‘Riverdale’ Recap ‘Chapter Seventeen: The Town that Dreaded Sundown’

In the ‘Riverdale’ recap, Archie’s hunt for vengeance nearly takes a deadly twist while Betty finds out the killer’s true motives…

By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer

Everyone in Riverdale is finally acknowledging that the worst may be upon them — a serial killer has come to town.

Thanks to an ominous letter sent to Alice Cooper that was printed in the local newspaper, the person responsible for shooting Fred Andrews, Midge and Moose as well as killing former Riverdale High teacher Geraldine Grundy has named themselves ‘The Black Hood’ and they are looking to ride the town of all the sinners that are ruining its sterling reputation.

That threat sent Polly Cooper fleeing to a farm where she once hoped to start a new life with Jason Blossom while Archie Andrews — with some friendly advice from Hiram Lodge — decided to go on the offensive by starting his own watchdog group called ‘The Red Circle’ but they weren’t just on the lookout for the Black Hood.

They were flat out taunting him to show his face again so the Red Circle could strike and take him down once and for all.

Needless to say, Archie’s new group has everyone in town almost as concerned as the killer on the loose. And it doesn’t help matters much that Archie’s thirst for revenge is not only getting worse but it’s getting more dangerous as he looks to punish the person responsible for cutting his dad down.

With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of ‘Riverdale’ titled ‘Chapter Seventeen: The Town that Dreaded Sundown’…

Don’t Break the Circle

Everyone is dealing with the arrival of the Black Hood in different ways.

Archie is hanging out in a field shooting his newly purchased firearm while Jughead is checking out all the books he can find on serial killers to do his research. Mayor McCoy is scheduling a town meeting to try and calm everyone’s nerves while the Coopers are adding extra locks to the front door just in case.

While all of that is going on the real hot topic in town besides a serial killer being on the loose is the video that Archie posted online declaring that the Red Circle is coming after the Black Hood and they won’t stop until he’s captured or dead.

Veronica is read the riot act by her parents with Hermoine declaring that she needs to break up with Archie and even Hiram tends to agree. Of course, Hiram is the one who planted the seed in Archie’s mind that the only way to fight fire is with fire. And sure enough Hiram tells Veronica that he doesn’t even remember his conversation with Archie from that night when she confronts him about that revelation.

Mr. Weatherbee has an entirely different plan in mind as he orders Archie to cease and desist with the Red Circle or the entire football team will be suspended until he writes a letter of apology that confirms the group is disbanded. Of course, Archie refuses and that leads to Reggie and the other football players in the Red Circle deciding that playing the game is far more important to them than catching a killer.

So Archie is left as a one-man army…at least temporarily.

Fred Andrews is beside himself trying to figure out why his son has gone on this vendetta against the killer, which is likely only going to taunt him into striking back. None of it seems to get through to Archie, who can only see the blind rage that’s leading him into direct conflict with a killer.

Veronica does her best to understand Archie’s logic behind starting the Red Circle and then refusing to back down to matter what it might do to him or his friends. To show her support, Veronica then prints out a pile of t-shirts with red circles on them that she passes out to all the kids in school. Archie may not have his army any longer but Principal Weatherbee is going to have a hard time shutting him down if everybody in the school appears to be behind him.

Archie is also convinced that the person leading these attacks is most likely from the South side as they constantly have something against the people who live on the North side of town. So Archie takes it upon himself to travel to the South side late at night where he begins tagging buildings with spray paint in a giant red circle.

Archie is finishing up a giant red circle on a convenience store when Sweet Pea and the junior squad of Southside Serpents catch him in the act. They don’t take kindly to someone spray painting buildings on their side of town and Sweet Pea ends up pulling out a knife. That leads to Archie pulling out his gun as he waves it around and the Serpents all back away.

See Archie is so determined to get his point across that he enlisted junior psycho Dilton Doiley as his only ally in this war and he suggested getting a gun holster and even a Kevlar vest for protection just in case the killer aimed for the chest just like he did when shooting Fred Andrews.

The evidence is mounting that the next person to get shot in town might come from Archie Andrew’s gun because he’s so trigger happy right now there’s no telling who might be his first victim.

The Reason

While Jughead is searching for clues on the killer, Betty gets verified proof of what the Black Hood is after when she receives a letter addressed to her at the school paper. In graphic detail, the Black Hood declares that he’s cutting down sinners after he was inspired by her speech at the jamboree where she gave an impassioned plea for everyone in Riverdale to remember what made this town great before fathers started killing sons and drugs were running rampant all over town. Betty’s speech was meant to serve as a unifying moment for the town but instead she somehow inspired a psychopath to go on a killing spree…or at least a shooting spree considering only one person is actually dead.

The note came along with a cipher much like the Zodiac killer used to send along when he/she was on a killing spree back in the 70’s. The Black Hood says this cipher is something only Betty Cooper can solve and it will tell the town the location where he will strike next.

Betty holds onto the personal note out of fear that Archie will lash out against her for his father being shot but she hands over the cipher to her mother, who prints it in the newspaper before handing it over to Sheriff Keller. Unfortunately nobody seems to have a clue what this cipher means.

Toni Topaz offers to do some research with Jughead and Betty also offers her support so it ends up with all of them, along with Kevin Keller, hanging out at his father’s trailer trying to decode this message. Of course a meeting of the minds falls apart rather quickly when Toni gets rather catty with Betty and allegations get thrown around that the killer must be from the South side because everyone over there is jealous of the North side. It’s pretty clear by this point that Toni has her eyes on Jughead as a prize and Betty Cooper is standing in her way.

The gathering ends and Betty ends up accidentally spending the night at Jughead’s before racing out the next morning worried that her mother is going to erupt that she went missing. Betty accidentally leaves behind her notebook and when Jughead picks it up, the note from the killer falls out.

When he confronts Betty, she admits that she was worried about Archie’s reaction because she wanted her speech to inspire unity not a serial killer. At that moment, however, Betty has an epiphany when she realizes where she’s seen the symbols on the killer’s cipher that was addressed to her. Betty races to the library where she finds a Nancy Drew detective code book that she used to check out all the time as a kid with all sorts of secret symbols. She quickly decodes the cipher and it says that the killer will strike where it all started.

Betty panics because she believes that means the killer will take his/her next victim at the town hall where Mayor McCoy is currently holding a meeting with just about everybody in town.

Civil War

Following his night out tagging the South side, Archie is confronted by Principal Weatherbee and Sheriff Keller after they received a call from a store owner with a description about a boy painting a red circle on his building, waving a gun around and he just so happened to have red hair. They search Archie’s locker but find nothing inside as he claims innocence in the face of the allegations.

Later that night, however, he calls Veronica and she ends up retrieving Archie’s gun from the back of a toilet at Riverdale High like he had it stashed just waiting for Michael Corleone to pick it up. Veronica is irate that Archie would be crazy enough to have a gun much less that he brought it to school.

Archie admits that he’s gone too far and that his vendetta is just as likely to get someone else hurt as it would actually take down the Black Hood. At that moment there’s a knock on the door — Reggie and the rest of the football team shows up with pizza to show their support for Archie after he never ratted them out and still stayed steadfast in the face of authority. It was rather good timing as another knock on the door is heard a few minutes later as Sweet Pea and the junior Serpents arrive seeking payback for having a gun drawn on them from the night before.

Archie, Reggie and the Red Circle agree to settle things with the Serpents in and old school street fight with no weapons allowed.

It’s a rather cheesy fight scene filmed in the middle of a rain storm…the only thing missing would have been music from ‘West Side Story’ but the fight ends after one of the Serpents brandishes a knife and he stabs Dilton in the leg before a gunshot rings out into the night. It’s Veronica with Archie’s gun and it scares off the Serpents while Reggie rushes Dilton to the hospital to get treated for his injured leg.

Back at home, Archie says this entire situation has gotten out of control and he’s giving up the vengeance business. He reconciles with Veronica and the two of them take the gun and dump it in the Sweetwater River….where it all began. It’s an interesting note thanks to a voiceover from Jughead when he mentions that specifically as the Sweetwater River was where Jason Blossom’s body was found last season.

Meanwhile, Betty and Jughead race to the town hall while Alice Cooper is suggesting that the South side must be to blame for the Black Hood and they should shut down that sorry excuse for a school over there and use the funding to pay for more deputies to keep the town safe. Fred Andrews pipes up and says it’s unfair to cast the entire population of the South side as criminals thanks to the actions of one person who may or may not even be there. During the argument, Hiram Lodge notes that Fred’s defense of the South side may not be to their best interests — remember he had construction plans that may involve running a lot of people out of that part of town so he can engage in his lucrative business dealings.

Finally, Betty and Jughead arrive with a warning that they’ve broken the code and the killer could strike at any moment. And of course lightning strikes and the lights go out and everyone is panicking. No killer shows up, however, and Betty is left wondering if maybe she got the message wrong. She also finally tells her parents and the sheriff about the letter she received from the Black Hood. It seems Betty is now blaming herself for the crimes taking place in Riverdale despite doing nothing wrong.

Later that night, Betty receives an anonymous phone call and when she answers the voice on the other end reveals himself as the Black Hood. And that’s why you never answer the phone for an unknown number!


“It’s a Trip” by Joywave

“Bones” by Alexandra Savior

“Ghost” by ZZ Ward

‘Riverdale’ returns next Wednesday night at 8pm ET for a brand new episode.

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