Looking for someone to blame for The Black Hood’s killing spree? Well, point the finger at Betty Cooper. That’s what The Black Hood did in the Wednesday, November 1, episode of Riverdale, titled “Chapter Seventeen: The Town That Dreaded Sundown.” Elsewhere, Archie made enemies with the Southside High Serpents, which ended in a bloody street fight.
To Betty, My Inspiration
Last week, The Black Hood sent Alice (Mädchen Amick) a letter detailing his motives. This week he sent some fan mail to Betty (Lili Reinhart), giving her credit for inspiring his crusade with her speech at last season’s town jubilee. He also included a cypher that would reveal where he’d punish the next “sinner” and told her she was the only one who could decode it. Betty decided to keep the letter to herself, save for filling Kevin (Casey Cott) in, and handed the cypher over to her mother. Alice not only took the cypher to Sheriff Keller, but she also published it in the newspaper so the whole town could work on cracking the message.
Betty encouraged Jughead (Cole Sprouse) to host a “code-breaking party” and invite Toni and Kevin to join them since Jughead and Toni had already started working on it (they share an interest in serial killers and true crime, and based on their research, The Black Hood is a self-loathing narcissist). Toni criticized Betty’s approach — and her ponytail — because Betty assumed The Black Hood was from the south side.
Once Betty and Jughead were alone again, Jughead asked Betty about The Black Hood’s letter, which he had found among her things. Turns out she didn’t want to tell anyone about it because she thought Archie might blame her for his dad’s shooting. Then Betty realized there was a reason the killer said she was the only one who could decode the cypher. She remembered her childhood obsession with a Nancy Drew secret code book and sought out a copy of the book. The code worked, revealing the message, “I will strike next where it all began.” (Sidebar: The Black Hood had to know Betty as a child if he knew about her interest in this book, right? Could he have some connection to her long-lost but soon-to-appear brother?) Betty assumed the message was referring to where her speech had taken place — the same location where a town hall meeting was currently being held. She and Jughead rushed to warn everyone, and Betty pulled the fire alarm before anything bad could happen.
Back at her house, Betty showed The Black Hood’s letter to Sheriff Keller, Mayor McCoy and her parents. Later, in her room, she answered a call from an unknown number. The modulated voice on the other end introduced himself as The Black Hood before the episode faded out.
Meanwhile, Archie (KJ Apa) was dealing with the fallout from his Red Circle video. Fred (Luke Perry) demanded Archie take the video down; he already had, but people kept sharing it anyway. The Southside High Serpents were ready to target Archie and teach him a lesson, but Jughead convinced them not to.
Veronica (Camila Mendes) confronted Archie about the video and discovered her father was the one who gave Archie the idea in the first place. Of course, Hiram (Mark Conseulos) claimed he didn’t remember his conversation with Archie, but nevertheless, Veronica pledged her support to Archie and his cause — despite Hermione’s (Marisol Nichols) insistence that she break up with Archie. To Veronica, support meant making Red Circle T-shirts for everyone in school to wear, transforming it into “a movement with style and panache.”
Principal Weatherbee told Archie if he didn’t write a letter of apology by the end of the week and disband The Red Circle, he would be suspended. Although Archie’s Red Circle cronies (Reggie included) quit on him when Weatherbee shut down the football program, Archie was determined to keep the legion alive. He wanted to draw The Black Hood out so he could be the one to take him down. Assuming the killer was from the south side because he’d only attacked people from the north side, Archie decided to make a statement on his turf. But first, Archie bought ammo, a holster and a Kevlar vest using a fake I.D., per Dilton Doiley’s advice.
Archie spray-painted red circles all over the south side, but the Southside High Serpents caught him and threatened him with a knife. Archie pulled his gun on them, so they walked away. The next day at school, Weatherbee and Sheriff Keller told Archie a bodega owner had called in a tip about a Riverdale High kid with red hair waving a gun around. They searched his locker and found Reggie’s black hood (the one he’d pranked Archie with), so they suspended him. Later, Archie had Veronica retrieve his gun from a toilet tank at school.
While Veronica was at Archie’s house telling him she’d thrown his gun in Sweetwater River, the former members of The Red Circle stopped by to say they wanted to continue their mission. Perfect timing because the Southside High Serpents also arrived looking for a fight. The Red Circle and the Serpents took to the street to duke it out, and things got ugly when one of them stabbed Doiley in the leg. Veronica, sensing things were getting out of control, fired Archie’s gun (she lied about throwing it in the river) in the air to break up the fight. Before the night was over, she and Archie did throw the gun in Sweetwater River, but as narrator Jughead pointed out, that night signaled a turning point in Riverdale.
During Mayor McCoy’s town hall, Fred advocated for unity, reasoning that the south side was not the problem. Hermione notably mentioned to Hiram, “I told you Fred was gonna be a problem.” But Hiram said the town’s love and trust for Fred could work in their favor. Again we ask, what are these two up to?
Riverdale airs on The CW Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET.
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