Riverdale S02E07 Review: Tales from the Darkside – Day of reckoning coming soon…

This week, Riverdale tries a new form of storytelling and Black Hood gives the town residents an ultimatum. Only one of these succeeds.

Black Hood orders the townspeople to abstain from sinning for 48 hours, if they can. It’s obviously a losing game, because number one, everyone’s a sinner, according to what I had yelled at me as a child over a tank of writhing snakes. (I’m kidding–that didn’t happen to me. That happened to my classmates.)  And number two, he’s exactly the kind of control freak to move the goalposts on what counts as a sin. Like, did you enjoy that coffee cake your boss brought in for everyone? Congratulations, that’s gluttony. Sinner.

Anyway, might as well start sinnin’. And maybe snake-handling’s on my mind because we have a return of Penny the “Snake Handler,” who’s come to collect on that favor from Jug. She wants him to pick up a crate on the Southside (MYSTERIOUS!) and deliver it to Greendale (WITCHY!). Somehow, with all the excitement, I missed it at first, but the crate is marked as property of Miskatonic University (LOVECRAFTIAN!).

And here we start our new storytelling form, in which each plot tonight is presented as a vignette. They’re not specifically separate, as they interact in each other’s stories, but each separate vignette has its own tone. First up is Archie and Jughead in a little action that starts out Texas Chainsaw and then goes sideways into Creepshow.

Jughead gets Archie to help, since he can’t transport the crate without Fred’s truck, and unsurprisingly, their trip isn’t without bumps. First of all, they blow a tire, so Archie has to stay with the truck and wait for help. Jughead gets a ride with one Farmer McGinty, who’s already acting suspicious enough that it doesn’t help that he’s played by Tony Todd, aka the Candyman.

While Jughead rides to Greendale and gets an earful about the path of the righteous, Archie mostly stands around on the side of the road. He does see a spooky blood-spattered doe cross the road, though. Meanwhile, back in the truck, McGinty tells Jughead that this is not the first time a killer has stalked the residents of Riverdale. There was once a Riverdale Reaper and for McGinty’s money–IF GAMBLING WEREN’T A SIN–the Reaper and the Hood are probably one and the same.

Jughead gets the crate to its destination, which is where he finds out that he’s meant to be the regular delivery boy for these…unsettling folks in Greendale. Penny manipulated him into doing this one favor by lying that FP had been attacked in jail. Now she makes it clear that Jughead is going to work for her until FP’s mysterious debt with her is settled. Jug is drowning and he desperately needs help. Meanwhile, his ostensible best friend is over in the corner like, “There’s really no way to know how many chameleons are in a room at any given time.” Poor Juggie.

Next up is Josie’s story. Her new BFF–just ask her–Cheryl claims that she’s spirited a recording of the Pussycats to contacts at a recording studio and they’re interested in Josie and Josie alone. So, despite the friction it causes with Melody and Val, Josie diligently works at polishing up a cover of “Spooky.” And speaking of spooky, this segment really leans into making you suspect Riverdale High’s janitor is up to no good. There he is, spying on Josie. There he is, coming to her rescue. Why does she need someone to come to her rescue? She’s getting strange messages in her locker and elsewhere that culminate in a creepy sketch of her and a boxed pig’s heart. (What to get for the girl who has everything.) Since it’s obviously not the janitor because he’s too obvious, it must be the returned Chuck. After all, he has a past history of being awful to girls, so the “if I can’t have you, no one can” dramatics wouldn’t seem a reach for him. Nevermind that he respects Josie’s choice when she turns him down for a date and that they have a sweet moment anyway, dancing at Pop’s. (Meanwhile, I slink into frame, stealing their delicious-looking milkshakes. Sorry–I watched this episode while eating a sensible grilled salmon fillet and cauliflower rice.)

But of course, it’s not Chuck. It’s Cheryl, who in her own demented way, is orchestrating pure terror in Josie’s life* as a way of repaying her for saving Cheryl from Nick St. Clair. Cheryl’s like a toddler who can kill you.

*That dream Josie has about the Black Hood slitting her throat was horrifying.

Our final story is Betty and Veronica. Having obviously the online discussions, Betty decides that she’s #TeamSheriffKeller as far as Black Hood guesses go. So she sets out to prove it, which just makes life very awkward for her and Veronica and Hal and Sheriff Keller. Related: Where’s Alice?! She gets Veronica to help spy, which leads to a mondo uncomfortable conversation between Veronica and a shirtless Sheriff Keller in his basement. We do learn, though, that Mrs. Keller is apparently alive, contrary to popular assumption, and stationed overseas.

Since Veronica doesn’t turn up anything, Betty just goes ahead and breaks into the Kellers’ home, where Sheriff Keller finds her. Then he and Betty and Hal have a little come-to-Jesus meeting in which he assures them that his logbook will prove he was nowhere near any of the Black Hood sites. That sounds fake, but okay. I mean, he wrote that logbook.

Betty and her little determined face are still not satisfied, so she again ropes Ronnie into spying on Keller with her. As it turns out, he’s (probably) not the Black Hood. The subterfuge**, the late night sneak-outs, the caginess–they’re all because Sheriff Keller is having an affair. With Mayor McCoy! Ma’am!

**You know, maybe Sheriff Keller keeps so many locked doors in his house because people break in. And steal things, Hal!

And so ends our vignettes, but not the episode itself. Rather predictably, the Black Hood has decided that none of them are without sin. He passes on this message through poor Pop, who does not deserve this***, that the day of reckoning is coming.

***Or maybe he does. If there’s one thing we can rely on, it’s that we can’t rely on what we think we know about the adults of Riverdale.

9/10 – Putting its characters into their own little movies was a great idea, allowing the show to experiment with tone and genre. As for the story itself, it’s clear that Black Hood is pushing the town’s residents toward something–this day of reckoning–but what shape that will take is still misty and a little scary. And speaking of scary, Cheryl. Why does my girl Cheryl get a second chance when Chuck doesn’t? I’m not particularly invested in him or his struggles; it’s just funny to me.

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  • callmeishmael

    First off, THAT HAPPENED TO SOMEONE YOU KNEW?! I would die if someone ever put me anywhere near a snake. Seriously. I’d just die. That might be better than living with that kind of psychological scarring. Poor kid.

    You know what made me upset about this episode? No one is taking Black Hood seriously. No one says to themselves, “Maybe I’ll just chill at home for 48 hours and try not to get into trouble. Keep my head down, go to church or something…” Nope. No one even mentions it. They just continue with their shenanigans.

    Also, Archie is legit the best friend ever. He’s like a labrador – although maybe not quite as smart, at times. But he means well. Always.

    I totally forgot why Sheriff Keller might lock his junk up – totally forgot about Hal breaking in. I have to say that I loved it when he busted in there and they got right down to it. This show doesn’t screw around and draw out things forever – unlike PLL.

    Which brings me to my next point, how big of Ravenswood feels did Greendale give you? That guy looked and talked like he walked straight out of Ravenswood. I’m having a bad feeling about this.

    • Salome G

      Yes, I went to middle school with snake-handlers and other very devout people. It seemed regular until we moved to another part of the state. That part is weird in its own way but it gave me the distance to be like, “Whoa, that was an experience.”

      Re: the show, I love that you just know that I watched Ravenswood. Because I did. I liked that Ravenswood was more overtly spooky than PLL and I have a feeling that the upcoming Sabrina series will be like that as well. At least I hope. Anyway, something wicked is going on in Greendale, if those folks we met are any indication. I would not be surprised if Mrs. Grunwald just pops up.

      And that is true that they’re being quite easy breezy with Black Hood. I can’t help but think of him in the context of A. Like, A could have killed the Liars multiple times over, but seemed to prefer just torturing them. I wonder if that’s what Black Hood is after or he wants a body count.

      • callmeishmael

        Haha, yeah, definitely an experience! That’s wild. I thought I knew about very devout people living in a small town in the South but nope – they were nowhere near that level. Definitely puts things into perspective. I’m so sad for those kids though.

        Haha, what can I say, I just knew you must have. I actually only watched a few episodes of Ravenswood. By the time I got into it, it was already cancelled. So I kind of gave up. I do think it seems like they’re going to go in that direction with Sabrina though which will be really interesting to see. Hahaha, I would crap my pants if Mrs. Grunwald showed up…but not really out of surprise. Of course she’d be there.

        Yeah, I know. BH is definitely giving A vibes. I think the one who was calling Betty is unaffiliated with the other BH. They never went through on any of their threats. Just psychologically messed with her. I’m suspicious of Dilton for some reason. Daddy Cooper is also looking suspect in my books.

        • Salome G

          That would be interesting if the BH caller was someone else. And yes, I’m on the Hal’s-the-Black-Hood train until they prove he’s not.

  • itsjustme

    Echoing callmeishmael, I cannot believe you know someone who had to endure that. It also sounds like something that would legit happen on this show. I’m totally with you on Chuck. I could care less about his storyline right now. ‘Sides, I’m way more into Reggie and Josie. But I’m most invested in the girl who makes crazy look fabulous: Cheryl. What is our favorite, not to mention talented (look at those drawings!), girl up to?

    One last note, I can’t be the only one who was 150 shades of not-surprised when it turned out he was having an affair with the mayor, right?

    • Salome G

      Hahaha, despite the fact that she is legit dangerous, I do have a soft spot for Cheryl. Also, yes–Reggie and Josie would be much better.

      I can’t say that I predicted that Keller was having an affair with the mayor, although that made sense after the fact because they’re always together. I just guessed he was up to no good, but a kind of no good that was not being the Black Hood.

      • itsjustme

        Yeah, I know. She’s legit dangerous and crazy, but she’s just too fabulous. I also feel really bad for her. She’s gone through hell and back and legit has basically no one to talk to. I’m excited because it looked like they might be setting up Josie and Reggie in last night’s episode.

        I guess I only predicted it once the idea of Keller having an affair came to mind. It wasn’t surprising to me that it was with the woman who is at his side in 90% of his (recent) scenes. I’m glad it looks like they’re not going the sketchy cop route – too overdone! How hilarious was that scene between him and Ronnie? Talk about awkward.

        • Salome G

          I only just realized this week that his basement is papered with little animal shooting targets, mainly because I was trying to avoid looking anywhere near the tv screen during that scene.

  • Lone Wolf

    I legit want to start binging this show just because of the discussion on these articles! I am going to start watching tonight because I read the articles and comments and I feel like I am missing out on a seriously good show.

    • callmeishmael

      You are totally missing out! Please do and come join in these discussions with us. It’s so much fun to watch and if you’re a binge pro, you can easily burn through it and catch up in no time.

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