Aug 17, 2021
Riverdale: Innocent until proven guilty?
Last episode, Betty began to suspect that her father Hal is the Black Hood. It’s a good thing that she’s keeping this information to herself because Archie is out on his vigilante search for the Black Hood. Again.
Archie doesn’t posses the same investigative journalism skills as Betty and Jughead so he’s just going door to door in Riverdale, trying to make eye contact with every middle-aged white male in hopes of finding the killer. Archie’s excuse is that he’s campaigning for his dad, who’s facing an uphill battle for mayor. Some of the Riverdale residents don’t even know who’s running. One guy says he’s voting for Hiram until Archie reminds him that it’s Hermione’s name on the ballot.
But this just goes to show you that everybody knows that the mayoral race is really about whether or not Lodge Industries will control the town. Hiram is annoyed that Archie is campaigning for his dad, even when Archie explains his true purposes. He points out that it’s going to take ages for Archie to make eye contact with everyone in Riverdale and suggests that Archie reform his Dark Circle. Or Red Circle. Whatever boring vigilante group name Archie wants to come up with.
See, Hiram hopes that Archie’s group will cause trouble in town so Hermione can use it against Fred in the upcoming mayoral debate. Hiram offers to introduce Archie to the interim sheriff, whom the Lodges recommended. Wait, Sheriff Keller stepped down? I completely missed that in last episode. Also, isn’t it a conflict of interest for a candidate running for office to recommend a person for a political position? How could this be allowed?!
Forget it, Susan. It’s Riverdale.
Anyway, Archie takes the bait and re-forms the Dark Circle, which consists of Reggie, Kevin, Moose, and a bunch of unnamed CW males. Moose admits to the group that on the night of Midge’s murder, the two were having a fight because she confessed to cheating on him with a Serpent. This makes Reggie especially furious (I guess he was a big Moose/Midge shipper) and he leads the gang to interrupt a Serpent meeting, where Jughead and the Serpents are discussing how the Ghoulies are getting released from prison.
After the hullabaloo dies down, Fangs, a Serpent, admits to Jughead that he was the one Midge was cheating with. Unfortunately for Fangs, Jughead already turned in his documentary footage from the musical, which shows Fang backstage. Fang can’t come forward now because he’ll look guilty for not confessing sooner. But once the police review the footage, it’s only a matter of time until Fang is declared Suspect No. 1. Jughead asks Archie to call off the Dark Circle until he can figure out how to help Fang. Archie agrees. Personally, I feel like Jughead doesn’t have anything to worry about. The Riverdale police are pretty lazy. They’re probably half-hoping Jughead or Betty will solve the case for them.
And they’re right to get their hopes up. Betty suspects her dad is the Black Hood, but needs more proof before throwing a J’accuse! She goes to Cheryl for advice. “Dear cousin, you look harrow,” says Cheryl when she sees Betty. God, does Cheryl live in 2018 or the 18th century?
Since Cheryl has also had to grapple with the fact that her father is a killer, Betty asks for her advice on what to do about Hal. Cheryl tells Betty to go to the police, but Betty wants to wait until she has hard evidence. Then, Cheryl advises, Betty should get proof and/or a confession. She tells Betty to be careful, but Betty doubts that a parent would seriously hurt his own daughter.
While the adult Coopers are out covering stories for the Register, Betty and Cheryl stay behind in the offices to look for clues. Betty finds her dad’s planner, which just so happens to have a “meeting” schedule for every time a Black Hood murder took place. Their search is interrupted by a call from the coroner’s office, who reports he has a dead male body for a reporter to look at. Betty worries that it’s Chick and confesses to Cheryl that she delivered Chick to the Black Hood and isn’t sure if he’s alive. They go see the body and it’s not Chick, but Betty still calls herself a murderer. She tells Cheryl that the Black Hood was egging her on and now she’s just like him.
Cheryl encourages Betty to tell her parents about her relationship with the Black Hood to see how they react. Betty sits her parents down and tells them the whole truth about the Black Hood’s calls and perhaps being responsible for Chick’s death. “I’ve always felt this darkness within me,” says Betty.
Hal tells Betty that he experiences “the darkness” too and Betty wonders if this is another hint at Hal being the Black Hood. She goes through her parents’ credit card statements and finds that Hal is still renting the “ShareBNB” he stayed at during the separation. Betty and Cheryl break into the apartment to see if it’s an ordinary bachelor pad or a serial killer lair. Betty finds the Nancy Drew codebook she used to break the Black Hood’s cipher.
Meanwhile, the other Mafia families are so impressed with Veronica’s boss move of holding Nick hostage after he tried to hold her boyfriend hostage that they’re interested in making alliances with the Lodges again. They send their sons (who are supposed to be 16-17, but honestly all look 30) to Riverdale to make business propositions (real business propositions, not Nick’s indecent proposal thing) for Veronica’s considerations and the winner is Elio, whose family is in casinos. Hiram rejects the proposition outright, saying that Elio’s family uses casinos as a front for shady activities.
Elio asks Archie if he’s Hiram’s teen capo that everyone has been talking about. Archie says no, because technically he’s not a capo since he hasn’t “made his bones” yet. I don’t understand how these Mafia rankings work and frankly, I don’t think the writers do either.
Elio tells Archie that Small Fry, Papa Poutine’s son, is looking for revenge. Yeah, you read that right. The kid’s name is Small Fry.
Archie comes home to find that Fred has gotten a handwritten letter from the Black Hood. It reads, “You’re next sinner.” The police and the Lodges are called to discuss how this will affect the upcoming debate. Fred insists on carrying on, as a message of strength to the townspeople. Cops are posted on duty to guard Casa Andrews but Archie stays up late to keep watch.
Fred sees him and the two finally have a heart to heart about Archie’s feelings of helplessness after Fred almost died. Fred gets Archie to see that doing all this Mafia wannabe stuff for Hiram is a way for Archie to feel in control of the situation. Unfortunately, this heart to heart doesn’t end with a promise to cut ties with Hiram and find a therapist to help Archie deal with his fears.
However, Archie does pull back on the Dark Circle nonsense. Unfortunately, Reggie steps in to take the reins after someone in the police department leaks the footage of Fang backstage at the musical during school hours. Jughead and Toni rush to find Fang but it’s too late. The sheriff has already arrived and Reggie leads the Dark Circle to corner him as well. When Fang is tackled to the ground, a switchblade falls out of his pocket.
Fang has a knife. Midge was stabbed with a knife. Ergo, Fang must be the killer. At least in the mind of the Riverdale cops. I told you they were lazy.
Thankfully, Former Mayor McCoy comes in to serve as Fang’s lawyer and she saves him from being browbeaten into a confession. She tells him to remain silent, as the only charge against him is bringing a weapon to school. If the cops can’t find a connection between him and Midge’s murder, they’ll have to let him go.
Reggie and the rest of the Dark Circle decide to celebrate their “victory” by going to the Serpent bar to cause trouble. In the morning, Jughead angrily calls Archie about the damage they caused, but Archie swears he had nothing to do with it. Archie sees the Dark Circle is getting out of control so he tries to disband it, but Reggie laughs at him.
“You’re not the one paying us. Hiram is,” says Reggie. Turns out, Hiram has been paying people to join the Dark Circle and has appointed Reggie as their new leader. Archie is shocked.
At the town hall, Fang’s arrest is a major topic of discussion. Hermione takes credit for hiring the sheriff who made the arrest, but Fred tries to point out that there’s such thing as innocent until proven guilty. Hermione brings up the fact that Archie founded the Dark Circle to discredit Fred, and I wish Archie would have countered with the reveal that Hiram has been bankrolling them. The debate gets interrupted when the Black Hood (or maybe just a man in a black hood) shows up and starts shooting everyone. Archie saves his dad and Betty finds Hal in the chaos. So maybe he’s not the Black Hood after all? Or maybe he has accomplices? Or maybe Hal has perfected cloning?
After the chaos dies down, the sheriff issues a manhunt for the Black Hood. You can tell Fred is a little smug that even the Lodge’s puppet sheriff couldn’t find the Black Hood. Hiram suggests that Archie accompany the sheriff on the search, but Archie insists on staying with his dad. This does not make Hiram happy.
Hiram becomes even more annoyed when Veronica wants Hermione to drop out of the race for safety reasons. Hiram refuses, saying that Hermione’s run is essential to their plans. Veronica blows up at him and yells that everything is about him and what he wants. She brings up the casino again and points out that she even hired former Mayor McCoy to give legal advice on how to open one, but Hiram brushed Veronica off. Veronica threatens to take the Nick ransom money and open it herself, but it turns out Hiram already put the money in a trust that Veronica can only access when she’s older and hopefully “more rational.”
Veronica storms off and goes to Casa Andrews, where she tells Fred that she’ll be supporting him in the mayoral race. Then she goes upstairs to have sex with Archie because that’s all those two do.
Well, since Fang is obviously not the Black Hood, he’s getting released soon which will makes the townspeople very unhappy, seeing as they’re eager to blame a Serpent for Midge’s death. Mr. Jughead calls on Joaquin (remember him?) to smuggle Fang to San Junipero (I guess they’re going to upload Fang to a simulation of a 1980s California tourist town) but they have to move fast.
Since Archie and Veronica are no longer under his control, Hiram riles up Reggie to take justice into his own hands when Fang gets released. Reggie gets the town outside of the police station to protest Fang’s release, which makes the Serpent smuggling plan a lot more difficult. Jughead calls Archie to come down and calm the Dark Circle down while he and the other Serpents form a human shield around Fang to escort him out.
Archie arrives at the station just in time to see Reggie pull a gun from his pocket. Archie tackles him, but the gun still goes off and shoots Fang in the stomach. Fang collapses, most likely dead, while the Serpents and townspeople erupt in a riot.
Back at Casa Cooper, Betty confronts her father over the Nancy Drew codebook and he tries to claim it was supposed to be a birthday gift for her. It’s a reasonable explanation but it doesn’t pass the sniff test. Betty calls her father and talks to him as if he’s the Black Hood. She tells him to meet her at the town hall, the place where it all began. “I want it to be just you and me, just like how you wanted it.” she tells him.
Unfortunately, the Black Hood shows up on Cheryl’s doorstep instead.
The Real Archie’s Weird Mysteries I Want Solved:
- Why is Reggie so angry when he finds out Midge was cheating on Moose with a Serpent? Moose wasn’t even that upset and he’s the injured party here. Was Reggie secretly in love with Midge or something? They had one on-screen interaction where she bought drugs from him. Was she his best customer? It just feels so weird to be overly concerned with Midge’s affair and no one ever calls him out on it.
- Was the Black Hood even trying to kill anyone at the town debate? He fired several times into a panicked crowd and hit no one. He really is the worst killer ever.
- Why are the writers so awful at naming things? Jingle jangle for a hardcore drug, Papa Poutine for a fearsome gangster, Small Fry for his son… Do they just close their eyes and choose words from a dictionary at random?
- Is Chick alive or nah? It definitely didn’t look like he got away in time but the show has been very coy about stating outright. But maybe Chick is alive and just hasn’t called because he’s done with them crazy Coopers.
- Why did no one try to get Fang medical attention? I don’t know much about bullet wounds but there’s a chance he could have been saved. Now it’s almost certain that he got trampled during the riot.