Riverdale: Betty's Black Hood Blues
The episode picks up right where we left off, with Betty receiving a call from the Black Hood. He reveals that he was at the town hall meeting, but didn’t hurt anybody… yet. He tells Betty that he wants to set Riverdale on a righteous path, just like she does. Betty points out that her idea of making Riverdale great again doesn’t include murdering people.
The Black Hood ignores this and tells her that he plans out cleansing Riverdale of its sinners, Polly included. He claims to know the farm where Polly is hiding out and threatens to kill her if Betty tries to warn her sister, report it to the police, or tell Jughead about his phone call. Alice barges into Betty’s room right after she hangs up with the Black Hood and assumes Betty was talking to Jughead. Alice doesn’t notice her daughter’s frightened demeanor and goes on another rant about how much Jughead sucks.
Betty can’t tell the police, her boyfriend, or her mother, but there is one person she can still confide in: Archie. Offscreen, Archie has disbanded the Red Circle and issued an apology letter and video to the community (there’s no confirmation if half-naked teen boys were featured in the apology video, as well). Archie has learned his lesson about vigilante justice, so he urges Betty to ignore the Black Hood’s warning and go to the police. Unfortunately, Betty ignores this good advice and insists on handling this herself.
Meanwhile, the Lodges are preparing for a visit from the St. Clair family, old friends from New York City whom they’re hoping to hit up for more money for their South Side property development project. They’re already getting bad publicity from Alice, who in her scathing editorial rant about the South Side, included a line about how Hiram Lodge “doesn’t want us to face our problems, only profit off of them.”
Luckily, Veronica was in a “will they or won’t they” (her words, not mine) relationship with the son, Nick, so as long as she shows him a good time in Riverdale, he’ll tell his daddy to invest. Veronica introduces Archie as her boyfriend to Nick, but Nick still flirts with Veronica. He offers the two a bump of cocaine, but they both turn him down. Nick is incredulous at their drug-free, country bumpkin ways and asks what there is to do for fun in Riverdale.
“Solve murders, start vigilante groups, save local diners from closing down,” says Veronica and Archie. “You know, the usual.”
Riverdale kids also evidently like to plan domestic terrorist attacks for fun. Jughead finds that the South Side Serpents are planning to blow up Alice’s newspaper, fed up with her editorials blaming the South Side for Riverdale’s problems. Jughead offers to play diplomat to smooth things over, but Sweet Pea tells Jughead that he can’t be neutral anymore and needs to decide whose side he’s on. Toni sighs to Jughead that when Mr. Jughead was around, he was somehow able to keep the peace. This gives Jughead the idea to join the Serpents so he can get in a leadership role and keep the Serpent teens from going rogue.
Joining a criminal gang turns out to be super easy. Jughead’s initiation process involves studying the Serpent bylaws and dog-sitting Hot Dog, who’s much more low-maintenance than his cartoon counterpart. Really? That’s it? No gang beat-down? No “blood in, blood out”? No flashing headlights?
The scariest thing the Serpents make Jughead do is fetch a knife from a tank that has a (defanged) rattlesnake in it, and that happened offscreen!
Kevin once said that Betty lives in a land of “milkshakes and first kisses”, and never has that statement been more accurate than when it’s revealed that Betty’s ringtone for the Black Hood is “Lollipop” by the Chordettes. Since I don’t think there’s any way the Black Hood could set his own ring tone, I’m assuming Betty chose this song. Why? Radiohead’s “Creep” would have been far more thematically appropriate.
Like everyone else in Riverdale, the Black Hood is tired of Alice using the newspaper as her own personal soapbox, so he sends Betty an email that contains Alice’s mug shot from her South Side days to publish in the school paper. If she does so, he’ll answer any question from her.
Betty doesn’t want to do this because it will humiliate Alice and ruin her credibility.
Back at Casa Cooper, Sheriff Keller tells Betty and Alice that they’ve analyzed both letters sent from the Black Hood and they believe the letter sent to Betty was from a copycat, since it doesn’t match the original. Alice accuses Betty of making up the letter for attention and Jughead of putting her up to it. Annoyed, Betty decides to publish the mug shot.
Alice is furious when the mug shot gets published, and demands to know where Betty got the mugshot, since Alice personally ripped it out of every public record. Betty refuses to back down and claims she was getting justice against Alice and her “holier than thou attitude.” The Black Hood calls Betty to congratulate her for knocking Alice off her high horse, but Betty focuses on the matter at hand. She asks if the Black Hood is someone she would recognize, and he says yes. This clue isn’t very helpful, considering Riverdale is a small town where everyone knows each other. But if Betty wants to ask another question, she needs to cut another sinner from her life: Veronica.
Depressed, Betty asks Jughead to meet her at Pop’s. She kisses him intensely when he arrives and they try to spend some quality time together, but it’s difficult to enjoy since they’re both hiding secrets from each other. They sigh and wish they could run away from Riverdale and be together. “Like Romeo and Juliet, but we live happily ever after instead,” says Betty.
Betty’s misery continues at the Gossip Girl-esque party hosted by Veronica and Nick at the Five Seasons, Riverdale’s knock-off luxury hotel. The party guests consists of Veronica, Archie, Betty, Reggie, Josie and the Pussycats, Cheryl, and Nicholas. Nicholas brings out some jingle jangle to liven up the party, which everyone is uncomfortable with. Nicholas reminds Veronica that she’s supposed to be showing him a good time, per Daddy’s orders. Veronica decides to say yes to drugs, adding, “I wouldn’t mind a little sugar to spice up this party.”
I knew it! Jingle Jangle isn’t a hard drug! It’s just delicious powdered sugar.
When Nick suggests to Veronica that they go into the bedroom to do the drugs, Archie immediately changes his mind about the jingle jangle. All the teens do it and things get pretty wild. They play loud music, Josie makes out with Reggie, and Veronica grinds up on Archie as they dance. Yep, that sugar rush sure did make for some exciting drug-fueled antics. Betty is the only sober one and when Veronica tries to get her dance, Betty blows up at her. She accuses Veronica of acting like a shallow, privileged party girl and that she’s a user. “Like father, like daughter,” she spits. Betty calls Veronica a bad person who hasn’t changed since she moved from New York and storms off.
The party ends shortly after this, and Veronica hangs back to apologize to Nick for killing the vibe. Nick tries to make a move on Veronica, but she turns him down, reminding him that she has a boyfriend. Nick threatens to implode their parents’ deal if she doesn’t sleep with him. Deal or no deal, Veronica slaps him and leaves.
In case it wasn’t obvious, Betty purposely picked that fight with Veronica to appease the Black Hood. Crying, she asks what will make him stop. “You, as long as you keep showing your devotion,” he answers. He tells Betty that Jughead isn’t worthy of her love and she needs to dump him. Tearfully, Betty agrees.
The next day, Archie confronts Betty about the fight with Veronica and she tells him the Black Hood wants her to break up with Jughead. Betty points out that the Black Hood hasn’t killed anyone else since she started cutting people out of her life for him, but Archie doesn’t think this sort of torture is worth it. Still, she asks Archie to break up with Jughead for her. Archie heads over to Jughead’s house to deliver the bad news, and becomes furious when he sees Jughead hanging out with the Serpents. Archie is still angry at the Serpents after someone stabbed Dilton at the rumble, so he twists the knife into Jughead’s heart, claiming that Betty has been wanting to dump him for weeks, because there’s no way she could be with a Serpent. This strengthens Jughead’s resolve to join the Serpents, and he takes the beating from the gang to officially become a member.
FINALLY, SOME REAL GANG STUFF!
Topaz helps clean up Jughead afterwards, and she asks how Betty will react to him being a Serpent. Jughead tells her that he’s living single now, so Toni finally makes the move she’s been waiting for since her character’s introduction and kisses Jughead. He kisses back, but only time will tell if Toni is his ride-or-die chick or just a rebound.
The Lodges host their party announcing their development or whatever reason rich people come up with to drink expensive wine and dress up. Alice shows up in a J.Lo inspired dress.
Nick apologizes to Veronica for the way he acted, and tells her that he’s been in and out of rehab, so that’s why he acted like a jerk. Veronica forgives him and goes to go perform “Out Tonight” from the musical Rent with the Pussycats. This strikes me as a rather inappropriate song choice, because the Lodges are trying to build expensive condos in the rundown South Side area and a subplot of Rent includes the bohemian artists protesting the gentrification of their neighborhood. During the performance, Cheryl flirts with Nick, and when her back is turned, he slips a roofie into her drink. Veronica and the Pussycats see Cheryl stumbling around on the dance floor and Nick leading her away. Presumably, they cut their set short, because they rush into Nick’s hotel room before he can assault Cheryl, and they take turns beating the crap out of him. In heels.
Obviously, this subplot was probably filmed and written before the #MeToo campaign and Harvey Weinstein allegations, but it’s still very timely.
After cutting off Jughead, Betty demands that the Black Hood tell her who he is. He gives her the address of an abandoned farm house, and I was yelling at my TV the entire time Betty was wandering around this creepy house, because this had to be the part where the Black Hood would swoop in and kidnap her. Fortunately for Betty, she doesn’t get kidnapped or attacked, but the Black Hood does play more mind games with her. He leaves her a Black Hood and calls to instruct her to put it on to see who the Black Hood is,
The Black Hood tells Betty that they’re the same. Betty gets scared when she hears a noise in the house and hangs up. She calls Archie, who tells her to come to the hotel where the gang is comforting Cheryl. Cheryl declares that she’ll be pressing charges against Nick.
Back home, the Black Hood calls Betty again, angry that she’s been talking to Archie about him. He threatens to kill Polly and her friends unless she gives him the name of a sinner. Betty blurts out Nick’s name in a panic. “I told you we were the same,” the Black Hood tells her, and he hangs up.
Betty may have saved her friends and delivered some vigilante justice on a privileged a-hole, but this sets up a dangerous precedent. Betty can’t keep naming names to keep her friends safe. The Black Hood clearly wants to kill, and is happy to torture her until his next victim.
The Real Archie’s Weird Mysteries I Want Solved:
- Why are the South Side Serpents such an easy gang to join? I mean, these guys help run drug cartels and kill people, but all it takes for a sixteen year old kid to join is reciting a bunch of rules, walking a dog, and taking a few punches?
- Sheriff Keller believes there are two Black Hoods. Of course, Sheriff Keller could be a bad detective, but what if he’s right?
- If there are two Black Hoods, one of them is weirdly obsessed with Betty. Any theories as to who? That Dilton kid seems like a viable suspect. He’s got access to a bunch of guns and seems weird.
Did Jughead Get a Burger?
No, he did not. He and Betty were at Pop’s, but no food was consumed.
Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but this was the first episode without a shirtless CW male.