Now that we're done with all that holiday hoopla we can get back to the town of milkshakes and mischief in the latest episode of Riverdale titled The Blackboard Jungle. In the aftermath of The Black Hood being caught (we think), things have gone back to people not having to be afraid to walk the streets at night. But now there is a whole development happening because Mayor McCoy (Robin Givens) has found that the continuing problem with the students at Southside High needs to be dealt with. And with a little financial incentive from Hiram (Mark Consuelos) and Hermione Lodge (Marisol Nichols), the mayor shuts down the school, citing a meth lab in the basement makes it a "public health hazard." Even in Riverdale politics still, work the way as everywhere else, corruption is well and alive. The Lodges have everything to gain because they look to purchase the land below the school at a very affordable price. I had never really paid much mind to the mayor before but first the affair she is having with the sheriff, and now being bribed by the Lodges? I feel for her daughter Josie (Ashleigh Murray) that her mom is a piece of work.
Now that we've entered a time where Veronica (Camila Medes) has been brought in on her parent's master business plan they make sure to check in with her about how she is going to handle the Southside students coming over. In true Ronnie fashion, she says "I'll keep my classmates from revolting."
Over at Riverdale High, everyone is all smiles like any other day of class until Principal Weatherbee (Peter Bryant) gets on the intercom and announces the unsettling news about Southside High being closed down. The news sends waves of negativity thru the halls and causes rises in the student's blood pressure as they dread the arrival of their new classmates.
This would not be the case when the news hits over at Southside High itself as the Serpents over there are more than happy to leave their dumpsite of a school for the more pristine Riverdale locale. The only person that doesn't seem very happy about it is Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse) because he has got accustomed to Southside and doesn't want to leave. Too bad, kid. Pack your typewriter up!
On his way to school, Archie (KJ Apa) would have an unexpected encounter with an FBI agent by the name of Special Agent Adams (John Behlmann) who is on the case of Hiram Lodge and his ties to organized crime. He tells Archie that he is a very dangerous man and the Bureau could really use his help in getting information on him. The first "assignment" he is given is finding out what really happen Nick St. Clair (Graham Phillips) concerning the accident he recently got in. The Bureau thinks it has something to do with his family pulling out of the SoDale deal. While Archie is rightfully hesitant to agree, Adams tells him it will be a step in trying to prove that his dad isn't also in on the Lodge's criminal activities.
And just when Archie hasn't had to hear about the Lodge's enough, his dad Fred (Luke Perry) tells him that it was the Lodge's that paid his $86,000 in outstanding medical bills from when he was shot. Archie knew this already from Veronica but now with the FBI suspecting his father's involvement in their business he sees it as just more evidence stacked against his dad.
That night Archie would be testing out his spy investigator skills as he has dinner over at the Lodge's residence. He actually finds a way to bring up the closing of Southside High to segue into the St. Clair's investing in the school's property. Well done! Veronica mentions that the St. Clair's were out because of what Nick did to Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) and Hermione adds that they haven't talked to them since their son's accident. The dominoes just fell into place for Archie on this one.
The next morning at school, Veronica's puts her plan of a welcoming committee for the Southside transplants into action. She sets up a desk to help them with their schedules, locker assignments and so on. The only problem with her novel idea is she gets interrupted before she can even carry out her good deed by the dark cloud of one Cheryl Blossom. Her words of "Stand down, Eva Peron," make me chuckle because I'm sure there's about 10% of the CW audience that even understands her making that reference to the former First Lady of Argentina. Cheryl accompanied by Reggie (Charles Melton) comes in and lets loose a slur of insults that make it clear to the Southsiders that they are not welcomed. When the tempers flare up on both sides it's only broken up by Principal Weatherbee stepping in and ordering all of the students to get to class.
As they all disperse Reggie makes sure to slip a comment to Veronica that she's on the wrong side of things in this turf war. Cheryl lets Archie know that if he doesn't help convince Veronica to change allegiances she'll inform her of the kiss that she witnessed between Archie and Betty (Lili Reinhart) last Christmas. Ah Cheryl, how anyone talks to you is beyond me. But even still Archie does have a use for Cheryl as he approaches her later to try and get more info on Nick St. Clair. During the conversation, she unknowingly mentions about how Nick tried to assault Veronica as well which immediately alarms Archie since his girlfriend had never mentioned this. "I am going to murder him," he states with fire and brimstone in his eyes. I would not want to be Nick St. Clair is all I know.
After he has a brief meeting with Agent Adams in his music studio (his garage), Archie comes up with a cover story to visit Nick in an attempt to get another check of "hush" money for Cheryl (her mother burned the last one if you recall). He borrows one of Jason's blazers from Cheryl and heads over there the next day. Upon arriving at Nick's dorm room he finds him laid up in bed with both of his legs in casts (is there just a public directory for students' rooms?) Archie tells Nick that he's going to write another check for Cheryl, for double the amount, claiming that the other one got lost. Nick obliges without question, but when Archie asks him about his accident he gets suspicious. Nick knows that Archie doesn't care about his well-being so he calls him out and says that he's not really there for Cheryl. As he recalls it they weren't even really friends. Nick tells him that he's really there about Ronnie and that he's a "small town hick" who is getting in "shark-infested waters." Considering Archie has just found out about Nick assaulting Veronica this sets him off and he throws down several punches to give Nick the beat down he deserves. Let's make no mistake Nick St. Clair is the slimiest crap at the bottom of a dumpster, but Archie pounding on a guy with two broken legs is equal parts sad and hilarious.
At Riverdale High, Veronica was still trying her best to make the Southsiders feel welcomed and as she was making the smallest amount of progress Principal Weatherbee discovers graffiti of a Serpent sprayed over the school seal. Reggie is literally standing right behind it with a proud smirk on his face showing his guilt that everyone but the principal can see. Infuriated by this he bans all signs of gang activity including the Serpents jackets and covering up all their tattoos. Students refusing to comply with these rules will be suspended. While this doesn't make the Serpents happy they still are okay with going along with the rules which really angers Jughead. Toni (Vanessa Morgan) and Sweet Pea (Jordan Connor) explain to him that even with the rules Riverdale High is a large upgrade from the disaster they were at before. Jughead doesn't see it the same way as them and goes to school the next day wearing his Serpent jacket. After he gets into a fight with an antagonized Reggie, Weatherbee suspends him for refusing to take off the jacket.
When Jughead's dad FP (Skeet Ulrich) finds out what happened he finds his son to set him right. He tells Jughead that just because he takes off his jacket that doesn't stop him from being a Serpent. He continues by telling him that getting transferred to Riverdale High is just something he has to deal with and the best plan, for now, is to lay low. But he reminds him to never forget who he really is.
When Jughead returns to school, he discovers that now his fellow Serpents have been given mandatory school uniforms in an effort to make them fit in. Even though he wants to rebel against the school taking more of their identity, he takes a smarter approach and comes up with an after-school project called the Swords-and-Serpents club. It's a D&D enthusiast gaming group, sanctioned by Weatherbee, where they can use it as a cover for the members of their gang to meet up at Riverdale. So now they can still have a place where they can lie low and be themselves.
Over the Cooper household, Betty gets a surprise when she finds Polly (Tiera Skovbye) getting some things from her room. She's still at "the farm" and she had the twins which she named Juniper and Dagwood (did Gwyneth Paltrow pick the names?) but she didn't call them and let her family know. When Betty offers to call their mom Polly explicitly asks her not to until after she's gone. Polly says the farm has told her it is best to sever all ties with them so she is sticking to it. When Betty calls the farm a cult Polly says it's not but I think she's in some serious denial here.
In an effort to try and fix this before her mom ever finds out she's lost one of her daughters, Betty gets the bright idea to try and find the son that her mom gave up for adoption all those years ago. With the help of Jughead's social worker, she finds out his name is Charles Smith and that he was actually never adopted. And she's in luck because the social worker has a last known address of where he is. This is probably a bad idea on her part but better for us to see where this goes. Betty decides to come clean and tell her parents about her seeing Polly and having the twins. While her dad is confused her mother immediately figures it out that Polly doesn't want them in her lives. Cue Betty with the news about the son her mom gave up all those years ago! It doesn't go over like she hoped and both of her parents have no interest in seeing Charles-or do they? That night Alice (Madchen Amick) comes into Betty's room and tells her that she wants to meet Charles but they have to keep it from her father.
The next day Betty and her mom go to the address at the Last Resort Hotel which looks like it didn't come up with much imagination to name the dump of a place. They go up to Charles' room and when they knock he tells them to come in like he was expecting them. Upon entering there's a skinny man who is sitting in a chair who has all the vibe of either serial killer or drug dealer. As Alice tries to explain who she is he says he already knows because the Sisters from the orphanage gave him her info when they kicked him out and he went by their house once. When Alice asks why he didn't come in he says because he didn't feel welcomed since she let him go. As she tries to defend herself he tells her his name is Chic (Hart Denton) not Charles and that Betty should feel really special that she actually wanted to keep her. Chic obviously has some deep anger issues and he tells them they need to leave because he has a client coming over. When Alice asks what he does he replies "fantasy fulfillment." The more this show goes on I think there might actually be more misfits than the more normal folk. Hurt by Chic's words they quickly leave and get back into their car where Alice breakdowns in tears from the guilt over what she did.
Now with Archie back he has to answer to Veronica because Nick the Cowardly Lion texted her and told all about him making a visit to his dorm. Veronica is quite upset but thankfully before Archie has to explain himself Cheryl intervenes and lays down the cover story that he was shaking Nick down for her so she could get paid. She even goes the extra mile and says she's sorry for revealing the secret that Nick assaulted her. But Archie is not quite in the clear yet as Veronica is having girlfriend intuition that he's still hiding something. Knowing that he has to give up something to get her off his scent he confesses to kissing to Betty and says that Cheryl was blackmailing him. Veronica gets very upset but she forgives him when she thinks over the circumstances it happened under. Besides, let's be honest, in the words of Ross Geller, "we were on a break!" In the end, Archie dodged a bullet for now.
Cheryl happily takes Nick's check back to her home to show her mother how she's fixed their financial problems. We learned earlier that her mom has resorted to "providing comfort and companionship to the lonely men of Riverdale," as her answer to getting a job. Cheryl was not thrilled that her mom had resorted to being a prostitute so she was looking forward to giving her a means to end her new occupation. Unfortunately, it would not be the case as her mom just took the check and then let her daughter know that she had no intention of stopping because she's "having such a good time." Now I'm sure we're going to see Cheryl acting out her frustrations at school even more.
Betty is never good at just leaving things alone so she goes back to the Last Resort Hotel but this time when she gets there the front-desk guy is really roughing up Chic and cutting up his arm. She pulls out every TV woman's favorite weapon of pepper-spray and grabs Chic out of there. She takes him home where her parents do the right thing and patch him up, plus they tell him he can stay the night there. That seemed like a nice thing to do until late that evening Chic would feel the need to go into Betty's room and stand over her while she was sleeping. This guy looks to be on some crazy pills so I hope they can fix him or something!
Finally, Archie has another meeting with Agent Adams and he demands that if he's going to keep helping them that his dad and Veronica are off-limits from prosecution. Adams agrees to his terms but tells Archie that he needs to not get sloppy like he did with St. Clair ever again. Also, Archie asks Adams if he thinks that they go the real man behind the identity of The Black Hood because he has his doubts that they did.
Archie playing informant for the FBI? The Black Hood might still be out there?! And what do you think is going to happen with the continuing CW drama with the students at Riverdale High?