“In Riverdale, everyone wears a mask, not just the Black Hood.”

Last week on Riverdale, the Black Hood put Betty (Lili Reinhart) to the test, and this week sees her turn the tables, as Archie (KJ Apa) and Jughead (Cole Sprouse) face a worrying deal that could affect all of Riverdale.

After the Black Hood forced Betty to give a name to save her sister’s life, the episode opens with her rushing across town in order to see whether Nick St. Clair (Graham Phillips) has indeed met his maker in the form of the masked murderer. But when she arrives to find Nick alive and unharmed, Betty begins to question exactly what the Hood’s motive was. And there’s no ‘Lollipop’ ringtone to undercut the tension this week, when the Unknown number comes a-ringing.

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Forcing Betty’s hand was the Hood’s way of getting to know the person he believes is the ‘real’ Betty Cooper, who embraces the role of Judge, jury and executioner. And once again, he leaves her with a mission. In order to stop his murderous rampage, Betty must find the source of Riverdale’s Jingle Jangle problem (which extends way beyond the name) – supplier, The Sugarman. Aptly named, as the drug is clearly sherbet.

Clearly forgetful of the Hood’s earlier threats of – a) staying away from Veronica (Camila Mendes) and Jughead, and b) not talking to Archie about everything – this episode sees Betty do both of these things, and what’s weirder, the Hood doesn’t seem to care. If you’re going to threaten someone, at least follow through on it. Although, thankfully, enlisting the help of both Veronica and Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) gets this mystery solved in one episode, even if it does mean that we go another week without much of a clue to who is behind the black balaclava. The Sugarman has been a staple villain in the life of the Blossom family, as a tale spun for the young twins like the Boogieman, to protect them from an all too real threat. Clifford Blossom, in his less than reputable drug business worked for a Sugarman – one in a long line of Sugarmen – which doesn’t make them sound like a bad boyband at all.

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Elsewhere, the parents of Riverdale are rocked by the revelation that their children indulged in a night of drug-induced debauchery, brought on by the Jingle Jangle delivered by Nick – which leads to a lot of talk that makes you wonder how anyone is saying the name of the drug with a straight face, community service for the kids, and a raid of Southside High, which sees all of the young Serpents arrested. Apart from Jughead, obviously, who is practically dragged from the school by Archie.

With the number of Serpents in their ranks dwindling, the gang are forced to consider teaming up with the Ghoulies, the other gang at Southside, and the dealers and producers of Jingle Jangle. Thoroughly against the idea, and not wanting the Serpents to be caught-up in Riverdale’s drug ring, Jughead and Archie are forced to visit FP (Skeet Ulrich) in prison, in order to find out what they should do next. As the son of the gang’s former leader, Jughead’s opinion carries more weight than most, and the solution to this union it would seem is to re-enact a Fast and Furious film. Of course.

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Together, the teens of Riverdale High modify Reggie’s (Charles Melton) ride, to boost the speed ready to race, however, when it comes to race day, Archie has a surprise for Jughead which, though it will keep the gang at bay for the time being, might well land them all in more trouble with the Ghoulies than they would have been before.

And, while Cheryl discovers the identity of the latest Sugarman and delivers the news to Betty – when the blonde detective receives another call from the killer, she refuses to reveal the supplier’s identity, choosing instead to publish his identity in the Blue & Gold and notify the police. Then she makes him a promise – she has solved all the mysteries presented to her – Jason Blossom’s death, the identity of the Sugarman, and she will discover exactly who is behind the mask. And we can’t help but look forward to it.

Meanwhile, this week sees a worrying change in Veronica’s character, as she begins to side with her parents. After telling them that about Nick’s attack on her, the Lodges see red, and not so long after, the Nick and his family are in a car crash, leaving Nick in hospital. Instead of being concerned about the power her mother and father have as she is early in the episode, Veronica almost seems pleased that they have been able to take care of the problem, citing that “Karma’s a bitch.”

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In a side note to the rest of this week’s action, one question sticks in the mind more than others. And that is – why does this season look so foggy?

VERDICT:

The plot thickens this week in Riverdale, as the mysteries begin to stack up. With the Hood more of a threat than ever right now, it seems that all of the teens are changing under the pressure of the world they are currently living in, and it will be interesting to see where the rest of this season takes them.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

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