‘Riverdale’ Recap ‘Chapter Sixteen: The Watcher in the Woods’: The Black Hood

In the ‘Riverdale’ recap, the killer sends a warning to the town, Archie forms his own militia and Veronica tries to get closer with her father…

By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer

A dramatic cliffhanger ended last week’s episode of ‘Riverdale’ as Moose and Midge were gunned down in the latest attack from the killer plaguing the small town after already shooting Fred Andrews and strangling Geraldine Grundy to death.

Fortunately for Moose and Midge — as Jughead so astutely noticed — this killer has the worst aim of anybody in recorded history because both victims survived the shooting. Actually, Moose covered Midge with his own body and he took the bullets for both of them, but miraculously they survived.

Bad aim aside, the killer finally revealed his intentions this week in a Zodiac style letter to the local paper, which only concerned Archie Andrews even more because the police seem no closer to catching him. Thanks to some friendly advice from his girlfriend’s father, Archie decides to take up matters for himself by forming a Riverdale militia made up of a bunch of hot headed jocks and Dilton Doiley — the Boy Scout leading gun nut — to protect the town.

There’s no chance that backfires.

Elsewhere this week, Jughead finds out that life at Southside High won’t be all that easy without a few friends in his corner while Betty tries to save Kevin Keller from himself but she ultimately alienates him in the end.

With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of ‘Riverdale’ titled ‘Chapter Sixteen: The Watcher in the Woods’…

The Devil’s Eyes

Shots fired in the woods at Fox Forest ring out as Kevin Keller is currently hooking up with his latest random guy and he soon runs into Moose, covered in blood, begging for help after he took several bullets.

The next day, Archie and the rest of the football team find out about their buddy Moose being gunned down as practice is cancelled and they can go visit him in the hospital. Archie’s day will be rather packed because Veronica has also invited her boyfriend along with the rest of her friends to come over to watch the season debut of ‘The Bachelorette’ but in reality it’s an excuse for everybody to meet her father, Hiram Lodge.

While Hiram is all too welcoming to Veronica and her friends, Hermoine tries to warn her daughter not to push too far when it comes to her father. Veronica believes that Hiram is truly trying to turn the page in their relationship as well as his criminal past so she’s giving him a second chance.

Meanwhile, Betty reads Kevin the riot act at school after figuring out that he was cruising for BJ’s in the woods just a few hundred yards away from where two people were shot. Betty implores Kevin to be more careful and avoid Fox Forest until this killer is caught. He agrees, but fails to notice a prying Cheryl Blossom listening to their every word.

At the hospital, Archie and Reggie visit with Moose, who seems to confirm that the guy who shot him is the same person responsible for trying to kill Fred Andrews. There’s just something about the killer’s green eyes that seemingly give him away. Midge disagrees, however, as she tells them the gunman had lifeless eyes like Michael Myers — the devil’s eyes.

The haunting description does nothing to quell Archie’s paranoia over this killer, who has now killed his former lover, nearly murdered his father and almost took out two of his friends from school while the sheriff seems to have no idea who is behind this crime spree.

And finally there’s Jughead, who gets a fresh start at Southside High (although technically he already went there last season) and he receives a tour from his new gal pal Toni Topaz. It seems Toni is a fellow Southside Serpent, which is why she volunteered to show him around the school.

Southside High is everything Riverdale is not.

Education seems painfully low on the priority list while gangs rule the school with Jingle-Jangle — the drug of choice around town — is openly flaunted in the hallways. Toni tries to tell Jughead that he needs to stick with the Serpents because another gang at the school called the Ghoulies will surely try to score points by beating up F.P. Jones’ son if he’s left without any protection.

Still, Jughead is determined to go it alone — he prefers brooding at lunch with a book all by himself — and he even convinces a teacher to allow him to re-open the school newspaper. Sadly, Jughead’s idyllic adventure at Southside High will soon come to a crashing halt.

The Black Hood

Much like the ominous Zodiac killer in the 1970’s, the person haunting Riverdale these days sends a package to Alice Cooper asking for a letter to be published in the local paper. To prove he really is the killer, the package includes Fred Andrew’s missing wallet and the famous heart sunglasses once worn by Geraldine Grundy.

Alice takes the letter to the police where Sheriff Keller reveals what it says.

“This is the Black Hood. I am the man who shot the adulterer at Pop’s. I killed the child predator in Greendale. I shot the drug and sex addicted teenagers at Lover’s Lane. Riverdale is not innocent. It’s a town of hypocrites, degenerates, and criminals. My wrath is the price of your lies, your secrets, your sins. I will not stop. I cannot be stopped. I am the wolf, you are the flock. This is the bloodletting. You will hear from me again.”

Despite the police asking for the letter to be withheld from the paper, Alice reveals that she’s already sent it for publication in the next day’s edition. The people of Riverdale have a right to know who’s stalking them, especially considering the ineptitude of the police in town to effectively solve any crimes these days.

The revelation of the Black Hood hunting down sinners spooks Polly Coopoer so bad that she’s ready to leave town with her babies and relocate to the farm where she was supposed to start a new life with Jason Blossom before he was murdered. Her family tries to talk her out of it, but Polly drops the best line all episode and she makes a rather valid point.

“I’m an unwed mother carrying my cousin’s babies. I am the poster child for sin.”

Meanwhile, the gang goes to Veronica’s to let the reality TV wash over them but Archie can’t stop venting over the ineffective police in town and how no one will feel safe until this Black Hood is stopped. When it comes time to finally meet Hiram Lodge, he’s warm to all of Veronica’s friends — especially the boy who stole her heart.

Hiram then invites Archie to dinner later that week while passing along some words of encouragement about taking matters into your own hands when the police just aren’t doing enough. In fact, Hiram almost plants the seed into Archie’s next action when he says he’s looking forward to seeing what he does to save Riverdale.

The Red Circle

Archie tries to convince his father that they need to arm up to stop this psychopathic killer, but Fred won’t hear about it. That’s what leads Archie to the garage where he picks up the gun he got from Dilton Doiley while fishing through some old comic books that gives him a brilliant idea.

Along with a gang of muscle-bound football players and Dilton Doiley (for some unknown reason he’s there), Archie brands this group ‘The Red Circle’ — a watchdog organization that will serve as an extra arm to the police force in town. They won’t use violence but rather act as the eyes and ears for Riverdale High to ensure that the students and their families are protected at all times.

Archie even gets Principal Weatherby on board when Sheriff Keller blows a gasket when he finds flyers all over town advertising for people to call the Red Circle if they ever need assistance. Weatherby tells the sheriff that the Red Circle is a school organization and he’s proud that Archie has taken the initiative to look after his classmates.

Archie and Reggie get their first call to action the next night when Ethel Muggs is walking home from school and a strange van starts to follow her. She calls Archie in a panic and he arrives with Reggie in time to find Ethel shaken but unharmed. Unfortunately, the van stalking her peels off without a trace and it convinces Archie that more has to be done if they are going to stop this killer before he strikes again.

As for Kevin Keller, he continues to troll Fox Forest looking for one-night dates but when Cheryl spots him running off into the woods again, she rats him out to Betty. She confronts her best bud but Kevin is almost offended that Betty would go this far to stop him. Kevin lashes out at her because while she’s been lamenting about Archie or Jughead, he’s been suffering on the sidelines because his options in a town like Riverdale are much more limited. This is all he has to satisfy himself and apparently it requires him to do it in the shadows away from the town’s prying eyes and if Betty can’t accept that than she can’t accept him and perhaps they’re better off not being friends.

The Inner Circle

As much as Archie wants to dip out on this family dinner the Lodge home, Veronica convinces him that she really wants him to be there but also because this is a test for her father to prove that he’s really changed and ready to be a family man first.

The dinner seems almost as comfortable as the one from last season when F.P. Jones and Jughead visited the Coopers for a night, but Hiram seems to break the ice when he asks Archie to join him in his private study for a glass of rum and a conversation. Never mind the fact that Archie is supposed to be like 16, Veronica quickly nudges him to accept the invitation so he can speak to Hiram one-on-one.

While Veronica is anxious to hear what’s happening, Hermoine continues to poke at her daughter about how Hiram is still locking her out because his study is still an all boys club. Add to that, Hermoine tried to warn Veronica that Hiram might seem sweet and nurturing on the surface, but there’s another layer underneath that is much more cunning and dangerous. Of course, Hiram overhears that part of the conversation and launches a not so subtle threat at his wife to not try to poison their daughter against them.

In the study, Hiram lays out a couple of rules for Archie — no more sneaking into his daughter’s room late at night and never, ever hurt her. Archie agrees, which then leads Hiram to his real agenda.

He mentions Archie’s vigilante group and how they nearly caught the killer going after Ethel Muggs, but still came up short. Hiram suggest that perhaps Archie should use the same tactic the killer is using against the town to get at him. Fight fire with fire by using fear and paranoia against the killer.

Archie seems to like that idea and it’s clear Hiram is playing him like a drum but to what end we don’t know just yet.

As for Jughead, he’s excited to start up the school newspaper at Southside High and he even gets a visit from Betty, who brings him a coffee maker for the room while he’s working late at night. Of course, Toni had that same idea and it doesn’t take long for Betty’s jealousy sensor to start reacting.

Later that night as Jughead leaves the school, he gets jumped and beaten up by somebody and the next day he lies to Betty and says he rolled his motorcycle on the way home. Of course, Toni knows the truth and she suggests that Jughead get back in line with the Southside Serpents or risk further retribution from the Ghoulies.

The next day at school, Jughead returns to the Serpents side of the cafeteria while begrudgingly making peace with the lead thug in charge. Something tells me the beat down issued to Jughead wasn’t from the Ghoulies, but perhaps the Serpents were teaching him a lesson that it’s better to be with them than against them.

A Fairytale Ending

Despite continued warnings from Betty about going into the woods late at night, Kevin once again returns to Fox Forest but this time he gets a real warning when he nearly gets into the car of a stranger before envisioning himself being stabbed for the stupid move. Kevin runs away and returns home where he finds his father waiting there for him.

It seems Betty once again found out that Kevin was trolling the woods for a hook up and she went looking for him and this time she told his father what he was doing. Kevin’s dad isn’t upset, however, he just tells his son that he wants him to be safe and while they’ve always kept his sexuality as a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ secret in the house, he suggests that they should talk about everything more often. Kevin hugs his dad and it seems like he’s closed that chapter on his late night jogging adventures.

Still, Kevin feels betrayed by Betty and the next day at school he turns his back on her, maybe this time for good.

And finally, Archie takes Hiram’s advice and launches an offensive on the Black Hood with a video taped message from the Red Circle.

Surrounded by shirtless football players wearing red masks, Archie calls out the killer and says that he’s no longer looking for them — they are looking for him. There’s only one of him but they are legion and sooner or later, they will find him and stop him from hurting anybody else in Riverdale. It’s a little over the top and slightly disturbing that everyone is just hanging out shirtless while making this video but Archie gets his point across.

Of course, Hiram Lodge is watching the video from his study and a smile creeps across his face as he realizes that his influence is already being felt. It’s not clear what Hiram has planned but he’s been advertised as the most dangerous man in Riverdale and it appears he’s ready to live up to that reputation.

SOUNDTRACK

“Bad Man” by Esterly feat. Austin Jenckes

“Way Down We Go” by Kaleo

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

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