Riverdale: “Tales from the Darkside”

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Penny Peabody calls in a pretty big favor from Jughead. Betty’s gears are spinning and she’s got suspicions about who the Black Hood may be. Meanwhile, Josie’s got her hands full dealing with the people around her.

Last week things were looking up, with Betty starting to rebuild her relationships and on the trail of the Black Hood, but this week we’re right back in the thick of it when the Black Hood leaves a note for the residents of Riverdale. Using a new documentary-style frame to separately show us several overlapping storylines, various residents of Riverdale deal with their own individual problems.

Penny Peabody (Britt Morgan). Photo by Jack Rowand/the CW.

Penny Peabody tells Jughead that FP’s been hurt pretty badly by the Ghoulies, and she’s calling in her favor in the form of Jughead transporting drugs for her. Desperate to help his dad, Jughead enlists Archie in the job. That night, as they are transporting the drugs, the truck has a blowout. Stuck on the side of the road, Jughead and the crate take a ride with a mysterious stranger that passes by.

The stranger makes Jughead increasingly more nervous as he tells Jughead that the Black Hood isn’t the first murderer the area has seen. Years ago, the town was in fear of the Riverdale Reaper, a killer who was never caught. When they stop for gas and food, the stranger tries to stick Jughead with the check and take off with the crate. Fortunately, Archie shows up in the nick of time, but not before the stranger calls them out as sinners.

Archie and Jughead make it to Greendale just in time, but as they drop off the crate, another stranger, this time a woman, tells Jughead that the delivery isn’t a one-time deal. Later, back at Pop’s, Archie and Jughead discuss the Reaper. Jughead wants to do some research with Archie, but Archie’s got obligations with other people. The Serpents are pushing Jughead further from his friends, and he’s got to get out. When Jughead visits FP the next day, he learns that Penny played him, and that she’s got him over a barrel and pressured to fulfill a debt she thinks FP owes her.

Jughead (Cole Sprouse)
and Farmer McGinty (Tony Todd ). Photo by Jack Rowand/The CW.

The Mayor reprimands Josie for walking home alone after dark, and Josie is nervous too because she’s been receiving strange gifts from a secret admirer. Chuck Clayton returns and asks Josie out, but she tells him she’s not interested in someone with his attitudes towards women. Cheryl is helping Josie with her music career to help thank Josie for protecting her, but Josie is feeling a little smothered. Things get worse for her when she’s confronted about betraying the Pussycats. Josie wants to pursue the chance she’s got, but Val and Melody tell her if she wants to go solo, then she’s really on her own.

Walking home alone again late at night, Chuck startles her and she asks him for a ride home because she’s nervous about the Black Hood. Chuck ropes her into going to Pop’s on the way home, and tries to convince her that he’s changed, getting her to let loose and dance with him. The Mayor shows up because Josie hasn’t been answering her calls and warns Chuck to stay away from Josie.

Josie (Ashleigh Murray), Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch), and Chuck (Jordan Calloway). Photo by Shane Harvey/The CW.

At home, the Mayor reveals that the Hood has been threatening her. The next day Cheryl confronts Josie about going out with Chuck, warning that he’s probably not as changed as he says he is. They find another creepy gift in the practice studio and confront Chuck, who denies it’s from him. That night, Josie is having nightmares of death at the hands of the black hood, but we learn the Cheryl is the real threat.

Kevin tells Betty and Veronica that his father is acting strangely. Veronica thinks he’s having an affair, but Betty thinks he may be the Black Hood. Determined to prove she’s right, Veronica arranges to sleep over with Kevin. Betty takes a more direct approach, interviewing the Sheriff. The Sheriff shows her convincing evidence that the deaths in the jail were not an inside job.

Betty calls Veronica to question her motivations for a sleepover, and Betty convinces Veronica to do a little digging at the Sheriff’s house while she’s there. She runs into the Sheriff, and Veronica makes some creepily flirty comments, and then tries to dig into his private life, but her questions comes across a little odder than she probably intended. Later that night, she hears the Sheriff sneaking out. Betty’s determined to prove he’s the Hood, but Veronica thinks she’s on the wrong track.

The next day, Betty sneaks into the Sheriff’s house, and she thinks his research of the Hood looks pretty incriminating. The Sheriff catches her and calls her father in. To assuage Betty’s fears, he shows her evidence of his whereabouts on the nights of the murders, and says he won’t tell Kevin that Betty is being a weird stalker. To convince her she’s wrong, Veronica agrees to follow the Sheriff with Betty to find out what he’s up to. When they follow him to a hotel, they find out that Veronica was right in the first place. He’s having an affair with the mayor, adding to the list of sinners in Riverdale. As they mull it over at Pop’s, the storylines intersect as Archie and Jughead come in after their night of crime.

Pop receives a phone call from the Black Hood, and announce to the Diner that they’ve failed the Black Hood’s test and the reckoning is upon them.

Tell me your theories in the comments. Who do you think the Black Hood is, and who’s the next victim? Also, what’s up with the janitor? Is he a creepy potential murderer or a creepy over-protective father-figure?

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.