Warning: This contains spoilers for Episode 21 of Riverdale Season 2. Not seen Riverdale? Catch up with spoiler-free review of the first three episodes.
Breathlessly paced, hugely entertaining and full of twists and turns – Riverdale Season 2’s penultimate episode is excellent.
The hood is finally off! Betty’s worst fears – and our greatest suspicion – are confirmed, when Hal (Lochlyn Munro) confesses to a lifetime of being a bit of a madman and openly admits he was the Black Hood and that he would have gotten away with it, if not for you meddling kids! By the looks of things, he wants to take out his wife and daughter too, ordering his youngest daughter to record his confession, to get it down before he runs out of time. While Alice’s line “This doesn’t make any sense” rings very true – turning Hal from boring husband to masked maniac feels like a hairpin turn into nutty – but Munro has played his scenes in the later Season 2 episodes with a great amount of menace and actor-y relish. Riverdale loves its melodrama, too, so it being daft every now and again is par for the course.
Episode 21 is breathlessly paced and hugely entertaining, as it attempts to tie up loose ends before the concluding part. The town descends into outright anarchy after word spreads – erroneously – that Fangs had killed Midge at the school play. Of course he didn’t, but Mrs Klump (Midge’s mum) guns him down anyway. Poor Fangs doesn’t make it, dying on the operating table at the hospital, sending the Serpents on the warpath and in direct confrontation with Archie and the Bulldogs. The wave of violence unleashed upon the town has Hiram Lodge (Mark Conseulos) all hot and bothered – he’s about to light a stogie and quote Hannibal from The A-Team: “I love it when a plan comes together.”
Archie (KJ Apa) and his Bulldog bros try to stop the Serpents from trashing Riverdale High, then the principal and teachers turn up looking to kick ass and chew bubblegum – and they’re all out of bubblegum. Elsewhere, Jug (Cole Sprouse) sacrifices himself for the greater good, giving himself over to the Ghoulies and a returning Penny Peabody (Brit Morgan), like he’s Riverdale’s answer to Jesus, and Veronica finally understands the depths to which her father will stoop to get what he wants. Camilla Mendes and Marisol Nichols (Veronica and Hermione Lodge) play their frosty scenes beautifully – Hiram is most definitely in the doghouse and might yet even end up doing another verse and chorus of the jailhouse rock, if he’s not careful.
For all its faults and inconsistencies, Riverdale is loads of fun and engagingly silly. The penultimate episode is a gripping affair and Season 2’s finale should be a doozy.
Riverdale is available exclusively on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription. New episodes arrive every Thursday, within 24 hours of their US broadcast.
Photos: The CW Network