Riverdale

Riverdale Ep. 3.5 “Chapter Forty: The Great Escape”

I never thought anyone would try and combine a Steve McQueen film with Dungeons & Dragons, but I guess if anyone is going to give it a go, it’s Riverdale.

Last time we saw Archie, he was plotting his break out of juvie. Of course, being the fool he is, he decides to try and make a run for it during the day.  Unsurprisingly, he gets caught and branded by the warden. Thus sets off the catalyst for the episode’s events.

After her father alerts her of the attempted break-out, Veronica begins to orchestrate plans to break Archie out herself. She enlists “That Guy Who Owns A Casino Remember Him From Last Season?” to help her out, he agrees and smuggles her into one of the fights.

She meets with Archie in the lockerooms afterwards, and he tells her of his idea: there’s a drain in the bottom of the pool where the fights are held. And believes, despite his large shoulders, that he can slip through there and escape.

But Veronica can’t do it alone (even with that one-dude’s help), so she goes to Betty.

Betty has been doing her own work, of course. But she’s trying to get to the bottom of the G&G business. She’s convinced that one of the parents had something to do with Principal Featherhead’s death. She sends Kevin, Josie and Reggie off to casually interrogate their parents. That, unsurprisingly, ends up at a dead end.

Jughead, on the other hand, believes that the death was caused by the Games Master, whoever that was. Even more, the more he plays the game, the more certain that G&G exists only in Riverdale (thankfully Betty here acknowledges how weird this is, but it’s Riverdale so there are no rules). The game appears to be a reflection on the city itself. That gives me Blossom/Cooper flashbacks… Anyway, He continues on his own campaign, not joining in on helping break out Archie.

I want to be Team Betty on this one. Mostly because I want the killer to be Hiram. That way he can get thrown in jail, and that meandering (aka dying) plotline about him taking over Riverdale can just die.

But it appears that Jughead might actually be right on this one.

During Archie’s “last meal”, the warden tells Archie that he doesn’t answer to Hiram, but rather his “soul belongs to no mere mortal”. He also gives Archie a very big hint: the guys who testified against him could be hiding out near the mines.

Before the fight, Joaquin stabs Archie in the locker room, saying he was promised ascension. The boy escapes juvie, leaving Archie alone to fight (surprise) the original Big Dog.

Veronica and Reggie arrive as guests, and Josie works the room as a waitress. As the fight begins, they throw smoke cannisters (disguised as sodas) into the pool, giving Archie is way of escape. But with his injury, he needs a little help and gets it from Big Dog, who fights off the guards.

The friends manage to get Archie out safely, thanks to a trick pulled off by Kevin and Betty. Veronica and the others smuggle Archie into Dilton’s bunker, where he’s to stay…forever? Not sure the kids really figured this one out.

But the notice something strange – the brand on Archie’s torso. It’s in the shape of one of those unusual G&G symbols. And that, kids, puts the nail in the coffin.

But with the news getting out about the underground fight club, Hermione goes into damage control mode. She goes to see the prison warden, but she won’t get a chance to talk to him.

The warden failed in his quest to kill the Red Paladin. And so, he drinks from the chalice and kills himself with cyanide poisoning.

It’s pretty rare that the Riverdale subplots combine so closely. I mean, I didn’t exactly see that plot twist coming. To be fair, the first three episodes of season three really try and drive home that the warden is in Hiram’s pocket.

This will be the first time that the kids are all on the same page. Figuring out what to do about Archie will only help them figure out what is the truth behind the Gargoyle King.

I know that Riverdale has been feeding us supernatural vibes with the G&G plot, but I think the most unbelievable thing about this show has been the prison story. Thankfully that’s (mostly) wrapped up. Let’s just get to that mountain! Or mine. Whatever. I just need there to be an excuse for this show to make an Edvard Grieg reference.

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Riverdale Ep. 3.4 “Chapter Thirty-Nine: The Midnight Club”

Riverdale is the ultimate teen show when it comes to taking risks with style. There was the (obligatory) musical episode, and I’m still not over last season’s anthology-style episode, “Chapter Twenty: Tales from the Darkside”.

So choosing to do a flashback episode isn’t that surprising, really. Each of the parents in Riverdale seem to have been cast solely based on how hot they were as teenagers. I’m looking at you, Luke Perry.

At the end of the last episode, every student at Riverdale High received their own copy of the Gryphons & Gargoyles manual. Since the game is pretty suicide-friendly, Mayor Hermione Lodge cracks down and bans the game from being played. But as everyone knows, banning something just makes it all that more enticing.

Betty gets a file from her mortician friend about a similar death to Dilton’s from back in the 90s – both corpses had blue lips. Knowing that her mother has admitted to playing the game before, Betty confronts Alice. But Alice surprises her daughter by agreeing to tell her everything she knows.

Back in the 90s (which is essentially the 80s here for Riverdale‘s sake), Alice was her Serpent-jacket wearing self. Not the crazy journalist we all love or even the bohemian version she is now. In fact, she begins her story at the moment she discovers she’s pregnant with FP’s child.

When Penelope Blossom gets on Alice’s case about it, the girls being fighting. They both get Saturday detention, along with Hermione and Sierra who were trying to break up the fight. FP and Fred also get detention for streaking.

Their principal (Anthony Michael Hall) gives them their writing assignment and leaves them to it for the day. The group somehow manage to get themselves another detention when a fight breaks out again.

Over the span of their detentions, the kids become reluctant friends. It’s not until they discover a box of Gryphons & Gargoyles in their teacher’s drawer of confiscated items that they really begin to bond.

Their obsession with the game grows. They begin to sneak into school to play, eventually taking the game “off board” to play in real life. Like 90s larping, I guess. And with that, they form the Midnight Club (which I really hope is a reference to the Midnight Society and the Breakfast Club).

They gang bump into another group of G&G-ers (including little Sheriff Keller, Reggie’s dad, Hiram and Dilton’s father), and they all decide to play together.

One day, they each receive an invitation for a “ascension party”. The whole group assembles to play. Before they start, they partake in a little recreational drug use in the form of something called Fizzle Rocks (jingle jangles predecessor, I assume). Alice, being pregnant, only pretends to take the drug.

While the rest of the group gets rowdy, Alice’s head begins to spin. She throws up in the bathroom and discovers the chalices when she leaves her stall. But she doesn’t flip the coin to discover her fate. She instead heads back into the hall, where she comes face-to-face with the Gargoyle King.

Strangely, this only kind of weirds Alice out. She turns around, but nearly bumps into Principal Featherhead. She hides from him, knowing he’s looking for the kids. After she sees him leave, she duck out and goes home for the night.

The following day, Alice learns that Principal Featherhead didn’t arrive at school that day. She also learns that Fred’s father died alone when Fred was out larping on drugs.

Featherhead’s body is eventually found in the school, decomposed days after his disappearance. His lips are blue.

Alice begs the other Midnight Club members to go to the police about what they know. But they instead decide to destroy the evidence that they had anything to do with the game. And that is seemingly that.

In the present day, Betty doesn’t get much more out of her mother. Alice does tell her that that night changed who they all were, their guilt making them the adults that we see today.

Betty continues her investigation, spurred by Alice’s story. She discovers the chalices in the trophy cupboard. But when she goes to find Jughead in Dilton’s bunker, she finds him with several other Serpents, getting prepared to play G&G.

Somehow, this must have been a really long story, Jughead is already obsessed with the game, bragging about his ascension. Cole Sprouse does a fantastic job of playing crazy. I guess this is a welcome return to nerdy Jughead?

It was certainly an interesting episode. Having the actors of the children play the young version of their parents was interesting. It blurred the lines of the characters a bit, allowing for the adult’s slightly-off behaviour to feel more real. You can buy a relaxed Fred Andrews when KJ Apa is playing him.

We also got some insight to why these adults are they way they are. Penelope Blossom had one of the more interesting arcs. During the first detention, she admits that she’s not a real Blossom. She was adopted so she could basically be groomed to be Cliff’s future wife. The death of Featherhead basically pushes her into allowing herself to be their pawn. Riverdale has made me feel sorry for a character that definitely doesn’t deserve sympathy on most days.

Notably absent was a young Mary Andrews, which feels like a missed opportunity. We know that she was bullied by the other girls in school. Plus hello, Molly Ringwald. I can only guess it’s because the writers wanted us to feel weird about the parents’ relationships as adults (I really don’t know if I would feel normal making out with my mom’s first boyfriend’s son – but that’s just me).

Riverdale really pulled this one off. A gamble that wasn’t just indulgent, but actually added something to the story. It certainly made me care about the characters more, which is really all you can ask in season 3.

Real question. If there’s a Gargoyle King in this Gryphons & Gargoyles – is there an opposite Gryphons? Is this what’s on the coin? That’s what I get for assuming everything has been played with a quarter.

Riverdale Ep. 3.3 “Chapter Thirty-Eight: As Above, So Below”

The first three episodes of Riverdale have gone so well, I feel like checking over my shoulder to look for the ghoul that is certain to come and ruin it.

“Chapter Thirty-Eight” sees the core four building up much of their stories individually, which is sort of a nice change. Betty and Jughead split up their tag-team, Veronica busies herself with the opening of her new speakeasy, and Archie has ‘fun’ in solitary confinement!

Archie, poor kid, continues his life in prison as the warden’s new target. The boy is cut off from his father and any other visitors, seemingly for the foreseeable future. And he soon finds out exactly why. He’s entered into a series of bare-knuckled fist fights, of which the prison wardens and guards bet on fights like the boys are dogs.

Archie soon learns how to take care of himself, but quickly realises that punching people and being punched isn’t a sustainable hobby. When he discovers a pick inside one of Mad Dog’s books (The Count of Monte Cristo, no less), Archie becomes inspired to break out of prison. I’m not sure whether anyone wants to tell him that’s probably not a super idea considering he couldn’t just walk as a free boy.

Meanwhile, outside of the prison, Veronica opens up her speakeasy. Unsurprisingly, her father’s meddling begins before the doors even open. He enlists the help of Penny Peabody and her Ghoulies to stir up trouble. They send her boxes of Jingle Jangle after she refuses to hire the Ghoulies as bodyguards.

In retaliation, Veronica, Toni and Cheryl go to the Ghoulies’ Jingle Jangle lab and take photos as evidence to use against Hiram. This seemingly works, as the Ghoulies back off. But after the opening, Veronica realises that her father has already moved the lab, making all of Veronica’s ‘evidence’ worthless.

But clearly, the best plontline here is the mystery of the season (as it always is). Betty and Jughead continue their investigation into the Farm and Griffins & Gargoyles. Betty (very loosely) puts the Farm and the game together, believing that they are connected by a leader. Why she thinks this is a bit vague. Only that the two timelines seem to match up. A bit of anger just might be getting in the way of Nancy Drew’s thinking here.

When Jughead and Betty find Ethel has returned to school after her seizure, they go to speak with her. She admits that she’s taking medication for them since she’s been having them frequently. She also tells them that Evelyn (daughter of cult leader Edgar) has been helping her.

Jughead then volunteers to join the game, and Ethel admits that he is worthy enough. When Ethel tells Betty she’s definitely not G&G material, Betty decides to join the Farm’s school branch instead.

When Betty arrives at Evelyn’s meeting, she finds that no one else is there. Evelyn explains that it’s because the rest of the school hasn’t caught on yet. But instead of being creepy like in the last episode, Evelyn is much more sympathetic. She’s more of a likable loser than anything. Could it just be another ploy? Maybe. But it looks like Betty’s mind is running away from her a little too much.

But Betty’s meddling gets her into more trouble. When she arrives at home, she finds that actual Farm members are waiting for her. She learns at the meeting that her mother has spilt a few too many secrets – including the one about the hidden body. During the meeting, Betty begins to feel faint again, as if she’s on the verge of yet another seizure.

Meanwhile, Jughead plays his first game of G&G with Princess Ethel. He successfully drinks from one of the chalices and survives. In exchange for proving his worth, Ethel gives him “the scripture”, which is essentially the game guide (I assume). But before Jughead can delve into things more, Ethel drinks from the other, poisoned chalice.

Ethel ends up surviving her suicide attempt, which is both nice and horrible. The poor girl has been through a lot in three seasons, including her own father’s suicide attempt.

When FP and Alice discover that Jughead has dabbled in G&G, they begin to lecture their children. FP finds and burns the game manual, which Jughead believed to be the only copy.

Though when Jughead arrives at school the next day, he discovers that all of the students at Riverdale High have copies in their lockers. It’s confirmed, not to him, that it was Ethel’s doing. Anything to please her King.

So does this mean anything? In the real world, probably not. G&G is essentially the equivalent to a twisted D&D. If they’re not already playing it, it probably won’t be of any interest to real kids. But this is Riverdale, so await a whole slew of G&G-ers soon!

This episode really drove in the notion that FP and Alice were involved in something as kids. Their reactions over any mention of the game is pretty over-the-top. If you want anyone to listen, try subtlety.

Next week’s “Chapter Thirty-Nine” will (hopefully) fill in the blanks with the anticipated flashback episode. I’m here for it.

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.

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.