Riverdale Season 2, Episode 2 – Back to the Chock’lit Shack Recap

Posted October 26, 2017 by Panda Emily Jarrell in Nerdy Bits

Now that we’re done tying up all the buck wild loose ends left at the end of season one, season two of Riverdale is finally able to get back down to its regularly scheduled trashy business.

Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe, once a thriving staple of the Riverdale community, has become a veritable ghost diner. Jughead’s narration identifies Pop’s as “the latest casualty in the town’s ongoing battle against darkness,” having been maligned by the people of the town for the crime of…having been the location of an attempted murder, I guess.

At the Andrews residence, Archie, bless his heart, is trying to make his dad some breakfast. Archie was never my favorite character in season one because his problems—wanting to play music and date cute girls—seemed so trivial compared to everything happening around him. This season, he actually has some real conflict, and it’s in these moments it feels like KJ Apa really shines.

Later that day, Archie, Jughead, Betty, and Veronica all gather around a table at school to talk about what’s happening with Pop’s. All of Pop’s staff quit in the wake of the shooting, so Betty decides she’s taking on the project to save the Chock’lit Shoppe. Jughead has a great line about how someone needs to make a video game about Betty and Veronica, and I literally can’t think of anything in this world I could possibly want more.

Jughead and Archie leave to go to the sheriff’s office, seemingly in the middle of the school day? Did we just skip over the whole day of school? Does Riverdale exist outside of the rules of time and space? Even Sheriff Keller doesn’t see anything odd about Archie being in his office, pestering him with more questions about the hunt for his dad’s shooter. Archie keeps bringing up the fact that the shooter has his dad’s wallet in a way that adds to my suspicion that this will continue to be a plot point for at least a few more episodes.

The next morning, as Betty waxes poetic to Veronica and Kevin about all the memories she has of Pop’s, and why she needs to save it, they are interrupted by Hiram, who has brought Veronica a huge—and surely exorbitantly expensive—bouquet of yellow roses. He takes her outside and tells her how much he thought about her during prison; Veronica has been exceedingly cold to him since he came home, in light of her recent revelations about his past as a crime lord, but he begs her to meet him halfway. Veronica definitely wants things to go back to normal, but this is the New Veronica, and New Veronica can’t just ignore her father’s horrific legacy.

Principal Weatherbee has the unenviable job of informing the former students of Ms. Grundy’s class that she was murdered in the last episode. Despite having no evidence to support this conclusion, Archie gets it in his head that this killing is related to his dad’s shooter. We the audience, of course, know that this is actually the case, but Archie has no way of knowing that yet. Archie suggests to his dad the ludicrous notion that someone is “going after the people that [he] care[s] about,” because of course Archie thinks the world revolves around him. I guess being the title character of a comic for 75 years will do that to a guy.

Meanwhile, FP’s court-appointed lawyer has informed him and Jughead of the plea deal he’s managed to arrange. Despite the mountain of charges FP is facing, the deal would have him go to prison for twenty years. Twenty years is a pretty long time, but it’s paltry in comparison to the forty he could be facing if the case actually goes to trial. Jughead isn’t satisfied with this, and tries to convince Tall Boy of the Southside Serpents to help him break FP out of jail and smuggle him over the Canadian border. Tall Boy tells Jughead he needs to seek out a “snake handler”—someone familiar with dealing with Serpents.

That snake handler turns out to be Penny Peabody, a lawyer working out of the back room of a seedy tattoo parlor. Penny is not only a lawyer for Serpents, but also a Serpent herself. She tells Jughead the deal his dad’s been offered is garbage, but there are no loopholes to help FP out of his sticky situation. However, if Jughead can convince Cheryl to forgive FP for his assistance in the murder of her brother, there’s the chance that the judge may give FP leniency. In lieu of payment for her help, Penny tells Jughead that he’ll owe her a favor. This certainly won’t come back to bite Jughead in the butt later this season.

Betty and Jughead attempt to plead with Cheryl to forgive FP in court, but Cheryl will hear nothing of it, so they resort to Plan B—blackmail. Betty confronts Cheryl in the girls’ locker room, and Dark Betty is back, sans wig this time. I don’t know whether it’s Madelaine Petsch being clad only in a bra, or how close Betty gets as she’s threatening to release the video of Cheryl’s dad shooting her brother onto the internet, but the sexual tension in this scene is palpable, if a bit out of place. Cheryl agrees to testify if she receives the only remaining copy of the video. Her testimony does end up working, but only after she lies under oath that her dad threatened Jughead’s life in order to get FP’s help.

The episode ends with a horror movie-inspired scene where Moose and a girl get shot by—you guessed it—the masked shooter. I’m enjoying this newly introduced serial killer angle, but so far the choice of victims keeps getting more and more random. I’m holding out hope that this will all make sense, but in Riverdale, that’s never a guarantee, so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see who gets the knife next episode.

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Panda Emily Jarrell