Just when you thought things couldn’t get any more heavy, they got heavier. Let’s go over this week’s Riverdale.
For starters, get caught up on last week’s review in case you missed it. And of course be warned, there will be spoilers.
This episode took a step back from Archie’s personal war against the Black Hood and shifted all the drama to Betty. Betty, revealed last week to be the Black Hood’s inspiration, started receiving calls from him, warning her to cut people out of her life he deemed unworthy at the threat of harming them. One by one she took out her mother’s image, her friendship with Veronica, and even her relationship with Jughead. These all happened pretty quickly and the ramifications couldn’t even really be explored this episode. The plotline revolves around a question the show has asked before- in trying to protect people you love, can you end up doing them more harm? While Betty didn’t lash out at Veronica earnestly, it was extremely harsh, and the scene was very well done. As all her friends had a great time surrounding her (don’t do jingle-jangle, kids), she sat alone, being the only person bearing the weight of her knowledge and tasks. While everyone else was able to live almost normal lives, she was trapped, forced to isolate herself farther away from the people she just wanted to protect. It was an interesting conflict that was communicated very well visually. Each time she took out someone she was close to, the Black Hood granted her one question he had to answer honestly. This made the whole mystery much more interesting, especially with the simple “Yes.” in response to Betty asking if she would recognize his face. Until now, the murders haven’t been painted as a whodunit. And the show didn’t really veer into that direction either, although it definitely seems to be on the table for the future. His omnipotence raises a few questions, but that can probably be chalked-up to something we just don’t know yet. The worst part of the whole situation was what happened with Jughead. She seemed so sure it would work out okay, telling Archie they could backtrack once they knew Jughead would be safe. But this action, made in attempt to save Jughead, probably caused more harm than anything else could have.
Jughead’s story this episode shared the theme. Once the Southside High Serpent students decided the next step from street fights was domestic terrorism, Jughead felt the need to step up and become a real Serpent to keep them in-check. Honestly if the only thing to come out of this was Hot Dog being a constant presence on the show, I would be more than happy. At the very least, we need more Hot Dog III. So Jughead went through the steps of becoming a real Southside Serpent, with the noble intentions of keeping the gang in line as his father did. This was the logical conclusion to his arc so far this season, which has revolved around his descent into gang life as it pushed people from his former life away from him. It turned Archie’s confrontation with him from an attempt to help into a seemingly honest fight. And of course, after he thinks Betty broke up with him, Toni went for it and kissed him. This was another scene that conveyed all it tried to without much dialogue to the fact. Jughead had just gone through a transformative period and thinks he pushed Betty away. His identity is now enveloped in the Serpents, and Toni is like the dark reflection of Betty for his new life.
These stories definitely took up most of the time, but apart form that we got Veronica meeting up with an old friend. This didn’t do much for her character, but it did do something with Cheryl. Cheryl hasn’t had much of a direction this season, so I guess her new direction could be… rape attempt? Veronica’s friend drugged Cheryl at a fundraiser and tried to rape her, before Veronica and the Pussycats heroically burst in and beat the living crap out of him. It was pretty brutal, and satisfying, considering what the news has been recently. It seems like the direction this will take is Cheryl’s family blaming the Lodges, and causing problems with Veronica’s devotion to her family and their business.
This episode featured extremely strong performances from the whole cast, especially Lili Reinhart. While it could have had better focus with some stories and characters, the ones it did focus on were exceptional. I rate this episode 9.3 inappropriately dressed moms out of 10.