Riverdale returned from its midseason hiatus Wednesday, January 17, with a wacky-as-ever episode titled “The Blackboard Jungle.” Betty found her long-lost brother, and surprise: he’s creepy AF! Meanwhile, Archie was approached to help with an FBI investigation. Yeah, we were (rightly) skeptical, too. Read on to see what you missed.
Bring in the Next Monster
With the Black Hood manhunt behind her, Betty (Lili Reinhart) moved on to locating another mysterious man: her brother, whom her mom gave up for adoption years before Betty was born. The reason she wanted to find him? Betty discovered Polly had given birth to her twins — Juniper and Dagwood — without contacting her family. This hurt Betty, and she knew it would hurt her mom, too.
Betty called on her ex for help, asking Jughead (Cole Sprouse) to put her in touch with his social worker. The social worker was able to give Betty her brother’s file because it had become public record when he turned 18. He was never adopted and had bounced around the foster care system. After breaking the news about Polly, Betty told her parents she’d found their son, Charles Smith. Hal immediately shut Betty down, but Alice (Mädchen Amick) confided in Betty that she wanted to meet her son.
Alice and Betty went to the motel where Charles was staying and, as anyone but the mother-daughter duo would expect, they didn’t receive a warm welcome. Charles, who goes by Chic, dropped the bombshell that he’d known about the Coopers since he turned 18. He even came by their house one time but didn’t bother coming in. He figured they wouldn’t be interested in meeting someone like him. Chic demanded they leave because he was expecting a client; he would only say he was in the business of “fantasy fulfillment.” Reluctantly, they left, with Alice in tears.
Betty returned to the motel later to find a man attacking Chic in the hallway. She pepper-sprayed the assailant and took Chic back to the Cooper house. Her parents helped patch him up and let him stay the night. But Chic didn’t sleep. Instead, he watched Betty sleep (ahhh, so scary!), as narrator Jughead warned that Betty had let another possible “monster” into her family’s lives.
The Couple That Lies Together
Veronica (Camila Mendes) assured her parents she was still on board with their plan, which, at the moment, was shutting down Southside High so the Lodges could acquire the property. Mayor McCoy was in their pocket, with Hiram (Mark Consuelos) and Hermione (Marisol Nichols) promising her a reelection campaign payoff for closing the school. Veronica led the charge to welcome the new students to Riverdale High, but not everyone was having it — namely Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) and Reggie.
The other half of Varchie was approached by FBI Special Agent Adams (being completely serious here) for help with their Hiram Lodge investigation. Adams told Archie (KJ Apa) the FBI was sure Hiram was involved in criminal activity again, but they needed him to get more information. He wanted Archie to start by finding out what really happened to Nick St. Clair.
Archie tried his best to interrogate the Lodges — which he was really bad at — and ultimately decided he’d have to go to the source. The redheaded sleuth came up with an excuse about visiting Nick to ask him for more money for Cheryl (since the Blossoms burned the first check the St. Clairs gave them).
Archie went to see Nick at school. He got Cheryl’s money, and while he was there, he tried to ask Nick how he broke his legs. Nick claimed it was a ski accident, but he also became suspicious of Archie’s motives. When Nick alleged that Veronica would one day turn on Archie, he started punching him in the face until he broke his nose.
Veronica found out about Archie’s altercation with Nick and confronted him. Cheryl tried to cover for Archie, but Veronica still thought he was hiding something. To get V off his back, Archie admitted he kissed Betty the night they caught The Black Hood. He told Veronica how Cheryl had been blackmailing him about the kiss, and Veronica was surprisingly OK with the smooch — mostly because Archie was being honest with her.
But he wasn’t being entirely honest with her, and Veronica was lying, too. Cheryl had told Archie about Nick’s attempt to force himself on Veronica, and when Archie asked Veronica who else she’d disclosed this to, she lied about telling her parents. (Adams thought if Hiram knew, this would give him a motive to injure Nick.)
Archie met with Adams again to demand protection for his father — in deeper than ever with the Lodges after handing over 20 percent of his company to cover the money he owed them for his hospital bills — and Veronica. He also asked if the FBI agent thought they’d caught the real Black Hood … because Archie was having doubts. (That’s what we’ve been saying, Archie!)
Serpents and Swords
Jughead returned to Riverdale High, his Serpent classmates joining him. When Serpent graffiti showed up in the hallway, Principal Weatherbee banned Serpent jackets and any other gang paraphernalia. Jughead felt like Weatherbee was profiling the Serpents, so while his comrades were on board with “shedding their skins,” Jughead protested, wearing his jacket anyway. He ended up in a fight with Reggie and was suspended.
FP (Skeet Ulrich) encouraged Jughead to lay low at school, which Jughead tried to do, but then he saw the other Serpents wearing Riverdale uniforms. In response, Jughead started the Swords and Serpents club, a cover for Serpent activity at school so they could lay low without shedding their skins.
Penelope’s New Job
Cheryl’s mother took her daughter’s suggestion to get a job … by becoming a prostitute. Once Cheryl got Nick’s money, she told her mother she could quit, but Penelope didn’t want to stop because she was “having such a good time.”
Riverdale airs on The CW Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET.
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