Tonight’s episode of Riverdale was pretty standard: Jughead was annoying, Cheryl was perfect, and Betty made a series of ill-advised decisions. Want the details? See below. (Spoilers ahead.)
Things kick off with Jughead, obnoxiously typing about how everyone in Riverdale wears a mask. So deep! So artsy! But his pretension is interrupted by a no-pants Toni Topaz, who asks him if he wants breakfast. The implication here is that these two…slept together? Damn, maybe Bughead’s dead, after all.
Cut to Betty on the North Side, running to Nick St. Clair’s hotel room because, remember, she told the Black Hood to kill him. Well, he’s not dead—just bruised up—and he tells Betty “that bitch” Veronica should be lucky he’s not pressing charges. Um, he’s the definition of a vile, disgusting pig. Him press charges? He assaulted Veronica and Cheryl. They need to press charges and toss his WASPy ass in jail. I high-key wouldn’t mind if the Black Hood just came in and finished him off. Would anyone?
The salt-and-pepper sheriff arrives minutes later and says people have filed “complaints” about Nick and that he needs to leave with him. Praise effing be.
The Black Hood then calls Betty and says he didn’t kill Nick because he isn’t one of “Riverdale’s sons.” This archaic language is so cringe-y and ridiculous. He says Betty showed him her “real self” when she told him to kill Nick, and now the real work can begin. He literally thinks he and Betty are partners, and Betty’s like, “WTF, you’re crazy!”
Meanwhile, Cheryl’s mom, Penelope, is being terrible: She says, “Lord knows what Cheryl did to the St. Clair boy to provoke him “—as if it’s her fault she was assaulted. Thankfully, Hermione Lodge puts her in her place, which is the first decent thing she’s done all season. Penelope says she wants this “issue” handled “discreetly” and that she’s not pressing charges against Nick because “nothing happened” to Cheryl. I could scream.
Veronica doesn’t want Cheryl to back down from this and even reveals that Nick assaulted her just a few days before. But Cheryl isn’t hearing it—and she even gets mad at Veronica for telling the Lodge parents about her assault. She says she doesn’t want to be Veronica’s scapegoat for revenge; if Veronica wants to go after Nick, she should do it on her claims—not Cheryl’s. But, like, they all should just band together and kick the crap out of him again.
Update: Toni and Jughead didn’t sleep together: It was just a “PG-13 grope session,” whatever the hell that means. Toni tells Jughead straight-up that he’s not over Betty and she’s not gonna be his rebound, which, hell yeah. She also reveals she’s “more into girls,” so stay tuned on what that means.
Betty says she’s done answering the Black Hood’s phone calls, which is a good idea, and that she’ll tell Jughead and Veronica what happened to her when “things settle.” But this drama is put on hold when Betty sees Toni and Jughead looking cozy at Pop’s. Ahhh!
Also ahhh: This “intervention” of sorts that Alice Cooper hosts for all the kids who did Jingle Jangle with Nick. Veronica’s still salty about Betty freaking out on her at the party. (Little does she know the reason.) It ends with Mayor McCoy saying taking down the South Side is now her main priority (because that’s where these kids got the drugs). She then orders a dramatic raid of South Side High, where Jughead’s Serpent friends are arrested for seemingly no reason. Jughead escapes, though, because Archie tips him off beforehand.
Betty stupidly decides to answer the Black Hood’s next call, where he orders her to find the person at the head of Riverdale’s drug problem: the Sugar Man. If she refuses, he’ll kill someone. This all could’ve been avoided had she just…not answered the phone.
She starts with talking to Cheryl, whose father was Riverdale’s biggest drug smuggler. Maybe he knows the head of the operation? But Cheryl says the Sugar Man was just an elaborate character her mother came up with to scare her and Jason into being good. What? (Cheryl looks bomb in this scene, BTW.) Cheryl then confronts her mother about the Sugar Man, but, surprise, she just denies the whole thing. Penelope’s terrifying.
In a plot point I don’t care about, Jughead meets with the head of the Ghoulies and the Serpents; they tell Jughead they’re joining forces, and he has to endorse their treaty, which he’s pissed about because the Ghoulies are why the mayor raided South Side High in the first place. (They deal Jingle Jangle.)
Jughead visits F.P. in jail, and he says the Serpents should challenge the Ghoulies to a street race (???) in order to get them to back off. If the Serpents win, they control the South Side and get rid of Jingle Jangle. If they lose, the Ghoulies can keep dealing Jingle Jangle and also get control of the White Worm and F.P.’s trailer park. It’s honestly shocking how much this painfully bro-y nonsense bores me.
Thank God: Betty finally tells Veronica everything—that the Black Hood is calling her, which is why she said those awful things to her in the last episode. Veronica agrees to help Betty track down the Sugar Man, and just like that B and V are back. The only couple that matters on this whole damn show.
The crew has to do community service for getting busted at the Jingle Jangle hotel party, and their outfits remind me of the time Rory Gilmore picked up trash by the highway. (Remember that glorious plot point on Gilmore Girls?)
After their manual labor, Betty and Veronica go on a South Side mission to catch the Sugar Man. But they’re caught and taken to the head of the Ghoulies, Malakai, who was just setting terms with Jughead and Archie about that street race. Yes, Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica are all randomly at this South Side hot bed, and they’re shook.
Also shook is Cheryl, who runs into Nick St. Clair at Pop’s. He disgustingly claims she “wanted” to sleep with him that night. And that’s what it takes for Cheryl to threaten charges against Nick. He sneers at this, though, and says his parents made a “hush money” deal with Penelope to keep quiet about what happened that night. My heart’s honestly breaking for Cheryl, and I want the Black Hood to wipe Riverdale clean of Nick. A literal monster.
Cheryl steals her mother’s check from the St. Clairs and tearfully tells her she won’t give it back until she learns the truth about the Sugar Man. She demands Penelope care about her more for once in her life, which is honestly just devastating. Cheryl deserves better. Always.
This is also when Veronica learns her parents are still accepting money from the St. Clairs, too. So she tells them about Nick assaulting her, and Hiram starts seeing red. It’s then implied Hiram orders a goon to run the St. Clairs off the road, leaving Nick injured for weeks. Bless up.
Back to the episode’s worst storyline: Betty’s helping Jughead fix up a car for this “street race” and, for whatever reason, won’t tell him about the Black Hood’s phone calls…even though she told Veronica. So Jughead still thinks Betty dead-ass dumped him via Archie, which is hilarious. Anyway, they start their race. It’s really masculine and misogynistic and gross. But it’s interrupted by the Riverdale Police Department, who stops the Ghoulies’ car once they cross a bridge. Apparently Archie called them.
More truths come out, too: Penelope reveals there are multiple Sugar Men—all dangerous. Jason’s death happened because Clifford wanted him to meet the then-current Sugar Man. Cheryl finds out who the Sugar Man incumbent is, and tells Betty. Betty then writes a story about him and sends it to the sheriff’s office. When the Black Hood calls, she says she’s bringing the Sugar Man to justice on her terms, not his…and that she’s going to find out his identity next. Keep in mind we don’t know who the Sugar Man is at this point. I vaguely care about this.
Actually, now we know: The Sugar Man is Jughead’s anti-drug English teacher, Mr. Phillips. What. The. Hell? And the Black Hood kills him!
Curtains close. TBH, this episode was a snooze-and-a-half. Hopefully next week’s chapter is spruced up with either more Cheryl or shirtless Reggie scenes. Preferably the former.