Riverdale: Chapter Eighteen – When A Stranger Calls

Riverdale: Chapter Eighteen- When A Stranger Calls | Season 2, Episode 5 | Rating: 10/11

The Black Hood has resumed his reign of terror in Riverdale, only this time he is focused purely on our sweet Betty. He calls her and threatens to kill her sister, Polly, unless Betty continues to be loyal to him. You see, he was at the Town Hall meeting and, although he didn’t act, he seemed to take Betty figuring out the cipher as a stand in solidarity. But he’s really not one to share and, if Betty wants to keep him happy, she needs to do a few things for him. First, he wants Betty to publish a picture and an article about her mother, Alice. What’s the article about? Oh, how her Serpent mother was released from jail on bail years ago. Holy bombshell, Batman, Alice Cooper was a Serpent?!? I guess she’s all about denying her past. Now Betty is initially torn about posting it despite Archie’s support because she doesn’t want to hurt or blindside her mom. Oh yeah; Archie is the only one she’s told about the Black Hood calling her. The ever-so-heroic Archie won’t let her go through it alone and he won’t tell, but after a confrontation with her mom where she accuses Betty and Jughead of making up the whole letter and cipher for attention, Betty publishes the piece in the Blue and Gold aka the school paper and now the whole town knows that Alice Cooper used to be a Serpent. Burn.

The next task is for Betty to break ties with her bestie Veronica; apparently she’s not an innocent because of her parents. Betty is understandably reluctant to do so, but Veronica makes an easy target when she partakes in some jingle jangle at a party thrown by her old friend from New York. Betty gets into a nasty fight with poor Ronnie, who has no idea what she did wrong. Next, the Black Hood wants Betty to get rid of Jughead, because she can do better. Betty doesn’t have the heart to do this and asks Archie to do it for her: he obliges, but reluctantly. Like Veronica, Jughead makes it easy when Archie realizes that Jughead is becoming a Serpent and is friends with the same guys that Archie just fought with. Hurtful words are said and Jughead gets the message. Nooooooo!

Now, Betty has been allowed one question for each thing she does for the Black Hood and we learn that Betty would recognize the person under the hood. We also find out that, according to him, only she can make him stop. And when the million dollar question of who he is takes Betty to an abandoned home on the edge of Fox Forrest where he’s left her a gift with a hood inside and has her look in the mirror only to say they are the same…. we can’t help but get chills and a major creep factor. Just when you think he’s done enough damage, he reveals that Archie is a loose end and Betty wasn’t allowed to tell him anything. First off, how did he know? Especially since Betty was alone when she talked to Archie, unless he has some listening device. But, again, he threatens to kill Polly and the whole of Betty’s family and everyone she cares about unless she gives him a name. She manages to give him one: Nick St. Clair.

The Task

Veronica gets her first real task as a newly active member of Lodge Industries and it’s to make Nick St. Clair happy. Hiram is throwing a fundraising party for his no more Southside development project and some old friends from New York are coming to town with their son, Nick, who has his father’s ear. If Nick is onboard, so is his dad which means he will invest and others will follow suit. This proves to be a difficult task for Veroinca as Nick is a terrible flirt and clearly wants in Veronica’s pants, regardless of the fact that she has a boyfriend. He’s also an absolute snob about staying at the Five Seasons and doesn’t quite get what these “country mice” do for fun. If that wasn’t enough, he bought jingle jangle for a party at his hotel room. This is after he offered Veronica a “bump” of something in her own house. Maybe cocaine? Apparently she used to be into drugs and the party scene. She was a bad girl, indeed!

If you thought he couldn’t be anymore of a jackass, you’re wrong. He tries to blackmail Veronica for sex because he knows she’s supposed to keep him happy so that he will tell his dad to invest. It’s such a jerk power move. The fact that she was a “tease” and a “flirt” and she said no angered his entitled ass; thankfully, our Veronica had enough wherewithal to slap him across the face and leave. He later apologized at the fundraising party for obliterating the line he crossed and mentioned that he had been in and out of rehab. Just when you think he has a redeeming moment, he turns around and roofies Cheryl’s drink. Fortunately, Veronica and the rest of the Pussycats who were performing at the event spot danger and intercede before he manages to do anything to her. They also kick the crap out of him and, after coming around, Cheryl wants to press charges. Good girl! Thankfully, she has witnesses to back her up. Yeah, girl power!

It’s a Serpents Life For Me

Jughead is caught in an impossible situation: He’s the middleman between the Northside and the Southside and the time has come for him to pick a side. He hears about the fight that went down and how the Serpents are blamed for everything while the Northside kids get away fine. The teen Serpents were blamed for jumping and stabbing Dilton, but according to them he stabbed himself with his own knife. To be fair, we don’t really know what happened. Sweet Pea’s bright idea is to take action by means of a pipe bomb because – clearly – that can’t make things worse. Jughead wants to talk to Archie and see what’s up, but Sweet Pea is tired of talk. Toni Topaz clues in Jughead to the fact that his dad helped keep the peace between the two and now that he’s gone, people like Sweet Pea just want to solve everything with violence. This spurs Jughead to quit being half a Serpent and fully join the gang. Clearly, he’s not doing this because he wants the Serpent title, he’s doing it to fill his father’s role and keep the peace and maybe even bring about change. He’s put through three tests in order to be indoctrinated. First, he is rudely awakened by guys in snake masks and they tell him he needs to take care of a dog. No biggie, right? After reciting all the laws of the gang, next he needs to retrieve a knife from a cage with a rattlesnake in it. At this point I would bail, but Jughead holds fast and, even though he gets bitten, he shows no hesitation and passes. Thankfully, the snake had its venom glands removed! The final and most brutal task is to walk a gauntlet which Jughead does and, with a final blow from some brass knuckles care of Sweet Pea, he becomes a Serpent, tattoo and all. If that wasn’t enough, Toni Topaz kisses Jughead when she learns that he is newly single… and he kisses back.

Side Notes:

  • Archie wrote an apology letter and posted an apology video. He’s back at school and The Red Circle is officially disbanded. Whew.
  • Sheriff Keller had the two letters from The Black Hood compared to see if the writing was from the same person. According to two different experts, the handwriting didn’t match which begs the question of why?
  • Originally, Alice wasn’t going to attend the fundraising event after all the publicity surrounding the article Betty published about her but, instead, she decided to embrace her past when she strutted into the event in high fashion with a gold snake necklace on. Also, she told her husband Hal to shut it.
  • I’m going to take a gander at who The Black Hood is… I think it’s Betty’s brother whom we haven’t met yet. I could be wrong, but who else would know about Betty’s favorite childhood book?

Quote of The Week:

“If you try to warn her, I’ll know. If you tell the police we’ve spoken or your mystery-loving boyfriend, I’ll carve her like a Jack O’ Lantern” – The Black Hood