[Featured Image: The CW/Netflix]
At first, I was happy to see Archie out there campaigning for Fred. He looked really adorable in that hoody as he handed out flyers. However, to no real surprise, it turns out he’s not actually campaigning and instead using it as a way to cross some people off as the Black Hood. Well, that’s what he told Hiram, but it seems to be true. At least we got that beautiful moment when a voter said they’re voting for Hiram Lodge, and Archie says “don’t you mean Hermione Lodge?”
Archie seems to be coming to his senses finally and hopefully this time he really is stepping away from Hiram, especially with Veronica going against him too. This episode really felt like the start of what is seemingly going to be some kind of a downfall for the Lodge plans. At the very least, it appears that Hiram’s true colours are going to shine through more than ever. Some of the town’s residents already don’t trust him and now his own daughter seems to have seen the light. Until this storyline comes to a close there’s always a chance that Veronica could go back to his side, but for now, she’s showing her support for Fred.
Hopefully, Archie follows suit. He did make the choice to go home with Fred after the shooting at the debate, he also showed up to help Jughead at the police station, and he didn’t seem too happy at the idea of Hiram paying the Dark Circle and suggesting Reggie be in charge. Hermione is also having her doubts and I wonder how long it will take for her to snap. The shooting clearly put some things into perspective for her, but she’s still very much loyal to her husband.
Let’s talk theory for a moment. We know that Hiram has the Register which means that they control the news being fed to Riverdale, and now he’s revealed that he controls the Sherrif. The only thing he needs is the Mayor and nothing will stand in the way of his plans. This is shown when he convinces Archie to bring the Dark Circle back so Hermione can show Riverdale that Fred can’t even control his own son. It’s clear that Hiram will do anything to get what he wants, so is it really that outlandish to think he would fake a Black Hood attack?
Fred gets a note pinned to his front door and Hiram is able to suggest that they delay the debate. He seems a little put off when Fred instantly declines that idea, wishing to go forward with it. Even if that note was real, the Black Hood that attacked the debate could still be a fake. I wouldn’t put it past Hiram Lodge to hire someone. No one actually got hurt. It stopped the debate at a point where it was revealed Archie created the Dark Circle and it was implied that Fred couldn’t handle his own household, giving him no chance to defend himself and reassure voters that he could. Also, I full-heartedly believe that Hiram would sacrifice anyone to get his way, but he would still try to take routes that kept Hermione and Veronica safe. He’s adamant that they won’t withdraw from the running because he needs the Mayor in his pocket, but I wonder if he’s also not worried because he knew Hermione wouldn’t get hurt in the shooting.
If it was a fake attack the real Black Hood isn’t going to be happy and might actually attack for real next time. It also puts Hal back on the table as a suspect. We just need to see if he turns up to speak to Betty because that would put him there while Cheryl is being confronted. The only other explanation is that there are multiple Black Hoods.
Betty also doesn’t seem so sure that it was the Black Hood and still continues to suspect Hal. She does everything this episode from enlisting Cheryl’s help to breaking into her father’s BnB room to confessing about her involvement with Chic’s disappearance. By the end of the episode, when she lays out all those things along with a gun, we know that she’s done playing, she wants answers. If anyone is going to get answers I want it to be her or Archie, they’re both the most involved and they were the ones that tracked down the Black Hood before.
Hal being the Black Hood is obvious, there’s so much incriminating evidence, but I think that it works. Regardless of who it is, Riverdale really needs to pull it off. It needs to be someone we know for the emotional payoff and there has to be a good explanation. If they can pull that off, it really doesn’t matter who it is. I am kind of hoping it’s Hal though (or Claudius) failing that, it would be interesting if the Black Hood was a group and not just one person.
There were a couple of other little moments throughout this side of the episode that are worth mentioning. Firstly, the fact that Jughead thought it was a joke when Betty said that Hal could be the Black Hood. That really highlights that he’s not someone that people would even consider looking at. However, Cheryl’s reaction is the opposite. Although she doesn’t believe he’s capable she knows full well that sometimes you don’t know until its too late. This is most likely going to be the two reactions of everyone once the identity is revealed. I also loved her likening Hal to a marshmallow man.
Cheryl was also really great at supporting Betty during this episode. She has definitely changed over the course of the show so far and she has by far one of the most interesting character arcs in Riverdale.
The Bulldogs and Serpents coming head to head didn’t lead to anything good. We could assume, based on the musical episode, that Fangs was the one sleeping with Midge. It’s also no surprise that Reggie jumped right into revenge without really thinking it through or listening to reason. He’s done similar things in the past, his anger usually gets the better of him.
When Fangs got arrested at least he was safe from the crowds but with the Sherrif being in Hiram’s pocket it’s really not that shocking that he wasn’t charged and was released instead. Having control over the Dark Circle, Hiram knew that Reggie wouldn’t stand for Fangs being released and he would do something extreme, which he did. It is a little unclear whether he is the one that shot Fangs or not. He’s knocked to the floor by Archie and then there’s a long pause before the gun goes off. We don’t see Reggie during this time. He could have grabbed the gun and fired. Reggie and Archie both look stunned so perhaps they fought over the gun and it went off, or maybe someone else took the shot.
Before this, inside the police station, the Serpents try to figure out a way to get Fangs out safely and the Sherrif is no help whatsoever. Fangs freaking out and saying he doesn’t want to die was so heartbreaking, especially when he gets shot later. The baby Serpents banding together to protect Fangs was so beautiful, especially when they were met by FP and some other Serpents outside. They stuck together as a group even when the gun went off.
Some other good moments to note about these portions of the episode: Sierra Mcoy (now an Attorney) representing Fangs pro bono, and Joaquin finally showing back up after all this time. These two things really do show that there really are a lot of people working against Hiram. They come from the North and South, they each have varying skills, and even their contacts out of town are willing to help.
Overall, this episode was explosive and really did feel like the start of what is going to be a massive end to this season. No doubt the Black Hood story will come to an end in terms of finding out who it is (or who they are if it’s a group) but the aftermath of that reveal might leak into next season. We’ll probably also see some kind of conclusion with the Lodge storyline that will catapult us into the next stage for the next season. Either Hiram successfully gets what he wants or he’s stopped, but I doubt we’ll see the effects of this until season 3.
We’ll probably also get more to do with Chic and Charles. In this interview, Mädchen Amick said that Alice and FP would become more complicated and the last we saw, she told him that Charles was his son. We also only have Chic’s word that Charles is really dead and it’s still unclear whether or not the Black Hood caught up with Chic. Similarly to Hiram’s storyline, we’re probably going to get some answers that will continue on throughout the third season.