Riverdale: Saints, sinners, and stalkers
This episode breaks from our usual faux-lisophical introductory narrations from Jughead and opens up with a new narrator reading from scroll of text announcing that we will be witness to three “twisted” tales connected to the Black Hood murders. These three tales all kick off from the same point: when the Black Hood posted a new letter to the Chocklit Shoppe, challenging the town to remain “sinless” for 48 hours and prove that they are “pure of heart” if they don’t want him to kill again.
However, the Black Hood doesn’t specify what it means to be “sinless.” Is he talking old school Leviticus sins, like eating shellfish or planting crops side by side? Or does he mean the basic Ten Commandments stuff? The lack of specificity here makes me thank that even if all Riverdale citizens sequestered themselves in their home and didn’t move a muscle for 48 hours, the Black Hood would be like, “Nope! Some of you own polyester clothing and that goes against Biblical law, so you all must die.”
The Black Hood prefers the touch and the feel of cotton, the fabric of our lives.
The Black Hood would probably consider “pre-marital cuddling” a sin, but Betty and Jughead don’t care and are lying in bed, wondering how the Black Hood could have murdered the jailed drug-dealing teacher. This delightful pillow talk is interrupted when Jughead gets a phone call from Penny the Serpent Lawyer. She wants to call in that favor, and even though Mr. Jughead specifically told Jughead to stay away from her, Jughead meets Penny at Pop’s anyway.
Penny tells Jughead that his dad has been jumped in prison and if they want to get him out of there, they need some money to grease the wheels of justice. “I only have $18 to my name,” protests Jughead. Luckily for him, Penny has a job: if Jughead delivers a crate of “pancake mix” to Greendale, Penny will use his cut to get Mr. Jughead out on bail.
Jughead is skeptical of this shady woman’s claims so he pulls out his cell phone, calls his father at the prison to see how he’s doing, finds out that his father is perfectly alright and that this is an attempt to recruit him into a drug-running business, so he tells Penny to buzz off and goes back to enjoy some nice PG-13 making out with his girlfriend. Sorry, that’s what would have happened if people in Riverdale did things like “thinking things through” or “verifying other people’s claims”. Jughead completely believes Penny and agrees to complete the job before midnight.
Jughead asks Archie to borrow Fred’s truck, no questions asked. Archie agrees, since he owes Jughead for ruining the drag race, but he’s not happy that Jughead is getting involved, albeit reluctantly, with drugs. They drive to Greendale together and Archie admits that he has this fantasy that he and Jughead would move out of Riverdale to become artists in New York City in the East Village while Betty and Veronica are roommates on Park Avenue.
“I’m pretty sure the East Village doesn’t exist anymore,” Jughead snarks. I don’t know who’s more annoying: Archie, for his cliché dreams about moving to NYC or Jughead, for pretending he knows what New York is like even though he’s also probably never been there.
Their daydreaming is interrupted when the truck suddenly gets a flat tire. Jughead doesn’t want to call “Triple C” (I guess Triple A doesn’t exist in this universe) in case someone sees the crate, and Archie doesn’t want to call on Betty to bring a spare because he doesn’t want her involved with the drugs. They both agree to call Kevin instead.
Lucky for him, Kevin’s record remains clean because a passing driver, McGinty, stops. He only has room for one person, so Jughead volunteers to take the crate by himself.
McGinty is a creepy old dude who likes to listen to a fire and brimstone preacher subtly praising the Black Hood for cleansing Riverdale, and he tells Jughead scary stories about the Riverdale Reaper, a serial killer who terrorized the town but was never caught. So the Black Hood is the second serial killer in Riverdale? Man, the police here suck.
McGinty stops to fill up for gas and food and tells Jughead that there’s a cycle to things, and now it’s killing season in Riverdale again. He tells the waitress that the bill is on Jughead, but Jughead protests that he already gave McGinty all of his money for the gas. McGinty is about to walk out, leaving Jughead with the bill and taking his crate, but the waitress threatens to call the cops if they dine and dash. Thankfully, Archie comes in at the last minute, brandishing his debit card.
McGinty accuses the two of being sinners for transporting the crate, and warns that if they’re not careful, they’ll taste the Reaper’s blade.
The two rush to deliver the crate and make it right under the midnight deadline. Edna Mode rolls up in a wheelchair with a cat, and chides Jughead for being late. She warns him not to be late the next time, explaining that the Serpents will be taking over this drug route for the Ghoulies, and Jughead will be the regular delivery boy. Jughead is confused.
Finally, Jughead goes to see his dad in prison and is horrified to see that his father is perfectly fine. He confronts Penny about this, but she shows him that she videotaped him and Archie delivering the crate. If he tries to back out of any future drug deliveries, she’ll turn the footage over to the Sheriff’s office. Penny explains that Mr. Jughead still owes her a debt and if he won’t pay, then Jughead will.
Our second macabre tale focuses on Josie, which will hopefully be some welcome character development for her. Josie and the Pussycats haven’t had much to do on the show besides perform pop covers or brag about how awesome they are at pop covers.
Josie has been staying late at school working on material to bring to a record producer, who Cheryl has hooked her up with as a thank you for being one of her rescuers when Nick tried to date-rape her. Josie is stressed because her mom has instituted a strict curfew until the Black Hood is caught, and the music producer wants to meet with her—solo. Josie feels she’s sinning by hiding this from her bandmates, and she doesn’t even have the excuse that Parker Posey and Alan Cumming are brainwashing her with subliminal messages.
Josie finds a bear with the creepy message “I’ll Be Watching You” and brushes it off as another gift from her secret admirer. What? Secret admirers send cutesy messages like “Be Mine” or “I Love You”, not “I’ll Be Watching You.”
As Josie rehearses, Chuck Clayton, he of the “Sticky Maple” infamy comes by to ask her on a date. Josie refuses and demands to know if Chuck is her secret admirer, but he has no idea what she’s talking about. Josie complains about Chuck to Cheryl, who wants to go to the recording studio after school. However, Josie would rather take a “eucalyptus steam” in the girl’s locker room instead. Wait a minute, Riverdale High has a eucalyptus steam in their girl’s locker room? No wonder this town can’t catch any criminals. All of the town’s budget is redirected to a spa in the school?
After her relaxing shower, Josie is confronted by Melody and Val. They got a mysterious note informing them about Josie’s meeting with the producer, and angrily tell Josie that if she wants to fly solo, she can. On her way out of school, Josie gets creeped out and runs into Chuck again. She asks him to give her a ride home and agrees to a pit stop at Pop’s.
Chuck swears that he’s become a better person now since he’s started going to church and taking art classes. Josie is skeptical, but Pops stops by the table to say hi to Chuck and clunkily announce how great it is seeing him at church. Nevertheless, Josie is impressed and she has a good time dancing with Chuck. Mayor McCoy, who’s been looking for Josie, arrives at the diner and yells at her.
At their suite at the Five Seasons, Mayor McCoy yells at Josie for not coming home right away, and admits that ever since the Black Hood started, she’s been getting more racist hate mail and death threats and some are even directed at Josie. Sheriff Keller (who’s here for some reason) asks Josie if she’s gotten any strange notes or packages.
Cheryl is disappointed Josie didn’t tell Sheriff Keller about the gifts and that Josie liked hanging out with Chuck. Josie gets another present, this time a portrait of herself with the caption “If I Can’t Have You, No One Can” and a pig’s heart. They go confront Chuck and he gets hauled to the principal’s office for stalking Josie. Sheriff Keller even puts a restraining order on Chuck, despite acknowledging the lack of evidence against him.
That night, Josie has a nightmare that the Black Hood slits her throat and when she wakes up, she finds that she’s lost her voice. Meanwhile, Cheryl is up late, listening to Josie’s demo and sketching a drawing of herself with Josie in the same art style as the creepy drawing from earlier. Cheryl is Josie’s stalker? Well, it’s nice to know she’s finally moved on from her brother.
And hey look, our third tale focuses on more underdeveloped characters, the Kellers. Kevin complains to Veronica and Betty that his dad has been acting strangely. He’s up at all hours of the night, talking to himself, heading out in the middle of the night. Veronica thinks Sheriff Keller is having an affair, while Betty thinks Sheriff Keller is the Black Hood. Veronica is skeptical of this theory, but to be fair to Betty, it does hold some water. The Black Hood walked straight into the police station and shot the drug dealing teacher without being caught. What’s more likely, that the Black Hood attacks are being committed by a police officer, or that the Riverdale police really just suck?
Veronica offers to sleep over at Kevin’s to cheer him up, but is bored by Kevin’s nerdy D&D board games. Betty calls to ask Veronica to snoop around the house for proof that Sheriff Keller is a killer, but all Veronica finds in the basement is evidence that Sheriff Keller has a killer bod.
Veronica comes up with the lame excuse that the fridge was empty and she was looking for a drink. Yeah, she does seem rather thirsty in this scene, joking to Sheriff Keller that Archie Andrews should watch his back. She asks about Mrs. Keller and Sheriff Keller explains that she’s in the Navy, stationed in Bahrain. Kevin checks on Veronica and she reluctantly heads back upstairs.
In the morning, Veronica reports to Betty that she saw Sheriff Keller sneak out of the house and not come home until dawn. Betty finds an article about a jingle jangle addict who was hit and killed by a train and is convinced Sheriff Keller, as the Black Hood, pushed him. Well, the guy died, so it definitely couldn’t have been the Black Hood. The Black Hood is currently two for five right now.
“Let’s not confuse wanting a solution to the mystery to actually having one,” says Veronica, but Betty sneaks into the Keller house to try to find proof for her theory anyway. She does find a black hood before Sheriff Keller returns and catches her, but he explains that’s the hood he confiscated from Archie’s locker. He shows Betty his log book, which shows he has an airtight alibi for every Black Hood attack.
Still, Betty is convinced Sheriff Keller is hiding something, and gets Veronica to help follow him at night. It turns out Veronica was right all along: Sheriff Keller is simply having an affair and it’s with Mayor McCoy! Veronica tells Betty that this is one secret they should keep, for Kevin’s sake.
All of the main characters this episode convene at Pop’s at the end, just in time to hear Pops receive a call from the Black Hood. Pops announces that the town has failed the test and the reckoning is upon them.
The Real Archie’s Weird Mysteries I Want Solved:
- Is there such thing as the Riverdale Reaper? It could be that we’re expanding the mythology of Riverdale, but it also sounds like a silly story adults tells teens.
- Seriously, how does a rural high school have a eucalyptus steam room?
- So Sheriff Keller has a wife? I always thought he was a single dad for some reason.
- So the Black Hood has a religious fanatic following now? Are people in Riverdale really that religious? I know it’s a small town, but social life doesn’t seem to center around the church.
Did Jughead get a burger?
No, he did not. He was at Pop’s twice this episode but didn’t seem to order anything.