This week, Mary and Kelli bring you a very special recap of Riverdale: "Shadow of a Doubt," otherwise known as The Gun Violence Episode! We know what you're thinking - isn't that every episode? - but with two separate shootings in under 45 minutes, I think we've reached a new low.
Here we go again...
Part I: Mary
Archie is visiting different rando white men around town, trying to convince them to vote for Fred. He looks deeply into each dude’s eyes, trying to gauge if he’s the Black Hood. Betty also thinks she’s close to finding the Black Hood—and that it’s Hal! Since she thinks it’s Hal, it’s probably not.
Veronica covers up Archie’s bruises with concealer like a good girlfriend and tells him that a lot of mob families are sending their sons to court her. It’s weird. Ronnie says that the boys are just meant to be proposing business deals, not marriage, but isn’t it weird?? Getting your kids to do shady mob deals for you? It seems fishy.
Hiram confronts Archie about his campaigning for Fred and Archie promises it’s just a plot to try and find the BH, to make his bones. Whatever that means. I guess Archie has to kill a man.
The young men arrive to see Veronica and she tells them to wait a day. Typical Veronica.
Betty confides in Cheryl that she thinks her dad might be the BH. Cheryl should understand, right? Her dad was also evil! Cheryl says she isn’t sure if Hal is quite BH material. Cheryl is wonderful and this scene reminds me of why I love her so much. She talks like an old person trying to be cool and talk like the youths. Cheryl ultimately gives good advice—“get hardcore proof, a confession, or both.”
I’m getting really tired of Hiram and Hermione’s plotting. They’re always skulking around, drinking wine in the middle of the day by a lit fire, acting like they’re sooooo evil. Hiram has convinced Archie to revive the Dark Circle, you know, the group of football jocks that parade around in ski masks with their shirts off. Those guys. Moose tells everyone that Midge was seeing someone behind his back, a Serpent. Reggie unsurprisingly loses his mind and goes on a rampage around the school to find Serpents. Cue light fighting and worried expressions. And a commercial break.
Fangs, the resident bisexual Serpent dude, has been hooking up with Midge and yes, he knows it looks bad. Jughead tells him to lie low, but regretfully cannot delete the footage from his documentary because HE’S ALREADY GIVEN IT TO SHERIFF KELLER.
Veronica interviews potential dudes at Pop’s. She wears glasses and everything. She settles on a boring dude whose family owns casinos. She thinks a casino would go over well in Riverdale for some reason, and I’m wondering for the millionth time...how big is the town? They talk about it like it’s a small, tiny town, but they also think that it has the population to sustain a casino? OK.
Jughead tells Archie about what’s going on with the Serpents and asks if Archie has met the new sheriff. They both go to meet him, because everyone knows that youths are the prime detectives of Riverdale. Hiram is there already and has already told the new sheriff that Archie is a golden boy and Jughead is a “troublemaker.” Jughead helpfully reminds everyone, “and an iconoclast.” Archie agrees to be the third wheel on Veronica’s date with Elio, the casino guy. The date is, as you could probably guess, at Pop’s.
Once Veronica goes to the bathroom, Elio talks to Archie about making bones and all that. When Archie says he didn’t make his bones doing in Papa Poutine, Elio says that Poutine’s son, Small Fry—y’know what. Let’s just stop there. Papa Poutine has a son named Small Fry and nothing is okay. Why. WHY. There are so many other potato based names they could have gone with. Anyway, Small Fry is looking for REVENGE.
Betty cross references her dad’s schedule with the BH killings, and it all checks out. Dr. Curdle, the most sinister sounding coroner ever, says that he has a body Betty can come look at for the Register if she wants. Betty immediately suspects that it could be Chic. For SOME REASON, Betty now feels regret that she LEFT CHIC WITH A LITERAL KILLER.
Fred got a message from the BH saying HE’S NEXT DUN DUN DUN. Fred says he isn’t scared and still wants to go through with the debate with Hermione, and Hermione agrees.
Betty goes to look at the body and it’s not Chic. She feels relieved. I’m most interested in how creepy and weird Dr. Curdle looks. How did they cast him? Did the casting agent just say, get me the creepiest, weirdest, most haunted house looking guy you have? Also, why is this coroner letting people come look at dead bodies?
Betty feels soooo upset at everything that’s going on. Cheryl says that Betty needs to confront Hal and see what happens, and Betty agrees, sort of. She’s mostly crying, but she also sort of nods.
Later, Betty confesses to her parents that she has been talking to the BH on the phone. Hal looks like he knows something here, but I may be reading into it because I want it to be Hal SO BAD. Betty says that she might be an accomplice to murder, and that she’s okay with that because there’s this darkness inside of her. Insert eye roll here. Hal says that he also has had this darkness inside of him, because of course he does. I’m not sure what we’re calling a darkness here. Is it the urge to kill people? Depression? Rage issues? It seems like it’s all of these things and more.
Toni busts in the school and reveals that the documentary footage from Jughead’s evidence has LEAKED!!
Part II: Kelli
Over the loudspeaker, Fangs is called to Weatherbee’s office, and at the same time, the cops and the Dark Circle converge on either side of him. With no place to run, he tries to push past the sheriff to get to the school exit, but they pin him, and upon contact a switchblade falls out of his pocket. The knife is reason enough for them to arrest him, which they do.
At the Andrews residence, Archie brings his bat out into the living room again for another night’s worth of useless vigil. Fred tries to talk sense into him, but Archie tells him that “everything broke” that day at Pop’s and he’s been trying to put it back together ever since — a line which makes me wonder if the writers are trying to explain themselves for this disaster of a season.
After a heart-to-heart about Archie’s feelings of helplessness and how they might relate to his relationship with Hiram, Fred departs and Archie falls asleep. He wakes up to a call from a very angry Jughead, who informs him that the Dark Circle wreaked havoc on the Whyte Wyrm during the night. Archie’s like, ‘what???? I didn’t know about this, I was too busy being bad at nighttime security.’
Jughead doesn’t have time for this shit, because he has to be Gang Daddy and deal with the Fangs situation. He and the newly-christened ATTORNEY McCoy bust in mid-interrogation, and McCoy tells the sheriff to stop harassing her client. We learn that Fangs is stuck in jail for now because he had the knife at school, and McCoy encourages him to exercise his right to remain silent.
Archie rounds up the Dark Circle to yell at them. He even calls Reggie an idiot, which I enjoyed, despite the hypocrisy. He decides the Dark Circle is cancelled, but Reggie’s like, ‘that’s not your decision, you’re not the one paying us!’ (Cue facepalm from Kevin.) Archie’s like, ‘wait, wat?’ and Reggie reveals that Hiram is not only paying them, but encouraged the Dark Circle to celebrate Fangs’ arrest the night previous — after appointing Reggie as their new leader.
Meanwhile, Detective Betty Cooper calls Cheryl with new info re: Hal Is The Black Hood. She read her dad’s credit card statements and discovered he’s still making payments to his Share B&B (nice), even though he’s back home with his family. Obviously, they decide to break into the room to find out if it is, as Cheryl postulates, “a serial killer lair.” Luckily, Betty is awesome at picking locks for some reason, and they break into the B&B without incident.
Inside the room, the first thing the camera focuses on is a can of spaghetti-O’s, which is either meant to invoke murder victim innards or is a bizarre attempt at character development. Betty and Cheryl look around for about seven seconds, and then Cheryl finds a copy of Betty’s favorite childhood Nancy Drew book — the BH’s CIPHER! Betty’s phone rings then, and conveniently, it’s her dad calling to ask her about the debate. I would like to point out that Betty’s ringtone for Hal is just, like, regular ringing. Did BH set Lollipop as a ringtone for HIMSELF on Betty’s phone? Is that even technologically possible? And if so, why?
In the episode’s most purposeless subplot, Veronica is now trying to convince Hiram to partner with Elio’s family to open a casino. Hiram thinks it’s a bad idea because the family’s casinos are just fronts for illegal activities, and the Lodges are trying to come “out of the shadows and into the light.” Determined, Veronica pays Attorney McCoy for an hour of legal advice to find out how to open a casino above board, and later, before the debate starts, she approaches Hiram with her idea again. He shuts her down immediately and tables the discussion for after the debate, but it’s pretty clear he’s not interested in continuing the discussion at all.
Alice is moderating the debate, which is just a thing she does whenever the opportunity presents itself, I guess. Hermione tries to claim that she’s really good at safety because the sheriff she personally appointed apprehended Midge’s murderer in one week, and when Fred rightfully points out that they have no way of knowing if Fangs is actually the murderer, people start booing. While the two bicker about the Dark Circle, a figure darts across the back of the auditorium, and suddenly Veronica points and shouts, ‘IT’S DA BLACK HOOD!’ It is, in fact, the Black Hood, and this time he has a shotgun! He starts firing at the stage and into the audience, and complete chaos ensues. Betty looks wildly around for Hal, and they find each other in the crowd while BH is still standing at the back, shooting — which means it can’t be Hal. Physically speaking.
Somehow, no one is actually wounded during this incident, and BH manages to escape into the night once more. Sheriff Minetta seems to think they’ll apprehend the shooter shortly, and Hiram suggests Archie ride along for the search since he’s seen BH face-to-face, but Archie decides to go home with Fred instead. This hurts Hiram’s feelings.
Back at the Lodge’s house, Hermione can barely keep her hand steady enough to drown herself in expensive scotch. Veronica suggests Hermione drop out of the race for her own safety, but Hiram says it’s not an option. Veronica explodes at him for a number of reasons, but mostly because he wouldn’t let her have her fucking casino. He’s like, ‘u don’t respeck me,’ and she’s like, ‘U don’t respeck ME,’ and when she says she’s going to open the casino with her own money, he tells her he put that money in a trust that she won’t be able to access until she’s 21, so HA!
Is this how rich families fight with each other?
Still at the police station, Jughead asks McCoy why Fangs is still being held here when a shooting just happened across town for which Fangs obviously wasn’t responsible. McCoy says the murder and the shooting are being treated as separate incidents, but the sheriff only has an hour left before he has to release Fangs (for lack of proper evidence, I guess? I hope?). However, there is already a mob of protestors forming outside the station, and people are gonna be pissed if Fangs is released.
Luckily, Gang Grandaddy FP has come up with a solution, and that solution is JOAQUIN.
Apparently, Joaquin is here to sneak Fangs away to San Junipero (NICE). Of course, he can’t do that unless they can first get Fangs safely past the mob outside.
This would have been difficult already, but Hiram is here to make it harder. In a brief scene, Hiram meets with Reggie to break the news of Fangs’ release. Hiram employs one of the most lazy manipulation tactics I’ve ever witnessed (‘the law must be upheld and rules exist for a reason and there’s nothing you can do about it but take justice into your own hands bla bla etc bla’), but unfortunately, Reggie is just dumb enough to fall for it.
All of this is happening outside of Betty’s sphere of awareness, for she is now entirely consumed by the Hal Is The Black Hood subplot — even though she just saw the BH shooting people at the debate and it definitely wasn’t her dad. She confronts Hal at home, admitting that she and Cheryl broke into his room before demanding an explanation for the Nancy Drew book they found. Hal’s like, ‘uh, it was a present for you! Duh!’ Despite this totally solid alibi, Betty remains unconvinced.
Later, in her room, Betty contemplates the nature of identity for a while, doing normal things like sensually touching her Nancy Drew book and gazing into the empty eye holes of the black hood mask she keeps. Finally, she calls Hal and tells him to meet her at Town Hall ~where it all began.~ She takes her tape recorder, and her gun, of course.
Veronica, thoroughly finished with Hiram, shows up on the Andrews doorstep and tells Fred and Archie that she’s decided to support Fred’s mayoral run because she “can’t in good conscience stand with her father anymore.” Yeah, sure Veronica. That’s why. Archie looks at her like that’s the hottest thing he’s ever heard in his life, and the two of them go up to his room for a very awkwardly placed sex scene. Like, why are we watching this right now? There was just a shooting, and a riot is about to break out, but we’re supposed to be glad that Veronica found the time to slip into some deeply uncasual lingerie?
They wake some time later to a midnight phone call from Jughead, who seems to get off on rousing Archie from his peaceful teenage slumber. Jughead insists that Archie “get his ass down” to the station to deal with the Dark Circle, a phrase I assume he learned from FP’s parenting handbook. Archie tells Jughead they aren’t his guys anymore, but Jughead is desperate for the help, because things are getting out of control.
Inside the station, the Serpents prepare to escort Fangs outside where he can safely escape with my dream man, Joaquin. They decide their best bet is to stand together and form a wall around Fangs. “In unity, there is strength,” they chant, and it would be tender if they weren’t, you know, a literal gang. They press themselves together and move out into the night, pushing their way through the crowd.
At this point, a few things happen in quick succession. We see Archie approaching the mob, and in front of him, Reggie — who is reaching into his pocket for a gun, because JUSTICE. Archie, of course, tackles him, and the two wrestle the ground in a struggle for the weapon, which goes off. It hits Fangs square in the chest, and he collapses, gushing blood. The Serpents gather round him while Archie and Reggie stare from their tangle on the ground, and then people on both sides start punching each other. I get it; if someone near me was shot, my natural instinct would be to turn to my nearest enemy and punch them. Just kidding! That would be fucking ridiculous.
Speaking of fucking ridiculous: somehow, this episode isn’t over yet. At Thistlehouse, Cheryl answers a knock at her door — only to see the BH standing on the landing. She screams. End scene.
Mary: I was simultaneously irritated and into this episode.
Kelli: First of all: what in the living, breathing fuck?
Second: I think it’s really funny that they enhanced Hal’s eyes in this episode to make them greener. I still think it’s him, TBH.
Okay. That’s all I got.