Need to catch up? Check out our previous Riverdale recap here.
Riverdale‘s Black Hood killer has been captured — we think — but this week’s winter premiere gave the gang plenty of new problems to worry about.
With no Black Hood to unmask, and no Jughead to cuddle with, Betty decides to stir up some family drama to pass the time. Her sister Polly had her twins — offscreen, for some reason — and doesn’t want any contact with their parents, so Betty thinks it’s the perfect time to track down her long-lost brother. (Remember? Alice gave birth to a son back in high school and gave him up for adoption.) Betty digs up an address for a “Charles Smith” who lives two towns over, and even though Hal doesn’t approve, Alice admits she would like to meet her son. So she and Betty head to a seedy motel to meet him… and yeah, it doesn’t go great.
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“Charles” is actually Chic: a gaunt, defensive loner with years of resentment built up against the Coopers. (“You’re lucky they wanted to keep you,” he sneers at Betty.) He also has some creepy business going on with a video camera set up in his motel room — “fantasy fulfillment,” he calls it — and his rude welcome sends Alice running out in tears. Betty’s not ready to give up on him, though, and when she returns to the motel, she finds Chic right in the middle of getting stabbed and pepper-sprays his assailant, taking Chic back home to safety. The Coopers nurse him back to health, and it looks like this family might be coming together after all… until we see Betty sleeping peacefully, and Chic looming over her bed like a psycho. Yikes. Can’t Betty go a week without some lunatic obsessing over her?
But there was plenty of non-Cooper drama in “The Blackboard Jungle,” too:
THE REDHEAD AND THE FED | We also find out who’s been snapping those clandestine photos of Archie: It’s an FBI agent who thinks Hiram is “a very dangerous man” who’s tied up with organized crime, and wants Archie’s help in bringing him down. He tells Archie to find out if Nick St. Clair’s car “accident” was really an accident — so the FBI is recruiting teens to solve federal cases now? — and Archie is extra motivated to see Nick again after Cheryl blabs that he attacked Veronica, too. So Archie cooks up an excuse to get another hush-money check for Cheryl to replace the one that got tossed in the fire… and he dons Jason Blossom’s blazer for the big meeting. (Wha? Is he wearing a wire to collect evidence?)
When Archie confronts Nick, who’s laid up with two broken legs, the sleaze insists that he just had a “skiing accident.” He’s more than happy to write another check, but when Archie presses him for answers, Nick calls him a “small-town hick” and taunts him about Veronica — which results in Archie beating the tar out of him. Archie’s also a little mad at himself: He confesses to Veronica that he kissed Betty (!) during their Black Hood hunt. Ronnie takes the news hard, but calls it “a my-life-is-in-danger kiss” and forgives her Archiekins. When Archie meets again with the FBI guy, though, he has another nagging doubt on his mind. He asks the agent if he thinks Mr. Svenson actually was the Black Hood killer… because Archie’s still not sure. (Yeah, me either.)
NO JACKET REQUIRED | Jughead’s storyline this week basically boils down to: He and the Serpents are forced to transfer to Riverdale High after their school is shut down, and he doesn’t want to take his Serpent jacket off. (Really. That’s about it.) It seems a little silly — even F.P. tells him to just take the darn thing off — but Jughead finds a way around the rules, starting up a “Swords & Serpents” club that allows the Serpents to conduct gang business during school hours. The big news here, though, is that the Lodges conspired with Mayor McCoy to get Southside High shut down. The Lodges will buy the land underneath Southside High, and donate a portion of the profits to the mayor’s reelection campaign. When did Riverdale turn into House of Cards?
* Happy to get a heaping helping of Cheryl Blossom, aka “Fascist Barbie” (thanks for that, Veronica), this week. And it was pretty amusing that even though Cheryl brought home that fat check from Nick St. Clair, her mom Penelope wants to continue sleeping with strangers for money… oh, I mean “providing comfort and companionship to the lonely men of Riverdale.” Hey, finding a job you love to do is one of life’s greatest blessings.
* Considering how mad Hal got when Betty brought up Chic: Is it possible that Chic isn’t Hal’s son? Alice was kind of close with F.P. back then, wasn’t she?
* Speaking of Chic: The poor guy was bleeding from a pretty nasty stab wound. Maybe get him to a hospital, instead of bringing him home and patching him up with a first-aid kit?
* I’m liking the hint of a new romance between Kevin and Serpent gang member Fangs. Kevin Keller deserves to be happy, people!
* As an old-school video-game nerd, I enjoyed seeing Jughead and the Serpents smash buttons on Mortal Kombat at the Whyte Wyrm. That game is older than most of the actors on this show!
Got thoughts on tonight’s Riverdale? Grab a booth in the comments below.