Now that "The Black Hood" made himself public last week the entire town of Riverdale is on alert. People are walking around in groups instead of being alone, shops are closing earlier, and residents are fortifying their houses with better locks. The mayor is even calling a town meeting to address the threat in Chapter Seventeen: The Town That Dreaded Sundown.
All the while our resident narrator Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse) is in the library, checking out books on serial killers, so he can do his own research to locate this criminal. As he goes up to the librarian, she declares what a "terrible thing is going on in this town," but when Jughead mentions the serial killer, she replies that it's more about "that awful video those boys put out." I guess the town isn't so thrilled with Archie's (KJ Apa) idea.
At the Lodge residence, Veronica (Camila Mendes) is having to defend her boyfriend Archie, to her parents about him making the video. While she is passing it off as not a big deal, her mother Hermione (Marisol Nichols) disagrees saying that it is encouraging violence. As Veronica looks to her father for support, he stands with his wife on the matter. Hermione tries to tell Veronica that she can no longer see Archie, but considering this isn't Shakespeare days, she completely ignores her mother and says she will do what she wants. After she leaves, Hiram (Mark Consuelos) just looks at his wife and speaks about all the chaos going on in Riverdale. He says it with a sinister smile that has all the resemblance of a fat cat that's just about to eat the canary.
It doesn't end there because over at the Cooper house, Betty (Lili Reinhart) is being scolded by her mother Alice (Madchen Amick) about helping Polly leave Riverdale. Betty saw it as helping her sister because she was afraid for her life but Mom is not seeing it that way. She is now more afraid because Polly isn't under her watchful eye. Alice yells at Betty explaining that she is scared too, of something happening to them. This brief but impactful moment is one of the few times we've seen Mrs. Cooper actually show love for her daughter. Plus the performance shows how Amick is a veteran actress and has more experience than probably anyone else in the cast.
Even though Archie has taken the video down, it has gone viral so its message is still spreading everywhere in Riverdale. At Southside High, Jughead learns that the Serpents think that Archie's bravery as a Northsider gives them the reason to make him a target. Jughead tries to sway their idea and tells them they should go for the Black Hood instead. But, Sweet Pea (Jordan Connor) tells him that they support the Black Hood because he is hurting Northsiders and they deserve it for always crapping on the South Side folk. "He's a hero," he proudly says. So you want people from the North to be killed because you're from the South. What kind of archaic Civil War times crap is this? People are getting hurt you jackass!
Over at Riverdale High, Veronica is talking to Archie about the video and how her parents are very upset with him about it. Well, the obvious win for this argument is for Archie to tell her how it was HER Dad's idea so he does. While Veronica argues that he probably didn't suggest lining up a bunch of shirtless boys and deliver a 'Unabomber manifesto," Archie says that he did tell him to "fight terror with terror." Your Dad is pretty evil, Veronica-sorry.
Archie gets called into the Principal Weatherbee's (Peter Bryant) office and is told he is off the football team and there will be no team until the Red Circle is disbanded. He is then given the ultimatum that he needs to deliver a signed letter apologizing to the town of Riverdale or he will be suspended and therewill be no football team going forward. Wasn't Weatherbee on his side last week?! I guess when it went from neighborhood watch to hunting party he changed his mind. So what grand plan does Archie come up with? He gets all the Red Circle together and suggests they go to the South Side and try to draw the Black Hood out. Now the funny thing here is that Archie says Mrs. Cooper has declared the Black Hood is from the South Side. Nice to know that just because Mrs. Cooper said it, must be true. Anyway, Reggie (Charles Melton) is not down for this plan at all and he tells Archie to sign the apology letter and takes the rest of the group with him. Doiley (Major Curda) hangs around to tell Archie that he knows he might be alone but that he knows that he really wants to take on the Black Hood by himself. So he gives him a recommendation on where he can get some more supplies before he heads on his mission.
But before we get too far ahead of that story, Betty has brought Kevin (Casy Cott) in because she needs his support and after he starts off with saying he's done searching for dates in the forest we can safely assume they're friends again. The situation at hand is apparently Betty received a letter from The Black Hood explaining that her speech at the jubilee is the very thing that inspired him. He says he's doing all of this for her. He has enclosed a cipher that he says only she can figure it out. And if she passes his test, she will know the location of his next victim. While Kevin says they have to go to his dad immediately, Betty stands firm that she needs to see this through herself. But she does give the cipher to her Mom knowing she will immediately run to the sheriff with it. But the sneaky part is she keeps the letter a secret.
Later that evening, Veronica approaches her father about the possibility that he influenced Archie to create the Red Circle. She asks him what they talked about that night in his study and he does the worst excuse ever of saying he doesn't remember. He was having the big, manly talk with his daughter's boyfriend, but he doesn't remember it? Well, Veronica isn't buying his BS either and just leaves it alone.
At the beginning of the episode, Veronica was siding with her parents on this whole Red Circle thing but no that she can tell her father is lying about manipulating her boyfriend she decides to escalate the situation. She goes out and makes Red Circle T-Shirts for all the students to wear at Riverdale High and has the Vixens hand them out in the hallways. Can't suspend the entire school, Weatherbee!
After Betty learns that Toni (Vanessa Morgan) and Jughead are pairing up to figure out the cipher together she knows that she better inset herself into that scenario. She brings Kevin with her and they make a whole "code-breaking party" as Betty calls it to Jughead's place. It's going civil until they are trying to figure out where the Black Hood is from and Betty suggests the South Side and Toni lashes out saying that the problem with Northsiders is they are all so privileged and think that all the bad comes from the South. She accuses Betty of hating the Serpents and reveals how Jughead won't even tell her they sit with them at lunch. Cue awkward silence. With that Toni and Kevin get up and leave so that Jughead can have fun defending himself. He tells Betty he is only sitting with them for survival but lucky for him she is SO focused on the cipher she doesn't even want to talk about it.
Speaking of the South Side, after Archie has made a stop at the gun shop recommended by Doiley where he purchased a holster, ammo, and a Kevlar vest with a fake ID he goes into town spray painting red circles on the fronts of buildings. Not only is this just going to cause more animosity between the North and South but he's selfishly vandalizing other people's property. Eventually, his karma would get him as Sweet Pea and some of the other Serpents catch him in the act. As Sweet Pea threatens him with a knife he is upstaged when Archie pulls out his gun and this causes the Serpents to retreat into the night.
Archie's hand is shaking from the confrontation and he has to stop for a moment just to pull himself together. Now he's really started a problem. The next day at Riverdale High, Archie is pulled out of class by Sheriff Keller (Martin Cummins) and Principal Weatherbee because someone reported a Riverdale student with red hair was waving a gun around in front of his shop. Archie denies that it was him and says he was home all night but Keller still wants to search his locker regardless. He looks through it and finds nothing which had me relieved that Archie wasn't dumb enough to leave it in his locker. He did, however, forget the black hood that he got from Reggie last week and that is a red flag to the sheriff. Because Archie takes the rap for it being his hood he is barred from the school. Can you get suspended for a plain black hood? I know things are tense but this sounds like they're reaching a bit even though they cite his recent behavior as their reason. Back at home, his father is very upset with him for what he's been doing. He tells his son, "I don't know what you're going to do next." Considering Archie is doing this all in the name of his father this has to hurt.
Jughead goes over to Betty's house because when she left his place she had left behind some notebooks one of them had the letter from the Black Hood in it. He asks her why he hid this very important information from him and everyone else and she tells him because she's afraid of Archie finding out. She doesn't want Archie knowing that she inspired the Black Hood to start this spree of violence because of her speech. When Jughead tells her he would never blame her and she is "Nancy Drew meets Girl with a Dragon Tatoo," it randomly makes Betty's mind click and she remembers how the Black Hood said she was the only one that could solve the cipher. She remembers a book from her childhood called "The Nancy Drew Secret Code Activity Book." This is a huge clue as to the identity of the Black Hood even I'm still totally in the dark on who it is!
Archie calls Veronica and asks her to do him a solid of girlfriend duty and go get his gun that is in a toilet back at school. When she delivers it to his house she takes the opportunity to yell at him for having it. When she presses him on why he has it, he erupts with emotion that he has it because he wants to kill the Black Hood. That the whole reason he didn't wear a mask in the video is that he wanted to bait the killer into coming after him. Veronica asks him what will happen if the Black Hood kills him, doesn't that matter? When he tells her he doesn't care what happens to him she gets even more upset with him being so selfish. She put an end to his vigilante life because says she threw his gun in the river on her way over. Before Archie even has a chance to react to Veronica's actions, Reggie and the rest of the Red Circle show up on his doorstep. Reggie says that Archie not ratting him out over the hood in his locker was a big deal. They've decided they're back in and they want to keep the Red Circle together. And the timing on this couldn't be any better as Sweet Pea and a bunch of Serpents show up to be annoying. Sweet Pea & The Serpents does make a fun band name though.
As predicted the Serpents are there for payback because of the actions Archie took in coming to their side of the tracks. They want to rumble and the Red Circle guys are up for the challenge. Veronica does a good job of being ringmaster and making sure a rule of "no weapons:" is established. Archie tells her to stay behind and she does so but under protest. So the two groups head out and line up on opposite sides like soldiers-in the pouring rain-because we have to make it more dramatic! They go at it for a while throwing punches and tackling each other to the ground. There's enough slow motion used in this sequence to make director Michael Bay proud. Eventually, it takes a turn for the worst as one of the Serpents pulls out a knife and stabs Doiley in the leg. At that moment Veronica fires off Archie's gun and this causes the Serpents to leave. Guess she was telling a little white lie to her boyfriend.
At the library, Jughead and Betty find the book and she quickly begins to use it on the cipher. She makes fast work of decoding it but unfortunately, the message that she comes up with is that his next target is the Town Hall where there is currently the residents of Riverdale have all gathered. As they race over, Alice Cooper has the floor at the hall and she is going on about how they need to close Southside High and use the money to fund more cops for the police force. Being the good guy that he is, Fred Andrews (Luke Perry) speaks up and says that they need to stay united and not let the fear take them over.
Thankfully, Betty and Jughead arrive so we can stop having to listen to adults bicker and she tells everyone they need to get out of the hall as soon as possible. When all they do is sit there and look stupid she goes and pulls the fire alarm. This finally makes move their asses and they evacuate the building. When they get back to the Cooper house later, Betty hands the letter from the Black Hood over to the sheriff much to her mother's dismay at her holding back important evidence.
Meanwhile, at Archie's place, Veronica is doing her best to play nurse to her bruised and battered boy toy. Archie tells her that he realizes after the events that happened he has let things get too crazy. He thanks her for showing up because she saved Dilton and stopped the fight. In an effort to change his current path, they go to the bridge at Sweetwater River and throw the infamous gun in the water.
Just as Jughead starts his narration we think the episode is drawing to a close but as he finishes with saying that Riverdale would be "the town that dreaded sundown," we get one last shot of Betty in her room. She gets a phone call from an unknown number, the dark voice on the other end would tell her he is the Black Hood as the episode comes to a close on The CW. Do you have any thoughts on who the Black Hood is? What is his connection to Betty?!