Pep Talk: Riverdale Episode 206, "Death Proof"

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Riverdale 206, Death Proof

Archie (KJ APA) and Jughead (COLE SPROUSE) evade the police in no less than two scenes in the latest episode of RIVERDALE before they engage in a madcap car race that ends with them narrowly evading the police a third time!

And somebody didn't get Waylon Jennings music approved for the scene? I mean, after all, Archie and Jug are just some good old boys, never meaning no harm.

Betty (LILI REINHART) has just about had it with taking orders from the Black Hood -- so much so that she's actually changed her ringtome from "Lollipop" by The Chordettes to a simple chime. Fortunately, he says he only has one job left for her: Find the identity of the so-called Sugarman, the main supplier of the drug Jingle Jangle -- that stuff Reggie Mantle (CHARLES MELTON) gave everybody last week at the party.

That party hasn't gone unnoticed by parents, by the way. Archie and Betty both get called in to a meeting of all the parents and kids, as Mayor McCoy (ROBIN GIVENS) and Sheriff Keller (MARTIN CUMMINS) both want to know who supplied the drug. Reggie, against his mother's admonishment, admits that he brought it, but he isn't arrested -- the Mayor and the Sheriff want a South Sider's name, the identity of the guy who sells it to Reggie.

Betty goes to Cheryl Blossom (MADELAINE PETSCH) to ask her for information on the Sugarman. After all, her late father was a drug kingpin, he surely knew the person. Cheryl says the Sugarman was a monster made up by her mother to get them to behave: "Go to bed and be quiet, or the Sugarman will carry you away." Later, however, she finds a crayon drawing she made of herself, her brother Jason, and the Sugarman, and confronts her mother, Penelope (NATHALIE BOLTT). Penelope's face has healed from the fire without any scarring, miraculously, although she still wears a glove on one hand to cover the burns suffered there.

But Cheryl has another reason to be frustrated with her mother: Penelope has taken hush-money from the St. Clairs to avoid charges being pressed against their son, Nick (GRAHAM PHILLIPS) over his attempted rape of Cheryl last episode. Upon learning this, Cheryl finds the check and keeps it as collateral until Penelope finally tells her the truth about the Sugarman, including his name.

Jughead, having joined the Serpents fully now, narrowly avoids arrest when Mayor McCoy sends in the police to raid South Side High. Archie pulls him out ahead of the police arrival, but not in time to save Jughead's new friend-with-benefits, Toni Topaz (VANESSA MORGAN) and several other Serpents. The depletion in Serpent numbers means that they must now work with another gang -- the Goolies -- who are actually the ones distributing Jingle Jangle. Seemingly left without options, Jughead turns to his jailed father, F.P. Jones (SKEET ULRICH), who advises him to challenge the Goolies for territory via an illegal street race. The best part of this is the shout-out to GREASE, and Chery Blossom's "so perfect it should be made into a poster" scene with her red scarf to signal the beginning of the race.

Over at the Lodge household, Hiram (MARK CONSEUELOS) and Hermione (MARISOL NICHOLS) are quietly happy to have brokered the truce between the Blossoms and the St. Clairs, as it continues to have the St. Clairs fund their new project. But when Veronica (CAMILA MENDES) mentions that Nick had tried to hurt her as well, Hiram loses his temper, and Hermione insists they won't take a penny from the St. Clairs. Later, the St. Clair family suffers a horrible auto accident. What a pity.

Archie gets a "very stern talking to" about taking drugs like Jingle Jangle from his dad (LUKE PERRY). At the same time, Fred Andrews is popping pills of his own, prescribed after he got shot by the Black Hood. Is RIVERDALE going to turn Fred into an opioid addict?

Betty ultimately gets her information, but she refuses to give it to the Black Hood, opting to give it to the police instead. The Black Hood will have to get the name from the newspapers the next day. He warns her she's playing a dangerous game, but there's a tinge of Dark Betty in her reply as she warns the Black Hood that she's coming after him. She found Jason Blossom's murderer. She found the Sugarman. And she'll find him.

And behind bars, the Sugarman gets found by the Black Hood. So now I have to re-evaluate my suspect list, because Sheriff Keller is starting to look better and better all the time.

4.5 / 5.0