All I have to say after tonight’s Riverdale is this: Protect. Cheryl. Blossom. At. All. Costs. But I’m getting ahead of myself—here’s what happened.
Everything’s officially about the freaking Black Hood again (ugh). Archie’s convinced he’s out there and is going door to door staring into random men’s eyes to find him. Hiram thinks Archie should get his former Dark Circle members to track the Black Hood down, but we all know how that toxic masculine mess worked out last time. Also, the way Betty creepily looks at her dad, Hal, at the breakfast table in the next scene makes me think she suspects he’s the culprit (which wouldn’t be a surprise).
Meanwhile, Hiram’s mafia friends are sending their sons to Riverdale to “court” Veronica to form alliances with the Lodge family. They were all impressed with Veronica’s ransoming of Nick St. Clair last week and now want in with the family. I’m here for this plot point if it means more hot dudes on the show.
OK, yup, Betty definitely thinks Hal is the Black Hood, and she confides in Cheryl about this because (1) Cheryl’s dad turned out to be a murderer, and (2) Cheryl has all the answers to life’s questions. She tells Betty to tread lightly, tosses her hair, and leaves. So wise.
And, yup, Archie convinces his band of doofus jocks (and perfect Kevin) to join the Dark Circle again. They get fired up when Moose tells them he and Midge had a fight backstage at Carrie because she revealed she was cheating on him with a Serpent. The Serpents and the Dark Circle have a light physical tussle about this. It’s annoying and reeks of testosterone. Like, just chill, you adolescent boys.
Veronica meets with the mafia sons gunning for her family’s attention and decides to indulge Elio, a snack-and-a-half who wants the Lodges to invest in his parents’ casinos. Hiram brushes Veronica off when she talks to him about this, which is rude, but also this is such a boring storyline so let’s move on.
Thank God, we’re back to something good. Betty manages to steal her father’s planner and sees that all the Black Hood murder dates align with it. Betty recruits Queen Cheryl to help her sift through the evidence when she gets a call from the morgue, saying she has to come down there to identify a “warm corpse.” She thinks it’s Chic, but it’s not. The whole ordeal, though, shakes Betty to her core.
Across town, Jughead’s pissed because the new sheriff won’t hand over the footage he gave him that shows Fangs in Midge Klump’s dressing room right before she was killed. It makes Fangs look guilty, which hurts the Serpents’ image, ergo bolstering the Lodge’s agenda—which is exactly what Jughead doesn’t want. What I want, though, is to focus solely on Cheryl and Betty’s plot line, but that’s not going to happen.
This is sort of interesting, though. The Black Hood leaves a note on Fred Andrews’ door saying he’s a “sinner” and “next” on his kill list. The Lodges want to cancel the debate because of this, but Fred isn’t cowering down because, apparently, chest-puffing runs in the Andrews family.
Pivot to Betty, who tells her parents everything: that she gave Chic over to the Black Hood and that’s it’s partially her fault if he’s dead. She says she has a “darkness” inside of her, and Hal responds by weirdly saying he also has a similar “darkness.” OMG, he’s so the Black Hood. Hal Effing Cooper!
The new Sheriff, however, thinks it’s Fangs, because that video of him with Midge Klump leaked—so he arrests him. Archie’s back to waiting by his front door at night with a baseball bat like a boy playing cops and robbers. The Dark Circle vandalizes a Serpent bar to “celebrate” Fangs’ arrest, which is honestly just so much raging masculinity that it makes me want to vom. Archie reprimands them, but they’re unapologetic. Reggie then spills to Archie that Hiram’s paying the other Dark Circle members, and he told Reggie the organization is “his now.” Oof. Mark Consuelous is up to no good, as per usual!
Betty and Cheryl, however, are up to something delicious. Betty discovers that Hal is still renting out a room at a motel even though he’s back at home, so she and Cheryl go to check it out. As Cheryl iconically puts it, the room might be Hal’s “serial killer lair.”
And they find some pretty damning evidence: the Nancy Drew code book that the Black Hood used to communicate with Betty. Does this mean…Hal is the Black Hood? Either way, I’m eternally grateful this storyline is giving Cheryl a ton of screen time. Hal says the book was a “present” for Betty. He found it, remembered how much she loved it, and ordered it for her birthday. That sounds like bullshit.
But holy crap: During the mayor debate between Hermione and Fred, the Black Hood or some other psycho killer shows up and starts shooting up the town hall. Hermione’s shook about it, and Veronica’s pissed that Hiram doesn’t seem concerned his plans could cost Hermione her life. Veronica chews out Hiram and says she’s going to go forth with her casino plan with the money she got from Nick St. Clair’s parents. Hiram, however, put that money in a trust.
It’s also clear Hiram’s using the Dark Circle to drum up chaos in Riverdale. He tells Reggie that Fangs is going to be released from jail, knowing it will fire him up. A mob is crowded outside the station where Fangs is about to be released. When he’s finally out, Reggie stampedes toward him with a gun but Archie intercepts. However, somehow, Fangs ends up getting shot anyway, but we don’t know by whom.
As this is happening, Betty asks her dad to meet her at the town hall to finish the conversation they had about the Nancy Drew book. Hal agrees to meet her, but he never shows up. Coincidentally, Cheryl receives a knock on the door at the same time: It’s the Black Hood. Coming to Thistle House. To Harm Cheryl. Nope, nope, nope. It’s all fun and games until Cheryl’s life is in danger. Now I’m pissed. Leave the only flawless character on this show alone!