Riverdale Season 2, Episode 5 – Running To and From the Devil

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Posted November 17, 2017 by Panda Emily Jarrell in TV

For a show that I get excited about enough to dedicate myself to covering every episode, I spend a lot of time referring to Riverdale as “the worst.” Episode 5 isn’t too great of a departure from Riverdale’s consistent level of trashy quality, but it does have what is one of the best sequences in this season so far. More on that later.

We left off last episode with Betty getting an ominous call from the Black Hood himself, and that’s right where we pick back up. The Black Hood reveals he knows about the farm where Betty has hidden her older sister Polly, who’s still pregnant with their late cousin Jason’s children. Betty must now do what the Black Hood says, and not tell anyone in her life—not her parents, not Jughead, not the police—or he’ll hurt Polly. The more we learn about the Black Hood, the less I feel like I understand his motives, but I guess that’s the idea.

The next morning, at the Andrews household, Archie tells his dad he wrote a signed apology to Principal Weatherbee and posted a video denouncing the Red Circle. Archie insists to his dad that the stuff with the Red Circle is over, but I have my doubts about that.

On the way to school, Betty confesses to Archie that she got a call from the Black Hood. Archie urges her to go to the police, but when she refuses, offers to do what he can to help her not have to go through it alone. It feels like this is the first time in a while that Archie and Betty have actually spent much personal time together, even if the first season asserted that they were “endgame.”

After realizing that the growing class war between the Northside and Southside might be getting out of hand, Jughead takes the Southside Serpent jacket down to the Whyte Wyrm to pledge his allegiance to the Serpents and join them for good, with the hope of trying to ameliorate the conflict. The Serpents are skeptical, but inform him nonetheless that he must first survive Southside Serpent initiation. This initiation consists of four tests: taking care of Hot Dog, the Serpents’ dog; knowing all six laws of being a Serpent; retrieving a knife from a rattlesnake cage; and enduring physical punishment from every other member of the Serpents. Is this normal for gangs? I don’t know anything about gangs, but this seems a little convoluted.

The scenes where the Black Hood calls Betty all have a vaguely horror/thriller vibe to them, most particularly how off-putting Betty’s “Lollipop” ringtone sounds against still silence. Each time he calls, he demands Betty eliminate her ties with another person close to her: first her mom, then Veronica, and then Jughead. Each time she does what he tells her, she answers a new question about him. Each question brings us closer to the Black Hood’s identity, but we still won’t learn that this episode because we’re still only halfway through the season.

Meanwhile, an old friend of Veronica’s has come to town. Nick St. Clair’s parents are potential investors in Lodge Industries’ latest venture, and Veronica is tasked with impressing him during his stay in Riverdale. Veronica assures Archie he has nothing to be worried about, and normally I’d believe her, but there’s definitely something suspicious about her affection for Nick. Even more suspicious is Nick’s flagrant disregard for Archie and Veronica’s relationship, which culminates in him attempting to hook up with her despite multiple protests. He even tries to leverage his potential influence on his parents against her, but Veronica stands her ground and runs off.

Unfortunately, Veronica does have to face Nick again at the Lodge Industries Open House the next evening. He apologizes, but that was an act, because he is in fact a literal monster. Despite having told Veronica he has been in and out of rehab, Nick grabs two glasses of champagne for him and Cheryl. He also puts a date rape drug in Cheryl’s drink, which quickly dissolves as he hands it to her.

Later, we’re treated to a Pussycats rendition of “Take Me Out Tonight” from the hit Broadway musical RENT. It’s during this scene that we see the drug Nick put in Cheryl’s drink take effect, as he’s guiding a sluggish Cheryl out of the ballroom. Luckily for Cheryl, the Pussycats see this and are able to interrupt Nick partway through his assault.

This is my previously mentioned favorite sequence, in which we see the Pussycats savagely throw Nick to the ground and beat him up. The scene is undeniably timely with all the sexual assault allegations that have been coming out, and watching an attempted rapist see actual, immediate consequences for his actions is beyond cathartic.

That, however, won’t be the end of this subplot, because the episode ends with the Black Hood revealing to Betty that he knows she’s told Archie everything. He demands she give him the name of someone for him to kill, or he’ll instead kill all her friends and family. The name she gives is, of course, Nick St. Clair. I might have a theory about who the Black Hood could be, but it’s still too soon to guess.

Either way, this episode clearly marks a turning point for Jughead—the start of Dark Jughead, perhaps? All I know is I’m worried about this weird burger boy and his bad decisions.


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Panda Emily Jarrell