This post contains spoilers for Riverdale.
Check out our previous review here.
Do you remember your “finding yourself” phase? Those moments you went through in adolescence that were completely against your character or better judgement, but you did them anyway? That is what the majority of Riverdale’s second season has been. There was nothing wrong with the mobster stuff. As a matter of fact, it had an interesting moment here and there as we really got to know the Lodge family. All the same, Riverdale ain’t a mobster jam, and this weird little town of try-hards flounders when it doesn’t have a mystery to solve.
Thankfully, like all adolescents going through the motions to find out who they really are, Riverdale has returned to what makes it great: the connections and complications between the teenagers and a hearty, layered mystery to poke at. “Shadow of a Doubt” adds validity to questions we’ve already had while finally playing into character relationships that we’ve desperately missed. We’re still missing that good old B and V partnership, but the ladies are on good terms once more, and so, it seems, are the boys. We see some of the traditional pairings get mixed up this week, putting Cheryl with Betty and Kevin with the Dark Circle? It’s weird, but it works. Let’s break down the plot.
As you may recall, a certain student at Riverdale High was found murdered mid-musical by a certain serial killer. While it’s a shame to lose Midge, that really should have been the end of it for the townsfolk. Another victim claimed by murder, let’s all keep trying to solve the mystery, rah, rah, rah. Tiny problem – most of the town doesn’t believe that the Black Hood has returned, and a certain Southside Serpent was seen canoodling with Midge right before she was brutally killed.
At least one of those issues is solved about halfway through the episode. Fred and Hermione have their first mayoral debate with the assurance from Hiram’s pocket Sheriff will keep them and the people of Riverdale safe. Spoiler: the pocket Sheriff did not keep them safe. The Black Hood breaks in and takes several shots at the dais, but all participants make it off stage alive. Unfortunately, the Hood waiting until after Hermione used Archie’s gang against his father.
Throughout the attacks, and the concern for Fang who spends the majority of his time in a jail cell for Midge’s murder, Betty has a new prevailing theory on who the Black Hood is: her father. Even though he protects her through the Hood’s attack, Betty’s not convinced after all of the evidence she and Cheryl found while snooping. In attempt to get a confession, Betty comes clean about what she did to Chic and all of the communication the Black Hood has had with her in the past. But if Hal Cooper is the killer, he ain’t budging.
Betty is finally pushed to the edge and insists he meet her to discuss the situation, but that’s where we leave her for the episode. Things, instead, circle back to Fangs Fogerty desperately trying to get out of the town jail alive. The Serpents rally alongside him, forming a barrier to get him through the angry mob calling for his head, but that’s not enough. Hiram realizes that he’s losing Archie earlier on in the episode and starts paying the Dark Circle (who then become the War Dogs). He decides to whisper in Reggie’s ear and send him after Fangs, since there’s nothing that can be done legally. Because Reggie is basically a sociopath, he shows up with a gun and the gumption to take Midge’s murder into his own hands.
A wall of Serpents isn’t enough to save Fangs from the gunshot wound to the belly, but it’s currently unclear where the bullet came from. Archie runs to the scene at Jughead’s request, and arrives in time to tackle Reggie. The shot goes off several seconds after the boys hit the ground, and Reggie was too shocked to actively be fighting Archie in that time frame. Unfortunately, both boys seem to have their hand on the gun when Fangs gets shot. We don’t know if Fangs will survive, but a shot to the belly doesn’t usually result in great things for the victim.
Fangs might be having a tremendously bad day, but what an episode of Riverdale. Cheryl is finally given something to do, and she and Toni are being given the opportunity to be separate characters outside of their relationship. All of big four characters are not only on speaking terms again, but are working together despite the class war that still rages on within the town. Veronica has finally found her footing again after having her father shoved back in her life, and is standing up for what she believes in. This week that happens to include her terrified mother, her boyfriend, her ideas, and Fred Andrews as future mayor. Hell, even Archie was smart this week!
Things are ramping up as we near the end of the season, and Fangs might not be the only casualty this week. While Betty waits for her father, Cheryl gets a visitor. Because Cheryl has apparently never seen a horror movie in her life, she just opens the door willy nilly, and there just so happens to be a serial killer on the other side. Whoops!
Next week we learn the fates of our favorite bombshell and the kind and frightened Serpent, but for now it’s time to speculate wildly on just what the hell is going down in Riverdale.