While The Black Hood has kind of taken a back seat these last couple of episodes, the tensions between the North and South Sides of Riverdale hit a new turning point this week. With the use of the drug "jingle-jangle" being used by so many of the students on both sides of the town, it is finding a way to include all of the residents in this season instead of just focusing on our usual group of characters. I am in no way hoping for a civil war to break out in Riverdale, but I am really enjoying how this story is showing that there is more to explore than just one high school. Now on to all the town drama that happened this week on Death Proof!
At the end of last week's episode Betty (Lili Reinhart) was forced to give The Black Hood a name of a sinner because she disobeyed him and he wanted to show her his wrath for doing so. She gave up the repugnant rich boy Nick St. Clair (Graham Phillips) who had just drugged Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) and was thankfully stopped before he was able to follow through on whatever his sick mind was intending on doing. Now, it is the next morning and Betty is hauling some serious ass over to the St. Clair's hotel room to warn Nick and his family of the impending threat. But as luck would, unfortunately, have it, when she gets there Nick is alive and well with only the bruises the girls gave him the night before and his damaged ego to be ailing him. And before she can barely spill out one sentence to get them out of the hotel, Sheriff Keller (Martin Cummins) shows up to take them all in for questioning. It turns out Cheryl did the brave act and reported Nick for attempting to rape her.
That same morning at the Lodge residence, Cheryl's mother Penelope (Nathalie Boltt) is talking to Hiram (Mark Consuelos) and Hermione (Marisol Nichols) about dealing with the Nick St. Clair problem. Big surprise that she wants the incident to be kept quiet but the sad part is that she doesn't believe her own daughter and she actually thinks Cheryl must have provoked the boy. How horrible is it that the old cliché of "the girl must've been asking for it" is being implied here. Like we needed any more proof to explain why Cheryl is so messed up. To make matters even worse, Cheryl and Veronica (Camila Mendes) are listening in from Vee's bedroom and hear every word (a continuing theme of thin walls in this place). While Cheryl is visibly hurt from what her mother has just said she doesn't let it affect her and puts that winning smile back on. Veronica tries to comfort her but Cheryl is already past the whole thing in her head. When Veronica tries to push her into reporting Nick, she makes the mistake of mentioning how he forced himself on her as well. Instead of it bringing them together on the subject, it just infuriates Cheryl because Veronica kept quiet but is now trying to force her into the spotlight. With these girls divided it just spells out better news for Nick.
Later Betty gets a call from TBH and he explains to her he didn't kill Nick because he just wanted to see her open up her "true self" to him. Now he feels they are more connected because he was able to bring out the darker side that he believes she has inside of her. I obviously have no clue who TBH is but the fact that he is so interested in Betty has to either be blood-related or he's just a really demented individual. Or maybe both? Betty gets a text from Archie (K.J. Apa) and when she meets up with him she tells him she is tired of playing TBH's games and she's not going to do it anymore. She talked to Polly and had her moved from the farm and she says she'll warn Jughead (Cole Sprouse) and Veronica soon. Our girl is switching from defense to offense! Before they can plan anymore they both get calls from their parents to meet at the Cooper household.
With all this drama going on our resident blogger Jughead is enjoying a peaceful morning having breakfast with Toni (Vanessa Morgan) who after that kiss last week, slept over at his place the night before. We learn it's nothing quite that interesting as they just groped each other a little bit and that's it. She tells him that she isn't interested in being his rebound from Betty because she can see how much he's still into her. Well considering their breakup JUST happened that would make sense. She lets him know that she actually prefers girls which is amusing because she sure jumped at the chance to get on Jughead the first chance she got! Seems to me like the writers were just going for an interesting moment to add to the end of last week. When he gets to school Jughead is pulled into Mr. Phillips (Robert Baker) office to discuss his edition of the Red and Black. Phillips compliments him on the issue but then clues him in that he knows he has joined the Serpents gang. One of his big rules was "no gangs" if Jughead was to reopen the paper.
The adults are having an impromptu meeting to discuss this business with what happened with Nick and the party he threw in his hotel before. In addition to all of the kids (except Cheryl) and their parents being there, Keller and Mayor McCoy (Robin Givens) are also in attendance. Mrs. Cooper (Madchen Amick) naturally takes the lead and states how they need to deal with this group of "liars, dope fiends, and fornicators" making sure to add that Betty had left the party and was innocent. The conversation ends up focusing on the drugs and where did they come from with Reggie (Charles Melton) falling on his sword to save the group. He tells the adults that his drug connection is a gang member from the South Side and this leads them to think it's automatically someone from the Serpents. When Veronica speaks up and tries to put the blame on Nick for pushing them to do the drugs, it leads Mayor McCoy to learn that Josie (Ashleigh Murray) had taken some as well. This ignites a parental fire in her that explodes and she declares to take the South Side down under her law bestowed position. Look out Southside High, you've awakened the Kraken!
Knowing what's about to go on Archie races over to the high school to pull Jughead out so he doesn't get arrested by the raid. Sure enough, as soon as he gets there and finds Jughead, the Mayor shows up with her squad of officers and they go through the halls slamming kids up against their lockers and arresting them. The dramatic sad song that plays makes the scene come off like an entire rebellion is being taken out by an evil dictator. Archie grabs his friend and they make it out of a side door to evade the cops but not before Jughead watches Sweet Pea (Jordan Connor) and Toni get taken down.
Back over at Riverdale High, Veronica is sharing with Kevin (Casey Cott) about how Nick tried to assault her after the party. When Kevin tries to suggest she tell her father Veronica clues him in that her father is like The Godfather and she's afraid he would murder Nick. They run into Betty in the hall and before she can speak Kevin is calling her "Benedict Betty" and making it clear they don't want to speak to her.
Because Betty hasn't had enough bad things happen in her day already, she gets a call from TBH and she answers it! Not a very good job of ignoring the man like she had previously stated. In any event, he has a request of her that he wants her to find the Sugar Man who is apparently the one responsible for all the drugs that are being dealt in town. She makes it clear that how is she supposed to locate this person if TBH hasn't and he mentions how she knows Cheryl. Because of the drug dealings that her father was doing Cheryl should have some insight into the identity of this perpetrator. When Betty tries to question helping him TBH says "someone will be purified" if she doesn't help him. I love the terms this guy comes up with. I wonder if he sits around in his villainous lair and thinks them out. Betty goes to visit Cheryl who appears to be sunning herself in her driveway as only would seem normal for this character. She asks Cheryl about the Sugar Man and if it was tied to anything to do with her father.
While Cheryl lets Betty know that she is being annoyingly invasive she still tells her that the Sugar Man was just something that her mother would tell her as a kid to scare her from being naughty. That her dad was friends with this man and if they misbehaved her father would get the Sugar Man to "whisk them away to never be seen again." When Betty tries to ask if the man really worked for her dad, Cheryl dismisses the idea and said it was all made up. Over at Pop's Shoppe, Betty takes to her investigative journalism side and asks Sheriff Keller about the Sugar Man. He tells her that Clifford Blossom himself was indeed the Sugar Man. When she asks him about why jingle-jangle is still out there then, he replies with the drug didn't show up until AFTER he died.
Coincidentally while Betty is in Pop's she sees Veronica and finally tells her about why she went off on her in Nick's hotel room. Now that they're BFFs again she proceeds to also tell her how TBH claims he will go away if she finds out the identity of the Sugar Man. But even if she does, she doesn't want to give him the man's identity because "he's still a human being." Oh, cue the violin playing now for this one. But in the end, Veronica agrees to help her find out who this man's identity is so we're back in business with this dynamic duo.
Jughead has been summoned by Tall Boy (Scott McNeil) to a meeting with him and one of the Ghoulies named Malachai. This guy looks like he was an extra on the set of some B-Rated surfer slasher movie. Tall Boy proposes that the Serpents and the Ghoulies join forces since the North Side has decided to make it a point to come after them. But being FP's (Skeet Ulrich) son he wants Jughead to approve the union. Jughead is not happy at all that the Serpents want to join the group that he feels is the reason they are having this problem. Be that as it may, Tall Boy reminds him that even though he would like his consent, he is the leader so the final decision is his alone. So at Archie's suggestion, the boys go to see FP in jail and get his advice. FP suggests an old-fashioned car race and the winner take all including control of Southside High. That way the Ghoulies would have to listen to the Serpents from then on and will have to stop dealing jingle-jangle.
During breakfast, Betty has now made Cheryl curious and she asks her mother about the Sugar Man. She says she remembers a man that would come over and visit but her and Jason would stay upstairs. When she inquires if he was part of her father's "other business" Penelope gets very upset and tells her she doesn't know what she's talking about. Cheryl's mother is not a good liar.
When the gang of friends is doing community service as part of their punishment for the hotel party, Veronica gets Reggie to give her the number of his jingle-jangle dealer. She sets up a meet to buy some off of him and after she does they follow him back to what turns out to be the Ghoulies lair. Funny enough it turns out that Jughead and Archie are also there because they're proposing the car race. Who needs Pop's Shoppe anymore?! Looks like the kids have found a new hangout. Anyways, the deal is struck that if they win the Serpents remain autonomous and the Ghoulies have to stop the jingle-jangle dealing at Southside High. But if they lose, the Serpents will fold and the Ghoulies get the White Wyrm plus Sunnyside Trailer Park. Well sounds like an unfair wager if you ask me, so let's just hope they win!
Speaking of Pop's Shoppe, we find Cheryl there (eating alone) and she, unfortunately, runs into the Silver Spoon Sleaze Nick St. Clair. He approaches her and in all of his arrogant smugness claims that he did nothing wrong to her and that she was actually "begging him for it." We see the rage on Cheryl's face as she immediately loses any fear she had about taking him to court and threatens him that she will now be filing charges. This does nothing to lessen the grin on Nick's face as he informs her that there will be no such thing happening since her mother took a payment of hush-money from his parents. So when she gets back home Cheryl confronts her mother about the money plus she even gave herself the advantage by finding the actual check. She takes this moment to tell her mother that she has never defended her, even from this man who tried to rape her. Penelope doesn't even respond to what her daughter just said and instead asks for the check. Cheryl stands her ground and says she won't give it to her until she tells her who the Sugar Man is.
In a surprising display of good-will, Cheryl calls Veronica and informs her that she knows her parents are still taking money from the St. Clair's. This finally upsets Veronica enough to go to her parents and tell them that Nick tried to assault her as well. The look on her father Hiram's face goes to such an intense anger that he looks like the man is ready to unleash the fires of Hades on Nick St. Clair. While he begins to say the unholy wrath he is going to do, Hermione jumps in and tells Veronica that they will not accept any money from the St. Clair's.
Meanwhile, as Betty and works on Reggie's car for the race it seems that time for these two to have that talk now. But, not so fast as Betty will only say that she broke up with him to protect him and that the rest she will tell him another time. I'm sure it has to be frustrating for Jughead to get dumped and the whole reason behind it is being kept a secret.
Now it is race time as Archie and Jughead get into Reggie's car to try to win this for the Serpents. One of the things I'm glad Riverdale holds onto is the nostalgic look of the production design. These kids don't get into sports cars or anything from present day but instead are in automobiles that you would probably only see at a classic auto show. Cheryl herself nudges Toni out of the way and dressed up like a femme fatale out of 'Rebel without a Cause' drops her hands to start the race off. The two cars are neck and neck until a bridge is coming up that is too narrow for both and with knowing that Jughead will not back down, Archie pulls the emergency brake and brings them to a halt as the Ghoulies speed away. When Jughead gets out of the car he is outraged at Archie for causing them to lose the race but when he realizes the cops were waiting for the Ghoulies on the other side of the bridge he understands what his friend has done. Archie tells him he called Sheriff Keller so he could get the Ghoulies arrested and eliminate the problem. Jughead is still upset with Archie because he feels like he just escalated their feud with the Ghoulies when they get out. No appreciation for helping a friend out, huh Archie?
When Cheryl get home after the race, her mother is sitting by the fire looking like she's been doing some deep soul searching. She tells her daughter that she created the story of the Sugar Man "to turn an all-too-real monster into a child's boogeyman." She continues with saying that there were several of them, each taking over for the last. When her father wanted to begin grooming Jason to take over the business, he had him meet the current Sugar Man. Penelope, upset with grief, says these were the events that would lead to Jason's death. And with that, a satisfied Cheryl hands over the check to her mother which she surprisingly throws into the fire. She then says one last question, "Who is the Sugar Man now?"
Cheryl calls Betty who is sitting with Veronica at Pop's and tells her who the Sugar Man is. Betty questions what she should do with this information-give it to TBH or not. She decides to give it to the Sheriff instead of letting TBH get his way. When she next talks to TBH, she proudly tells him how she defied him in giving the Sugar Man because he should be brought to justice, not executed. She also declares that this is her game now and she's coming after him next! "I'm breathing down your neck," she says. He hangs up without another word. This was such an amazing moment for Betty since he had her so scared the last couple of episodes.
Finally, Toni tells Jughead that some of the Serpents are happy with Jughead for beating the Ghoulies and some of them are pissed he got Keller involved in their affairs. While they are talking the police come through with a man in handcuffs and its Robert Phillips the English teacher that was in charge of the school newspaper! He was the Sugar Man right there in the open and no one knew. But even in jail, no one is safe from TBH. He walks right up to Phillips cell and shoots him dead. Archie tells his dad how Jughead is mad at him for what he did at the race but Fred (Luke Perry) tells him their friendship is strong enough to endure this. And then they make sure to show us how Fred is still popping pills from his gunshot wound. Ah, don't turn Fred into a junkie! Is he going to end up on the jingle-jangle next?! Hermione gets a call at home and learns the St. Clair's had a terrible car "accident" on the way home. Nick especially was badly injured and will take months to recover. Veronica grows a big smile on her face and says "karma is a bitch." Maybe Hiram really is the Godfather of Riverdale.
A strong ending for a lot of the stories that have been going on lately. But now we have news ones like what is going to happen with the Serpents now that the Ghoulies are no longer a threat and Betty going one-on-one with The Black Hood! We have a lot to think about for the next couple of weeks from The CW series. See you then!