Black Hood issues a threat to the town to remain sinless and he’ll ease up. Does Riverdale listen? Of course not, and now there’s hell to pay.
As if you had any concern that Riverdale would have fallen victim to the sophomore slump syndrome by now, the series continues to deliver truly chilling twists. Opting for an isolated storytelling format in the latest episode, each act centered on a pair of characters dealing with Black Hood’s town-wide threat. It’s a daring, boundary-pushing episode that fits in with the best of Peak TV.
The opening disclaimer warns viewers that “Tales from the Darkside” isn’t your average episode of Riverdale, with an old-timey narrator (notably not Jughead) referencing the trauma our young protagonists are facing. For Archie and the gang, the haunting decree arrives at Pop’s: No sins, no bloodshed. But these kids have work to do. Remember that favor Jughead owes Penny Peabody? She cashes it in and forces Jug into a tricky corner. Meanwhile, Josie leans on Cheryl when Chuck Clayton’s advances supposedly turn creepy as Betty and Veronica test a couple theories about the recently sketchy Sheriff Keller. Let’s dig into the five most shocking moments and developments from the latest jaw-dropping, blood-splattered episode of Riverdale. (Warning: It’s about to get real spoilery in here.)
1. Penny Peabody needs a favor.
Never trust a snake charmer. Penny Peabody’s so sly and devious that I don’t think even the likes of Revenge’s Emily Thorne could outwit her. She cold calls Jughead, which he should have never answered because caller ID is very much a thing and so is screening calls. But Jug meets with Penny, and she tells him that FP tangled with Ghoulies in jail. In order to help pay for his dad’s latest legal setbacks, Jughead must move a crate of drugs to Greendale. Oh, Jug. You’re in way over your crown beanie, pal.
2. Archie and Judghead take Greendale.
Ever the loyal golden retriever, Archie accompanies Jughead to Greendale with Fred’s truck towing the crate of drugs. It’s the reality show we deserve: Archie and Jughead Take Greendale. Of course, they don’t even make it across the river before popping a tire and meeting a mysterious stranger. Jughead accepts a ride from the stranger, who rattles on about the Riverdale Reaper, a killer from the past. Now is NOT the time for urban legends. Read the room, bud.
Archie and his debit card save Jughead from a near-illegal dine and dash situation, which only leads them to their worst discovery yet. Juggie’s in too deep with the Serpents, and there’s no escape route. Never mind the sinister wheelchair-bound druglord wearing a black beret. Penny Peabody has Jughead (and Archie!) making the drug drop on camera, and the kicker? She lied about FP’s condition to really stick it to Jug. See, she’s got beef with FP that Jughead has now inherited.Photo Credit: Riverdale/The CW, Shane Harvey Image Acquired from CWTVPR
3. Josie’s living nightmare brought to you by Cheryl.
Guess who’s back? Chuck Clayton! But this time, Betty won’t be making soup out of him. Because, as he tells it, he’s turned over a new leaf: He’s going to church (confirmed by Pop Tate) and aspires to illustrate comic books. I have to hand it to him — he’s charming. And he’s working his charms on Josie, who receives threatening gifts in her locker. Mommy Dearest McCoy isn’t here for Josie’s independence, and neither is Josie after finding a pig’s heart waiting for her. But who’s behind the eerie presents? Not Chuck Clayton. It’s Cheryl, Josie’s new bestie and apparent stalker.
4. Sheriff Keller isn’t Black Hood… maybe.
Perhaps the one thing more dangerous than Black Hood himself is Betty Cooper with a theory. During pillow talk with Jughead, Betty muses about Black Hood’s murder of The Sugarman. How did the killer break into the police station without struggle or sight? Naturally, Betty assumes Sheriff Keller dons the black mask each night. Kevin adds fuel to Betty’s fire when he mentions his father hasn’t been eating or sleeping and ducks out of the house in the wee hours. On the other hand, Veronica’s theory originates from a normal teen drama: He’s having an affair.Photo Credit: Riverdale/The CW, Shane Harvey Image Acquired from CWTVPR
5. Black Hood isn’t happy.
Betty and Veronica team up to investigate each of their theories by infiltrating the Keller home. Veronica has a sleepover with Kevin, poking around like an amateur Ron Mars. However, Betty’s methods are full-on Ron Mars. She uses the hide-a-key to break in and snoop in Keller’s home office, where she finds the spare black hood. He catches her in the act, but he clears his name with Betty and generously forgives her intrusion.
Later, B and V track the sheriff to a motel room and witness an incriminating smooch between him and Mayor McCoy. We knew the sheriff and the mayor were close for professional reasons, but their affair translates to corrupt power leading Riverdale into danger. In the end, Pop Tate answers a call from Black Hood, who provides an update on his warning. They failed, and the reckoning will arrive in due time. Whose sin was the straw that broke the killer’s back?
Odds & Ends:
- “Tales from the Darkside” recalled the standout episode from Dawson’s Creek fifth season, “Four Scary Stories.” Even though Riverdale incorporated the episode’s divergent format into the season-long narrative, it’ll go down in history as a daring and stellar standalone hour.
- Just when you thought Cheryl had lost her edge, she barks “Move it, Bert and Ernie!” at Archie and Jughead. Beyond perfect.
- Speaking of Cheryl, is she just bored or is she for real obsessed with Josie? Either way, I’m prepared to take the on-ramp for whatever bonkers highway we’re headed down with Queen Cheryl.
- “Do you take debit?” Ah, Archie Andrews. Our knight with shining plastic. Is there anyone as pure of heart and earnest in Riverdale as Archiekins?
- Black Hood update: There’s zero chance it’s Keller. Red herring du jour. I’m still betting my chips on Chic Cooper, but I’ve recently come across a doozy of a theory. Hold onto your freaky black berets: Polly. Could it be true?
What did you think of the latest episode? Let us know in the comments!
Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on The CW.