After another violent closing last week, with Midge (Emilija Baranac) and Moose (Cody Kearsley) getting shot by the "Green-Eyed Hood" in their car, you would've surely thought they were done for? Not in TV Land folks! Our would-be hero, Kevin (Casey Cott) was apparently out cruising the forest on a jog to pick up a date for the evening. The unfortunate circumstances of being gay in a small-minded town like Riverdale. While he ended up being lucky enough to find another guy to play tonsil hockey with, it ended suddenly when they both heard gunshots off in the distance. While his "date" split, Kevin raced to find out what had happened and the result was him saving Moose's life by getting him to the hospital in time. Thankfully Moose had sacrificed his well-being and put his body in harm's way to shield Midge. Now, that makes sense to me but the fact that Moose was shot several times at close range and is FINE...I have an issue with. I realize it's only the second season and we don't want to start getting a huge body count in Riverdale, but can we find a better way to suspend the audience's disbelief?!
Moving on in The Watcher in the Woods, while Archie (KJ Apa) and Jughead (Cole Sprouse) are focusing their brains on the fact that there is a killer on a murder spree in Riverdale, Veronica (Camila Mendes) has already bypassed all that and is more focused on her evening plans of watching "The Matchlerette." When Jughead questions what the hell is wrong with her, (rightfully so) she expresses to them how important it is to her that they all come over and get introduced to her father for the first time. As everyone goes on their separate ways, Betty (Lili Reinhart) asks Kevin about what he was REALLY doing out in those woods at night. He tries to lie but she sees right through it and confesses he was out looking for guys. She tells him it's dangerous to be doing that with this killer on the loose and pleads with him to not do it again. Kevin agrees to not go back out there even giving a "scout's honor" to show his sincerity. While they are having this conversation our favorite devious redhead Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) is casually looming in the background. We automatically know she's up to something.
At the hospital, Archie and Reggie (Charles Melton) go to visit Moose and see how he's doing. Archie asks Moose questions about the gunman in an effort to see if it's the same guy that attacked his father and Ms. Grundy. Moose tells him it was a man in a black hood, NOT a ski mask (this again) and that he did have green eyes. Because in the darkness of night, and in the split second he was face-to-face with the gunman---Moose could tell his eye color! I know, this is Riverdale, not Law & Order. I'm just going to keep on going here.
Over at Southside High, Jughead is getting the first look at his new high school haunts. And considering they start right off with metal detectors and the hallways of the school look like the early stages of the film "Lean on Me", haunt is an accurate word. We are introduced to Toni Topaz (Vanessa Morgan) a girl who likes being a shutterbug and her wardrobe style I would describe as "rebel chic." She is there to show Jughead around the school as his "peer mentor." Among the wonderful perks of no doors on the bathroom stalls or Wifi in the classrooms, she shows him how the use of that favorite drug "jingle-jangle" is rampant in the hallways. Somehow he didn't even know it existed which I can't believe Jughead is really that dense-he was writing for the school paper. Next, she takes him to the cafeteria to hang with the teen denomination of Serpents that go there because she is one as well. Ah, so that's why she was taking care of showing him around. Jughead tries to hold his head high and says he doesn't want to hang with the Serpents and would rather be on his own. She warns him that this is not the place to be a lone wolf but he has to be stupidly earnest and insist. So he was all about having the Serpents help him try to track down who shot Fred Andrews (Luke Perry) but now he wants to distance himself? Big mistake.
That evening at the Lodge residence, Archie is supposed to be focusing on meeting Daddy Lodge (Mark Consuelos) but his mind is very elsewhere with trying to catch the gunman. But the moment comes and Hiram makes his entrance with Hermione (Marisol Nichols) on his arm. Veronica introduces them all and when it comes to Archie, Hiram tells him how he admires Archie wanting to help the town on his own instead of just leaving the problem to the Sheriff. He explains that he believes sometimes you have to take the situation into your own hands. Thanks for the advice, jailbird. As he's leaving invites Archie over for dinner later in the week so they can discuss it more. When you get a big dinner invitation from your girlfriend's father it's bound to get interesting.
The next day Archie takes Hiram's words to heart and calls a meeting with a group of guys from the football team. Inspired by a comic book he had in his room he comes up with The Red Circle and their mission is to look out for the populace of Riverdale High and all those associated with it. They're not out to hunt the gunman down but are a watch-group made to be that extra help to ensure everyone's safety. But if for some reason they do run into the killer they will report him to the Sheriff.
Later on, Betty asks Kevin about why he didn't show up to their get-together at Veronica's house and AGAIN he tries to lie his way out of it. Betty accuses him of going into the woods and Kevin fires back with telling her that he never told her what to do when she was infatuated with Archie so she now has no right to tell him what to do either. He basically took that "scout's honor" salute and stuck it right up her nose. Cheryl comes over (is she following them?) after Kevin leaves and informs Betty that she needs to let him find connections on his own. Apparently, Kevin was an awkward child and now is looking for validation with his grown-up self. And he's going to do it whether there's a killer out there or not. Thank you for your teachings, wise Cheryl.
When Betty goes home that day her mother (Madchen Amick) and father (Lochlyn Munro) are waiting for her to show her some disturbing news. The gunman that has been wrecking havoc in Riverdale left a package for Mrs. Cooper and in it is a note explaining that he wants to go by "The Black Hood" (score one for originality). He also left Fred Andrew's wallet and a pair of Ms. Grundy's sunglasses to prove that he's legit.
With this giant pile of evidence Mr. and Mrs. Cooper go over and present it to the mayor (Robin Givens) and Sheriff Keller (Martin Cummins). Keller reads the note and it explains that "The Black Hood" not only is confessing to all three crimes committed thus far but he says he will not stop until he has cleansed Riverdale of all folks that he claims are "hypocrites, degenerates, and criminals." Well, this is just going to kill the tourism for the town. Whoops, maybe wrong choice of words there. The Mayor asks Mrs. Cooper to not go public with this information because she feels it will cause a panic while Alice feels the exact opposite citing the public has a right to know. In fact, she's already written a story that the printer is making now for the morning paper. That Mrs. Cooper sure knows how to do her job properly.
Back over at Southside High, Jughead talked to one of the teachers who were responsible for running the school paper and convinced him to open it back it up so he could write for it. As ridiculous as it sounds for one student to write an entire school newspaper by himself, we'll just wish Jughead the best on this task. While he's asking Toni to join him as the paper's photographer, a few Serpents come in and ask Jughead to come hang with them. Again, he turns them down and even goes as far as to tell their leader Sweet Pea that he's totally done with the Serpents altogether. This upsets Sweet Pea as he takes this as a verbal slap in the face but Toni calms him down and tells him to just let Jughead make his own (bad) choices.
Meanwhile, at Riverdale High, Archie and his Red Circle crew have been spending the whole day passing out flyers to get the word out to everyone about their watch-group. One person, in particular, is not so keen on this new idea of his though. Sherriff Keller confronts Archie and scolds him for starting this group calling it a "lynch mob." He looks to Principal Waldo Weatherbee (Peter Bryant) for help on this but he just sees it as just a school club and Archie's idea is just trying to get students to help protect each other. Keller is not happy with this at all and walks away quite dissatisfied. Plus hearing someone call Weatherbee by his first name of Waldo was pretty fun.
At the hospital, Kevin is visiting Moose and having quite the heart to heart about his guilt that he is feeling over lying to his dad about going into the woods at night. Moose replies with explaining to Kevin that sometimes you have to take a risk just for a few minutes of happiness. Especially when you're in a situation like Kevin's. The interesting part of this conversation is how Moose says he likes Midge, but he's not sure if they're right for each other. Then as Kevin is leaving he tells him that he can come back just to "hang out or talk." Is it just me or is Moose giving him way too much of a dreamy and longing gaze when he says this? Maybe Kevin won't have to keep going back in those woods much longer.
Betty decides to surprise Jughead with a visit over at Southside High as he is getting situated with getting the newspaper office going. While he tells her that she is crazy for coming there late at night he is excited to tell her what he's working on. He has pieced together that the drug line of "jingle-jangle" that has been going on at Riverdale High is originating from the gang called the Ghoulies that go to Southside. As he lights up with excitement over his detective skills, Betty lets him know that she has concerns over him trying to out the very students who he goes to school with. Jughead takes this as a moment to be a smart-ass and make fun of how Betty is concerned about his safety. As they decide to take this moment to start kissing they are interrupted by Tori showing up. After they make introductions Jughead shows her how Betty brought them a house-warming gift in the form of a coffee maker. Which turns out to be ironic because Tori brought the same item. "Great minds," Tori says with a smile. Betty says it back to her as well but immediately we can see the protective claws of hers are ready to come out over guarding her territory.
That evening at the Lodge residence Hiram decides to check in on his wife, Hermione and have a little talk. He tells her that the walls are thin and he's aware of the conversations she's been having with Veronica about his involvement in their daughter's relationship with Archie. We've seen two instances where Hermione has approached Veronica with subtle hints that Hiram is up to something. But now he's being the controlling husband we know he is and telling her to not come between him and his daughter. The intense gaze he gives Hermione is one that strikes fear in her and she knows not to undermine him.
While Archie and Reggie are out cruising on patrol they get a call from a fellow student who feels she is being followed by a van. Reggie throws it into high gear to try and make it over to her as fast as they can but when they reach her, the vehicle has already taken off. She is hysterical with fear so Archie does his best to comfort her. That same night while Archie is trying to save one person there's another friend that could have used his help. As Jughead is leaving the school he is followed by some people in the halls and knowing something is going wrong he runs to get out. The only problem is they have chained the doors from the outside so he is trapped. We see shadow images of him getting beaten by unknown assailants that we can only assume are members of the Ghoulies.
After a tip from Cheryl that Kevin has gone off into the woods again, she and Betty surprise him and let him know they know what he's up to. Betty criticizes Kevin for what he is doing coming out there and tells him to have more respect for himself. This sets Kevin off and he rips Betty about how she has it so easy in her world about just trying to figure out what guy she wants to date. He doesn't have those same choices because of his situation so all he is has is the woods for him to find someone. He gives her the ultimatum that if she can't accept what he's doing then they can't be friends anymore.
The next day Betty is over at Jughead's place as she tends to all his scrapes and bruises. You would think she should be a hysterical mess but it turns out he has lied to her and said he just fell off his motorcycle. Have to give him credit for the good lie but Toni is also there with them and her bullshit detector is better. After Betty leaves, Toni reminds Jughead that she warned him he should've stayed with the Serpents. He agrees with her and understands his naivety of the situation. The lady tried to help you out, you stubborn jackass!
The big night has finally come and Archie is over at the Lodge's house for dinner trying his best to remain calm. Hiram brings up how Archie came to aid of the girl who was being followed the other night and seems to give him praise for putting in such an effort. With dinner over, he asks Archie if he would like to join him in his study to share a drink with him. Of course, Archie accepts, but when Veronica thinks this includes her as well, Daddy Lodge says he just wants to have some alone time with her date. Even though she is disappointed, Veronica abides by her father and stays seated at the table as they get up. Her mother gives her a condescending look as she reminds her daughter that she's still not as high and mighty with her dad as she thinks she is. Inside his study, Hiram sits Archie down and you can just see the fear in the boy's face at what her father is about to tell him. He gives him a brief but stern statement of two things: never sneak into his daughter's room, and never hurt her. Hiram pauses as he waits for Archie to agree, which he does but it's the stare that Consuelos gives him where there is not the smallest inkling that he won't destroy this boy if anything bad comes to his daughter. After that tense moment, Hiram offers up his advice that Archie should go on the offensive with taking on this "Black Hood" character. He suggests using the same weapons of fear and terror that are plaguing Riverdale and use them against this threat as well.
In a small random sub-plot, Betty says goodbye to her sister Polly (Tiera Skovbye) as she can't take being afraid anymore. The threat of this killer has really taken an effect on her and she is leaving Riverdale because she fears she might be a target since she is an unwed mother to be. I honestly don't see the point of any of this as more than a way to write Polly's character off because they don't know what to do with her now. But maybe I'm wrong?
In a strange turn of events, Kevin makes another trek into the woods and this time comes across a random stranger sitting in his car. He has a hat covering most of his face so we can't really see who it is but he invites Kevin into his car to give him a ride. Kevin happily gets in but suddenly the man pulls out a large knife and stabs him in the stomach! As the immediate thought of dread comes over us they throw us back to real time and we realize it was all just Kevin hypothesizing what could happen. He changes his mind and tells the man he's okay and runs off. Good job, Kevin! Smart play. But his problems aren't all gone yet because when he gets his home his dad, the Sheriff is sitting right there waiting for him. His dad tells him how he's worried about him being out there with "all that's going on." As Kevin nods in agreement, Keller also adds how there are "things" they don't talk about, but maybe they should. He hugs his son and it's wonderful to see an episode where Kevin has gone through a rough patch that maybe things are looking up.
In closing this one out, Veronica approaches her father about taking more of an active role in his company instead of just standing on the sidelines watching the business run itself. Betty and Kevin see each other at school and he obviously has no interest in talking to her, Jughead is seen sitting down with Sweet Pea in the cafeteria and this obviously shows he's back in with the Serpents, and finally Archie makes a video with his Red Circle group all shirtless and masked up in the background, telling "The Black Hood" that they are not afraid, and they are coming for him. I'm still not sure if this homicidal killer is going to be fearful of high school kids but it's still a great demonstration of the group coming together instead of Archie being alone on this. So what is going to happen in Riverdale? Who is going to be "The Black Hood's next victim when Riverdale returns on The CW?