Warning: This contains spoilers for Episode 9 of Riverdale Season 2. Not seen Riverdale? Catch up with spoiler-free review of the first three episodes.
It’s Christmas in Riverdale, folks, but things aren’t so jolly. Betty (Lili Reinhardt) has a nightmare about the Black Hood dressed as Santa (in a scene which references Maddie Ferguson’s premonition of Bob in Twin Peaks) and Fred Andrews (Sideshow Luke Perry) gets hit with a medical bill to the tune of $86,000 dollars (ouch). Veronica (Camilla Mendes) finally tells Archie (KJ Apa) she loves him, but she does it in such a way that it feels like she was just trying to please her man. To throw a spanner into the relationship works, Archie and Betty (we haven’t come up with a moniker for that romance yet) are snogging behind V and Jug’s back. Oh, and Penny Peabody (Brit Morgan) gets sent to Greendale, a bit like being sent to Coventry, but she is also literally sent to Greendale as an exile, with Jug plotting a bold scheme against the town’s chief drug dealer and lawyer (a handy skill set, that). In one of the most savage scenes depicted yet, Jug takes a knife to Penny’s forearm, to cut away the Serpent tattoo (which is a bit effed up, to be honest).
Narratives tend to move lightning quick in Riverdale and by Episode 9 (Silent Night, Deadly Night), it’s time to reach a verdict on the identity of the Black Hood serial killer… but who’s buying it?
Nana Rose Blossom (Barbara Wallace) is wheeled out for a scene involving Archie and Betty, and the creepy old crone delivers several salient clues which leads to the big reveal. Viewers have good reason to be suspicious, though. Old man Svenson/Conway (Cameron McDonald), Riverdale High’s janitor, was the fiend all along! In one last act of derangement, he tries to force Betty into burying Archie alive in a coffin and, after a short chase, Archie and Betty corner the murderer and Sheriff Keller rocks up to snuff the freak out for good.
There’s a Scooby-Doo moment with the mask being lifted from the villain’s face and… it makes no sense. The writers are yanking our crank, folks. No two ways about it. The idea Svenson/Conway would kickstart his own reign of terror because he once fingered the wrong person for the Riverdale Reaper massacre – not even the crummiest giallo flick would present this as a denouement and explanation. It’s less jumped the shark, nuked the fridge, and more jumped the Black Hood (no, wait that doesn’t sound right). Veronica’s line about it all making “perfect sense” is another bit of humour thrown in by the writers. Very funny, ha-ha. No.
Another major development occurs with the Lodges. After using her mom’s credit card to pay off Fred’s medical bills and discovering Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos) bought Pop’s diner, V is finally brought into the family fold. She’s gone from ‘High School Blue Jasmine’ to ‘Teenage Michael Corleone’. While everything is explained to her, how the Lodge fortune operates, the writers decide to hit fast forward, with the audience not privy to the information. Is this a cheat or another way of dangling the carrot? V agrees to work for Hiram and the family appear united for once. But, let’s face it, Veronica is going to face difficult moral decisions ahead, because her parents are borderline gangsters. Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals!
(Riverdale Season 2 is now on a month-long break until 18th January 2018.)
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