RIVERDALE Review 2.04 “The Town that Dreaded Sundown”

Betty's got a fan.

Read the previous review here.
This post contains spoilers for Riverdale.

It was only a matter of time until the dark cloud over Riverdale started turning its residents. Most of our trusty heroes already have a little shade in their hearts, but it seems Archie Andrews is the latest victim of cynicism. If only the darling boy had any ability to be intimidating.

“The Town that Dreaded Sundown” gives us a look at Vigilante Archie. The once pure little ray of sunshine has murder in his heart, but with what we’ve seen of the character in Riverdale’s tenure, this new mood just doesn’t work. Ronnie’s interaction with Hiram does lend a little bit of story justification to the change, touching on how Archie is impressionable (read: stupid), but something about it just doesn’t seem to jive.

Archie’s new vigilante vibes make him a target of the baby Southside Serpents, but as is standard with Archie’s stupidity, he’s not the one to pay the price. After their first run-in on the Southside, the Serpents meet Archie at home while the Bulldogs are getting revved up for more Red Circle nonsense. After Archie plays the caveman card when it comes to protecting Veronica and his home, it’s her who saves the day, and a stabbed Bulldog’s life.

While Archie and his boys play vigilante, there’s trouble a-brewing for Betty and Jughead. Each lies to the other after being apart for just a few days, and neither lies are small. Jug’s lying about how he’s spending his time, and his involvement with the Serpents (no matter how much it’s for survival), and Betty’s keeping the fact that she was contacted by (and has inspired) a serial killer hidden. One of those fibs might be a little bit bigger than the other, but hey, all these teenagers are idiots in their own way.

Despite the tension, Betty, Jug, and the rest of the Scoobies join forces to figure out what the hell is going on with this whole serial killer thing. Since Toni and Kevin haven’t quite been brought to the main lineup yet, they duck out before the information gets juicy, but they still get some good moments. Toni is going to cause a lot of problems, but not because she herself is problematic. She’s a happy medium between Jughead’s two worlds, that’s willing to call out Betty’s privilege. Things are going to get dicey there, for sure. Kevin, on the other hand, is back on Team Betty and their friendship seems right as rain already.

After Toni and Kevin make their exit, and Betty gets caught in her little secrets, it’s a compliment from Jughead that leads the two to the truth of the cypher. Tying Nancy Drew to Betty Cooper is incredibly on brand, so a round of applause for the writers, everyone. The cypher gives the location of the next target: the town hall. The same town hall that all of their parents are attending.

In the end, the two manage to save the day while Archie and Veronica dispose of the gun that might have led to Archie Andrews going dark side forever. But there’s more in store for all of them it seems. Betty gets a phone call from her fanboy serial killer, and he has a directive for her that she might not be able to follow. That’s all for next week though! If you had thoughts on the episode, you know what to do.

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