[Featured Image: The CW]
Theories are going around between the core four this week as to whether this is really the Black Hood or a copycat. That question is thankfully answered by the end of this episode and we know for a fact that the Black Hood is definitely back when he calls Betty. We also know, through one of their conversations, that he set up Mr. Svenson.
Prior to getting the phone call, Betty has to deal with some other things. Upon investigating Chic with Jughead they obtain his file at the Sisters of Quiet Mercy and find a picture of Charles, her real brother, confirming that Chic is an imposter.
Betty and Jughead confront him about it and that little showdown was done really well. It was hilarious when Jughead told him to shut up, but I love that Alice didn’t quite believe it at first and Chic, like always, tried to lie and get out of it. From the promo video for this episode, I knew that something happened with Chic in the kitchen and Alice got hurt by a knife, but I didn’t expect something quite like this. The way it was filmed was really well don. The sequence was a quick but easy to watch. The way it most swiftly from the knife on the counter to Chic attempting to use it and hurting Alice to Betty knocking him out with a rolling pin.
From there they tie him up in the basement and try to get the truth out of him. After he attempts to lie again, Chic finally folds and tells them that he never said he was Charles at first, he told them he was Chic, which is true. Presumably, he didn’t decide to get involved with them until Betty came back and saved his life. When they ask him about the real Charles, Chic tells them that he came to the Cooper house one time and Alice turned him away, saying they weren’t interested. He then goes on to say that Charles died not long after by overdosing on jingle jangle.
Alice does confirm the story, however, we can assume that she didn’t know he was her son and she turned him away for other reasons (probably thinking he was trying to sell them something). Either way, Betty later finds that Chic might have killed Charles. I say might, because there is always that small possibility that the writers will spring him on us later in the show. Regardless, Alice still feels the pain of losing her real son and goes to FP to tell him what’s been going on.
That scene between Alice and FP was by far one of the best pieces of acting I’ve seen on Riverdale so far. It was filled with so much emotion and Mädchen Amick who plays Alice actually spoke about it and how she and Skeet Ulrich prepared for the scene in this interview. From the moment it was confirmed that Hal wasn’t the father, and even before then, most of us predicted that it would be FP Jones and finally we have that confirmation, unfortunately, it comes in the most heartbreaking way possible.
In just one short scene FP finds out that Alice had his baby and then immediately discovers that his son died, and because Alice is so upset, he has to quickly process the information he’s been given in order to stop her from leaving too quickly and comfort her. There’s still a lot more to unpack here. The way this scene was done was beautiful and honestly a little breathtaking, but we don’t know what conversation they had (if any) between leaving them there and seeing them again at the Cooper house. There’s no way it can just end there so most likely there’s going to be a lot more emotion to come.
Also, I’m going to take a moment here to commend Mädchen and Skeet’s acting in this episode, as well as Hart Denton who has been so fantastic as Chic this season.
When we do see them at the Cooper house, FP storms down to the basement and drags Jughead out of the house. He says that Alice and Betty need to decide what they’re going to do and then he and Jughead can help if need be. The fact that FP says they can help out implies that he doesn’t hate Alice for keeping their son a secret (at least not entirely, perhaps a small bit which he knows is irrational) and instead just needs time to process everything.
Once they’re gone, Alice and Betty decide it’s best to finally involve Hal as much as possible. They tell him about Chic and how they can’t go to the police because Alice helped him cover up a murder, leaving Betty out of it. With no solution in sight, Betty sneaks down to the basement and, with a gun in her hand, tells Chic they’re leaving.
It was interesting to see Betty use the Black Hood to her own advantage. After she tells Chic to run, and he finally does, she shares a look with the Black Hood. He doesn’t move an inch until Betty gives a slight nod and then he takes off. We know that he seems to care about her (in his own, twisted way) and he does seem to genuinely take her into consideration.
Later, when she’s home and has assured Alice that Chic is gone, Betty begins to suspect that Hal could be the Black Hood, and honestly, it makes sense. The problem is, does it make too much sense. Will Riverdale go down the obvious route or not? In this episode, he wasn’t around much. Just because he seemed shocked by Alice covering up a murder, doesn’t mean he actually was, and depending on when they noticed Betty and Chic were gone, he could have left the house in plenty of time to show up as the Black Hood. It’s almost the end of the season, so hopefully, we find out one way or another.
He and Claudius Blossom are my top picks so far for the Black Hood.
The other, next big plot, of this episode, was Archie and Veronica. The former is followed by a hooded man who at first appears to be connected to the Black Hood, but it turns out that it is Nick St Clair instead. After he and some other guys ambush Archie, he is taken to some kind of warehouse where he is tied up and held for ransom.
Logical reasoning or not, it was no surprise that Hiram refused to pay the ransom. This time there was a valid excuse, it would make them look weak, but I wonder if another time will come where Hiram doesn’t step up and Archie finally sees what he’s gotten himself into.
Regardless, Veronica deals with it herself. Taking some cash without asking and agreeing to meet with Nick who proposes that they finish what they started in exchange for Archie going free. The two of them later meet up with Archie watching from a webcam. Angered, and concerned, by what might happen, he breaks free from his restraints and runs to help Veronica. Although this side of the episode didn’t interest me that much, it was nice to see that Veronica didn’t actually need his help and that when he showed up, Nick was lying on the floor after being drugged.
Hopefully, that’s the last we see of Nick St Clair, but Hiram and Hermione didn’t see that thrilled by Veronica holding him for ransom so it might not be the last we’ll hear about the situation, but things will probably move on. Archie tells Hiram that he wants to take down the Black Hood so that is probably going to lead somewhere more, and the Nick St Clair story this episode seems to have just been a way to lead into that.
The other thing worth mentioning is Sheriff Keller. I do think Riverdale went a bit hard on his incompetence, it could have been played out a little more, but now that he’s stepping down it’ll be interesting to see who his replacement is and whether it’ll be a good thing for the town or not.
It’s no surprise that Hiram and Hermione decided to use the pain of the town to further her chances as the future Mayor and as an opportunity to take out Sherrif Keller. Seen as they prompted, and allowed, Cheryl, to write an article, I wonder if they’re going to influence who the replacement will be.
At this point, I’m hoping that the current Lodge storyline and the Black Hood storyline get closure by the end of this season. There are little things like Alice and FP’s history that should continue on, but the really big storylines need to close up so we can some fresh, perhaps midly related, ones next season.