mother refuses to give Cheryl to perform in the musical. But it’s not Ethel who is the understudy, but Midge.

But Betty is also being a bit of bitch, constantly attacking Veronica for being “typecast” as the mean rich girl, Chris. Thankfully, some stern words from Archie sorts her out, and she apologises. Bringing B+V together again.

Hiram tries to come between Archie and his dad by revealing the big secret: the new Firebird. Fred becomes upset, as he always imagined the guys picking out Archie’s first car together. To fix up a piece of junk: together. And it’s sad, and I’m still crying because Fred deserves everything in this world.

Archie begins to feel the reality of his choices. He sees the “dark path” that he is going down, and asks Hiram to stop meddling with his relationship with Fred. He then returns the keys of the Firebird. He goes out to get a junker, and asks Fred to help him fix it up. And I’m still crying.

So this is the true redemption story, everyone. Thank god Archie has seen the light (kind of).

Alice begins to breakdown over the course of rehearsals, coming to the realisation that she’s slowly losing her family. She begs Betty to stay with her. So Betty asks her father to stop by and make amends with her father. They agree to mend their relationship, but Alice admits the truth about Chic’s real father to Hal.

On the show’s opening night, the not-Carrie-White Cheryl returns to her mother’s home covered in blood to send a message: watch the fuck out. She threatens Penelope over the safety of Nana Rose. Cheryl demands her “emancipation” and the entirity of the house the Blossoms are occupying. It certainly looks as though the older Blossom got the message (I certainly love crazy Cheryl).

Before the show, Jughead goes through Ethel’s garbage and finds magazines with letters cut out. Letters like the ones used on the threatening Black Hood letters. She catches him and claims that the letters were for her “vision board.”

As the first act begins, something is clearly wrong. When Midge is meant to sing Carrie’s first lines, all is silent. When the set is moved, her body is revealed: nailed against the wall with multiple knives and a message from…

THE MOTHER FUCKING BLACK HOOD. BACK FROM THE DEAD, YA’LL!

While I’m not nuts about musical episodes, “Chapter Thirty-One” gets everything right. For one thing, it manages to move the storyline in a positive direction better than many of the last few weeks’ episodes have. But most importantly: it creates a reason to watch next week. Is the Black Hood really back? Is it an imposter? What does Ethel’s vision board look like?

Carrie as the musical was clearly the right decision. It’s certainly a cult musical, and it plays on high school tropes just as much as Riverdale does. But it’s also dark and twisted, leaving plenty of room for the show to get a bit twisted. And it was a very clever move.

It makes me feel so happy to be proved wrong. It was amazing to see Riverdale try something with a bit of balls again. Bravo, and well done all.