Tensions are rising all over town. Families are being pulled apart. Relationships are put to the test. A Civil War is brewing in Riverdale. And Dark Archie is stepping into the spotlight. Oh, Riverdale, you sure know how to crank up the drama.
Chapter Seventeen: The Town That Dreaded Sundown Synopsis via Netflix:
Archie’s viral video stirs up tension all over town. Jughead and Betty put their heads together to solve a cipher from the Black Hood.
First let’s discuss how Dark Betty from season 1 has taken a backseat to the one character that desperately needed some growth, Archie. It’s no secret that Archie was perhaps the blandest and least developed character in Season 1. Jughead, Veronica, Betty, and even Cheryl were more compelling characters. The storylines in Season 1 made these characters active participants, with many of their secrets playing a role in the larger mystery. Whereas, Archie was a passive observer often dragged into situations unwittingly. Season 2 seems to be course-correcting by adding a layer of depth to the once wholesome and naive Archiekins. Taking Hiram Lodge’s words to heart, he has taken it upon himself to challenge the Black Hood. He is faced with very fair concerns from his father, school principle, and the sheriff, but this new edgy and dark Archie isn’t slowing down. He has acquired a gun from Dilton Doiley, but this episode shows that Archie isn’t stopping there. He now has an army to help save his town. However, Archie and the Red Circle take things a step too far, and their actions will incite the inevitable Civil War between the Northside and Southside. Riverdale will soon be painted red.
In a startling revelation it appears the Black Hood was inspired by Betty’s speech at the town hall last season. During this revelation Kevin seeks out Betty to chastise her for her actions last episode, but that issue is quickly dropped. The Black Hood sends a letter to Betty along with a cipher that may be a clue to his next crime. As the town attempts to decipher the message some folks in Riverdale are not shying away from pointing the finger at the Southside, and the Southsiders are none too be pleased with the accusation. The situation with the Black Hood is escalating and the personal connection to Betty suggests that he is a lot closer to our beloved Northsiders than they realize.
Jughead is getting closer to his Serpent roots and as he spends more time with the teenage Serpents, and as we get to know them better it becomes clearer that there is a much darker and nefarious situation going down in Riverdale. Toni aids Jughead with the cipher and in doing so reveals an obvious rift between Betty and Jughead. Toni is far more compatible to Jughead, and promises a rather comfortable existence for Jughead on the Southside, which will certainly present a dilemma for Bughead. Expect Betty and Jughead to clash more about where he belongs in the coming episodes. An obvious love triangle is forming, should we get a nickname ready for Toni and Jughead? Joni or Tughead?
Toni is becoming an interesting character to watch, because she is the character the audience needs to understand who the Southsiders are. For example, when she unleashes on Betty about the prejudices held against the Serpents, she has some fairly good points. As we saw in season 1 and with the Jingle Jangle, drugs are roaming in and out of the Southside, and the Northsiders are not as clean as they like to appear. She is very much Jughead’s counterpart in the Southside, because she sees through the BS that clouds over Riverdale. She is not as angry as her friends, she has a rather relaxed persona that echoes Jughead’s persona from the first half of season 1, where he too acted as the BS detector on Riverdale. Toni is a much-needed voice of reason as Jughead and the audience navigate Southside High and the Serpents. After this episode it seems like things will be escalating with the teen Serpents and it will be interesting to see Toni develops from that, and ho involved Jughead will be.
The Black Hood’s existence is causing tension across the board, but his biggest victim is the Southside. In the town hall this episode you get the sense that the Northside have no issue damaging the infrastructure on the Southside, like taking away funding. Alice suggests taking funding away from the school, with no mention of what will happen to the kids, but the town cheers her on. Their survival is priority. The sheer indifference to the lives of the Southsiders will not aid the situation in the slightest, and as the third act of the episode proves Archie and his Red Circle are not the only group willing to do whatever they must to protect their own and their turf.
- Kevin and Betty’s reconciliation was not satisfactory and deprived Kevin of a decent character arch. This plotline could have been drawn out a few more episodes.
- Veronica and Betty need to start listening to their mother’s warnings. Both Alice and Hermione have valid concerns.
- Dilton Doiley is a loose canon; Archie needs to be weary of him. It will not be surprising to find out that he stabbed himself during the fight in an effort to cause a bigger rift between the Serpents and Red Circle.
Who do you think is the Black Hood? Is he merely a thug under someone else command? Comment below with your theories or tweet at @GeeksOfColor on Twitter.
Images via Riverdale Wiki.