Riverdale: “When a Stranger Calls” Recap

By  | 

Loyalties are pushed to the breaking point this week in Riverdale, and some bonds aren’t able to withstand the pressure.

We finally hear the end of Betty’s call with the Black Hood, who threatens Polly if Betty doesn’t go along with his wishes or tells anyone.

Archie has apologized for the Red Circle, much to his father’s relief. Betty asks Archie to walk her to school so that she can tell him about the call from the Hood.

Nick St. Clair (Graham Phillips). Photo by Shane Harvey/the CW

The Lodge’s are getting ready for an open house to interest investors in their Southside project. Veronica gets excited when she learns her old friend Nick St. Clair is coming to town, and Veronica’s parents enlist her in getting Nick and his parents to invest.

Jughead confronts Sweet Pea and the Serpents about the fight, but Sweet Pea points out that they aren’t necessarily the bad guys. They want payback against the northside and Alice Cooper for her article critical of southside, and Sweet Pea calls Jug out on his unwillingness to commit to the Serpents. Toni points out that with F.P. gone, there’s no one left to reign in the Serpents. Later Jughead shows up in his Serpent jacket, but Tall Boy says that if Jughead really wants to be a Serpent, he needs to be initiated.

Archie listens in as Betty takes another call from the Black Hood. The Hood says Alice Cooper is a problem, and gives Betty a task to get her out of their hair. In return for doing what he asks, he’ll answer a question from Betty. The Hood has sent a newspaper article of Alice Cooper being arrested when she was young, and he wants Betty to make it public.

Jughead wakes to find a group of masked Serpents, who drop off Hot Dog, the gang’s mascot, and Jughead’s got to take care of him as part of his initiation.

Betty is reluctant to publish the story about her mom. The Sheriff tells the Alice and Betty that the two Black Hood letters weren’t in the same handwriting. Alice Cooper suggest that perhaps Betty faked it all, and Betty’s anger pushes her to publish the Hood’s article.

Toni Topaz (Vanessa Morgan). Photo by Dean Buscher.

The initiation is only drawing Toni and Jughead ever closer, but she asks him why he’s decided to join now. He tells her that he wants to take on his dad’s role as a moderating force, but his later recitation of the rules with Tall Boy is anything but moderate. After the next step in the initiation, Toni tells “Juggie” that he’s almost a serpent now, and Jughead is taken aback by the term of affection.

Pop lets Alice in on the article about her past being published, and Alice confronts Betty on finding an article that was all but impossible to get. Betty calls her out on accusing the Southsiders in her paper, when she herself was once a Serpent. Mom calls it revenge, but Betty calls it justice. Another call from the Hood reveals it’s someone Betty knows, and he wants her to start cutting others out of her life, starting with Veronica.

Betty and Jughead have an emotional reunion at Pops. Jug wants to check on Betty, but he keeps what’s going on in his life from her. They’re both stressed with the situation, and neither seems sure they’re headed for a happy ending.

Nick St. Clair is not impressed with Riverdale, and he’s proving to be more trouble than Archie expected. He plans to have a party that night, and Cheryl insinuates herself into the party and Nick’s interests. Archie goes off after Betty, but Betty is more reserved now. Later Nick entertains the whole gang (minus Jughead) at his party, and the party proves to be a little wilder than expected when Nick pulls out a supply of Jingle Jangle. He puts on the peer pressure, and Veronica caves. Soon the party is going strong, with only Betty remaining sober, and she gets nasty with Veronica about the way Veronica so quickly reverted to her old ways. When Betty compares Veronica to Hiram, Veronica tells Betty to leave.

Toni arrives at Jughead’s with a warning that if Jughead isn’t all the way in, he better back out now. Up until now the initiation has been fairly light, so Jughead isn’t too worried, but Toni wants him to understand that being a Serpent is for life, and can be life or death.

After Betty’s outburst, the party quickly dies out. Only Nick and Veronica are left, and Nick gets aggressive with Veronica. When Veronica pushes him away, he tries to coerce her using his power over her father’s deal.

In another call with the Hood, Betty wants to know what will make him stop. The Hood’s price is loyalty, and the next test is for her to break things off with Jughead. Later Betty comes clean with Archie when he confronts her about her recent behavior, and then she asks him to end things with Jughead for her. Betty seems to think she can do this until things get better, but will she be able to repair the damage she’s doing?

Jughead (Cole Sprouse) and Archie (KJ Apa). Photo by Dean Buscher/the CW.

At open house, Veronica is uncomfortable at Nick’s arrival, and Hermione tries to get her business partner, Fred Andrews, excited about the project. Mr. Cooper is covering the event while Alice is supposed to be lying low, but Alice isn’t lying low at all. Nick apologizes to Veronica for his behavior and admits that he’s been dealing with addiction and attempts at rehab. Still trying to have her dad’s back, Veronica makes amends, but Nick is quickly distracted by the arrival of Cheryl.

Archie shows up at Jughead’s, just before the Serpents do. Archie calls Jughead out on being friends with the Serpents, and then tells Jughead to stay away from Betty, saying she doesn’t want to see him since Jug has crossed over to the dark side. Jughead gets the message, but it looks like things are about to get even rougher for Jughead as he’s about to face the gauntlet.

Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch). Photo by Shane Harvey/The CW.

Nick does more than chat up Cheryl, dropping a Rufie her drink. He takes her off somewhere private, and Cheryl’s in real danger when she passes out. The Pussycats are on the prowl though and intervene to protect her from Nick just in time. As the Pussycats deal with Nick, it’s clear that Jughead’s not the only one who’s getting a beating tonight.

Betty’s done all that was asked, now she wants to know who’s under the hood. She heads off to an abandoned house where the Hood has left a gift for her, a hood of her own. The Hood orders Betty to put it on to show her how similar they are. After she runs out of the house, Archie calls Betty to the Pembrook, and the gang rallies around Cheryl.

Toni welcomes Jughead to the Serpents and when she notes that he won’t be able to hide it from Betty anymore, he tells her Betty’s out of the picture. She kisses him then.

Another call from the Hood reveals that he knows that Betty’s been telling Archie about the calls. He’s going to punish her sister for the betrayal, unless Betty gives him another name. She sends him after Nick St. Clair.

I don’t know about you all, but things are looking grim in Riverdale. My personal theory, the Black Hood that’s calling Betty is Alice Cooper…or possibly Hal, and the real Black Hood is lying low. What are your theories?

Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on the CW.

Cara spends way too much time thinking about subtext and, when not watching TV, can generally be found with her nose in a book.