With all of the fear and paranoia from The Black Hood circulating inside the town of Riverdale, it is such a fun cliché that Archie (K.J. Apa) and Veronica (Camila Mendes) revert to sexual escapades to distract themselves from the drama going on in House of the Devil. But it does make sense that eventually these horny teenagers are going to go through a phase of total reckless fun because isn't that what you're supposed to do before adulthood hits? It's really great to see them being a full-fledged couple since they've had a rough go of it dealing with the Serpents, TBH, and Archie's dad getting shot. Although I think Archie is walking a seriously dangerous line by having sex with Hiram Lodge's (Mark Consuelos) daughter in his residence. But just as they are youthful lovers, they are also immature when it comes to real grown-up feelings as when Archie actually says "I love you, Ronnie." This catches them both off guard and instead of dealing with what the impact of that four-lettered word means they both act like it was never uttered and Archie makes a hasty exit back home.
The next day over at Pop's Chock' Lit Shoppe, Jughead (Cole Sprouse) and Betty (Lili Reinhart) are talking about how what seemed like a crazy tall tale from that mysterious truck driver last week, was actually a real incident that happened. Years ago a man randomly entered a house and killed a family of four which led to the press calling him "the Riverdale Reaper." The Reaper was never apprehended which is leaning Jughead to think that maybe the man could be TBH. When Betty takes a look at a photo of the house the murders happened in she disturbingly realizes that it's the same house she had been previously sent to by TBH. This ignites the gears in Jughead's wannabe investigative head and he is now certain there must be a connection between the Reaper and TBH. But unfortunately, they are at a stalemate because they've already burned Sheriff Keller (Martin Cummins) with Betty accusing him last week and she also has no interest in going back to that house to pursue any more evidence after what TBH put her through last time. Damn Betty, you're bringing down the mood here. Before they can come up with a course of action Jughead gets a call from the prison where FP is at and gets some very uplifting news.
Now over at Riverdale High, he breaks the news to Archie and Veronica that his dad, FP is getting out of jail! When Veronica asks how this is possible, Jughead just thinks off the top of his head and cites overcrowding. Nice job kid. So now that Jughead has to deal with seeing his dad, they ask Archie and Vee if they'll investigate the murder house from where the Reaper committed his crime. While they couple identity swapping seems like a strange notion to all of them Archie and Vee agree to help them nonetheless.
When Veronica gets home she sees Sheriff Keller heading out, this immediately throws up her suspicion that this wasn't just a cordial visit. And her suspicions would be correct because TBH has sent a letter to her parents saying that they are targets for "their sinful ways." Veronica notices that her parents are taking this way too calmly and they state that many households in town have received the same letter. This does little to comfort Vee since as she states "we're actually sinners," but her parents reassure their daughter that their home is plenty capable of keeping TBH out. When she brings up her safety OUTSIDE of their home, Hiram tells her that her driver Andre is "trained in martial arts." Well looks like Daddy Lodge has it all figured out. The fun part for Veronica comes in that her parents would like her to bring Archie around more since they know he will protect her.
Meanwhile, over at the White Wyrm, Jughead makes the announcement to the Serpents that FP is getting released from prison. He also adds how when his dad comes back they will talk to the Mayor about "bringing the Southside back" which I'm very unclear what that means because it seems all it ever has been being is a place for a whole lot of shady activity. Anyway, this idea does not sit well with FP's right-hand man Tall Boy (Scott Mcneil) who puffs up his chest at Jughead and states his opposition to this idea. But the best thing happens as Jughead stands his ground and calls Tall Boy "a little bitch." He puts his plan up for a vote by the Serpents and they overwhelmingly agree with his thinking so Tall Boy puts his tail between his legs.
In dealing with Archie saying the L-word both of the kids talk to their parents about what they are feeling and ask for advice. While Fred Andrews (Luke Perry) tells his son that maybe they're in two different places, Hermione (Marisol Nichols) lets Veronica know that maybe she just simply isn't ready to hear that word yet.
Mama Cooper (Madchen Amick) decides to drive Jughead and Betty over to the prison to pick up FP probably just so she can find every chance to insult FP along the way. When they go to have food at Pop's she brings up how TBH is "targeting sinners" so he should watch out since she knows he will rejoin the Serpents. He immediately corrects Alice and says he is done with the Serpent life-- he is on the straight and narrow now. He has quit drinking, joined AA, and is going to ask Pop for a job at the diner.
FP would get his wish but it is really tough for Jughead to watch his father who was such a big man in the Serpents now have to clean up milkshakes from the likes of Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch) who take advantage of making him look bad. In an attempt to make something of a bad situation, Betty suggests throwing FP a retirement party with the Serpents. She tells Jughead she'll handle all the arrangements but what it ends up being is more her trying to become "Serpent adjacent." With FP no longer being a member she wants to try to be a part of the club so she can keep an eye on Jughead and keep him safe. She expresses her concerns to Toni (Vanessa Morgan) and wants to know what she needs to do to earn some credentials. What she learns is that one needs to do the Serpent dance which is another way of saying a striptease on stage. Toni says that she tried to get them to change this initiation but with no luck. But from the look in Betty's eyes, she doesn't seem the least bit afraid.
Back to our Riverdale Reaper investigation team Archie and Veronica, who actually kept their clothes on long enough to go to see Sheriff Keller about trying to get the missing files from the Conway murders case. Keller informs them that the man working on it was Sheriff Howard but he died two years ago. He mentions that he had a daughter, Margaret who might be able to help them so they contact her. Acting like they are reporters they get in touch with Margaret but she is not too happy to talk about the case. Her father was obsessed with it and would spend day and night at the scene which he called the devil's house, trying to solve the murder. Well, if that's where Howard spent all his time, then Archie and Veronica figure they should go to the house as well.
Meanwhile, FP and Jughead decide to take a father and son motorcycle ride together which also leads to some serious conversation about the future. FP asks him about Penny because he KNOWS she had to have something to do with him getting released from prison. Jughead tells him about the job he did for her but says it was a one-time thing. FP tells his son he doesn't want him to be a part of the Serpent life but Jughead reveals that he already ran the gauntlet and he wants to stay in the club. Not happy about his answer, FP still agrees with his son's wishes but only if he continues to keep writing. I don't see how that will keep him out of trouble but I guess it's all he can hope for to give Jughead a better life.
For whatever reason Archie and Veronica wait until it is pitch black outside to go visit the Conway home. They walk the inside of the house, reenacting the order of events by going from room to room that the killer had done the night of. This is a very morbid version of date night. Veronica notices a height chart that has been made on the side of a door but while they had believed the Conway's were a family of four there are three sets of initials for the kids. They randomly discover an old metal box which coincidentally contains Sheriff Howard's notes on the case. No doubt that this man had been deeply dedicated to solving this case. While they go over his research they find a picture of the Conway's outside their home and discover that they were a family of five, not four! Good job team. Penny Peabody (Brit Morgan) contacts Jughead about doing another job for her just like we knew she would. When Jughead tries to say he doesn't owe her any more favors, Penny hits below the belt and threatens Betty's life.
At Riverdale High, Archie and Veronica inform Betty and Jughead about their findings from going to the Conway house. There was a third child that survived the attack named Joseph Conway who had his name changed and was adopted by another family. They decide to try and match the picture they have to yearbook photos from around the time he would've attended. Even though it sounds like the longest and most tedious chore to take on Archie and Veronica pour over the photos in the yearbooks and come up with a successful match! It's Mr. Svenson, (Cameron McDonald) the janitor? Well, at least that explains why he's been around so much lately.
They confront Svenson in the hallways, (because of course, he's there) and when he tries to run Archie gives chase and grabs him. He explains to them he avoided the murders by sneaking out of his bedroom window that night. But he still hung around outside so he could see the face of the man who killed his parents. As a child, I would have hauled ass out of there, but guess that's just me. The next day after the murders a group of men took him to identify the killer, which after he did they ended his life. It was never reported so nothing ever happened to the men that carried out their vigilantism. Poor Sheriff Howard, he was trying to solve something that had already been dealt with. When Svenson shows no remorse for what happened to the man she tries accusing him of being a part of TBH's victims. But Archie stops her and says that this man doesn't have the same eyes as TBH-and he would know. I don't know if I would call this a dead end but it sure didn't give them what they were hoping for. The final scene we see of Svenson would be him looking at a photograph of five men all standing together. I'm sure this is going to end up leading to one of them becoming our mysterious TBH.
That evening would bring us to FP's retirement party at the White Wyrm where high school girl Toni tends bar and the mother/daughter Cooper women show up looking like blazing tens in the biker chic category. I guess Alice couldn't turn down FP's invite to see some old friends. When Archie sees Veronica he wants to finally have a serious talk about this whole L-Word thing even though she tries to avoid it again. He tells her he meant it when he said the big four-lettered word and he's okay if she doesn't say it back. She hugs him in relief and replies that she is happy about him understanding. But you can tell from the look on his face that Archie actually thought this idea would get her to say it back and he is quite hurt. He remembers that he signed them up to sing karaoke and even though he seems to want to run away they still go up on stage.
He selected "Mad World" which he says is a song Veronica likes but I don't think even she would've thought this was the most uplifting of songs to sing at a party. And it would seem to be a bad choice because the heavy sadness of it takes an effect on Veronica and she leaves the stage without finishing the song. Archie follows her as she runs outside and tries to convince her it doesn't matter if she doesn't say it back (it seems like it does to you buddy) but Veronica disagrees with him. She feels like she can't let herself get to that emotional point with him and that's a problem. She sadly says "I'm so sorry," and gets into her car to head home. Did they just break up? Seems like it, right?!
But why those two were outside having an emotional moment, back inside the bar the crowd was getting rowdy since their entertainment just ran off. So Betty decides to get up on stage and pick up singing where they had left off. That's all well and normal until she decides to make THIS moment the time she is going to earn her way into the club by doing her Serpent dance. As she is singing, she takes off her clothes to the point where she is wearing just lingerie underneath and proceeds to take a couple of spins around the pole. The look of disbelief on Jughead's face is only outmatched by the enormous shock on Alice's face when she sees her TEENAGE daughter up on stage. The very disturbing moment is only saved when FP comes in and puts his jacket over to cover her up but at the same time, he gets the room to give her a huge applause as she walks off the stage. Well, they are a biker gang, not a bridge club. While up on stage FP lays into a speech where he says how the Serpents were always there for him, when no one else was. And now the law is trying to tell him that he can't be a part of this life anymore and he' not going to let that happen. He announces that he is fact not retiring at all. After his invigorating speech, FP walks over to his son and tells him that he "broke his heart" after he went to Penny Peabody. When Jughead tries to make amends for it, FP says he has taken over the debt and he's in while his son is out.
And because Jughead's night hasn't gone crappy enough he now has to deal with Betty and the stunt she just pulled. He questions her on why she would do such a thing and she confesses that she's just trying to be a part of the Serpents since it's his world. Jughead gets upset at her answer and tells her that he feels like he's going to pull her down with him into this life of his and she's going to get hurt. When she tries to argue that it's his not his decision to make he tells her it is and then he tells Betty to go home. She is left standing in the parking lot alone because her wonderful mother has already left earlier as well. Are we two for two on the breakup scale now?
In the final scene, we have Archie at home, getting ready for bed as he looks out at Betty's window and sees her sitting in her room. She turns and notices he is watching her and goes to her window. They leave a long gazing stare at each other as Jughead's voice-over says "And a boy looked out his window at the girl next door, as if for the very first time." Well, what do we have here? The Mid-Season Finale is next on The CW! Do you think The Black Hood will claim another victim? Are we finally going to learn his identity? Or more importantly, are we going to see some sparks fly between Archie and Betty?!