Riverdale recap: 'Chapter Twenty: Tales from the Darkside'
Ever since Riverdale‘s second season decided to lean much more heavily on the thriller “whodunnit” aspect of the series, I’ve been waiting for an episode like tonight’s. I felt the stakes in this hour. I believed the drama. And I loved it as much as I loved Sheriff Keller’s abs (which is to say A LOT).
The hour kicks off with a type of news announcement — as text scrolls the screen, a voice-over tells us about the three twisted tales connected to the Black Hood. “These latest chapters began with the discovery of a letter from the Black Hood affixed to the door of Pop Tate’s Chock’lit Shoppe.” And that’s where the hour starts…
At Pop’s, the sheriff reads the letter: The Black Hood is giving everyone in Riverdale 48 hours. He’s watching them all closely. This is a test. If they show him they’re pure of heart, his work ends. Otherwise, well, you know what happens.
Cutting to Betty and Jughead in bed, Betty wonders how the Black Hood got into the sheriff’s station to kill Mr. Phillips, which gives her an idea. But that’s put on pause when Jug gets a phone call from Penny Peabody. She’s ready to cash in that favor.
Jug meets Penny at Pop’s, where she tells him that his dad had an unfortunate shower run-in with the Ghoulies and is currently in the infirmary. Translation: They need to get FP out of jail and fast. But considering Jug literally has $18 to his name, he needs a plan. Well, Penny has one: Jug does a one-time delivery for her, and he can use his cut for his dad’s case. And with that, Jug agrees to transport a crate of “pancake mix” to Greendale.
And that brings us to the first of three twisted tales…
ARCHIE & JUGHEAD
In need of a car to transport the crate, Jug calls on his best friend. And considering Archie still “owes” Jug from the stunt he pulled calling Keller at the street race, he agrees to borrow his dad’s truck and help Jug, no questions asked.
That night, they head out pick up the crate and drive it to Greendale. Along the way, they play some fun road trip games, such as “How do we get Jughead out of the Serpents?” Sadly, they don’t come up with an answer, but Archie does get to share a lovely dream he has where Jug and Archie live in the East Village and Betty and Veronica are roommates on Park Avenue. But sadly, they’re not living a dream, and in this reality, they could both end up in jail.
And that jail option is looking more likely considering they just got a flat tire and Archie doesn’t have a spare. Who can they call? Betty? No, Archie shuts that down. He’s not dragging her into this. Kevin? Sure, he’s fine with dragging Kevin into this. (Way to be good friends, guys.)
But before Arch can make the call, a complete and total stranger pulls up and offers to drop one of them off in Greendale (with the crate) for the cost of $18 — Jug wasn’t kidding when he said that’s all he had. And to make things even sketchier, there’s a creepy tarp in the back of this guy’s truck, and he tells Jug not to look under it. So naturally, Jug ignores the fact that there could be a dead body — it ends up being a dead deer — in the back of this truck and gets in, leaving Archie to call Triple C (and make eye contact with a bloody dear?).
On the road trip, Jug gets to listen to the radio talk about a group of people who believe the Black Hood is doing God’s work before his new friend brings up the Riverdale Reaper. After getting gas, Jug agrees to stop at a café with the guy, where he explains that, years ago, the Riverdale Reaper killed an entire family in their sleep. As for what happened next, no one really knows. He could still be in town. Heck, he could even be the Black Hood. (So the police work has always been terrible in Riverdale. Good to know.)
At the end of the meal, Jug is left with the bill, and when the stranger tries to make off with his crate, Archie shows up to save the day. But seeing as how it’s already 11:52, they’ve got eight minutes to get the crate to Greendale before things even more dangerous.
Waiting for them in Greendale is a Russian (?) woman in a wheelchair, and I have so many questions. So does Jug, who’s told that he’s the new delivery guy now that the Serpents are taking over for the Ghoulies.
After it’s all over, Jug decides to pay his father a visit and, shockingly, his face is fine. There’s no evidence that FP was attacked…probably because he wasn’t. Yep, Penny tricked him. And then she got security footage of Jug and Archie carrying in the crate. So you know the story: Jug either keeps up the deliveries or she sends the video to the cops. It seems FP owes Penny a debt, and she’s making Jug pay it. (To be fair, your dad warned you, Jug.) (Next: Josie has a stalker…)
At the school, Josie is staying late to rehearse — so late that the janitor has to lock up and she agrees to sneak out the side like she usually does. But her mom is not a fan of that plan. She gives her daughter a curfew to try to keep her safe, and yet all she’s really doing is stressing her out, and stress is not a good thing for Josie (or anyone, really) because it affects her vocal chords and apparently she’s trying to go solo.
After Josie helped save Cheryl from Nick, Cheryl decided to repay her debt by putting Josie in touch with a music producer friend, and he’s offered Josie some studio time…but only if it’s JUST Josie. (Is that the new Just Jack?)
But that’s not all Josie has to worry about. Someone put a stuffed animal in her locker with a note that says, “I’ll be watching you,” which doesn’t alarm her nearly as much as it should. Apparently, this is the third gift she’s gotten from some “secret admirer,” whose name might be Chuck Clayton? At least that’s what Josie thinks after Chuck asks her out. (She turns him down, obviously).
That night, Josie also turns down the recording studio in order to get a “eucalyptus steam” for her voice, which they have at the high school?! Maybe if they spent a little less money on steams and more on better training for their cops, Riverdale wouldn’t have so many murderers!
After her steam, Josie has a run-in with the Pussycats, who got a note in their locker about her solo career and are understandably pissed at her for ditching them. And in return, they ditch her right back. Now, Josie really is on her own…though not literally. For some reason, Chuck’s still at the school, so Josie takes her mom’s advice and asks for a ride home. Chuck, seeing this as an opportunity, decides to stop at Pop’s on the way.
At Pop’s, he tries to convince Josie that he’s changing. He’s started going to church, and he does things like randomly ask a person to dance in the middle of Pop’s. And you know what? Josie doesn’t hate it…until her mom walks in and interrupts the two of them doing the twist. Josie’s been so caught up in her non-date that she hasn’t answered any of her mother’s texts, so Mayor McCoy tells Chuck to stay away before taking Josie home and explaining her fear: The mayor has been getting death threats, not even from the Black Hood, but from others who are emboldened by the Hood. And in the last letter, Josie was mentioned.
The next day, Josie has a package waiting for her in the music room. It’s a drawing of Josie that says, “If I can’t have you, no one can,” and it comes with a box. Inside the box? A pig’s heart! (Fun fact: Josie knows what a pig’s heart looks like.)
Josie and Cheryl — who was with her when she found the package — head straight to Chuck to accuse him of being a stalker, but Chuck claims he has no idea what’s happening. The creepy janitor, listening in, takes Chuck to the principal’s office, and from there, Sheriff Keller promises that Chuck will stay away from Josie even though there’s no evidence he was behind the heart.
That night, Josie has a dream that the Black Hood shows up and slits her throat, and then she wakes up grabbing her throat and not talking. Did a dream just damage her vocal chords??
But that’s not the biggest question surrounding this entire Josie situation. Nope, not even close. The real question is WHY IS CHERYL DOING THIS?! Yep, the camera cuts to Cheryl drawing a photo of her and Josie, and it’s identical to the drawing Josie got (though that one didn’t have Cheryl in it). Is Cheryl obsessed with Josie?!
BETTY & VERONICA
After her morning with Jug, Betty heads to school, where Kevin confides in her that his father hasn’t been eating or sleeping and keeps leaving the house in the middle of the night. “It’s like he’s a different person,” Kevin says, and both Betty and Veronica have their theories. Betty thinks Sheriff Keller is the Black Hood. Veronica, on the other hand, thinks he’s having an affair.
Regardless, they need to look into him, which is why Veronica invites herself over to Kevin’s house for a sleepover. But first, Betty talks to the sheriff at the station and tries to figure out how the Black Hood was able to kill Mr. Phillips in his cell. Keller gives her the full rundown — forced entry, overnight deputy fell asleep, etc. — and Betty walks away with basically nothing.
Veronica’s mission is a bit more successful. After she fails to open Keller’s office — it’s locked — she heads into the basement, where she makes the most shocking discovery yet: SHERIFF KELLER IS RIPPED. Kevin’s shirtless father, just casually lifting weights, pauses his workout to give Veronica a drink when she claims the upstairs fridge is empty. (And I can’t blame her. I’d do anything to hang around that shirtless man for a little while longer.) As she tells him — probably inappropriately? — “Archie Andrews, watch your back!”
V then asks him questions about his wife and how he’s handling all this Black Hood stress on his own, but she doesn’t get anything out of him before Kevin finds her (with his adorable glass of milk in hand). It’s back to the sleepover for V! However, at 4 a.m., she does see Keller get in his car and leave.
At Pop’s, Betty and Veronica touch base, and Betty decides it’s her turn to head to the sheriff’s house. There, she uses a bobby pin to pick the lock to his office, which is covered in everything from the Black Hood investigation. She then opens a drawer to find a black hood…and turns around to find Sheriff Keller.
Keller takes Betty into the station and calls her father as he explains that the hood she found is the one he pulled out of Archie’s locker. As for her theory that Keller is the Hood, he hands over his log book, which gives him alibis for each of the attacks. But that still doesn’t deter Betty.
That night, she and Veronica follow Keller on one of his late-night trips to a motel, where Betty for some reason wears heeled booties while she’s trying to be stealth, and also where he kisses MAYOR McCOY!
Back at Pop’s, both Betty and Veronica agree to keep the secret of Keller’s affair from Kevin. And now, all the timelines come together. Also at Pop’s are Cheryl and Josie and Archie and Jug. Just as Jug gets up to go visit his dad, Pop gets a phone call. It’s the Black Hood. And he informs Pop that they’ve all failed his test. As Pop tells them, “The reckoning is upon us.”
THIS. This was the episode I’ve been waiting for, and all I ask at this point is that they keep up the tension. As for how they do that, I hate to admit that I think someone significant needs to die. You can’t call something a “reckoning” and have everyone get out alive. But regardless of what happens next, tonight was a win for Riverdale.