Riverdale season 2, episode 16 recap: Betty catches bad men… Who’s next?

Photo Credit: Riverdale/The CW, Katie Yu Image Acquired from CWTVPR
Photo Credit: Riverdale/The CW, Katie Yu Image Acquired from CWTVPR /

As two elections increase the divide between both sides of Riverdale, Betty’s war at home reaches a breaking point. Can she crack Chic’s code?

After something of a bumpy middle third of its second season, Riverdale appears to have figured itself out and smoothed out the rougher edges. There’s still a ways to go before the full vision connects, but the light at the end of the tunnel begins to peek through the recently convoluted crime politics. In the latest episode, the unbridgeable gap between the dueling sectors of town takes tangible shape in a pair of elections with everything on the line.

“Primary Colors” seemingly borrows its title from the political film (and book) of the same name, and its double meaning isn’t lost in the energetic hour. As Hermione runs for mayor, Veronica decides to throw her name on the student body president ticket at school. Meanwhile, Jughead’s protest of Hiram’s prison conflicts with Archie’s allegiance to the Lodges, and Betty butts heads with Chic in a big way. Will he be the next bad man she catches? Let’s dig into the five most shocking developments from the latest jaw-dropping episode of Riverdale(Warning: It’s about to get real spoilery in here.)

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1. She’s running.

Although the series made it seem like Hermione was simply stepping into the role of mayor, she’s putting her name on the ballot. Meaning, we have yet to endure the worst of the impending campaign. Veronica, on the other hand, bears the brunt of her parents’ wrondoings with a milkshake to the face from Ethel Muggs.

Despite her mother’s insistence to keep a low profile, Ronnie runs for student body president, and it’s not without scandal. When she asks for Josie’s endorsement, she doesn’t realize the Pussycat will bite back. A brutal(ly honest) printout tanks Veronica’s campaign and with it Betty’s trust. The Lodge women are going to need more help than Andy Cohen can provide.

2. Jughead mobilizes a Southside revolt.

One thing’s for sure: Jughead Jones doesn’t go down without a fight. But doesn’t it feel like he’s been losing this same battle all season? That’s not to say he should give up, though it wouldn’t be the worst idea to actually do something.

This week, he gives a hunger strike and an ultra-dramatic standoff a shot. Jug and the rest of the Sepents chain themselves not to the rhythm but to Southside High— what will become Hiram’s prison. Of course, Archie follows Hiram’s orders and cuts Jughead’s chains, but that’s not the end of Jug’s crusade: He’s running for president, too. Checkmate!

Photo Credit: Riverdale/The CW, Katie Yu Image Acquired from CWTVPR
Photo Credit: Riverdale/The CW, Katie Yu Image Acquired from CWTVPR /

3. Chic snatches Betty’s wig… literally.

Picking up where Betty left off last week, she confronts Chic after finding out via DNA testing that he doesn’t have Blossom blood. Obviously, that means that Chic isn’t her brother… or does it? Alice confirms what we’ve known all along: Hal isn’t his father. But that’s only scratching the surface of Betty’s issues with Chic.

When Betty walks in on Chic and Kevin hanging out, she’s none too pleased to learn that Kevin told Chic the truth about catfishing him. She threatens him with her “darkness,” which involves holding a lighter over his face while he’s sleeping. Chic blows up Dark Betty’s spot with Alice, handing over her black wig and intel on sex with Jughead. Later, Betty attempts to hold the murder over his head, but he flips it right back on her. He implicated her. She can’t catch this bad man.

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4. Archie needs an exorcism.

In my notes for the episode, I scribbled “Archie’s a problematic mess right now,” and that could honestly be true for most of this season. However, to watch Archie fall so haplessly to the whims and dangers of Hiram is almost unbelievable. It takes Mary coming back into town to negotiate Fred out of his contract with the Lodges to knock a bit of sense into Archiekins, at least when it comes to disrespecting Fred. For now, Archie’s still doing Hiram’s bidding, even as Fred announces his run for mayor. You’ll want to rethink that blood oath, buddy.

Photo Credit: Riverdale/The CW, Katie Yu Image Acquired from CWTVPR
Photo Credit: Riverdale/The CW, Katie Yu Image Acquired from CWTVPR /

5. Cheryl lives in a house of horrors.

Sure, Cheryl has lived in a house of horrors since day one (friendly reminder that her father, a drug smuggler among other things, killed her twin brother then hanged himself). The mysterious arrival of her father’s twin brother Claudius has only made conditions worse. She fears for her life, which inspires her to plan an impromptu sleepover with her inner circle River Vixens.

During the slumber party, Nana Rose takes a tumble down the stairs, but it was no accident. The doctor informs Cheryl of the trace toxins found in Nana, leading Cheryl to accuse her mother of poisoning her grandmother and coming for her next. But it’s all part of Penelope’s plan. She sends Cheryl to an “all-girls boarding school in Switzerland,” which is code for Cheryl’s “conversion.” Could you believe this is all because Claudius and Penelope want Clifford’s inheritance?

Next: Riverdale season 2, episode 15 recap: Revenge of the Lodges

Odds & Ends:

  • If primary colors provide the existence of other colors via mixing, who are the red, yellow, and blue of Riverdale?
  • There were two awesome visual homages to Glee and Cruel Intentions with the milkshake in the face and the hand-drawn flier takedown. Guess that makes Ronnie a Rachel-Kathryn combo? (But sorry, Jug. Betty is no Tracy Flick.)
  • Ethel calling out Veronica for “sexualizing the election” could either be the series being self-aware about popular critiques or just these kids being “woke.”
  • Alice says there’s no chance that FP could be Chic’s father, but do we really believe her? Maybe that’s wishful thinking on her part.
  • I suspect Claudius will be the next bad man Betty will catch. Right? After this week, I’m not sure if Chic’s actually bad and I kinda ship him with Kevin. SOS.
  • Black Hood count: Once, when Betty threatens Chic with her “I catch bad men” speech.

What did you think of the latest episode? Let us know in the comments!

Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on The CW.