So, let’s get into it, for the nineteenth time.
Part I: Kelli
We begin with Midge’s funeral, which the entire town appears to be present for. Cheryl is singing, and for a few horrible seconds it seems like we might be trapped in the musical episode again. She is flanked by the Vixens wearing all-black versions of their cheerleading uniforms, which I presume they had made specifically for funerary purposes. Riverdale High has an incredible budget. When the song finishes, Cheryl dramatically declares that she and the Vixens will not rest until they have avenged their fallen sister. She looks meaningfully at Sheriff Keller.
Sheriff Keller, we learn, has already interviewed most of the people who were present for Midge’s murder. We see a few quick scenes, evidently prior to the funeral, where he questions Jughead, Moose, Archie, and Ethel (who is responsible for the Black Hood letters but for some reason faces no further questioning or repercussions of any kind). In typical Keller fashion, he fails to gather any useful information.
When we cut back to the funeral, the crowd is dispersing, and Cheryl is leading Midge’s sobbing mother away from her daughter’s grave. Sheriff Keller decides this is a good opportunity to assure Mrs. Klump that he’s doing everything he can to find Midge’s killer. Mrs. Klump is not in the mood, so she slaps him in the face and tells him he should be ashamed of himself for failing to protect their children. She storms off, and Cheryl hangs back to tell Keller that his days as sheriff are numbered.
At Pop’s, the gang gathers for a post-funeral brainstorming sesh, as you do. Veronica and Betty are not wearing Vixen sweatshirts, which makes me think that even though they’re on the team, Cheryl has not recruited them for her Cheerleader Murder Squad. This seems like a missed opportunity. Jughead thinks it was Chic, but Betty isn’t convinced, and Archie thinks it was the original BH — not Svenson. He reminds them for the thousandth time that he looked into original BH’s eyes, and they weren’t Svenson’s.
After they leave Pop’s, Veronica makes Archie promise he won’t turn into ‘Death Wish Archie’ again. Archie, a professional fuckboy, hugs her instead of promising anything. Walking home, he is spooked by some rustling leaves, but when he turns around to keep walking we see BH wander into frame behind him! *cue Riverdale’s deeply unpleasant piano theme*
Over at the Lodge household, Hiram and Hermione are scheming about how they’re going to use this death to their advantage in the upcoming election. They’re using a lot of colorful post-it notes, which seems off-brand. When they start questioning Veronica about her friendship with Cheryl, she tells them to count her out of whatever they’re planning. Good for you, Ronnie!
Hermione isn’t discouraged by this, and shows up at Thistlehouse to talk to Cheryl herself. Hermione tells Cheryl that she was “moved” by her speech at the funeral, and asks if she would be interested in writing an op-ed on Sheriff Keller for the Riverdale Register. Cheryl is obviously game.
Meanwhile, the Sheriff continues to do his job, albeit badly. He shows up at the Coopers’ and tells Alice he needs to question Chic. Hal says they’ll bring Chic in tomorrow to give a statement. Once Keller leaves, Alice accuses Hal of throwing Chic under the bus… and while I normally hate Hal, what was he supposed to do in this situation? Say no?
The next day, Betty asks Alice if Chic should leave town instead of giving a statement. She fears he might break down and reveal information to the Sheriff about the murder that took place in their house, but Alice seems completely unconcerned. Betty, less and less convinced of her brother’s innocence, tells Jughead she thinks they should investigate Chic further, since he and Svenson are technically connected through the Sisters of Quiet Mercy. No shit, Betty.
Cut to Bughead at the Sisters of Quiet Mercy. Are they skipping school to do this? Do any of these kids even show up for class anymore? Betty is questioning Sister #1, who’s name I can’t remember and don’t feel like looking up. They want to know if Chic/Charles overlapped with Svenson’s time as a groundskeeper there, and Betty asks to see her brother’s file. When Sister #1 resists, Betty threatens to get a court order to investigate their conversion therapy program, which she is confident will immediately be shut down by the FBI. I’m not sure if that’s how it works, but then again, maybe someone should say something to law enforcement about how fucked up this place is, and not just threaten to?
Looking through the files, Bughead discovers that Chic and Svenson did overlap by two years… except when Betty sees the photo attached to Charles’ file, she realizes the photo isn’t of Chic at all, but a much more innocent-looking blonde person! Gasp!
Meanwhile, Archie is doing exactly what Veronica asked him not to, but it’s okay because he didn’t make any promises. After unsuccessfully trying to convince his dad to stay with his mom in Chicago because ‘safety,’ Archie returns to the murder house in the woods to look for clues, but before he can find anything, BH shows up! Or at least, that’s what it seems like, until several other black-hooded and black-masked figures appear, and all of them start beating the shit out of Archie.
At home, Veronica gets a call from Archie’s cell phone. Of course, it isn’t Archie on the line — it’s NICK ST. CLAIR, AKA the last character I ever want to see on my screen! He and his bros kidnapped Archie, and he wants “a cool million” exchange for Archie’s release. Is that a thing rich people say that I’m too poor to know about?
Veronica obviously goes to her parents for the money, but they’re refusing to pay the ransom because Hiram doesn’t want to bow down to “teen terrorism.” This is the second time in two weeks that the word “terrorism” has been used blithely, but at least in the musical episode it was funny. Veronica says she’s going to call the police, but her parents stop her; it turns out the St. Clairs are a mob family, and if she draws police attention to them, it’ll be drawn to the Lodges as well. Besides, it’s not like the police are going to do anything useful. Hasn’t Veronica learned that yet? She storms out, and Hiram and Hermione talk privately about their actual fear: that if they succumb, they will seem vulnerable, and their enemies will come after Veronica. Wouldn’t their enemies come after Veronica anyway, though?
Bughead returns to the Cooper house just in time to see Chic hanging out in the kitchen with Alice. Betty immediately shouts, “HE’S NOT CHIC,” which isn’t really true since ‘Chic’ is his own dumb nickname, but I digress. Betty and Jughead show Alice the photo, and Chic’s best defense is, “Betty never wanted a brother.” Way to think fast, Chic. He then grabs the knife off of the cutting board and slashes Alice’s hand with it, but Betty manages to knock him out before he can do any real damage.
When Chic comes to, he’s tied to a chair in the basement. Betty demands the truth, and Chic outlines the tragic tale of Charles Smith. They met on the streets and moved into the hostel together, where Charles told Chic all about the perfect Coopers of Riverdale who gave him up for adoption. He says that one time he stopped by the house, but Alice said ‘we’re not interested’ and slammed the door in his face before he could get a word in. That night, Charles went on a bender and overdosed… ON JINGLE JANGLE.
I’m sorry, but I have to take a moment to celebrate because JINGLE JANGLE IS BACK, BITCHES.
Alice dissolves into tears and runs upstairs, quickly followed by Betty. Alice tells Betty that she remembers Charles coming to the door, and says she’s responsible for her own son’s death, which Chic must be seeking revenge for. Betty tries to reason with her, but Alice suddenly becomes very determined and leaves the house without any explanation.
While all of this is happening, Nick St. Clair and his goons have tied Archie to a chair in some mystery location. Honestly, I don’t know where 75% of the scenes on this show take place. It’s just a bunch of bleak-looking rooms! Archie begs Nick to set him free, explaining that BH is on the loose again and his dad is in danger. Nick’s literal response is: “Sucks to be ur dad.” Nick says his own father is close to disowning him after everything the people in this town have put him through, and now he has to prove that he has the “guts” to be in the family business. The obvious solution is to beat up Archie some more, which they do.
Meanwhile, Veronica sneaks into Hiram’s office and easily unlocks his safe, since the combo is always her birthday. If you ask me, that’s an extremely insecure password, and it’s safe to assume that all of Hiram’s social media accounts are compromised. In the safe, Veronica finds cash but not enough, but she calls Nick to meet up anyway, telling him she has the money. They agree to meet at Pop’s.
I’m pretty sure it’s been like 12 hours since Midge’s funeral, but Cheryl’s op-ed has already been published in the Riverdale Register. Kevin approaches Cheryl at Vixen practice and demands a retraction, but Cheryl refuses, insisting that Sheriff Keller is incompetent and that justice needs to be served. I feel bad for Kevin, but honestly, Cheryl is not wrong.
At home, Kevin tells his dad not to take the article to heart, but Sheriff Keller says that maybe he should. He's drinking, and admits that maybe he cut corners because he didn’t have enough evidence to close the case. Suddenly, they hear a crash outside. They discover that the Sheriff’s car has been vandalized: it now reads Sheriff KILLER.
Part II: Mary
Veronica is at the Chocklit Shoppe, which my roommate Jenni tells me must be the CENTER OF ALL BUSINESS IN RIVERDALE. She gets “proof” from Nick that Archie is beaten up. It’s just a picture on Nick’s phone, but that’s enough for Ronnie. She gives Nick some of the money and tells him she’ll get him the rest. Nick explains in the worst terms that he’ll forgive her the rest of the money if she’ll sleep with him. Nick is the grossest. Veronica considers it.
Alice goes to the one person she can depend on in this time of crisis--FP! What’s more, Charles Smith was FP’S BABY. This was fairly obvious. Alice says repeatedly that she made a mistake, that it’s her fault their son is dead. FP just hugs her, and that is better than anything Hal has ever done.
Betty gets a phone call from THE BLACK HOOD using his trusty voice altering machine. The BH scolds Betty for letting Chic be in their house and says that Chic has murdered before. Betty conceals all this from Jughead because that has worked out so well in the past. Betty wants to go back to the place where she found Chic because she suspects he’s lying.
Nick has rigged a livestream to his hotel in the Four Seasons, so that Archie can see Nick and Veronica having sex. Nick also confesses he’s still going to kill Archie. A man of his word, that Nick!
Betty and Jughead get a room at the creepy hotel. I’m particularly interested in the sign on the manager’s window that says, “No dogs! Absolutely no dogs! Cats are ok.” I wonder what the dogs did to get banned forever, and what the cats did to be welcomed.
Charles’s old neighbor says she knew him, and that he was a nice boy. One day there were bloody sheets and only Chic remained, so I guess Chic killed him?
Betty and Jughead interrogate Chic, accusing him of murdering Charles. Chic doesn’t say anything new and is just very annoying.
Veronica gets ready for her “date” with Nick, putting on her best red lipstick and lingerie-adjacent dress. She looks at a locket with Archie’s face in it. Why does she even have that?
The BH is calling Betty again, and she tells him Chic won’t confess. I guess that the BH is her murder mentor now? The BH tells Betty she needs to deliver Chic to him so justice can be done, but then FP and Alice barge in to save Chic!
FP has a good point that--after the whole Jason Blossom incident--he won’t let Jughead make the same mistake. Alone, Alice and Betty talk about their options. Alice says they have to tell Hal.
Archie watches via livestream as Veronica gets cozy with Nick. I’m not sure how or why a man’s greatest fear is watching some other dude sleep with their girlfriend. I mean, it is bad and would be terrible, but...Veronica is choosing this?
Archie escapes being tied up through the sheer power of teen boy angst.
When Veronica tells Nick she dumped him because he started roofying girls, I immediately knew she roofied him.
Hal and Alice fight and Hal calls Chic some names as usual. Surprise! Alice helped Chic cover up a murder in their house! Betty’s supposed to go to her room, but instead she goes to the basement with A GUN. She takes Chic out of the basement at gunpoint.
Archie breaks into Nick’s room to find Nick on the floor, unconscious because VERONICA IS A CAPABLE WOMAN OKAY. Veronica calls Nick’s dad and starts to make threats.
In a graveyard, Betty interrogates Chic at gunpoint. Chic claims he lost control and “didn’t mean” to hurt Charles. THE BLACK HOOD APPEARS. Betty does this super dramatic thing where she tells Chic he might be able to get away if he runs fast enough. The BH chases Chic but we aren’t sure what happens. WHO IS THE BH THO?!
Kevin talks to his dad, who is saaaaad because people don’t like him. Well, he’s gotta admit he hasn’t been doing his job. Keller knows this, and says that if he steps down they’ll bring in someone who can catch the BH.
Veronica negotiated for a quarter million in ransom money from the St. Clairs and says that Hiram hasn’t called them at all. Archie and Hiram chat in the study, and Archie explains that he needs to “make his bones.” OK cool. He’s going to kill someone for the Lodges. Cool. This is fine. At least he says he’s going to kill the BH, so I guess that’s good?
Betty goes home and says simply, Chic’s gone. Hal is gone, too, though, and it’s just Alice there. Betty asks where Hal is and seems like she realizes something.
Kelli: Okay, so I want to be optimistic and think that BH is Hal and we were right all along, but now I’m concerned because we still have three episodes left, and it seems too soon to point to Hal if the big finale reveal is BH’s identity.
Mary: OK SO WE WERE RIGHT AND IT’S DEFINITELY HAL, YEAH?! Also, I am endlessly amused by how the writers continue to try to make jingle jangle work. It’s ridiculous, and it sounds ridiculous. Charles OD’ed on jingle jangle? Ok, sure, Jan.
What do y’all think?? Comment with your predictions, please, and join us next week for another edition of the Riverdale recap!