If you would like to read my review of last week’s episode, click here.
Synopsis: A charge led by Mayor McCoy threatens to further escalate tensions with the Southside; Betty is thrust into a burgeoning mystery surrounding the Sugarman. (IMDB)
Writers: Tessa Leigh Williams & Arabella Anderson
Director: Maggie Kiley
Running Time: 43 mins
“Death Proof” starts off Jughead writing about the masks people put on and how sometimes these masks slip and reveal our true nature. As he writes this, Toni comes out of the other room and asks if he’s hungry. Jughead, come on.
Betty, still on edge from giving the Black Hood his next victim, races to the hotel where Nick is surprisingly alive and well. Well maybe not the latter as he looks a bit beat up. Not enough if you ask me. Sheriff Keller arrives and asks Nick to come down to the station. Immediately after Betty receives a call from the Black Hood who explains he only kills Riverdale residents and that Betty gave him the greatest gift: revealing her true self. Betty hangs up the phone and receives a text from Archie to meet.
At the Lodge home, Penelope Blossom comes to pick up Cheryl, but explains to the Lodges that anything Nick did was probably because of Cheryl and that they won’t be pressing charges. Um excuse me? Cheryl hearing this pushes everything down and accepts her fate and tells Veronica to press charges herself if she wants justice. How can a mother treat her child like this? The Blossoms are something else I tell ya!
At Pop’s, Jughead and Toni talk over breakfast. She mentions their “PG-13” evening together and explains how Jughead isn’t over Betty yet and she doesn’t want to be his rebound. Oh and she forgot to mention she’s more into girls. Meanwhile, Betty opens up to Archie about all the calls from the Black Hood. She sees it as a psychological game and from now on she plans to not play. She wants to protect everyone, but she told Polly to disappear. And as they walk up to Pop’s they see Jughead and Toni sitting at their booth together. BETTY DON’T JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS.
Betty and Archie are called away to the Cooper house where everyone who was at Nick’s Jingle Jangle party is brought over along with their parents to get scolded for their drug use. They ask where the drugs came from and Reggie explains he has a dealer from Southside High. Sheriff Keller tells them that because everyone was high they don’t have credible witnesses for the accusations against Nick. The Mayor learns through this that Josie also took some JJ and brings up her own father’s addiction with it. This sends the Mayor on a witchhunt to gain control over the Southside starting with the school.
As Jughead is discussing his latest article for the Red and Black with Mr. Phillips, he’s called away by Archie. Apparently he can travel to Southside High faster without a driver’s license than the police department. Archie’s able to grab Jughead in the nick of time as they watch the Serpents get taken into custody. At Pop’s Jughead and Archie argue over what’s going on in the police state of Riverdale before Jughead is summoned by Tall Boy.
Back at Riverdale High, Betty gets another call from the Black Hood. He says he saved Betty from having Nick’s blood on her hands so now she owes him. He wants Betty to help her find the Sugar Man, Riverdale’s resident drug supplier. Apparently he has connection to the Blossom family and wants Betty to find out more. She arrives at Blossom manor where she asks Cheryl about the Sugar Man. Cheryl remembers it as a scary story her mom used to tell her, but when she confronts her mom about it she acts like it’s just a story.
Meanwhile that meeting Jughead was called to, yeah apparently Tall Boy sees the Serpents are collapsing and wants to merge with their rival gang the Ghoulies (who also happen to be the drug dealing gang most likely associated with the Sugar Man). Tall Boy explains the gangs need to work together to survive, but Jughead hates that plan and the Ghoulie leader Malachi so he and Archie head to the station to get FP’s advice on the situation. He suggests a street race where the winner gets sole control over Southside High. How could this possibly go wrong?
Betty finds Sheriff Keller at Pop’s and asks him about the Sugar Man who reveals that Clifford Blossom used to be the mysterious drug dealer, but now it could be anyone. After the Sheriff leaves, Betty runs into Veronica who confronts her about Betty’s crazy behaviour. AND FINALLY SHE OPENS UP! Betty explains the whole situation to Veronica and they are back together, now on the hunt for the Sugar Man. The next morning, the party-goers are serving their community service punishment where Veronica gets Reggie to reveal his dealer. She in turn meets with him and mentions the Sugar Man, which sends him running. Luckily for Veronica, Betty is close behind following him.
At the Ghoulie house, Jughead challenges Malachi to a street race. If the Serpents win, they get Southside High, but if the Ghoulies win they get the White Worm and Sunnyside Trailer Park. Unfair terms? Doesn’t matter! To prepare for the race, Betty works on Reggie’s car while she chats with Jughead for the first time. He isn’t amused. “You said you wouldn’t join them.” “You said you loved me.” DAMN. She apologizes and explains that it was to protect him, but it was the only thing that would actually hurt him. Bughead, why are you doing this?!
Meanwhile, Cheryl stumbles upon Nick at Pop’s who acts like he doesn’t remember her. She confronts him and threatens to press charges, but he informs her that Penelope took some money from the St Clair’s to keep them quiet. What a bitch. Cheryl finds the hush money in her mom’s room and is enraged that she won’t stand up for her own daughter. Cheryl takes the check until Penelope reveals who the Sugar Man is.
Cheryl calls Veronica about her parents still working with the St. Clairs and V has had enough. She tells her parents that Nick tried to force himself on her and instantly you can see the rage in Hiram’s eyes. Before he can say anything he regrets, Hermione steps in and says they won’t be taking any more of their money.
Now finally, the race. Betty tells Jughead she never stopped loving him and isn’t sure she ever can. Archie and Jughead jump into Reggie’s car and as Cheryl waves the flag the race is on. Right before a single-lane bridge Archie pulls the emergency brake and Jughead is pissed. Turns out Archie called the cops and they arrest the Ghoulies. While Archie sees that as solving their problems, Jughead knows it’s only temporary and the Ghoulies will want revenge.
Penelope decides it’s time to tell Cheryl about the Sugar Man. Apparently Jason met him briefly before his death and that it must have been connected in some way. She hands her mom the check, but she tosses it into the fire. One last question: Who is the Sugar Man right now?
Cheryl gives Betty a call and gives her a name, but Betty gives the name to the police rather than the Black Hood. The Black Hood calls her and asks for a name, but she says he can read it in the Blue and Gold. “You’re playing a risky game.” “Yeah, but it’s my game now.” Betty you got this. Cops enter Southside high to take away the Sugar Man who is revealed to be Mr. Phillips, Jughead’s English teacher. A bit of an easy guess, not many new characters introduced this season.
The episode ends with Hermione receiving a call that the St Clairs were in a car accident and Nick will take a long time to recover. Veronica looks up from her reading. “Oh well, Karma’s a bitch.” Hiram smugly looks at Hermione. “Checkmate.” So much going on here! Jughead and Betty sit on his couch, hopefully rekindling their romance, and The Sugar Man lays in his jail cell when the Black Hood shows up and points his gun towards him.
- Will Penelope Blossom start to treat her daughter better?
- Will Jughead continue to stray from his Northside friends?
- How will the Sugar Man’s arrest and potential death affect the town?
- Will the Serpents turn on Jughead for Archie’s actions?
- Is there only one Black Hood?
- Will Josie receive more of an arc? Between her mom revealing her father’s addiction problems and her flirting with Reggie it looks like she may become more prominent.
- Did Hiram and Hermione have a dispute over whether or not Veronica could handle the family business? Signs point to yes with Hiram having faith that his girl would fit nicely into their affairs.
Riverdale continues to prove it will push the boundaries, going darker and more mature than its freshman season. Its dealing with topical themes of PTSD and sexual assault, albeit brief, have proven powerful, creating some of the best and most emotional moments of this season.
Overall, this was a good episode. I continue to love the slower pace of this season as it can really focus on the development of complex and truly human characters. While this episode is lacking in terms of smart, dramatic writing for its male characters and their stories, the female-driven ones are definitely the backbone of not only this episode, but the season so far.
What did you think of “Death Proof”? Is the mystery becoming clearer? Let me know in the comments below!