Riverdale

Riverdale Ep. 22 “Chapter Twenty-Two: Silent Night, Deadly Night”

If I had a Riverdale Christmas wishlist it would include:

  • More Alice Cooper (more parental drama overall, please).
  • Betty/Archie/Jughead/Veronica to sort their shit out. I’m so bored with the off-and-on again relationships.
  • The return of Molly Ringwald.
  • Jughead to remember that he’s a “weirdo” not a feisty gang member.
  • And a better fucking ending than we just got in episode 22.

So. This was a bit of a mixed-bag here for a mid-season finale. Apparently it’s Christmas, which means Riverdale officially has the most confusing seasons. Didn’t Archie save Cheryl from a frozen river a few weeks ago? Why isn’t there any snow on the ground in December?

Anyway, Christmas means lots of gifts and Secret Santa. It also means no one has any money.

The Blossoms are broke. And the Andrews are definitely screwed. Thanks to terrible health coverage in America, Fred receives a bill for $86,000 from the hospital. He and Archie try selling Christmas trees just to make more money, but it’s obvious that that whopper of a medical bill will make things a little more than tight this season.

But Archie has other things to worry about, namely his ex-girlfriend. Yes the two pairs are still calling it quits despite having the dumbest reasonings ever. Jughead still wants to “protect” Betty (though it’s plenty clear that every girl in Riverdale can protect themselves) by pushing her away. And well, Veronica just wants to “be there” for Archie. Of course they all still exchange gifts they got for each other before they broke up.

At Kevin’s Secret Santa exchange, things get more awkward. Veronica gets a couples message (for $20 – sure), and Betty gets a really cute gift from Archie that makes both Veronica and Jughead sweat.

Though don’t let that Christmas spirit fool you, because there’s still a serial killer on the loose! Betty and Archie both realise that Mr Svenson (aka Joseph Conway) is gone, and has been replaced by a temporary janitor. When B&A inquire about Svenson’s whereabouts, they’re told that he usually takes this time of the year off, considering he has no family.

You know, despite the fact that he was adopted and would have a family that way. But adopted families don’t count.

The two go to Mr Svenson’s house, and he doesn’t answer. All they find is a bowl of chicken soup left by the school secretary days before. Instead of calling the police about their concern, the kids just go away.

When Betty gets home that night, Alice tells her that Betty has received a Secret Santa gift, and it’s waiting in her room. But it’s something that probably wasn’t on Betty’s wishlist: Mr Sevnson’s finger.

Jughead continues this now-tedious storyline of him and his “payment” to Penny Peabody (anyone else get her and Sweet Pea confused?). FP has shouldered the blame for it in order to protect Jughead. But since Jughead has since long ditched his copy of Perks of Being a Wallflower, he’s full-on snake now.

He keeps trying to get FP to stop the drug deliveries, but FP is determined to keep the peace with Penny. After FP’s parole office stops by, Jughead realises that he needs to take matters into his own hands. To protect his dad or whatever. Obviously no one thinks any adult can handle themselves in this stupid town.

Jughead eventually rallies the young Serpents and asks them to join him in getting rid of Penny. They eventually kidnap her and take her to Greendale where they cut off her Southside Serpent tattoo. Well, if we can have Dark Betty, I guess we also get Sadistic Jughead. GREAT!

Living the free and single life, Veronica has nothing better to do than dig up dirt on her parents. She asks them for help paying Fred’s medical bills, but they insist they can’t, and don’t want to. So when you don’t get what you want, just dig through your father’s files!

Veronica learns that her parents did buy Pop’s after all, despite lying to her about their “charitable donation” earlier. In revenge, she calls the hospital and pays of Fred’s bills with her mom’s black American Excess card. When she confronts her parents, they finally tell her to grow up (kind of), and that she needs to be all in or get over it.

So Veronica finally learns the truth about Lodge Industries. Shame is, we don’t. Which really kills any interest I had in this story line.

Speaking of killing! Archie and Betty decide to go to Sisters of Quiet Mercy, where Mr Svenson lived after his family was killed. They learn that as a boy, he pointed out the wrong man who committed murder of his family. The group of people who killed the man came in only once, and all the Sister can remember is that one of the women had white hair with a red streak.

Nana Rose Blossom.

When B&A go to speak to Nana Rose, she tells them that the man wasn’t hung, but rather buried at the foot at a tree called the Devil’s hand. Oh and the man wasn’t hung – he was buried alive. Also, Betty’s grandfather was involved.

Betty becomes upset about her grandfather’s involvement, and Archie does his best to rally her. She takes this as her moment to make a move on Archie, which doesn’t seem to be either a good or bad thing. It just happens.

The two then go to the Cooper’s house where all of Betty’s grandfather’s photos are. They eventually find one of her grandfather in front of a tree, with small mound in front of them (and somehow no one has noticed that this was weird before, huh?).

They realise that the tree is the one in Pickens Park. When they arrive, they find a head stone with Conway’s name on it. They begin to dig and eventually find a coffin, only to discover no one is inside.

Then the Black Hood arrives. He holds the kids up at gunpoint, and demands that Archie get into the coffin. Archie complies, but then Betty is ordered to close the cover and start to bury Archie herself.

In the nick of time, the police arrive, successfully distracting the Black Hood long enough that Betty can hit him with the shovel. She gets Archie out, but the BH is already running away. Thankfully, the fool has dropped the gun. Archie and Betty corner the Black Hood at a bridge, that the Black Hood is about to jump off of.

Before Archie can shoot the Black Hood, Sheriff Keller does. With the Black Hood dead, Betty removes the hood, and learns that all along, the Black Hood was Mr Svenson.

Yes fucking really.

Later, then the gang is all together talking about the events, they all seem to easily believe that Mr Svenson was completely capable of being the Black Hood despite only being a character for about three episodes.

If there is one thing I have learned from reading a lot of mystery novels it’s this: never, EVER choose a small side character as your culprit – especially if they show up late in the book.

Well, you know, janitors! They’re everywhere! They see everything! He was repenting for his own sins! That totally explains away the green eyes, the Nancy Drew reference, AND EVERY OTHER CLUE GIVEN TO US ALL SEASON.

God.

There’s some shit after this about exchanging gifts, but I could care less. Veronica and Archie are together again after Veronica realises she’s jealous of Betty actually loves Archies.

Betty then burns her evidence from the case, but not her own black hood because she’s dark. Ooooh. You know what they say, “When one because a stripper, it’s a slippery path to becoming a serial killer.”

Ugh.

Cheryl has a really weird subplot this episode. But she was nuts and that’s how we like her best. She goes on a Christmas rampage, buying a tree without her mother’s permission. She then tells her mother that Mrs Blossom needs a job, probably from the Lodges by 2018. Then she catches her mom with the Christmas tree salesman. Because of course.

So the Black Hood is Mr Svenson? Well, I hardly believe it. Or maybe I just don’t want to believe it. The first season absolutely stuck the landing with the reveal of Jason’s demise, and I have complete confidence that the writers would be able to do the same thing with the Black Hood.

My theory is, is that the Black Hood has been making Mr Svenson be his puppet. We’ve never seen the BH not in total control. Why would he drop his guard now? Wouldn’t he even consider that Betty and/or Archie would have called the police?

Either way, this mystery definitely isn’t over. Whether Svenson was the Black Hood or not, there’s clearly a bigger problem on the horizon: the Riverdale Reaper.

I for one am looking forward to a break from Riverdale. The show will return in the third week of January (the 17th in the US, the 18th internationally on Netflix).

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Riverdale ep. 21 recap “Chapter Twenty-one: House of the Devil”

This week’s episode of Riverdale took a break from the intense serial-killer business to remind us that this is still, at heart, very much a teen drama.

Archie and Veronica’s relationship over the course of the seasons has been heating up. Nothing like putting a fire out like saying, “I love you, Ronnie” too early. And that’s exactly what poor Archie does. Emotionally-warped Veronica freezes, and changes the subject.

So staying apart would be ideal, other than Betty and Jughead need their friends’ help more than usual this week. Jughead was able to find a clipping about the Riverdale Reaper story. He shows the article to Betty, who realises that the killing took place in the abandoned house the Black Hood ordered to her go to.

But Betty, unable to face the house again, refuses to go back. And Jughead is out of the sleuthing game too when he gets the news that FP will be released from prison due to over-crowding. That leaves the mystery-solving to Veronica and Archie this week. Or as Veronica says, “You wants us to be you guys?”

When Veronica returns home from school, her parents tell her that they’ve received a letter from the Black Hood. Dozens of other families received identical letters, but since the Lodges are actually horrible people, they have reason to worry. Hermione and Hiram reassure Veronica that they’ll be fine, as their lobby man is trained in Jujitsu or something. But they would feel even better if Archie was around more. And, you know, that sounds fantastic when you’re setting up ending things with your ginger boyfriend.

In preparation for FP’s return, Jughead amps up his “I heart being a Serpent” shtick. When Tall Boy pushes back, it’s put up to a vote whether or not the man should shut up, he loses and Jughead earns more respect from his fellow gang members.

But when FP, Jughead, Betty and Alice go to pick up FP – the Serpent leader claims that he wants to go straight and leave the gang. He tells them that he has even joined AA to quit drinking, and applies for a job at Pop’s.

Meanwhile, Archie and Veronica continue investigating the Riverdale Reaper murders. They go to speak to Sheriff Keller, telling him the files are missing. He explains that since it was a cold case, the investigator could take the files with him. The Sheriff at the time, now dead two years, was obsessed with the case. When the call his daughter, she tells them that her father had called the house The Devil’s House, which I imagine means its always warm.

FP begins his job at Pop’s. Jughead is uncomfortable with it, especially when Cheryl Blossom purposefully knocks over a milkshake and orders FP to clean it up – like he did with her brother’s blood.

Let’s not even talk about Cheryl this week. What’s her deal anyway?

Taking things into her own hands, Betty decides to throw FP a “retirement” party. Complete with all the Serpents. She goes to ask Toni for help, who agrees. While at the Wormhole, Betty tries to learn how she can be affiliated with the Serpents herself to keep an eye on Jughead. One of the older Serpent women tell Betty that she can do “the Serpent Dance,” which is some sort of sexist strip tease. And we all know Dark Betty will be super into that.

Veronica, who is doing her best to avoid all relationship chat, and Archie go to the Devil’s House together. The flashback shows the identity of the Riverdale Reaper, and proves that it’s no one in the cast. When going through the rooms one-by-one to follow the sequence of events, they discover a clue: the initials carved into the doorframe. They realise that while four people were killed that night, there were five people in the family.

The next rule of order is discovering who the surviving son’s identity. V and A learn that the boy was adopted by a family in Riverdale, and his identity changed in order to be protected. The two go through the Riverdale year books to find a match, and Ronnie does. A Joseph Svenson, the school janitor.

When they confront him, Mr Svenson says he knew the identity of the Reaper. He had crawled out of his window and watched to see the identity of the man who killed his family. Later he pointed out the man, a conman, to some men in town. The men took it upon themselves to serve justice, and killed the man themselves.

While Veronica jumps to conclusions, Archie immediately realises that Svenson isn’t a vengeful man posing as the Black Hood. Again, the green eyes don’t match.

The night of FP’s retirement party arrives, and everyone is getting a bit freaky. Alice, upon FP’s invitation, arrives dressed in full Serpent get up. Betty takes out her ponytail.

Then the painfully uncomfortable events begin to unfold.

Why, Riverdale?

Archie finally gets his moment to confront Veronica about the whole “I love you” business. She thanks him for being understanding that she’s not ready, when that’s clearly not the case. They go onstage together and sing “Mad World” together. Which is such a weird choice for karaoke.

Veronica runs off stage mid song, and Archie follows. When the Serpents begin to boo and get rowdy, Betty hops on stage and begins to sing instead. Cute!

Then she begins to strip and do the Serpent Dance. Not cute. I mean, your mom and your boyfriend’s dad are there. YOU ARE SIXTEEN, BETTY.

In seriously one of the most excruciating scenes in television history, Betty is ushered off stage by FP. Again. YOUR BOYFRIEND’S DAD.

Alice tries to get her daughter to leave, but Betty is convinced she’s doing the right thing. Though she soon learns she really fucking didn’t.

FP, now on stage, doesn’t choose to sing “Sweet Caroline,” but instead announces that he’s going against police orders to stay with the Serpents. Off stage, FP tells Jughead that he learnt that Penny Peabody wants a lot out of Jughead (meaning more “pancake mix” deliveries). With FP staying, Jughead is off the hook.

Frustrated, Jughead pushes Betty away. In fairness, not many boyfriend would be thrilled to see their SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLD girlfriend strip in front of a biker gang. He tells her that if she gets involved, he’d no longer be able to protect her. And with that, Bughead are over yet again.

Which might be okay, as it’s curtains for Veronica and Archie as well. It had been written in the stars since last season that Archie was having a sort of “Betty sexual awakening.” And he didn’t even get to watch her little show!

I’m in some sort of feminist pickle here. On one hand, ladies have every right to express their sexuality. If you want to be a stripper, be a stripper, girl! But it feels profoundly wrong putting a teenager in that situation. Even if actress Lili Reinhart is 21. Riverdale is great when its insanity is cranked up, but this probably isn’t the right direction to push it in.

It almost didn’t matter that these two relationships ended. I mean, it would be an Archie comics based show if we didn’t have Archie swapping between his favourite two ladies, so we saw this coming anyway. But those moments shouldn’t be overshadowed. They should be important. Even when you’re just a teen, these things are really profound.

I’m going to forget about this episode now. This really wan’t a good one. I’m just going to think happy thoughts of Mädchen Amick and Skeet Ulrich’s sexual tension.

Riverdale ep. 20 recap “Chapter Twenty: Tales from the Darkside”

Right. First things first: I didn’t intentionally write about Tales from the Darkside on Wednesday because of the title of this episode. I didn’t plan it, but I like it. Fate is smiling down on me today.

But let’s not focus on that. Let’s talk about The Candyman himself: Tony Freaking Todd, ladies and gentlemen!

Following the death of the Candyman (not Todd, but the English teacher), the Black Hood leaves a letter on Pop’s Chock’lit Shop door. In the letter, he asks the citizens of Riverdale to prove that they’ve changes and are pure of heart. If the don’t please him, they’ll pay. This week’s episode took on an unusual anthology style in which we follow the cast throughout those 48 hours of judgement.

The first, follows Archie and Jughead as Penny Peabody calls for Juggie to repay the favour he owes her. She tells him that his father has been beat up in prison by some angry Ghoulies, and he needs money for his medical expenses.

Penny wants Jughead to make a delivery of “pancake mix” for her. When it’s delivered, Jughead’s cut of the money will go to FP’s bills. He agrees, but has to drag Archie into the mix when Penny tells him the shipment will need a car.

Jughead tells Archie that it’s just a one-time deal, just as Penny has told him. In it together, the boys go to pick up a large crate from a shipping container. Along the way, though, Archie’s dad’s truck gets a flat and they have to decide how to get help.

A truck pulls to the side of the road in front of them, and out pops the good old harbinger of doom. The man (played by Todd) offers to take Jughead in exchange for money. Jughead hops into the truck and leaves with him.

Along the way, the man Jughead that man of the people in Riverdale think that the Black Hood is doing God’s work, as confirmed by the angry preaching coming from his radio. He then tells Jughead about another murderer, the Riverdale Reaper.

Meanwhile, poor Archie is left alone where he’s able to get a spare from the service company. But before he’s able to catch up with Jughead, he sees a bloodied deer emerge from the woods. Which is pretty strange, considering that Jughead finds a dead deer in the back of the man’s pick-up.

The man tells Jughead that he wants to eat and they sit down together. When Jughead inquires about the Riverdale Reaper, the man tells the story about family who were all murdered in their beds one night. No one is quite sure what happened to the person who did it, but the man believes that the Reaper and the Black Hood could be the same people.

What happened then is happening now.

But when they try to leave, the man tells the waitress that Jughead will be paying, despite the fact that he knows Jughead already gave him all his money. Before a fight can break out, Archie arrives to pay. He takes Jughead away and they make the delivery.

When there, they’re greeted by a woman in a wheelchair. She says that Penny said that Jughead will be the regular delivery boy, and that the Serpents have taken over the work the Ghoulies were doing.

Later, Jughead goes to visit FP, and sees that his father is perfectly fine. When Jughead confronts Penny, she tells him that FP didn’t keep a promise he made her, which means Jughead has a lot of work to do for her to make up for what his dad did.

In the second story, a rare spotlight is shown on Josie McCoy. They Mayor is angry with her daughter for staying out late. The two women have moved into the Five Seasons in order to be better protected.

But Josie is keeping a fair amount from her mother and the Pussycats. After helping save Cheryl from her would-be sexual attack, Josie is being showered in the Blossom good fortune. Cheryl managed to get Josie studio time with a producer. That is, without the Pussycats.

And she keeps receiving strange letters and the like from what Cheryl calls Josie’s secret admirer. And that, she keeps secret from her mother. Though neither really works out for Josie. The Pussycats eventually learn of Josie’s time in the studio, and they quit.

Chuck approaches Josie and asks her out. While she initially resists, she goes out with him. He tells her that he’s been taking drawing classes to draw comics (like his original comic book counterpart) and he’s been going to church. Her mother catches them out late at Pop’s and forbids Josie from seeing him.

Mayor McCoy admits that she’s been receiving death threats, and that they started to also include Josie. The next day, Josie receives one more note she believes is from Chuck: a drawing of her, and a pig’s heart in a box. Cheryl urges Josie to point the finger at Chuck, and the weak girl complies.

Despite the fact that Sheriff Keller doesn’t find any evidence against him, Chuck agrees to stay away from Josie. So all alone, Josie has no one. No one, that is, except for Cheryl – who is a remarkably good artist.

And Sheriff Keller is at the heart of the third story, starring B&V. Betty’s suspicions are immediately raised when she begins to question how exactly someone could break into the sheriff’s station to murder Mr Phillips.

Kevin explains to Veronica  that his dad has been acting strangely: sneaking out late and talking to himself. That, to Veronica spells out affair. But to Betty, it says Black Hood.

Veronica agrees to help Betty, and asks Kevin if they can have a slumber party at his house. Thanks to Betty’s urging, Veronica sneaks around the house and finds Sheriff Keller working out in the basement. Large and strong, like the Black Hood.

That next day, Veronica tells Betty that the sheriff left the house that night and didn’t return until 4 in the morning. When Betty shows V that there was another drug-related death that night, she feels convinced she’s cracked the Black Hood’s true identity.

She goes to the Keller house where she’s caught snooping through the sheriff’s things. Sheriff Keller takes Betty to the station where he speaks to her and her dad. The sheriff explains that the hood Betty found had been the one found in Archie’s locker. He also tells her that he has an alibi for every one of the murders.

But Betty is not to be moved off course so easily. She (again) convinces Veronica to agree to one of her plans and they follow Sheriff Keller when he leaves his house in the night. Only it isn’t killing the man is into.

They follow him to a sleazy hotel where they catch him making a move on Mayor McCoy. It seems that Veronica’s instincts beat out Nancy Drew’s for once. At Pop’s the girls both agree not to tell Kevin what they saw.

But while Jughead and Archie, Betty and Veronica, and Josie and Cheryl sit in their respective booths, Pop Tate receives a phone call. When the call ends, Pop informs everyone there that it was the Black Hood. They had all failed his test, and the time of reckoning will be upon them all soon.

Riverdale is pulling off something spectacular at the moment. Unhindered by setting up relationships, the show has somehow reached a new level of television excellence. Any initial hesitation I ever had about recommending the show has been long out the door.

Teen shows rarely make a blip on the radar of what most people would consider “good television”. But this show has been proving over and over again that teenagers have been well-deserving of intelligent, witty content. This week’s episode only solidified that sentiment even further.

 

Riverdale ep. 19 recap “Chapter Nineteen: Death Proof”

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.

Riverdale ep. 18 recap “Chapter Eighteen: When a Stranger Calls”

Well, kids. That was dark one.

This past week, I introduced my husband to Riverdale and I had a chance to watch the entirety of season 1 for the second time.  And I have to say, season 2 is definitely shaping up to eclipse last season’s mystery.

“Chapter Seventeen” left us in suspense about what exactly the Black Hood wanted from Betty. And surprise, surprise the answer isn’t anything nice. The Black Hood begins to manipulate Betty, telling her that he will kill Polly next if she tells anyone about their contact.

So Betty tells Archie. Technically, the Black Hood only singled out Betty’s parents, the police and Jughead.

But poor Archie is dragged into a mess bigger than he’s ready for. Actually, it’s really not a nice week for him at all.

Veronica, now with an active role in Lodge Industries, is asked to show around her old friend Nick St. Clair around Riverdale. His parents are potential investors in the Lodges’ building site, so Veronica needs to treat him like a prince.

But Nick is a shadow of Veronica’s old, bad girl past. When Nick arrives, he’s clearly there to stir up trouble. Archie immediately takes a dislike to the guy, probably because he seems to bring out the worst in V.

As Veronica is distracted, Betty gets pulled down further into the darkness that is Black Hood. With his second call, he tells her to publish the article that he emails to her. If she complies, she will be rewarded with an answer to a question she asks him. When she and Archie look at the email, they see a picture of a young Shelly Johnson Alice Cooper.

Rather, it isn’t a picture, but a mugshot of Alice from her Southside Serpent days. Though Betty initially plans to not follow through, she does after her mother claims that Betty faked her letter from the Black Hood for attention. Sheriff Keller divulged that the handwriting on Alice’s letter and Betty’s do not, in fact, match.

With the information published, and Alice’s reputation essentially ruined, Betty gets her first question: “The face under the hood – would I recognise it?” To which the Black Hood replies yes. He then tells her that he wants Betty to start cutting people out of her life, starting with Veronica.

Nick goes to Riverdale High to meet the Pussycats. He invites them and Cheryl to a party at his hotel, along with Betty, who reluctantly agrees. At the party, Nick pulls out more jingle jangle. Veronica, not vocal about how boring she finds Riverdale, agrees to take the drug. And eventually, the rest of the room caves as well (including Archie).

The only kid abstaining is, Betty, who watches the party as she sits alone. When Veronica tries to coax Betty into joining in on the fun, Betty begins to call Veronica out.  She tells Veronica that she only hangs out with the kids from Riverdale because of her circumstances (which, to be fair, is probably true of most people – not just former New York socialites).

Veronica is hurt, and the B&V friendship is seemingly over and done with. In the next call, the Black Hood says he will stop his killings if Betty shows her devotion to him. And to prove that, he tells her she needs to cut Jughead out of her life.

When Archie confronts Betty, she admits that she had more phone calls from the Black Hood, which she had been hiding from him. She begs for him to break up with Juggie for her. And he does.

But while in the Southside, Archie runs into his little Serpents friends from the fight. He then learns that Jughead is in the midst of becoming initiated into the gang.

Jughead’s decision to join them came after Toni told him that his dad basically kept the peace between the North and Southside of Riverdale. Thinking he can fill his Dad’s books, Jughead completes his initiation tests and becomes a fully-fledged Southside Serpent.

With Betty out of the way, Toni makes her move on Jughead, who actually seems quite pleased.

Meanwhile, Veronica’s parents throw their soiree to raise money for their project. Unbeknownst to the St. Clairs, Veronica fought off Nick’s advances the night before. But the boy is seemingly on his best behaviour, even apologising to Veronica.

(Oh and Alice shows up in a ridiculous snake-themed outfit and I cry because she’s the actual goddess of evil and I love it.)

Though Nick proves himself to be even more poisonous than a serpent. He drugs Cheryl Blossom’s drink, and drags her away from the party. Thankfully Veronica and the Pussycats notice Cheryl’s odd behaviour and follow them.

They enter Nick’s room just in time to stop him from potentially raping Cheryl. The girls then proceed to beat the shit out of him. Betty is called to meet them, and is told about what happened.

That night, Betty gets another call from the Black Hood. She tells him that she only has one more question for him: who is he? He tells her to go to an abandoned house where she finds a box. Inside is a black hood, and over the phone the Black Hood tells her to put it on and look in the mirror. He tells Betty that they are just the same.

Later, after meeting with Veronica, Cheryl and the other girls, the Black Hood calls for a final time. He tells her that he knows she’s been confiding in Archie. Because she’s betrayed him, he is going to kill Polly. She begs for him not to, but he demands a name in return. The name she gives? Nick St. fucking Clair.

Last week I said that I thought Hal Cooper could be behind it as he fits the profile, but what if it’s actually the long-lost Cooper brother? Making Betty put on the hood might have been simply symbolic, or the killer was trying to draw attention to their matching green eyes. Last season Betty said her brother would be in his mid-twenties. But what if he’s just really, really rugged?

So, that’s probably a long shot. But I’m NOT giving up on my Cooper theory!

Riverdale really pulled something incredible with this episode. It could possibly be one of the best thus far. In the top three for me, certainly. Watching Betty’s slow, spiral into isolation is truly horrible to watch.

And really, the dynamics between the characters is getting complex. The children are for once more interesting than the parents, who absolutely stole the first season.

If things are looking this bad already, what the hell is in store for these kids for the rest of the season?

Riverdale ep. 17 recap “Chapter Seventeen: The Town that Dreaded Sundown”

Archie Andrews is an idiot.

Lovable? Yes. But, this boy is really getting on my nerves here. Thank heavens he has the most level-headed teenager ever as his girlfriend or he’d truly be a level 8 psycho.

After the Red Circle’s threatening video, Archie is feeling the heat. Much of the town has become suspicious, primarily of the Southside (also in thanks to Alice Cooper’s fear mongering in her newspapers). But Archie’s little stunt gets the football program suspended. His teammates all leave the Red Circle when Archie refuses to sign a letter that will dissolve the group.

The Southside Serpents make it a point to make Archie their enemy, much to Jughead’s discomfort. That works for Archie because he believes that the Black Hood is from the Southside.

Unbeknownst to him, Betty received a letter from their little serial killer friend. In the letter, the Black Hood says that he committed the crimes after being inspired by her speech at the Riverdale Jubilee. He enjoyed it so much that he decided to create a test just for Betty (how sweet). Also included is a cipher. On the bright side, Kevin has forgiven Betty! He advises her to go to his dad with the letter, but instead she shares the letter with Alice.

Alice publishes the cipher in her newspaper, and back in the Southside, Jughead and Toni team-up to crack the code together. He ignores Betty’s calls and decides to crack it without his girlfriend. And when Betty finds out that the two have become some sort of “true crime junkies” club.

Flustered, Betty suggests that she, Kevin, Jughead and Toni gather for a bit of a code-breaking party (which sounds fun to me). The group spend much of the night trying to crack the code while Betty tries to dodge the shade thrown by the Southside girl. Toni eventually leaves, but not before she tells Betty that she’s a bit of a bitch for assuming that the Black Hood is a Soutsider, especially since Jughead has been sitting with the Serpents at lunch.

And Betty isn’t the only one harboring unnecessary animosity towards the Southside. Archie, now a lone wolf, takes the advice of Dilton Doiley and goes to a shady gun shop where he buys all the “necessities” he needs. The red-headed idiot goes to the Southside alone to tag a red circle everywhere. But the boy is caught by Jughead’s Serpent friends. To ward them off, Archie pulls out his gun and threatens them with it.

Even with a gun, Arch, you are not a very intimidating little boy.

Poor Veronica is living blissfully unaware of the dark path Archie has gone down. Her parents tell her that she needs to break up with him after the Red Circle video. In pure spite, she decides to make Red Circle t-shirts and open up the group to all the other students at the school.

So when Archie gets called into the hallway by Mr Weatherbee and Sheriff Keller, she’s surprised that the t-shirts are not the thing that got him into trouble. Rather, the fool was spotted in the Southside brandishing a gun around in the middle of the street. Weatherbee and the sheriff search Archie’s locker. They don’t find the gun, but they do find the black hood that Reggie had worn while playing a prank on Archie.

Why was Archie keeping this stupid hood in locker? Lord knows, but someone please get some sense into this boy.

Archie’s dark spiral is ultimately why Betty doesn’t want to tell everyone about her letter. When Jughead finds the Black Hood’s letter to Betty, he confronts her. When she admits why she’s afraid, he reminds her that Archie truly knows who the good and bad guys are. That, poor Jughead, is seriously debatable.

Archie, now barred from school property, calls Veronica and asks her to get his gun for him, which is hidden in the school toilets. She arrives at his house, telling him that she threw it into Sweetwater River. But the two are interrupted by the football team. Since Archie didn’t rat out Reggie to Weatherbee, the football team forgive him and arrive at his house with pizza.

They agree to rejoin the Circle, but before anyone can share out the bro-hugs, they’re interrupted by the pack of Serpents that Archie threatened. The two group get riled up and a rumble ensues. During the fight, Dilton is stabbed in the leg. Before anything can get much worse, Veronica fires the not-in-the-river gun.

This gem of a woman probably saved a couple of lives. While nursing Archie, she tells him that he needs to change his fighting tactic. Both agree to end the circle of violence, and go together to actually dispose of the run in the river.

But while the children are getting into their scraps, Betty finally remembers where she’s seen the cipher. The Black Hood’s clue said it was a code with her in mind, and a reminder sends her to the library where she grabs a copy of Nancy Drew’s Secret Codes. She cracks the cipher, and sees that it reads “I will strike where it all began.”

Betty and Jughead run together to the town hall, where Mayor McCoy is having her emergency meeting. The two kids manage to get everyone out of the building.

It’s questionable whether or not that’s exactly what the Black Hood wanted. Though if he truly had faith in Betty, it’s unlikely that he was really planning on striking at the town hall meeting.

After the meeting, Betty receives a call from an Unknown caller. Surprise, surprise. It’s her new BFF: the Black Hood.

The fact that the Black Hood has Betty’s number is very interesting. And with that, I’ve formed an early theory (though I’m always proved wrong). What if, what if it’s the Cooper parents. Some sort of way of showing their ultimate dedication to their daughter. Hal fits the description of the Black Hood. AND Alice seems to be enjoying these killings all a bit too much.

Also, Veronica and I have the same skirt, which makes us official soul sisters. This is important. Feel free to be jealous.

Riverdale Ep. 15 recap “Chapter Fifteen: Nighthawks”

In this week’s episode, the Lodge’s do their very best to become the new Blossoms. Also, Riverdale mades sure to shatter every theory I had made from last week’s premier.

But I can’t hold it against you, Riverdale. I like a show that’s two steps ahead of me at all times.

In the wake of Fred Andrew’s shoot, Pop’s Chock’Lit Shoppe is struggling with business. And it’s no small surprise that Betty immediately begins a campaign to save it.

But neither Archie nor Jughead are interested in being her major supports. Archie now spends most of his time staying awake at night to watch the doors in the house. He knows that the man who shot his father is still at large, leaving Archie feeling vulnerable. He even approaches Reggie for some “jingle jangle” – a drug that will help him stay up at night.

Jughead, on the other hand, is trying to save FP from agreeing to the horrible deal that the lawyer managed to get. Juggie goes to the Serpents for help again, and is even naive enough to suggest a jailbreak. But he’s told that he can see a snake handler for help.

The snake handler in question is lawyer Penny Peabody, another Southside Serpent. The gang, she claims, paid her way through law school. When Jughead goes to see her, she tells him the obvious: the deal for FP is a shit one (20 years with the deal, at least 40 if his case goes to trial). And the only way she can see FP managing a better position is by the family of the victim to forgive FP in front of a judge.

And getting the Blossoms to do something nice for you is not an easy task. Betty and Jughead go to the Blossom women to ask for their help, but are immediately turned down. But Betty isn’t one to take things lightly. She hunts down Cheryl and threatens to make the video of Clifford Blossom fatally shooting Jason public.

Cheryl reluctantly agrees, and lies in front of a judge. Cheryl also agrees to allowing the River Vixens to help out at Betty’s Retro Night event at Pop’s.

Veronica spends much of the episode running away from her father. When she receives a call from Betty that Pop’s received an offer from an anonymous buyer, she confronts her parents about it, assuming that her father made the offer. She then shows her mother the threatening letter she received from her dad, forcing Veronica to testify for him.

But Hermione waves away the letter, and claims to have written it herself. And really, if she admits to doing that, what else is this woman capable of? Though, being as shrewd as she is, Veronica decides to simply not trust either of her parents.

Archie eventually learns of Miss Grundy’s death. He immediately connects the death of his former flame with the shooting of his father. He approaches Alice Cooper and asks her to visit the coroner to find out details.

Alice, being the nosy lady she is, agrees to see the body. The coroner tells her that Miss Grundy was killed with an object from the house, and since there was no sign of forced entry – she was most likely killed by someone she knew. The coroner also divulges that Miss Grundy had been killed in a crime of passion.

With that news, Archie goes to the sheriff. He says that he believes the killer could be Miss Grundy’s ex-husband, but Sheriff Keller says that her ex had already been brought in and had an “air-tight alibi”. So…so much for that theory.

During retro night at Pop’s, a flurry of activity happens (much to Alice Cooper’s glee). The Pussycats perform (plus Cheryl!), Archie finally is able to go back into Pop’s and Pop’s announces that his Chock’lit Shoppe has been saved.

Veronica, after a heart-to-heart with Jughead, finally forgives her parents and asks them for a fresh start. The Lodges agree to their daughter’s idea, and Hiram says he will make a large “charitable contribution” to help Pop’s.

But only when Veronica is out of earshot do the secrets pour out of Hiram. He tells Hermione that they’ve bought Pop’s (exactly what Veronica said she didn’t want). He also thanks Hermione for lying for him by claiming she wrote the threatening letter.

See, Veronica? That’s what you get for being a forgiving woman without actually having a reason to be forgiving.

As the episode closes, all hell begins to break loose (as seems to be typical of a Riverdale episode this season thus far). Cheryl gets the video back from Betty, and shows her mother the video of Jason’s death. FP calls Jughead, warning him to stay away from Peabody. Archie BUYS A GUN. And after all that theorising: both Midge and Moose are murdered.

So there are are with that. With a 22-episode season this year, I think Riverdale really needs to make this a big mystery. “Chapter Fifteen” certainly does that.

Why Midge and Moose? Was Archie just being selfish? Well, probably. Considering Midge only made her first on-screen appearance this episode, it’s hard to pin down exactly what she and her boyfriend could be guilty of, if anything at all. It’s certainly a chin scratcher. But I really can’t wait to see the kids lose it over this double homicide.

But one aside: with so many dads present in this episode, where the heck is Hal Cooper (and Polly for that matter)? At least we have time to fill the gaps. Is it next week already?