Read the previous review here.
This post contains spoilers for Riverdale.
Riverdale’s midseason finale concludes with Jughead saying that another mystery had been wrapped up in a neat little bow, but that is oh so rarely the case a town that lets its kids do all the mystery solving. So rarely do we see shows’ midseason offerings lean into their story the way “Silent Night, Deadly Night” did. Instead of giving some big, spectacular drama, the episode sets up a slow burn for the rest of the season, teasing at all of the things that are yet to come.
Though the show got a longer run this season, it appears that Riverdale is trying to relegate its big mysteries to around the thirteen episode mark that they had in season one. Twenty-two episodes is a hell of a long time to keep people engaged with a who-dunnit, so kudos to them on the self-awareness. Over the span of “Silent Night, Deadly Night” the writers squeezed in the Black Hood reveal, Ronnie finding out about her parents owning Pops, and some good old fashioned Jones Family Drama.
Though the end of the episode seems to allude to the fact that the Black Hood saga isn’t over, the reveal we got tonight wasn’t much to write home about. After town fool Archie Andrews insists that Mr. Svenson doesn’t have the Hood’s eyes, it ends up being him all along. Even Jughead’s at a loss when all is said and done, but there’s plenty from the episode that hints at more to come in the future. Svenson’s story starts with a man being wrongfully murdered for crimes that he didn’t commit, Betty’s got those crazy eyes going towards the end, and there’s just so much more juicy Riverdale town drama to unravel before this story is finished.
While Betty and Archie are trying to unmask the Hood, Ronnie is on a mission to help her ex. Fred Andrews’ hospital debt is insane after getting shot, and he was barely able to keep up with bills before that. Swooping into action, Veronica grills her parents about their spending. Predictably, Hiram is not about helping the man that his wife previously made googoo eyes at, but Veronica Lodge has never been good at taking no for an answer. V goes snooping, and quickly uncovers the fact that her parents’ have bought Pops. Using that as leverage, she steals Hermione’s credit card and pays Fred’s bill in full. There’s some runaround with her parents, but everything ultimately culminates in Veronica demanding to be in the know in regards to Lodge Industries. What do they turn out to be up to? We have no idea! But Veronica does, and whatever it is, she’s on board. Jury’s out on whether or not she’s happy about that.
Over in the Southside, Jughead Jones has apparently lost his damn mind. In an idiotic attempt to save his father, Jug rallies the other baby Serpents to go after Penny Peabody. Somewhere in that beanied head of his, he believes that dragging Penny to Greendale and cutting up her Serpent tattoo will result in her leaving him, his dad, and the rest of the Serpents alone. Judghead Jones has been spending entirely too much time with Archie Andrews, because their dumb is starting to match. FP understandably loses his mind over this, but that’s another payoff we’re going to have to wait for.
What’s happening in relationship land, you wonder? Well, Archie’s getting a whole lot of smooches this episode. Not Jughead though. No smooches for Jughead while he’s trying to keep his family together. He’s too tough for smooches. Let me see if I can make this make sense: Betty kisses Archie but still loves Jughead, but Archie kind of has a thing for Betty while still loving Veronica who couldn’t say she loved him yesterday but can today because holiday spirit.
Oh, and Cheryl saw mommy kissing Santa Clause. See you in 2018!