Riverdale – Chapter Forty-Two: The Man in Black

Riverdale – Chapter Forty-Two: The Man in Black | Season 3, Episode 7 | Rating: 7.5/11 |

Archie had one thing right in his farewell speech to Veronica: her father Hiram will never stop hunting him. But for as a guy in the run, he’s not too keen on taking the necessary precautions when it comes to his own life. That honest and noble (but sometimes stupid) spirit is bound to get him into trouble and as his bad luck would have it, it does.

Archie and Jughead stumble upon a small farm and Archie is hoping that it will be a place to crash before getting back on the road. They are quickly discovered sneaking onto the property and when confronted by two sisters and a rifle, Jughead lies about who they are and where they’re from. They aren’t believed but manage to talk their way into some food, water, and a place to sleep for the night but something about the whole place doesn’t feel right. While Archie loves the feel of the farm, Jughead gets the suspicion that the two sisters are lying to them. On top of that, there seem to be no men around because they are all downriver “working.”

The following morning, Archie is helping out with farm chores as repayment for letting them spend the night while Jughead decides to wander into town before they take off again. Jughead discovers the place is called Athens and it is severely run down, deserted, and they are strange symbols from Gryphons & Gargoyles spraypainted all over. He comes across an elderly woman at a rundown single pump gas station and asks about the symbols since they seem to be newer than anything else. According to the old woman, the symbols showed up about the same time as the newly drug-laced version of Fizzle Rocks. It’s clear this is a town that has been rampaged by drugs because she mentions that before Fizzle Rock, it was Jingle Jangle. Jughead then stumbles upon a group of girls playing Gryphons & Gargoyles while munching on Fizzle Rocks and they share some valuable information with him: All of the men are working to build a prison that can also make Fizzle Rocks and this is all being done by the man in black.

Jughead puts two and two together, rushes back to the farm, and just in time: Archie made the dumb decision to tell one of the sisters his real name and that he’s running from his ex-girlfriend’s father, Hiram Lodge. The sister, Laurie, took that opportunity to knock Archie out with a frying pan and tie him up in order to trade Archie for her brother and father. Apparently, her father owes some kind of debt but it will be paid and he can come home once Hiram has Archie. On the other side of the barn door, Jughead is struggling to get Archie to leave. Archie wants to take a stand and even considers killing Hiram but when Jughead brings up Veronica, he manages to dissuade him and they escape just in time.

So, where’s a safe place for them to go since Hiram will always be hunting Archie? To Jughead’s mother’s home.


Veronica is tired of living with her parents. And who can really blame her considering her father, Hiram, is quite possibly the worst and her mother, Hermione, seems complicit in everything.

Veronica packs a bag and moves into the only place she has in her name: Pop’s. She makes do sleeping in the speakeasy, for now, which cuts down on her commute time to get to Pop’s for work. However, Veronica is troubled that Pop’s and the speakeasy aren’t doing better money-wise and decides it’s time to partner up with her old friend Elio. She brokers a deal where – for one night only – the speakeasy will host a casino night with a mutually beneficial cut for both parties involved. Somehow Hiram finds out about casino night and shows up with both disappointment and a warning. He’s sad that Veronica has turned her back on her family, she didn’t come to him for help with her business, and her partnering with someone from another crime family. Veronica kicks him out of Pop’s and, thankfully, he takes the hint and leaves but how amusing it is that Hiram thinks he’s done nothing wrong when it comes to Archie and Veronica?

Veronica’s casino night is going great but Elio is on a blackjack hot streak that might leave Veronica out of cash. In a bold and daring move, Veronica asks to be dealt in and puts the deed of Pop’s up as collateral. Elio goes all in and is dealt what looks to be a winning hand of 20 to Veronica’s 19, yet Veronica asks for a hit and comes up with 21 thereby keeping Pop’s in her name plus all of Elio’s cash.

Veronica later confides to Reggie that it wasn’t dumb luck that she won. Before the game, her father asked to meet with her and he shared Elio’s plans to fleece Veronica because he thought she was weak since she’s no longer under Hiram’s protection. Veronica asked for advice and Hiram gave her the name of a dealer who could manipulate the cards and told her how to handle Elio: one hand winner takes all draw. Thankfully she took her father’s advice and now she’s sitting pretty with some extra cash.


Betty is in what I would consider absolute hell. She’s stuck with the Sisters of Quiet Mercy (who we already know are barbaric in their practices) and has no foreseeable way out of her situation other than to play nice.

Betty is given an inkblot test assessment test and the images that come up are clearly a dead body, the Black Hood, and the Gargoyle King but Betty lies and says they are something else. Sister Woodhouse seems troubled by these results but, lets it go for now. If that weren’t odd enough, all the girls are told to line up and get their candy for good behavior and that candy happens to be Fizzle Rocks. So what is Fizzle Rocks doing at the Sisters of Quiet Mercy?

That’s a great question and my guess is it has something to do with Claudius showing up in a maple syrup truck for a delivery. As Betty notes, however, they don’t serve maple syrup in the hellhole. If dodging drugs wasn’t enough for Betty to deal with, Ethel is her new roommate. Ethel shares that the girls who misbehave are sent to see the Gargoyle King but unlike the other girls, Ethel isn’t scared of him. In fact, Ethel loves the chats they have together and she even has him as her partner on her vision board. Ethel also shares that she’s the queen bee at Sisters of Quiet Mercy and Betty isn’t so important there. If that wasn’t enough to take, Ethel lies to Betty and says she thinks Jughead isn’t that into her anymore because things got hot and heavy when she and Jughead were playing G&G. We all know this to be false because Ethel basically told Jughead he had to kiss her in order to get the playbook and it was a quick, meaningless kiss. What a great roommate to have!

Ethel also happens to be looking over Betty’s shoulder at every opportunity, forcing Betty to lie about her motives. You see, Betty is after her personnel file and she’s after the Gargoyle King. She manages to get access to her file when she picks a fight with Ethel, fakes a seizure and ends up in the infirmary. Betty’s file not only has her history but Fizzle Rocks dosing instructions as well. With the incriminating paper in hand, Betty tries to make a run for it in the same way that Toni and Veronica broke out Cheryl. The problem is they bricked over the escape and Betty is caught, force-fed Fizzle Rocks and taken to the Gargoyle King while high out of her mind. After seeing the Gargoyle King, Betty is given the inkblot test again and answers with, “dead body,” “Black Hood,” and “Gargoyle King.” Sister Woodhouse is very happy at her progress and Betty is left praising the king, her king.

Odd and Ends:

  • Hiram was also seen at the Sisters of Quiet Mercy meeting with Sister Woodhouse. Betty was told the Man in Black is an angel donor and gives them financial support. This is probably why the sisters are complicit in testing the drugs on their patients.
  • They are playing Gryphons & Gargoyles in Sisters of Quiet Mercy. It’s literally everywhere.
  • Pop Tate wasn’t too fond of the gambling in the speakeasy and doesn’t want Veronica to go down the same path as her father. Veronica thinks that maybe there is some good deep down but Pop Tate shares that they just found what they think is former Sheriff Minetta’s missing body. It’s a little hard to tell because it was decapitated and handless.
  • Veronica took out a second mortgage against Pop’s to front the casino night. Hopefully, she can get that resolved with all her winnings.
  • Veronica’s mother still refuses to leave Hiram. Maybe it’s fear but come on!


  • “Archie, no offense but Betty took down a serial killer last year. You can’t go for five minutes without being kidnapped or getting the crap kicked out of you. That was before you were marked for death my Hiram Lodge.” (Jughead)