Riverdale: Not-so-quiet riot
Poor Cheryl has had a rough year. Her twin brother was murdered by her father, her family fortune was temporarily lost when her father was outed as a drug dealer, her mother stuck her in a gay conversion program, she had to step down from the lead in the school musical due to death threats, and it’s almost certain that her mother and uncle are trying to kill her.
However, it looked like Cheryl was on a winning streak after she got a girlfriend and took back the family mansion. But then, the Black Hood showed up in the last minutes of the previous episode to ruin it all again.
He busts into the Blossom Mansion with an axe like he’s Jack Torrance, and a terrified Cheryl barely manages to outrun him to her bedroom. He beats down the door quickly but Cheryl escapes and reaches her archery arsenal. She fires an arrow at the Black Hood, confidently telling him to run while he still can. You can tell the Black Hood is surprised that this teenage girl, who was screaming hysterically only a few seconds before, is now this badass DC-level superhero.
Cheryl shoots the Black Hood in the shoulder and he runs into the woods. She calls Betty, who was waiting at the town hall for the Black Hood and is now at the offices of the Register, where Alice and the news staff are covering the riots that have erupted outside of the sheriff station. Hermione shows up at the Register and announces that the Lodges are sponsoring a million dollar bounty on the Black Hood. He’s wanted alive, but preferably dead.
Cheryl is surprisingly very chill on her phone report to Betty. She tells Betty about her latest near-death experience as if she’s telling Betty to watch out for heavy traffic on the I-35. “Yeah, it’s really congested out there. You might want to take the service roads. Also, that psycho serial killer who might be your dad is out and about so watch out for that too.”
On a more serious note, Cheryl tells Betty to treat the Black Hood/Hal like a wounded animal: he’s running on primal adrenaline and is still a major threat, even to his own family. However, Betty insists on finding Hal. Serial killer or not, she doesn’t want her father killed by a vigilante mob.
Speaking of a vigilante mob, the Serpents are angry that Fang has been shot and now has to go to the local 1960s time-warp hospital. They start a manhunt for Reggie, who was seen aiming a gun at Fang last episode, but the real shooter is Mrs. Klump. Veronica finds Mrs. Klump stumbling around in the streets on her way back to the Lodge Penthouse and gently convinces her to turn herself in at the sheriff station. Veronica updates Archie, who’s with Moose and Kevin at the high school trying to stop the Serpents from trashing it. Archie calls Jughead and begs him to calm down the Serpents, but the Serpents are filled with righteous rage.
They don’t calm down when Archie tells them who Fang’s real shooter was. “You take our friend, our land. You take everything if we give you the chance,” snarls Sweet Pea at Archie. Before the two groups can rumble, Principal Weatherbee comes out from the teacher’s lounge and demands to know what the hell they think they’re doing.
At the sheriff’s station, Veronica becomes enraged when she learns about the bounty. “Are you and daddy trying to turn Riverdale into Gotham City?” demands Veronica, to Hermione. She’s especially pissed because the million dollar bounty is from the ransom money she got out of the Sinclairs. Back at the Lodge penthouse, Veronica locks herself in Hiram’s office trying to find exactly where the money went and discovers a draft of a smear article in a secret compartment, about Hermione’s affair with Fred. She shows it to Hermione but to her surprise, Hermione knows all about it.
Hermione explains that Hiram’s plan is to expose her affair with Fred in the paper because Fred is running on a family values platform and that will certainly tank him. Veronica points out that Hermione will also take a hit, but Hermione claims she’ll be okay. Yeah, because women in cheating scandals always get off easy.
Veronica is disgusted that her mom is willing to humiliate herself for Hiram’s nefarious plans and tries to make her mother realize that Hiram only sees her as a “means to an end,” and he doesn’t actually care about her.
Hermione doesn’t believe this but Reggie is quickly learning this lesson. In the aftermath of Fang’s shooting, he goes on the run and tries to phone Hiram for help. Hiram brushes him off so Reggie goes to Pop’s to hide out. Pops tells Archie, who shows up with Moose and Kevin. Archie asks Reggie to confirm that Hiram tried to put him up to the shooting but they’re interrupted when the Ghoulies, AKA the Rolling Stones Rejects, show up at Pop’s ready to wreak havoc as revenge for Archie getting them all sent to jail.
Archie, Kevin, Moose, and Reggie barricade themselves and the other diners inside and Pops tells Archie how to get up on the roof. Archie rains down Molotov cocktails on the Ghoulies, which is the only cool and useful thing he’s done all season. Archie gets promptly outshined when Fred, Mr. Jughead, and Sheriff Keller show up and scare off the Ghoulies with a shotgun and their hot dad-ness.
The hot dads take their less hot sons home and once the hubub dies down at the diner, Pops calls Hiram to report what happened. Actually, he gushes about it. Hiram is pissed. Fred came off looking like a hero to the townspeople and a viable spin-off opportunity, while Hiram has been skulking around doing nothing. Small Fry, Papa Poutine’s son, shows up at the diner and demands to know where the Lodges are.
He goes to the Lodge Penthouse and kills Andre, the last loyal capo (RIP), and breaks down the door to the apartment. Luckily, Hermione and Veronica barricade themselves in Hiram’s office and Hermione pulls out a gun from the drawer. She shoots Small Fry dead, ending this dumb subplot that I think was supposed to be meant for Archie.
When Hiram finally returns, he finds a shaken Hermione and Veronica drinking wine. Veronica tells him where Small Fry’s dead body is, and tells him to clean up his own messes. She also says that she’s disgusted with his smear article. “While Mom may volunteer to be your collateral damage, I won’t,” Veronica says.
Similarly, Betty vows not to be or let anyone else be collateral damage in the wake of her father’s serial killing rampage. She gets a call from Mr. Jughead when he was at the hospital with Fang to report that her father came in with an injured shoulder. Betty rushes to the hospital but finds that her father has already left… but not without killing the doctor who treated him.
Come on, Hal. I know you had to cover your tracks, but this hospital is underfunded as it is. They can’t even afford to give the nurses modern uniforms. Observe:
The Black Hood calls Betty when she discovers the dead body and orders her to come home or else he’ll kill Alice. When she returns to Casa Cooper, Betty tries to get Alice out of the house but Hal appears. He announces that since they’re stuck inside until the riots are over, they should watch some of his creepy old home movies. He plays them a movie of him as a young boy and his mother ordering him to convince the Conyway boy (AKA Mr. Svenson) to pick a random guy as the murderer of his family. You see, Hal’s dad was the one who killed the Conway family.
I don’t want to tell the Coopers how to live their lives, but if they’re so concerned with getting away with murder, maybe they shouldn’t leave behind video evidence of them admitting that they committed one.
But it seems Hal inherited his family’s self-aggrandizing nature. He tells Alice to turn on her recorder so future generations can learn why he did what he did. He explains that Grandfather Cooper killed Grandfather Blossom, not the other way around, and the Conways knew about it and they blackmailed the Coopers. Hal calls them a bunch of sinners for doing so, even though the Bible says murder is a major no-no. Also, Betty reminds her dad that he had an affair with Penelope Blossom while he was still married.
He proclaims that his darkness now lives in Betty and she takes the chance to ask him a bunch of questions about him being the Black Hood. Hal reveals he manipulated Mr. Svenson to kill and take the fall for Hal’s murders, but admits he doesn’t know who shot up the town hall meeting.
So there’s a copycat Black Hood! But who are they and why do they hate Fred? Over at the Andrews house, the Copycat Hood busts in and fights with Archie. Fred comes to Archie’s rescue and whacks the Copycat Hood on the hood. The Copycat Hood is supernaturally strong though and gets up and shoots Fred in the stomach before fleeing. For a moment, it looks like Archie’s worst nightmare (and mine) has come true, but thankfully, Fred reveals he was wearing a bullet proof vest.
Still, Archie goes out into the street to chase after the shooter, unaware that the real Black Hood is just next door.
Hal is still going on his evil villain monologue about how Betty’s speech at the town hall inspired him to purge the town of sin like his mom wanted. Alice cuts in that she always knew Hal was a momma’s boy. She does the whole “insult the villain so he gets distracted so the other person can knock them out” plan, but I bet she’s spitting out all the insults she’s been holding onto for over seventeen years of marriage. She seems to relish telling Hal how she had sex with Mr. Jughead and how awesome it was.
Anyway, when Hal becomes enraged enough to try to strangle Alice, Betty sneaks up from behind and knocks him out. Sheriff Keller hauls Hal away (I guess he’s resuming his sheriff duties) just as Archie arrives. Betty sadly tells Archie that her own father was the Black Hood but Archie tells her about the copycat. There’s still another murderer out there and hopefully it won’t be some lame reveal like the local janitor.
As Betty and Archie reel from catching the Black Hood, Jughead is barely holding onto control of the Serpents. Sweet Pea blames Jughead for all of the gang’s troubles, which just keep ramping up as the night goes on. Penny the Serpent Lawyer calls Jughead and smugly informs him that she has Toni hostage and if he wants her back, he’ll meet her alone.
Jughead agrees, but Penny didn’t say that she would be alone. The Ghoulies roll up, ready to make trouble. Penny tells Jughead that she’s going to take a pound of his flesh and remove his Serpent tattoo the same way he did with hers. Luckily, Jughead also has back up. Cheryl shows up, armed with her bow and arrow. Cheryl has the better outfit and the cooler weapons so she wins this fight without even firing a shot. God, Cheryl should have her own superhero movie.
Still, Penny presents Jughead with an offer: either the Serpents clear Riverdale or they have a showdown with the Ghoulies at dawn to determine who controls the town’s gang activities. Jughead takes the deal back to the Serpents, who obviously want to fight. Jughead points out that they’re outnumbered but the Serpents want to get rid of the annoying, pretentious Ghoulies once and for all. Plus, Mr. Jughead announces that Fang died in the hospital so this is their “Do it for Johnny!” moment. Everyone votes to fight the Ghoulies, even Cheryl, and she’s not even part of the gang.
Jughead protests to his father and they get in a fight about doing the rumble. Mr. Jughead knows that they only have a small chance of winning, but if they’re going down, then they’re going down fighting.
Jughead decides to try to save the gang and the town on his own. He calls Hiram and accuses him of paying Penny and the Ghoulies to start a war against the Serpents. Hiram denies it, but he’s seen at a parking lot meeting with Penny. Jughead tells Hiram that he has a counteroffer to whatever Penny and the Ghoulies have offered. Next, he calls Betty to tell her that he loves her. Betty immediately senses something strange about his call and alerts everyone.
Mr Jughead and the rest of the Archie gang rush to the spot where Jughead met Penny earlier but it’s empty, save for Jughead’s beaten, bloodied body with a chunk of his arm carved off. Penny wasn’t joking about taking that pound of flesh.
The Real Archie’s Mysteries I Want Solved:
- Who is this Copycat Hood and why does he hate Fred? Is it Hiram? Is Hiram his own Black Hood?
- What exactly was Jughead’s counteroffer to Hiram? “I know you hate me so I’ll let my gang rivals beat the crap out me if you leave my gang alone”?
- How does Hiram think Hermione would win this election with an article that reveals that she, a married woman, had an affair with her political rival while her husband was in prison?
- So is Sheriff Keller the sheriff again? I mean, he did kinda redeem himself during the riots.