After a holiday break, Riverdale returns as the town tries to get back to normal in the wake of the unmasking of the Black Hood. But things aren’t so hunky-dory for everyone, and the episode kicked off with what was probably the most shocking and unexpected revelation of all — Hermione Blossom has turned to … prostitution to keep her and Cheryl (and presumably Granny Blossom) in the lifestyle they’re accustomed to. Or at least to pay the bills Cheryl racked up on presents and a tree for Christmas. And, apparently, she is enjoying her new vocation very much (although it appears it may be a job she’s had in the past).
But with the Black Hood gone, there are still some shady goings-on in town. At the end of the last episode, someone was snapping photos of Archie, and this week we find out it’s an FBI agent following Archie because of his connection to the Lodges. Archie is surprised to learn that Hiram may be involved with organized crime (which makes that payoff of his dad’s medical bills a bit touchy) and he may also be responsible for the accident that befell Nick St. Clair. But why would Lodge have had something like that done? Talking to Cheryl (and it’s nice to see her back in her signature red with a spider brooch), she inadvertently revealed to Archie Nick’s similar attempts with Veronica that he did with Cheryl, so now Hiram has a motive for sending a message to the St. Clairs, especially now that they are no longer in business together.
Needing confirmation, Archie pays a visit to Nick, supposedly on Cheryl’s behalf to collect a new check to replace the one that was “lost” — i.e. burned in the fireplace — but to also find out if what Cheryl told him about Veronica was true. When Archie learned the truth, he took it out on Nick’s face … even when the guy could barely defend himself with two shattered legs. Probably not the best move, especially when Nick texted Veronica about the incident. But, she forgave Archie after Cheryl took the bullet and said she told Archie about what happened. Later, Veronica still felt that Archie was hiding something, and he told her that Cheryl had been blackmailing him after she saw him and Betty kiss before the Black Hood buried him alive, which was after he and Ronnie had broken up. But their love heals all wounds and she wasn’t going to allow one “this may be my last night on Earth” kiss come between them.
But the Lodges have a lot more on their plate than Nick St. Clair. They’ve made a deal — with Veronica on board — to work with the mayor and shut down South Side High, moving some of the students including Sweet Pea, Toni, Fangs and Jughead to Riverdale High. And then they plan to buy the property South Side High sits on, and give the mayor a sizable campaign contribution. But Jughead has gone full Serpent and despite Veronica’s welcoming committee, Cheryl and Reggie have other ideas about where the transfer students should go. Trouble only escalates when someone tags the school’s seal with the Serpents symbol (and everyone BUT Principal Weatherbee knew it was Reggie) which led to the new school policy of no gang jackets or visible tattoos. Oddly enough, everyone but Jughead was okay with it because Riverdale high is a much better school. It even has flushing toilets! But Jughead refuses to “shed his skin” which leads to a violent altercation with Reggie resulting in new “uniforms” for the transfer students and a suspension for Jughead for refusing to take off the jacket.
But a talk with FP sets him straight. It’s no big deal to wear the jacket after school. A Serpent can shed its skin and hibernate, and that’s what Jughead needs to do for the time being. He agrees, but he’s really not cool with the new uniform. But, putting on a brave face, he acquiesces and then forms a new club, Swords and Serpents, a gamer club which is just a front for Serpents to be Serpents under everyone’s noses. We’ll see how far that gets him, but I’m not liking this “new” Jughead. But, could Kevin Keller have a new friend? It seems that Fangs was close with Joaquin and knew a lot about Kevin, so there seemed to be a little spark there.
Betty found her world rocked a bit when she found Polly sneaking around the house collecting some of her belongings. Turns out she had her twins, and named them Juniper and Dagwood. Betty’s reaction to the names was priceless. What is surprising, besides the names, is that The Farm where Polly ran off to is apparently a cult. She denies it, but Betty is pretty sure it is. Betty is also hurt that Polly didn’t even call them when the twins were born, and she wouldn’t have known if Betty hadn’t come home early. So now that she doesn’t feel like she has a sister anymore, what better time to replace her with a long, lost brother! With the help of Jughead’s social worker, they track down Charles Smith who lives two towns over. The kid had been in the foster system until he was 18, never adopted.
The Coopers aren’t thrilled by Betty’s actions, but later Alice admits she wants to see her son even though Hal wants nothing to do with him. They find Charles, or Chic as he prefers to be called, at a hostel where he works with clients at fantasy fulfillment. He knows about the Coopers, even went by the house once but didn’t think they’d want someone like him in their house. He asks them to leave, but Betty can’t let it go and returns to the hostel later to find Chic being assaulted by the desk clerk who stabbed him in the arm. Betty pepper sprays the guy and gets Chic home to safety. After Alice and Hal attend to his wounds, she tucks him in but he creeps his way into Betty’s room with Jughead’s ominous voice over suggesting that while she and Archie helped get rid of one monster, Betty may have just let another one into her home.
At the end of the episode, Archie met again with the FBI agent — and is anyone wondering if this guy actually is an FBI agent? — and told him about Hiram’s motive for hurting Nick. But if Archie is going to continue helping, he wants his dad and Veronica kept safely out of things which the agent said he could make happen. And then Archie asked the $64,000 question — if the FBI agent had been following him for some time, he must have known about the unmasking of the Black Hood. Did he think they got the right man? Because Archie isn’t so sure. BOOM! I knew this Black Hood thing wasn’t done. And I paid real close attention to Hal Cooper’s eyes this week and I am convinced more than ever that he is the Black Hood, and we’ll find out for sure by the end of the season. He can’t not be the Black Hood, am I right?!?
And this week’s title is from the 1955 film about an inner city high school where a teacher tries to deal with the diverse students and their anti-social behavior.
What did you think of this episode? How deep is Archie going to get with the FBI? Will Jughead snap out of it? What is Chic’s story? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.