Dec 24, 2019
Riverdale: Go Greased Lightning!
According to Jughead, everyone is wearing a mask—metaphorically speaking, of course. The Black Hood just happens to wear his literally and he’s pretty happy with it. This stands in sharp contrast with Betty’s metaphorical mask, which is quickly unraveling and so is she.
Would-be rapist or not, Betty decides that Nick St. Clair doesn’t deserve to be murdered by a deranged serial killer, so she rushes over to the Four Seasons-knock off hotel to warn him. He’s still very much alive and very much bruised up from the beating Josie and the Pussycats gave him. I wish this show would do more with Josie and the Pussycats than just trot the girls out to sing covers of random songs. They should drive around in a sweet van and solve special victims unit crimes and every episode would end with them beating up a rapist.
Call me, CW execs, if you want some more golden spin-off ideas.
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Anyway, before Nick can ask Betty why she’s there, Sheriff Keller arrives. Cheryl filed a complaint against him and for once, he’s actually doing his job and arresting a bad guy. Sheriff Keller is confused why Betty is here, and she explains she just wanted to make sure Nick was arrested. Sheriff Keller accepts this because Betty is always meddling in the police cases, so it’s not suspicious at all.
On her way home, the Black Hood calls Betty. He claims that demanding a name from her was a test and she passed. “In that moment of nakedness, you let me see the real Betty and she was beautiful,” says the Black Hood.
After she hangs up, Betty meets up with Archie. Finally—finally—Betty admits that the Black Hood is psychologically torturing her and she’s done obeying his whims. She’s called Polly to tell her to move to a safe place and Archie suggests coming clean to Veronica and Jughead too, so they can be prepared for retaliation from the Black Hood. When the two get to Pop’s, they see Jughead and Toni sitting and laughing together.
Betty shouldn’t be too heartbroken. As is revealed in their conversation, Jughead and Toni just did some light “PG-13 groping” and Toni isn’t interested in being Jughead’s rebound. Also, she prefers girls.
Yep, you read that right. Despite flirting with Jughead and initiating their kiss, Toni has decided that she doesn’t like Jughead anymore. Maybe the writers were afraid of facing the wrath of angry “Bughead” shippers (Vanessa Morgan, the actress playing Toni, was receiving death threats before the episodes aired) so they decided to quickly wrap up that love triangle.
Mrs. Blossom picks up Cheryl from the Lodges and engages in some good old fashioned victim blaming. She claims that Cheryl must have done something to provoke Nick, so they won’t be pressing any charges, especially since “nothing really happened to Cheryl.”
She asks that the Lodges help handle the matter discreetly, and Cheryl goes along with her mother’s wishes. Veronica reminds Cheryl that she wanted to take Nick to court and that she’s not alone. Veronica reveals Nick tried to force himself on her at the party and Cheryl asks if Veronica told her parents about this. Veronica admits that she hasn’t, and Cheryl snaps that maybe she doesn’t want to deal with the stress of facing her attacker in court if Veronica won’t help share the load.
Veronica’s got her own stress to deal with. Alice calls a meeting with the kids and their parents to discuss the fact that the kids are a bunch of “dope fiends, liars, and fornicators.” Here’s a handy chart to let you know who’s who:
The parents are outraged that the kids bought jingle jangle, because Pixy Stix are forbidden in Riverdale. Veronica tries to turn the anger onto Nick, who bought the drugs and tried to assault Cheryl, but Sheriff Keller announces that since jingle jangle stays in the system for three days, none of the kids can be reliable witnesses for Cheryl’s sexual assault. What?! Please tell me that’s not how the criminal justice system works.
Mayor McCoy is particularly outraged because Josie’s father struggled with addiction, and announces that she’ll arrest every Serpent on sight. She heads over to the South Side to personally lead a sweep to arrest the teen Serpents. Archie rushes to the school to help sneak Jughead out before the raid reaches there. With the South Side under threat, the Serpent Tall Boy wants to broker an alliance with the Ghoulies, the rival gang who dress like wannabe Rolling Stone members. Jughead disapproves of this, since the Ghoulies are the ones selling jingle jangle.
He’s confused why Archie warned him about the raid, and Archie apologizes, saying that Betty is going through some stuff and Archie felt betrayed when he saw Jughead with the Serpents after the rumble. Jughead sighs that somehow his father was able to hold off an all-out gang war, which gives Archie the idea to head over to the prison to ask for Mr. Jughead’s advice. Mr. Jughead tells the kids to challenge the Ghoulies to a drag race for leadership. It’ll be like the Fast and the Furious: Riverdale Drift.
Meanwhile, Betty is feeling all alone. Veronica and Kevin are mad that Betty’s mom got all the kids in trouble over Nick’s party. Kevin even calls her “Benedict Betty”, when it’s actually Kevin who’s the real traitor. One episode, he’s defending Betty’s ponytail, and the next he’s ignoring her.
Maybe because Betty is feeling sad, she decides to answer the Black Hood’s phone calls despite promising Archie earlier that she wouldn’t. The Black Hood claims he spared Nick’s life to keep Betty’s hands clean, but now he wants to get them dirty. He orders Betty to find the identity of the Sugar Man, the jingle jangle supplier and “corrupter of children”. Seriously, writers: “Sugar Man”? You couldn’t come up with any scary, tough names for a drug dealer? If Betty fails, the Hood will kill again. He suggests that Betty talk to Cheryl for clues first.
Betty visits Cheryl and asks questions about her father’s illicit drug business, under the guise of writing a story for the school paper. To Betty’s surprise, Cheryl knows the Sugar Man. She explains that it’s a story her mother made up to scare Cheryl, but afterwards, Cheryl confronts her mother about it. Mrs. Blossom denies even telling the story to her kids in the first place, and makes Cheryl feel bad about herself for even asking.
I thought that since Cheryl burned the house down, Mrs. Blossom was supposed to be afraid of her.
Next, Betty heads to Pop’s to ask Sheriff Keller if he has any clues about the Sugar Man. Sheriff Keller explains that the Sugar Man was Clifford Blossom’s nickname, but since jingle jangle hit the streets after he died, no one knows who the current supplier is. Veronica overhears Betty’s conversation and makes a snarky comment. Betty finally apologizes and explains what’s been going on with the Black Hood. Veronica forgives Betty and the two team up. Veronica interrupts Reggie’s flirting with Josie to get contact info for his jingle jangle dealer so she and Betty can buy some drugs on the South Side and then follow the dealer to find the Sugar Man.
Their plan fails because the girls get caught trying to sneak into the Ghoulies’ headquarters, just as Jughead and Archie are negotiating the terms of the race. The Ghoulies think the boys sent the girls to spy on them, so Jughead is forced to up the stakes. If the Ghoulies win the race, they’ll get control of all of the South Side.
Betty helps Jughead fix up a car for the race.
Jughead is reluctant to accept Betty’s help, but she tells him that she broke up with him to protect him, not because she stopped loving him. She promises that after the race, she’ll explain everything.
Before the race, Cheryl is eating at Pop’s (I noticed that she appears to be eating her burger with a fork and knife, which is weird to me) when Nick comes in. Nick is still very much a smarmy ass—he calls Cheryl by the wrong name and tries to claim that she wanted him that night. Cheryl announces that she’ll be pressing charges after all, but Nick informs her that Mrs. Blossom accepted “hush money” from his parents to keep quiet. Cheryl goes home and finds the check and tearfully confronts her mother about it. “You defended Daddy when he murdered your son, but you won’t stand up for me against my would-be rapist?” exclaims Cheryl.
Cheryl sobs that Mrs. Blossom needs to be honest and show she cares about her. Cheryl refuses to give up the check until Mrs. Blossom tells her who the Sugar Man is. Cheryl also calls Veronica to inform her that the Lodges are also still accepting money from the St. Clair family. Veronica finally tells her parents what Nick did, and Hiram and Hermione immediately agree to return the money.
Finally, it’s time for the gentlemen to start their engines! Kevin jokes that this isn’t the kind of drag race he would have imagined himself going to, but Cheryl is right at home. She appoints herself to be the hot girl who starts the race, telling Toni, “Not today, Cha-Cha. I was born for this moment.”
No one sings “Greased Lightning”, but maybe they should have, because any bouncy musical hit would be better than Archie jabbering in Jughead’s ear about how dangerous this all is and how they can’t die.
Just before they get to the end, Archie pulls the emergency brake to stop Jughead’s car. Jughead is furious, but it turns out the cops were waiting for the cars. Archie admits he called the cops and he pulled the brake so the Ghoulies would be arrested, but Jughead is still mad. He points out that the Ghoulies will only be in jail for a little while and when they get out, they’re going to want revenge, and they’re not going to be interested in peace talks any more.
Archie is sad that Jughead didn’t appreciate his dumb plan, and he wonders if they’ll be able to stay friends.
Back at the Blossom guest house/mansion, Mrs. Blossom’s heart has grown three sizes bigger, and she’s ready to tell Cheryl the truth. She admits that the Sugar Man is real and there have been multiple Sugar Men over the years. Clifford introduces Jason to the most recent one in hopes of getting Jason started in the drug business. Cheryl asks who it is, and he’s revealed to be Jughead’s South Side English teacher.
Cheryl passes this info on to Betty, who in turn passes it on the to police and also prints it in the school newspaper. The South Side teacher is arrested and Betty tells the Black Hood that even the Sugar Man deserves to be brought to justice, not execution. She tells the Black Hood that she’s not afraid of him, and she’s in control now. She found out who Jason’s killer was, she found out who the Sugar Man is, and now she’s going to find out the identity of the Black Hood too.
In other loose ends, the Lodges are informed that the St. Clair family was in a terrible accident. They’re alive, but it’ll take them time to recover. Veronica shrugs it off, saying karma is a bitch. Meanwhile, Betty has finally told Jughead all the secrets and they’re back together.
Presumably, the Archie gang will now help Betty find the Black Hood and justice will be served. Until then, the Black Hood is still not going to make Betty’s life easier. He goes to the jail cell where the South Side teacher is being held and shoots him.
I guess we should be frightened that the Black Hood is still on his vigilante streak, but what really scares me is the lax security at the Riverdale prison. Apparently, you can walk in with a hood and gun whenever you like.
The Real Archie’s Weird Mysteries I Want Solved:
- Was the St. Clair family’s car accident really an accident, or the Black Hood trying to kill Nick? The Black Hood does suck at trying to kill teens, so I could believe that he decided to go after Nick anyway.
- The promos for the next episode hint that Sheriff Keller might be involved with the Black Hood, and it makes sense. He’s someone Betty knows and he can easily manipulate the evidence to point to someone else. However, the show wouldn’t just give the solution away like this, would they?
- Did the writers have a crystal ball for this season? Cheryl and Veronica’s subplots about being sexually assaulted are extremely timely in the wake of the #MeToo campaign. They don’t know how to name local names or drug dealers, but they have their fingers on hot button issues.
Did Jughead get a burger?
No, but he did enjoy some bacon and coffee at Pop’s.