‘Riverdale’ Recap ‘Chapter Eighteen: When a Stranger Calls’

In the ‘Riverdale’ recap, Betty gets instructions from the Black Hood, Veronica visits with a friend from her party days and Jughead goes all in to join the Southside Serpents…

By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer

The murder mystery surrounding the first season of ‘Riverdale’ has given way to a new guessing game for season two as the Black Hood continues to terrorize the town.

What looked like a killer going after people closest to Archie Andrews has now devolved into a plot where the Black Hood is targeting the sinners of Riverdale after he was inspired by the rousing speech given by Betty Cooper last season as she tried to reunite the town after it was discovered that Clifford Blossom murdered his own son to cover up his drug running business.

Such a dark twist left Riverdale in peril but Betty tried to remind people what made this town great. Unfortunately a psychopath twisted her words and now wants to turn Riverdale back into the wholesome town it once was by literally cutting out the rotten pieces one by one.

So now begins the mystery about who is the Black Hood?

In the latest episode he reveals to Betty that she would know his face and that he was present during her speech at the jubilee last season. He also divulges that he was at the town hall meeting that closed down last week’s episode, but he didn’t act. Instead, he was setting it all up as a test for Betty and she obviously passed.

Now the obvious choice would be the killer is actually Betty’s brother Chic, who is scheduled to appear this season. While she’s never met her brother before, which eliminates the clue that she’ll know his face, that might just be a rouse because perhaps she’ll know her brother because they’ll look so much alike.

Beyond that choice, Betty’s father Hal could be another contender because he was doing everything in his power to purge his family’s dirty secrets a season ago, which is why he became a prime suspect in Jason Blossom’s murder. There’s also Sheriff Keller, who has been largely ineffective stopping anyone inside the rules of the law but perhaps Betty’s speech inspired him to realize that acting outside the lines would be a more effective method of doling out justice?

‘Riverdale’ show runner and creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has said that they set up the story for three prime suspects to potentially be the Black Hood and it could be any of them — and they won’t decide until it’s time to unveil his or her identity. So let the guessing games begin because we won’t know for certain until later in the season.

With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of ‘Riverdale’ titled ‘Chapter Eighteen: When a Stranger Calls’…

Follow the Leader

Picking up just seconds after last week’s episode ended, Betty gets a call from the Black Hood as he tells her how much she inspired him and how his elaborate set up to get her to town hall was all just part of his plan to see if she could follow his instructions. The Black Hood then tells her details about where her sister Polly is located while offering a not so subtle threat that if Betty disobeys him, she dies along with her children. He also instructs her not to share this information with her mother or her mystery solving boyfriend Jughead.

Thankfully the Black Hood never specified to not tell Archie, which is exactly what Betty does the next day. Archie is trying to get back on track after disbanding the Red Circle and issuing an apology just like Principal Weatherbee instructed last week.

On the way to school, Archie gets the low down on the Black Hood calling Betty and he promises to keep it a secret but he refuses to let her go through this alone.

Unfortunately, the Black Hood is relentless with his calls and requests to prove Betty’s loyalty to him. He first orders Betty to print a salacious story about her mother after he emails her a newspaper clipping that shows her being arrested as a teenager when she lived on the Southside. At first, Betty balks at dragging her mother’s name through the mud but after Alice accuses her of faking the letter she received from the Black Hood, she decides that printing the news is worthwhile after all.

Needless to say, Alice is embarrassed and ashamed after her past comes back to haunt her, which is exactly what the Black Hood wanted in the first place.

The second set of orders involve Betty beginning to cut out the people in her life that he feels are toxic and unworthy of her attention. That means Veronica and Jughead have to go. As much as Betty wants to fight back, the threat looming against her sister is enough where she’s forced to go through with his instructions because she can’t risk Polly’s life or the lives of her unborn children.

End of the World Party

As Hiram Lodge plans to launch his new development on the Southside of town where the drive-in theater once stood, he’s still facing problems from the local press courtesy of Alice Cooper’s articles and funding is starting to run short. Thankfully he has some old friends — the St. Clair family — coming down from New York for his open house and they have very deep pockets. Because Veronica asked to be more involved in the family business, they ask her to greet the St. Clair’s and show their son Nick around town to convince him that Riverdale is a place worth his father’s investment.

It seems Nick and Veronica were party pals back in New York and his arrival means that he’s looking to rekindle whatever flame he had with her back in the day. Veronica does her best to placate his ego while not subjecting herself to his flirtations but Nick is on the offensive even with Archie sitting just a few feet away with a look on his face that could have easily ended with the New York preppie being tossed around like a tackling dummy.

Still, Nick plans on turning Riverdale into a place he’d want to live so he decides to throw a party later that night with Veronica and all of her friends.

Of course, Nick’s idea of a party includes snorting coke and doing hits of Jingle-Jangle — the latter of which Veronica decides to partake and thus Archie follows suit to stay in tune with his suddenly hard charging girlfriend. The only person not participating is Betty as she’s hunkered down in a corner, barely functioning because she knows what’s about to happen next.

That’s when Betty erupts at Veronica, calling her an over privileged debutant who is only pretending to be friends with them because she’s stuck living in Riverdale rather than back in New York City where she belongs. Betty’s hate speech ends with her storming out of the room and Veronica telling Archie to go chase after her because she’s not wasting her time on that ponytail any longer.

Archie finally tracks down Betty when she tells him about the Black Hood’s latest instructions including ditching both Veronica and Jughead. That’s when she asks Archie to tell Jughead the bad news.

See just a day before, Betty spend the afternoon with Jughead as they both daydreamed of leaving Riverdale together like a Romeo and Juliet story with a happy ending instead of being mired in all this drama that’s unfolding lately. As it turns out, that was the last time (at least for now) that ‘Bughead’ will share a milkshake and a burger at Pop’s.

As for Veronica, she’s forced to fight off Nick’s advances later that night when he gets quite aggressive and even threatens to torpedo her dad’s project if she doesn’t do some favors for him. Veronica slaps him and storms out of the room because she’s nobody’s bargaining chip.

The next day at the open house for Hiram’s new business, Nick pulls Veronica aside and apologizes for his behavior while making up an excuse about how he’s been battling his demons while going in and out of rehab lately. Then when Cheryl Blossom arrives, Nick quickly turns his attention towards her while slipping a roofie into her drink at the party.

As for the open house, Hiram makes his big speech to the donors and even Fred Andrews joins the Lodge’s on stage because his construction company was in charge of building this new development meant to revitalize the Southside. Alice Cooper even makes an appearance in a jaw-dropping dress to not only show she’s still got all the same curves as she did when she was 18 but also to prove that she’s not going to hide her face in shame no matter what the people in town know about her.

As for Nick, he leads Cheryl out of the open house and back to his room where he tosses her unconscious body on his bed. Thankfully, Veronica along with Josie and the Pussycats saw what was happening and gave chase until they found his hotel room and stopped Nick from assaulting poor Cheryl. Veronica and the Pussycats then kick the crap out of Nick like the final scene from Quentin Tarantino’s “Death Proof” before leaving him laying in a pool of his own blood while rescuing Cheryl from his clutches.

Veronica, Josie and even Betty shows up to console Cheryl after this horrific act leaves her traumatized. Cheryl is equal parts distraught and enraged and she wants nothing more than to burn Nick St. Clair to the ground for what he’s done. Betty hearing this part of the story plays a crucial part in the final scenes this week.

Trial By Fire

As for Jughead, he’s still trying to keep the peace between the Southside and the Northside, but it’s getting harder by the day. The latest plan involves the Southside Serpents using a pipe bomb to blow up the Riverdale Register newspaper out of anger that Alice Cooper keeps painting them as the culprit behind these Black Hood attacks. Toni reminds Jughead of his heritage and how his father FP Jones was not only the president of the club but he kept a cork on the boiling bad blood between the two parts of town.

That’s when Jughead decides it’s time to stop keeping one foot in the north and the other in the south — and he asks to be inducted as a full fledge member of the Southside Serpents.

So Jughead goes through an initiation process that starts out rather easy — taking care of a dog and learning the bi-laws of the Serpents motorcycle club. But from there the tasks get harder including Jughead reaching into a glass case to retrieve a knife with live rattlesnake coiled around it. And then the final test is Jughead being beaten into the gang with Sweet Pea and the rest of the guys kicking the crap out of him to prove his loyalty.

Jughead’s initiation is complete and it couldn’t come at a better time after he has a falling out with Archie when he discovers that his best friend is teaming up with the same people he got into a rumble with from last week. That’s when Archie happily helps execute the second part of Betty’s plan as he breaks up with Jughead for her and sends him off to become a full fledged Southside Serpent.

Following his initiation and induction into the club, Toni Topaz helps clean up Jughead’s wounds before they share a kiss at the end of the night. Betty was certain that she’d be able to fix things with Jughead after the Black Hood was either captured or killed but now that might be a little tougher considering he’s already on the rebound.

Give Me a Name

Finally, Betty gets another call from the Black Hood where he leads her to an abandoned house on the edge of town where she finds a package inside. With each test she passes, the Black Hood has been answering questions so Betty is determined to follow through with this. When she finally opens the package, she finds a hood inside and he tells her to put it on. When she does, he tells her to turn around and she’s greeted by an image in the mirror as he says that this is just proof that they are the same person deep down inside.

This only further fuels the idea that the Black Hood is actually her long lost brother.

Back at home, the Black Hood places one last call — he’s clearly on the unlimited plan — and he scolds Betty for telling Archie that they’ve been talking despite never instructing her not to tell him. Her punishment will be Polly dying unless she’s willing to give him another name of somebody who needs to pay for their sin.

As much as Betty doesn’t want to put anybody on the chopping block she’s finally forced to utter a name — Nick St. Clair.

The Black Hood can only enjoy hearing Betty give him a name because he believes that’s just further proof that they are the same person, desperately trying to cleanse this town of sin and turn it back into the town with pep.

SOUNDTRACK:

“Thunder” by Imagine Dragons

“Sign of the Times” by Harry Styles

“Out Tonight” (from ‘Rent’) by the cast from ‘Riverdale’

“High” by Sir Sly

‘Riverdale’ returns with a brand new episode next Wednesday night at 8pm ET on the CW

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