Riverdale recap: 'Chapter Thirty-Two: Prisoners'
Chic's story is revealed as the Black Hood returns to Riverdale
Well, I have good and bad news: The bad news is that this week’s Riverdale is not another musical episode. The good news, however, is that the show pretends it is, at least in the beginning, as we open on Cheryl singing at Midge’s funeral. It’s a fantastic opening that’s cut together with Sheriff Keller interrogating everyone who was at the school the night that Midge was killed. I do have one question: Is this school so rich that it can afford to give its cheerleading squad a special set of black uniforms? Actually, better question: Is death so common in Riverdale that the school thought black uniforms were a good investment? Apparently, the answer is yes!
Also, in a fun twist, it seems the Vixens have decided that they’re the new vigilantes — move over, Dark Circle! — because as Cheryl says AT THE FUNERAL — because if that’s not an appropriate place, what is? —the Vixens “won’t rest until those responsible for the murder of our sister is rightly punished.” What are they going to do, smother the Black Hood with their pom-poms? (This is not a female thing! This is yet another teenager thing!)
Cheryl then tells Sheriff Keller, “Your days of failing this town over and over again are numbered sheriff.” Again, how does a child think she has so much power? I think her turn as Carrie has gone to her head.
And that brings us to the Black Hood debate. Jug’s working theory is that Chic is acting as a copycat killer, whereas Archie thinks they got the wrong guy in the first place. Perhaps the REAL Black Hood was simply working with Svenson. What does Archie have to back this theory up? He looked into the Black Hood’s eyes and “they weren’t Mr. Svenson’s eyes.” I mean, if that’s not solid evidence, I don’t know what is.
The next morning, Archie fails to convince his father to get out of town. (He’s worried about the Black Hood’s promise to go after everyone who escaped him before). But as it turns out, Archie should be way more concerned about his own safety and a different guy in a black hood. Actually, three guys in black hoods. Long story short, Archie is kidnapped by none other than Nick St. Clair, AKA that guy you were really hoping to never see again. Yep, he’s back! And he’s holding Archie for ransom to prove to his father that he can be all big and bad. Only, Hiram isn’t interested in paying a million dollars for Archie’s safety. After all, Archie isn’t even family, and caving into Nick’s demands would make them look weak. (Especially because Nick isn’t even old enough to drink.)
Hiram tells Veronica to let him handle the Nick situation, but instead, she breaks into her family’s safe…and this is where things get really embarrassing: There’s not even a million dollars in the Lodge’s safe! How can they even show their faces in public?! Honestly. So, Ronnie has to go to Plan B: She agrees to give Nick what he’s always wanted: a night of passion at his hotel. And he intends to make Archie watch on a live feed. Welcome to torture in 2018! (Next: The end of Chic?)
But before we get to all of that disgustingness, across town, Betty decides that she and Jughead should look into Chic, especially seeing as how both Chic and Svenson spent time at the Sisters of Quiet Mercy when Svenson was the groundskeeper. Together, Betty and Jug pay the sisters a visit, and after a bit of blackmail about their secret gay reeducation camp, they’re able to see Betty’s brother’s file. Only, the “Charles Smith” in the photo is not Chic. HE’S NOT HER BROTHER!
Betty and Jug confront Chic back at the house, at which point he grabs a knife and cuts Alice before Betty knocks him out. They tie him up in the basement — people being tied to chairs is clearly a theme of this episode — and question him. He admits that he met the real Charles on the streets before they became roommates at the Sisters of Quiet Mercy. And according to Chic, Charles tried to come home. One day, he knocked on the front door and when Alice slammed the door in his face, he overdosed on Jingle Jangle.
Alice immediately remembers the boy in the photo, which sends her off on an “I killed my son” spiral, which leads her straight to FP’s door. And, like many of us suspected, she tells FP that Charles was in fact his son!!! FP tries to calm her down, but ultimately, he decides to go remove Jughead from the Cooper house and let the Cooper women figure out how they want to handle things. But first, he has to help Betty with one last thing.
Still searching for answers, Betty and Jug head back to the motel where they first found Chic. They ask the woman who lived next to Chic and Charles if she knew of Charles having any drug problem, and the way she tells it, Chic murdered Charles. One night, she heard a fight, and “then one day there was only one, the bad one.” She also claims to have seen bloody sheets in the dumpster out back.
But Chic won’t own up to any of it. He’s not interested in telling them the truth, and that’s when Betty decides how things are going to go…and it involves the Black Hood. Apparently in Riverdale you can program someone else’s phone to have a specific ringtone for you, because when Betty hears her phone start singing “Lollipop,” she knows who’s calling. The Hood is definitely back, and he admits to killing Midge and setting up Svenson. Now, he wants Betty to hand Chic over to him. After all, Chic is the ultimate sinner.
So, while Alice is busy telling Hal — yes, Hal! — the truth about everything, Betty sneaks into the basement with a gun and convinces Chic to go on a walk with her to the nearby cemetery. Once there, Chic admits that he killed Charles. “I lost control,” he tells Betty. “I didn’t mean to hurt him.” Just then, the Hood shows up, and Betty gives Chic a head start. As he takes off running — with the Hood hot on his trail — Betty says goodbye to her non-brother.
Although, should she have given him a head start? Based purely on size, I don’t think it’s going to be a problem for Chic to outrun the Black Hood, so Betty really could’ve just shot herself in the foot. But oh well. That’s another problem for another day.
Let’s get back to Veronica and her night with Nick St. Clair, the teen terrorist who thinks having a limp means he should be paid a million dollars! While Archie watches on the live feed, Veronica meets up with Nick, fixes them drinks, and the two begin to dance. Only, it’s clear that she slipped something in his drink. It’s also clear that Nick’s besties are idiots because apparently Archie can easily bust out of the chair he’s tied to, which leads to Archie sprinting across town to save his woman, who needs no saving. By the time Archie busts down the hotel room floor, Nick is passed out on the floor. Veronica gave him a taste of his own medicine and drugged him.
She then calls his parents and ransoms Nick for a million dollars, which she presents to her parents with a question: Why didn’t they do anything about Archie’s kidnapping? Hiram heads to his study to explain things to Archie, but instead, Archie can’t stop thinking about a stupid phrase that Nick kept saying: Archie wants to “make his bones” with Hiram, which essentially means kill someone, I guess? I don’t speak mobster. Archie’s plan: to kill the Black Hood. So yeah, unfortunately, vigilante Archie is back. (But will he clash with the Vigilante Vixens?!)
On a much more interesting note, Betty returns home from getting rid of Chic to find out that Hal left and “went looking for you.” I TOLD YOU ALL HAL WAS THE BLACK HOOD!!!
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(And then I should probably mention that Hermione got Cheryl to wire an op-ed about how terrible Sheriff Keller is at his job, after which the deputy mayor asked Keller to step down. Here’s to hoping the next Sheriff looks just as good with his shirt off.)
Overall, I’m not sure what the point of Chic was if this episode is the end of his story. Obviously there’s a chance it won’t be, but you never really know. I’m also not exactly loving all of the teen vigilantes, but I did appreciate the darker tone of the hour.