In the Riverdale recap, as the Black Hood saga comes to an end, Archie and the gang try to stop Hiram from enacting his plans to turn Riverdale into his town…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
One thing that Riverdale has done so well through the first two seasons is using the finale to set up what lies ahead rather than wrapping up what just unfolded for 20 or so episodes.
Last season, Riverdale solved the mystery behind Jason Blossom’s murder in the penultimate episode before then leaving us with the cliffhanger of a gunshot Fred Andrews laying on the floor of Pop’s Chock-Lit-Shoppe.
In the penultimate episode of Riverdale season 2, the Black Hood, who has been the central villain all along, was finally revealed as Hal Cooper but there were still a few more loose ends to tie up.
Perhaps the best part about Riverdale season 2 as we get ready season 3 are the roots that were laid for the real big bad who has been scheming and plotting to take over the town while everybody was so concerned about a single-minded serial killer stalking sinners. Instead it was Hiram Lodge who was the real puppet master setting up his ultimate plan to turn Riverdale into one giant sin-bin where the drugs flow freely, the prostitutes are tricking it up and there’s a for profit prison right smack dab in the middle of it all to make it seem like law and order still rule the day.
It was a pretty ingenious plan as Hiram set up all the pieces into place and then began knocking them over one by one like a set of dominoes. It sets up for an interesting season 3 but first things first, let’s wrap up season 2 as we recap the Riverdale season finale titled ‘Chapter Thirty-Five: Brave New World’…
In the aftermath of Penny Peabody orchestrating a hit on Jughead Jones, to no one’s surprise he survived the ordeal but that really doesn’t matter because it was all a set up to finally eliminate the Southside Serpents once and for all.
With Jughead still laid up in the hospital, F.P. tells his son that the call telling them that Fangs Fogerty was dead was really a prank to infuriate the Serpents and combined with Jughead being jumped led them straight into a fight with the Ghoulies that they could not win. The Serpents fought valiantly but they lost and now the Southside has been taken over by the Ghoulies and even the trailer park where most of them lived has been burned to the ground.
To make matters worse, Principal Weatherbee has decided to kick all of the former Southside kids out of Riverdale High after they participated in trashing the school during the riots following Fangs’ shooting.
All of this and F.P. also loses his job at Pop’s after Hiram decides to let him go. This has convinced F.P. that it’s time to pack up shop and move to Toledo where Jughead can be reunited with his mother and sister.
Jughead also has to learn that his girlfriend’s father is a serial killer, which can only make for some awkward pillow talk when she comes to visit him in the hospital.
Speaking of Betty, she’s taking the brunt of her father’s arrest on her own conscience after she failed to realize the killer she was hunting all season long was living under the same roof (well for at least part of the time). Betty’s mother Alice is lashing out at a peering public who are now camped outside the Cooper home just hoping the catch a glimpse of the house where the Black Hood plotted his murders.
Thankfully Polly comes home with her twins to provide some moral support but even that backfires when she suggests that everybody forgive Hal for his transgressions because that’s the only way they can let go of the hate in their hearts. Polly even convinces her mother to meet with a counselor from ‘the farm’ where she’s been staying, which screams of a cult moving into Riverdale next season.
As for Betty, she goes as far as apologizing to Mr. Andrews for not figuring out that her father was the one who shot him in the season one finale and she’s not even ready to go back to school with the glare of ‘that’s her’ looks coming from every direction.
Then there’s Cheryl Blossom, who gets her emancipation papers signed from former mayor turned uber lawyer Sierra McCoy, who confirms that her Nana Rose is now her legal guardian and she controls the remaining Blossom fortunes and lands. When she goes to gloat about this to her mother and father/uncle Claudius, she finds them holding a private meeting with Hiram Lodge, which can only mean bad news.
Cheryl quickly reports this information because there’s no way this is going to be good for anybody.
And finally there’s Archie and Veronica, who are trying to find a way to get Fred elected while simultaneously bringing her father’s empire crumbling down around him. It’s taken the entire season to realize that Hiram was manipulated each of them for his own means.
Hiram took advantage of an angry, grief stricken Archie to turn him into a weapon he could use to complete whatever task necessary without getting his own hands dirty. Hiram also managed to use his daughter to gain full control of the Southside and set up his final plans to get his wife elected mayor and then the town would be his for the making.
The depravity living inside Hiram is fully realized after Sheriff Minetta — his hand chosen successor to Sheriff Keller — tells Archie and Fred that the second Black Hood has been discovered and killed. It was Tallboy — the exiled ex-Serpent — who took a shot at Hermoine during the mayoral debate and went after Fred a second time in his home last week. The cops killed him during an alleged shootout thinking he went unhinged and was getting revenge for the people who led to his exile from the Serpents.
In reality, Tallboy was an agent of Hiram Lodge that was sent after his own wife and Fred Andrews as he continuously moved chess pieces around the board to ensure he would end up with total control over the town.
With the noose closing in on the remaining Southside Serpents, Jughead finds out that the rest of his old crew is living in the Whyte Wyrm — the biker club’s hangout — and he’s desperate to find someway to help them out of this situation.
Meanwhile, Veronica finally convinces her mother that Hiram’s moves have not only put him into a position of power but he was willing to sacrifice his own wife to land on top when he sent a shooter after her at that debate. Hermoine isn’t ready to turn on her husband but she is willing to help her daughter get a weapon that could be used against him.
There’s one piece of property left on the Southside that Hiram hasn’t purchased and he’s closing in on a deal to buy the Whyte Wyrm.
To add onto the misery, Hiram has Sheriff Minetta prepare to raid the Wyrm to arrest the remaining Serpents, which will effectively end their charter in town. Thankfully, Cheryl Blossom gets word of the upcoming raid from her mother and she warns Jughead to move fast as he relocates the remaining Serpents to Fred Andrews’ house as he opens up his home as a refuge for those cast out from the Southside.
As for Veronica, with help from former Mayor McCoy, Veronica effectively blackmails her father into turning over that million dollars she extorted from the St. Clair family and she then uses that money to buy the Whyte Wyrm. When her father finds out, she offers him a trade — she will take Pop’s Chock-Lit-Shoppe and then hand over the Whyte Wyrm to him. Hiram agrees under one additional condition — Veronica is effectively no longer his daughter. She gets no allowance, no say in the family business and she will sign over her piece of Lodge Industries free and clear.
Veronica agrees and she trades deeds with her father. Of course by handing the Whyte Wyrm over to her father, she’s effectively ending the Southside as we know it and giving him the final piece of the puzzle he needs but we’ll ignore that giant plot point for the fact that Veronica now has a place to hang out with her friends and eat for free!
As for some better news, Archie gets an idea with all of the Serpents camped out at his house as he turns to Jughead to borrow as many jackets as the biker club can spare. The next day at school, everybody shows up wearing Serpent jackets, giving Principal Weatherbee an ultimatum — he can let the Southsiders stay or everybody goes. The principal relents and sends everybody back to class.
Score one for Archie but that might be the last goal he scores for a while.
Like Father, Like Daughter, Like Son
As for Betty, after soaking up all the guilt she can suffer for not identifying her father as the Black Hood, Jughead reminds her that she’s not him and she can’t take the blame for his actions.
So Betty decides to visit Hal in jail to inform him that she’s never going to become like him and she’s eliminating the darkness from her heart. Of course, Hal reminds his daughter that it’s not that easy, especially considering all the things she did in the lead up to his capture (including feeding a false Chic to the Black Hood, knowing that he’d be killed).
Betty leaves but that’s not the last we’ve seen of Hal Cooper.
As for the remaining Serpents, F.P. gathers them up at a spot near the riverbank where the group first formed and he tells them that he’s retiring from the club — this time for good. But he’s turning over leadership to the person who has really been fighting to keep the Serpents alive — his son Jughead.
As his first order as the new Serpent King, Jughead inducts Cheryl Blossom with her own custom made red jacket as a thank you for warning them of the impending police raid that was coming for the Whyte Wyrm. Jughead even manages to sneak in a night at a hotel with Betty where he asks her to be his Serpent Queen but she’s not quite ready to give him an answer on that just yet.
As for the elections in town, Archie becomes the new student body president after virtually everybody else minus Ethel Muggs drops out of the race but sadly Fred Andrews falls to Hermoine Lodge in the mayoral election. She does manage to drop by the Andrews house to offer a congratulations on a well run race as it seems even she’s beginning to question her loyalty to Hiram.
As for Archie, he goes to visit Hiram in his study and begins laying out all the ways he was manipulated by this well dressed gangster after his father was shot. Hiram was playing Archie all along and thanks to his own stupidity, he followed his every word. But that is no longer happening and Archie plans on making it his life’s mission to bring down Hiram and his criminal empire. Before leaving, Archie promises to make his bones by killing Hiram’s plans for this town and he stabs a knife through his desk for dramatic effect.
Sadly Archie didn’t see the full reach of what Hiram has planned.
Not only is he opening a for profit prison, but he plans on flooding it with drugs produced by Claudius Blossom that will be sold by the Ghoulies and they’ll all be allowed to get away with this because Sheriff Minetta is in Hiram’s back pocket. Penelope Blossom even gets her piece of the pie as she plans on opening a brothel in town.
The next day at school, Archie is being introduced as the new class president when he catches Hiram Lodge standing at the corner of the room with a sly smile on his face. Before this inauguration happened, Hiram promised his new criminal cohorts that he’d make sure that Archie, Veronica and their meddling friends wouldn’t interfere with them any more because he plans on unraveling them from the inside out.
That happens during Archie’s first speech to the class body when Sheriff Minetta shows up and places handcuffs on the red-headed wonder kid. It seems Archie is being charged for murder — the killing of a kid named Cassidy near the Lodge family lake house from several months ago. If you remember, kids from the nearby town broke into the Lodge home but Archie was able to get the drop on them before chasing the leader out into the woods. When Archie caught up to him, Hiram’s personal bodyguard showed up and promised to take care of this for him. Archie turned his back to walk away before hearing a gunshot in the woods.
This has all been carefully orchestrated to set Archie up for murder and now he’s going to jail while Hiram is a move or two away from completely owning Riverdale and transforming the town with pep into a sin city.
Riverdale will return with season 3 this fall on the CW!