Pep Talk: Riverdale Episode 209, "Silent Night, Deadly Night"

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Christmas comes to Riverdale in this second season mid-season finale. It's time for peace on Earth, and for all the loose threads of the Black Hood saga to finally come to a satisfying closure, with sensible revelations that will allow everyone to finally rest easy.

Yeah, right.

Let's start with Jughead. His life was supposed to take an upturn when his father, FP, was released from jail. But FP has gone right back to leading the serpents, and running drugs for Penny Peabody -- but only because Penny had dirt on Jughead that she was using to blackmail him and all the serpents into doing her bidding.

That stops tonight. Maybe. Because Jughead's finally gotten tired of it, and to protect his father and the rest of the South Side Serpents, he'll go to any measures to remove Penny Peabody from their lives. Get ready for a vision of Dark Jughead (okay, "darker" Jughead) as he extracts his "pound of flesh" with the Serpents rallied around him.

Then there's Veronica. She's in a kinda/sorta breakup place with Archie, but she still has feelings for him. And she's already bought his Christmas present pre-breakup. When she learns that his dad, Fred Andrews, is facing down crushing hospital bills due to his having been shot by the Black Hood, she goes to her parents, Hiram and Hermione, for help, which they refuse. This prompts Veronica to also take matters into her own delicate hands, getting them dirty by breaking into the forbidden zone of her father's study and learning the secret about the acquisition of Pop's Chocklit Shoppe. And she finds her mother's black "American Excess" card and makes a phone call.

Cast Listing

Archie: KJ Apa
Jughead: Cole Sprouse
Betty: Lili Reinhart
Veronica: Camila Mendes
Cheryl: Madelaine Petsch

Toni Topaz: Vanessa Morgan
Fred Andrews: Luke Perry
FP Jones: Skeet Ulrich
Alice Cooper: Madchen Amick
Penny Peabody: Brit Morgan

Sheriff Keller: Martin Cummins
Hiram Lodge: Mark Consuelos
Hermione Lodge: Marisol Nichols
Mr. Svenson: Cameron McDonald
Nana Rose Blossom: Barbara Wallace

But what you really want to know about is the Black Hood, right? Especially since last week we learned that he's somehow connected to the killing that happened forty years ago of a family that left John Conway -- now John Svenson -- the only survivor. We also know that young John fingered the killer and a group of the townspeople exacted vigilante justice upon him.

Tonight we learn that this was the town's original sin; because a young, frightened, and distraught John Conway pointed the finger of accusation... the wrong man.

And now Svenson's gone missing.

Archie and Betty are concerned, because since Archie and Veronica uncovered Svenson's secret connection to the Conway killings, they're worried that they've led the Black Hood straight to him. This is confirmed when Betty gets a present from the Black Hood -- the severed finger of Svenson! Then a phone call from the Black Hood challenges Betty to learn the town's original sin and its location if she wants to save Svenson, leading her and Archie on a rapid quest that takes them to the one remaining witness to the horrible events of that night -- Cheryl Blossom's grandmother, Nana Rose.

However, when Archie and Betty arrive on the scene, they are confronted by the Black Hood again, who forces Archie into an awaiting coffin and orders Betty at gunpoint to begin burying him. The timely arrival of Sheriff Keller saves them, and a chase ensues, resulting in the shooting death of the Black Hood -- who happens to be missing a finger, by the way.

Yes, the prevailing theory is that Svenson's survivor's guilt, coupled with his guilt over accusing the wrong man, drove him to balance the scales by cleansing Riverdale of its current sinners.

And yet Archie looked into Svenson's eyes, and didn't see the Black Hood's eyes.

There are two prevailing theories that could work here.

1. Svenson put in green contact lenses to disguise his eyes whenever he went out as the Black Hood, just in case.

2. The Black Hood that got shot tonight -- Svenson -- was not the Black Hood. It's possible -- even likely -- that the Black Hood had threatened Svenson to play the part tonight. (They've done a similar thing this season on LUCIFER with The Sinnerman.)

For my money, I'm going with Theory #2. My prediction is that that Black Hood is Tall Boy of the South Side Serpents -- and that Tall Boy is the son of the preacher who was falsely accused 40 years ago, taking his revenge on the town. Because while Svenson might have seen Archie and Miss Grundy, and might have seen Moose and Midge buying jingle-jangle from Reggie, it is extremely unlikely that he would have known about Fred Andrews and Hermione Lodge's canoodling.

But Tall Boy could have known all of those things.

Let's see if the Black Hood returns after the winter hiatus.

(Side note: It's so cute how the Blossoms are broke and living in a mansion, and how Cheryl Blossom is still naive enough to believe in Santa Claus!)


4.5 / 5.0