TV Reviews

Riverdale Season 2 Episode 3: The Watcher in the Woods Review

If you would like to read my review of last week’s episode, click here.

Synopsis: Archie takes matters into his own hands; An unexpected turn of events leads the town to realize their darkest chapter may be far from over. (IMDB)

Writers: Ross Maxwell

Director: Kevin Rodney Sullivan

Rating: TV-14

Running Time: 43 mins

“The Watcher in the Woods” starts off where last week ended, the masked killer shoots Midge and Moose, but thankfully Kevin Keller is there to find them. Apparently he’s cruising the woods for hookups.

When news breaks of Midge and Moose’s shooting, Archie is pushed over the edge. He’s freaking out about the safety of the town and decides to take that upon himself. However, instead of taking this to a town meeting or Sheriff Keller, Archie decides to bring together a bunch of high school boys, call them The Red Circle and give them free rein on patrolling the streets to protect their loved ones. After Ethel encounters a suspicious van, Archie is at a crossroads: how do they protect themselves without violence? Well lucky for him his girlfriend’s father has an idea. Hiram sits Archie down with some rum and has a guy talk, telling him to use fear tactics.

While Archie is on his crusade, we learn a little bit more about the killer and their intentions through a mysterious letter Alice Cooper receives. The murderer, calling himself “The Black Hood,” sends a letter explaining his targets were sinners in the town and that he expects to purge Riverdale. Just in case the letter isn’t proof enough, they also send Fred’s wallet and Ms. Grundy’s sunglasses. Alice, Sheriff Keller and the Mayor discuss what action they should take, but Alice has already decided to print the letter in the next day’s paper. And the panic the letter will bring is already affecting the town as Polly decides to flee, fearing for her life as an unwed mother to her cousin’s baby. Yeah that knocks off a couple of sins on the Black Hood’s list.

We also get to see the first real introduction to Jughead and his life on the other side as he gets used to Southside High. He meets his tour guide Toni Topaz, who also happens to be a Serpent. She tells Jughead to stick with the Serpents and that he will be okay, but Jughead just wants to write his book, do his work and stay under the radar. Well that’s a bit hard to do when you become the resident know it all in class and try to start up the school paper again. Of course this prompts the high school’s gang The Ghoulies to attack Jughead after class, causing him to rethink his stance on perhaps making a few new friends.

Veronica is steal having familial issues as she tries to allow Hiram back into her life. She introduces her friends to her dad, hoping that they all get along and Hiram even invites Archie over for dinner. While they have their guy talk about not hurting Veronica, Hermione warns V about getting to close to her father. HYPOCRITE. And yet even after that Veronica confronts Hiram about having more power and say in Lodge Industries. What is your game V?

And finally the best subplot of this episode, which revolves around Kevin Keller. He just so happened to be in the right place at the right time because he’s cruising Fox Forest for some nightly hookups. Betty disapproves and despite Cheryl telling her it’s natural for him to lust for some romance she decides to confront him. Well it turns out that Kevin is jealous of all the romantic encounters, love triangles and sex that his straight friends can have while he is stuck with a very limited pool of options and places he can comfortably do those things in their small town.

However, Betty’s concerns get to Kevin as he starts getting nervous about roaming the forest alone at night meeting strangers so he heads home and has a very touching moment with his father. He just wants Kevin to be safe and maybe Kevin wouldn’t feel the need to roam the forest if they had a talk about his sexuality. Sheriff Keller being open-minded for his son? I call that a win.

The episode ends with Archie and The Red Circle making a video threatening the Black Hood as Hiram sits back and smirks at his creation.

Questions

  • Is Toni Topaz going to become a new love interest for Jughead? What does that mean for Bughead?
  • Will Dark Betty return to protect her relationship with Jughead?
  • What is Veronica’s game plan with getting close to her father?
  • Is Hiram trying to get Archie killed to protect his daughter, or is he seeing if Dark Archie would fit well in the Lodge family?
  • Are Moose and Kevin going to become a thing again?
  • When will Archie understand that he is just a child and let the adults handle things?
  • Who will be the Black Hood’s next victim?

With the plot-lines of season one finally wrapped up, this season’s mystery is in full gear and finally the show has decided to slow its pace. Characters like Hiram, Jughead and Kevin Keller have outstanding arcs that help flesh out their individual stories for this season. However, others like Archie, Hermione and Veronica all seem to be making out-of-character decisions in order to help create tension and push the plot forward. Hopefully their intentions are revealed sooner rather than later to avoid their flip in personality coming off as overwriting.

Overall, this was a good episode. It helps in solidifying the Black Hood as a menacing antagonist for not only Archie, but the entire town of Riverdale, while also reintroducing and fleshing out some underappreciated, supporting characters.

Score: 7.5/10

What did you think of “The Watcher in the Woods”? Is the mystery becoming clearer? Let me know in the comments below!

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