Film & TV

Riverdale S02E02: Badass Betty is back; Black Hood strikes again

Bad Betty is that hot tub scene in season 1 was a promise from Riverdale creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa that the TV show was going to try to push some boundaries and test its audience’s limits. And, after a season of blackmail, illicit affairs, arson and attempted homicide, it’s safe to say that Riverdale has established that it’s not just another bubble gum teen show

The dreariness and uneventfulness of the second season’s first episode becomes justified in episode 2, “Chapter Fifteen: Nighthawks,” in which things get a lot more interesting. I figure it’s common among TV series (except perhaps How To Get Away With Murder) to deliver a recap-driven and tone-setting season premiere, hence, the lackluster “A Kiss Before Dying.”

In episode 2, Archie continues in his paranoia, even to the extent of asking Reggie (apparently now a drug dealer) for a drug called Jingle Jangle. It’s supposed to keep you up and alert — perfect for Archie who insists on defending the Andrews household with his trusty old baseball bat against the man in the black hood.

Veronica is having problems of her own, finding herself caught in another Lodge family confrontation. This time, her mother Hermione reveals that she made Veronica testify on her father’s behalf. Frankly, the Lodge family drama is dragging on a bit and Hermione Lodge is likewise getting a bit much. She’s come a long way from season one; she was likable despite her shortcomings. Now she’s just a lovestruck puppet to the absolutely sinister Hiram.

Pop’s, having suffered loss after loss, is on the brink of closing down until Betty decides to take matters into her own hands. This is Betty Cooper’s episode, to be honest, in spite of all the other shocking events that take place. She singlehandedly forces Cheryl Blossom to perjure herself to lighten FP’s sentence, as well as makes the Pussycats perform in a last ditch effort to save Pop’s. Since Josie is almost always playing to entitled brat, it’s nice to see her have to do something selfless for a change.

Veronica reconciles with her parents after Jughead talks to her about his dad facing jail time and Archie’s dad getting shot and Pop’s doesn’t close down. But since this is Riverdale and not Camp Rock, there’s always a price to pay for getting what you want. That and things are, as they say, not always as they seem. Hiram actually paid Pop off and now the owner of the diner, Hermione lied for Hiram about the letter that convinced V to testify for her father, and Betty did not actually save anybody — she merely made everyone’s sentence a little more bareable. She still gets points for that.
Eventful as it is, two shocking revelations are further made, one to the characters and another to the viewers: Miss Grundy was murdered, sending Archie to a tailspin, and yeah, Reggie got shot by the man in the black hood.

Reggie Mantle got shot. Is the new Reggie, barely two episodes in, no more? That would be hard to believe especially since Paul Sosso just started. I’m thinking he’ll survive, but there’s still the question of why does Black Hood want him dead? Reggie hasn’t been particularly important as a character in the last season — even though he’s a drug dealer, he’s hardly been shady. It’s at once the best and worst way to end an episode. First with Mr. Andrews, then Miss Grundy, and now Reggie. Riverdale has found its formula for success, I guess. And there’s nothing we can do but wait for next Thursday.

New episodes of Riverdale stream on Netflix every Thursday. Images courtesy of Netflix.

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