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Riverdale Recap: “Chapter 22: Silent Night, Deadly Night”

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It’s Mid-Season Finale time for our favorite gang of Riverdale teens and as far as holiday episodes go, it would only be appropriate that Riverdale used Christmas as a setting for darkness and death. As usual a lot happened in this episode, story-telling doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon and I’m not sure which odd plot to start with but here goes.

Riverdale Recape: Chapter Twenty-Tw0: Silent Night, Deadly Night
Airdate: December 13, 2017

Kevin initiates a Secret Santa that apparently includes, besides the core four, Josie, Cheryl, and Reggie, but alas we only see Veronica and Betty open their presents. Josie got Veronica a couples massage, whoops and Archie gave Betty an old book they used to read together when they were five, because we have to remind the audience they’re super close besties since childhood to amp up the relationship drama. Later on, Veronica gives Archie the fancy watch she bought him pre-break up while Jughead and Betty exchange gifts that we don’t see until episodes end; she gifts him a fancy typewriter and he gifts her an original copy of some book and I totally missed what it was and didn’t rewind to go back and check… Beloved? Maybe. Sure.

Also going on in this episode, rich people have money problems. The Lodge’s “have no money”, The Blossoms “are broke”, and apparently Fred has $86,000 in hospital bills which is purely a plot device to have Veronica ask her parents to foot the bill and then defy them by charging it on the Black American Excess. Now Fred is no millionaire by any stretch, but he did just partner with The Lodge’s in the SoDale project, surely he got a nice chunk of change for being the builder on this? No? Not to mention, in case you were unaware, Hospitals have funds set up for people who cannot afford their medical bills. You call and go through this whole ridiculous process, but basically you end up paying a fraction of the bill, if nothing at all. Also oddly after Veronica pays the bill, it’s never addressed again in the episode by Fred or Archie. The Lodges, who have been claiming poverty since last season, seem to have money to buy Faberge eggs and such so I don’t know what their problem is and as far as the Blossoms go; I can never buy into stories in which folks claim they have no money, yet live in elaborate homes. If you have no money, sell the mini-mansion you live in and downgrade. Problem solved. Also, don’t they actually have Maple Syrup or no?

Betty gets another Secret Santa gift, a finger in a box, which prompts her and Archie to go in to full on Black Hood investigation mode again. They get a call from the Black Hood who tasks them with revealing the big town secret. The way this played out was a bit odd, it felt almost like last week’s episode didn’t happen or at the very least, Veronica and Archie didn’t do a good job of filling Betty in on what they discovered. In the end, Mr. Svenson went missing from school which led Betty & Archie to the Sister of Quiet Mercy to ask about his time there. Apparently, he pointed the finger at a man that possibly was not the man who killed his family and an angry mob that included Nana Rose Blossom and Betty’s Grandpappy, buried said man alive. This leads Betty and Archie to surmise that Mr. Svenson has been buried alive in the same spot and they rush off to save him, calling Sheriff Keller from the car. Oh, they also awkwardly kissed in there too.

Once Betty & Archie arrive at the park, they discover the grave and start digging. They discover no one in the coffin, but then the Black Hood shows up and forces Archie into the coffin. Betty starts dumping dirt on Archie when the police arrive and distract Black Hood long enough for Betty to clock him with the shovel and he runs off. Archie and Betty are in hot pursuit and stop him before he jumps over the bridge and gets away. Archie holds a gun to him and starts prattling on about hurting folks and what not. Sheriff Keller shoots the Black Hood from behind and once unmasked we see it’s actually Mr. Svenson.

So two things about this Black Hood “reveal” besides that it was completely anticlimactic and this character was introduced only 2 episodes ago; 1) there’s definitely 2 Black Hoods, right? We know there was 2 letters with different handwriting and some of this stuff hasn’t added up. In fact, this reveal asked more questions than answered them. So this is a bait & switch. 2) Sheriff Keller is definitely still my number 1 pick for real Black Hood. What in god’s name took him so long to get there? If Betty and Archie called him from the car, what the hell was he doing that they had time to drive to the park, DIG UP A GRAVE, encounter the Black Hood, and chase after him all before Keller got there right as this man could possibly have started speaking and telling the whole truth. Just seemed a bit too convenient for me.

The other plot thread this episode was Jughead, FP, The Serpents, and Penny Peabody. FP has been running drugs for Penny to pay off this debt Jughead got them involved in. Feeling guilty, Jug wants to help, but FP says no. This is a “good gang” and Jug doesn’t want them doing this bad stuff. They collect Toys for Tots for goodness sake! Jughead decides to take matters into his own hands and he enlists all the younger Serpents to kidnap and accost Penny. They drag her off to Greendale where they threaten her with never returning and possibly cut off her tattoo??? We don’t know what exactly went down because they cut the scene short, but Jughead had a knife and he assured FP she would no longer be a problem. FP, of course, groans and basically says Jug made it worse. Yup, probably right. If this is in fact the end of Penny Peabody, it begs the question, what purpose does FP or Tallboy serve if a bunch of teenagers can run off a Queenpin? As much as I would love to not see Penny again, because I don’t really care for this plot thread, it would be kind of dumb if this was it. What kind of gang leader would FP be if his 16 year old son was better at running off drug dealers than he is!

By episodes end, it seems as though Bughead are still apart, for now, and Betty is feeling a bit too comfortable with her darkness as she opts to keep the Black Hoods mask instead of burn it in the fire. Veronica shows up at Archie and the two reconcile when she tells him she does indeed love him. But don’t worry guys, Cheryl saw Archie & Betty kiss, so we’ll be sure to have some more make ups and breakups headed our way… oh goodie… so much for hoping this would be written as a mature teen drama.

Michele Curran
Michele Curran is the newest addition to the TV Source Magazine team! She is a proud New Yorker with a passion for all things television, movies, and music. Follow her on Twitter @MimiC1019.

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