TV Reviews

Riverdale Season 2 Episode 9: Silent Night, Deadly Night Review

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

Synopsis: Veronica uncovers a major secret about her father; Betty and Archie’s vow to take down the Black Hood once and for all leads to a dangerous showdown. (IMDB)

Writers: Shepard Boucher

Director: Rob Seidenglanz

Rating: TV-14

Running Time: 45 mins

“Silent Night, Deadly Night” starts off with some good ole Christmas festivities as Fred and Archie are selling trees outside Pop’s. Archie notices Jughead at one of the booths and sits down to talk about their relationships. They didn’t say breakup, but it’s not looking good. Meanwhile Betty is having all sorts of night terrors as she dreams of Christmas morning and finds herself face-to-face (well mask) with a Santa-suited Black Hood.

At this point the episode follows a few storylines so let’s recap them all saving the best for last. At Blossom Manor, Cheryl’s mom explains how their funds have run dry, but that won’t stop Cheryl from living the lavish lifestyle she’s grown accustom to. Despite their financial woes, she buys a giant Christmas tree and tells her mom maybe it’s time to get a job. Not much happened here, more just filler to make sure these characters don’t just appear later.

Just like the Blossoms, the Andrews are also having financial troubles. Fred receives his medical bills from the hospital and its $86,000. All solved if this was a Canadian-set show. So needless to say the Andrews are a bit short for cash too. Veronica gives Archie an expensive watch that she bought pre-break-up, which causes Archie to open up about his family’s financial situation. She wants to help, she wants to hug him, but he doesn’t want that and he walks off.

At dinner with her family, Veronica asks her parents to help the Andrews with their financial struggles, but they see the situation as putting Veronica in a very awkward position. Veronica goes into her dad’s office to search for Christmas presents, but ends up finding her parents’ deed to Pop’s. With that knowledge she decides to use her mom’s credit card to pay for Fred’s medical bills. They confront her about the credit card fraud and she refutes with their lies about Pop’s. What else are they lying about? She should know because they keep writing her name on the documents. Hermione decides it’s finally time and the Lodges sit down to discuss their family business. All they tell us is that the business is legitimate. Veronica has one stipulation: the payment for the medical bills stick, and they agree.

Meanwhile tensions rise between FP and Jughead when his dad starts leading the Snakes again. Tall Boy brings some ominous bags to the trailer and FP tells Jug to leave. Jughead confronts Betty and exchanges gifts with her, saying he pushed her away to keep her safe from the Serpents. She disagrees, but there is no make-up and alas there is still teen angst. FP and the Serpents are off to do their delivery for Penny Peabody’s debt and Jughead wants to help, but FP doesn’t want his son getting deeper than he already is and pushes him away. What is with the Jones family and pushing?

While FP is off doing his delivery, Jack Walsh, FP’s parole officer, pays a visit to the trailer where Jughead gets to chat with him. FP returns to the trailer and Jughead is not amused by the parole officer visit. He again asks what’s in the bag and FP reveals it’s a bunch of gifts for their family. AW. FP sees himself stuck between a rock and a hard place with this debt to Penny forcing him to do bad deeds. Jughead rallies a bunch of Serpents and suggests they take out Penny so they take her to Greendale. She says she’s one of them, but Jughead says she may have been, but not any longer and then CUTS THE TATTOO OFF OF HER ARM. WHAT THE HELL JUGHEAD. Jughead tells his father that Penny won’t be an issue anymore and FP is enraged, but Jughead talks to his dad Serpent-to-Serpent and puts his foot down.

Now onto the big story: the Black Hood. It starts off with the most awkward Secret Santa ever. Veronica receives a couple’s massage from Josie who says maybe she can use it with Betty. Meanwhile Archie gives Betty an audiobook of Swiss Family Robinson and everyone reacts to the gleaming smiles between Archie and Betty. At that point Moose and Midge enter, but it’s too much for Archie and he has to leave. As Archie and Betty talk in the halls they notice that Mr. Svenson the janitor is missing and they worry learning about his past could have caused the Black Hood to kill him. They ask the school secretary and she reveals that Mr. Svenson usually gets depressed this time of year and calls in sick. Suspicious much? Archie and Betty arrive at Mr. Svenson’s house to check up on him, but no one is home. They see that the soup from the secretary is still on the porch. Things are not looking good.

Back at home, Betty finds a “Secret Santa” package and after excitedly opening it finds it’s a finger. A note reads “Enclosed is a finger that belongs to the sinner Joseph Conway.” So the Black Hood has the janitor and here’s the finger to prove it. Immediately after, the Black Hood calls and tells Betty that the only way to say Mr. Svenson is to reveal the crime that Joseph Conway committed after his family was murdered. If she solves the mystery he can go free. Archie and Betty go to The Sisters of Quiet Mercy to ask about Joseph Conway’s past. They seem to be cloudy in the memory, but after Betty threatens to out the convent’s odd practices, they reveal that Conway accidentally sentenced the wrong person to death. Turns out the group of vigilantes consisted of men and one woman with the most striking hair, white with a cherry red stripe. Betty knows that look: it’s Nana Rose Blossom. Because why else would she appear in this episode?

Betty and Archie’s next stop is at Blossom Manor where they confront Nana Rose about the Riverdale Reaper. She tells the stop of how the vigilantes buried the suspected Reaper alive and that Betty’s grandfather was one of the men. She realizes that the Black Hood has been tormenting her for something her ancestor did and she can’t handle it. “Right now I need you with me. Right now I need Betty Cooper.” She moves in, passionately kisses Archie and then says they have to hurry up. They rush to her home and find a photo of her grandfather with some friends standing around a burial plot and realize where the Black Hood plans to go. On their way Betty calls Sheriff Keller to tell him what they know.

Betty and Archie race to Pickens Park where a new grave sits with the phrase “Here lies Joseph Conway, sinner.” They manically dig until they hit something hard, but when they open it the coffin is empty. Betty becomes suspicious and immediately the Black Hood appears pointing a gun at our young detectives. He tells Archie to get into the coffin or else he will shoot Betty. After he gets in, the Black Hood forces Betty to re-bury it. As they hear sirens approaching, Betty uses the distraction to hit the Black Hood with the shovel. She pulls Archie from the grave and the two of them chase the Black Hood.

He gets to a bridge and plans to jump into the river, but Archie has him at gunpoint. After this entire season, is Archie going to do it? He pleads for the Black Hood to stop, but as he goes to jump a gunshot is heard. Archie stands stunned as it shows that Sheriff Keller took the shot. He pulls the hood off to reveal it was Mr. Svenson and he had cut his own finger off. SURE. At Pop’s, the gang discuss the who’s and why’s of the Black Hood mystery filling in Veronica and Jughead.

The episode ends with everyone celebrating their holidays. Cheryl comes downstairs to her mother making out with Santa on the coach, Archie drops off a gift for Veronica, Jughead gets a vintage typewriter from Betty, Betty gets a first edition novel of her favourite author from Jughead and Veronica opens her gift to find it’s a locket with her and Archie’s faces in it. FP suggests he go say thank you in person, but Jughead would prefer to just call or text.  Veronica arrives at Archie’s to thank him, and places a mistletoe above the porch so they have to kiss. She finds the courage to say the words that haunted her before which hopefully keeps one of these couples together. Unlikely.

As Betty burns her Black Hood evidence, she seems skeptical that it really is over. Because let’s face it, it’s not.

Questions

  • Is Mr. Svenson a red herring for the true Black Hood? My bet is on yes.
  • How will Penny Peabody retaliate?
  • How will Fred react to the Lodge’s generosity?
  • What’s the over/under on the Varchie and Bughead relationships?
  • Who is photographing Archie and Veronica?
  • Did Jughead actually cut off Penny’s tattoo? If so that’s an irreversible path for the character.
  • WHAT DOES THE KISS MEAN?!

The campy teen angst of Riverdale is in full force this week as the relationships continue to be in utter turmoil. Again the show decides to throw the what ifs of Archie and Betty at us, more as a tease if anything, but the biggest revelation is the change in Jughead’s character. It’s unclear if he truly did what was suggested to Penny Peabody, but if that’s the case he is going down a dark road and becoming a total bad-ass while doing it. As much as I enjoy this edgy Jughead, I miss the writer side and hopefully the gift changes that.

The underlying themes of financial struggle and legitimate business got a lot of screen time this week in hopefully creating some interesting storylines for the back half of the season. The reveal of the Black Hood was good, but a little unsatisfying. The character was introduced only a few episodes ago so to have this ongoing whodunnit mystery only to throw them at us right before the reveal seemed a bit odd. I think the real Black Hood coerced the janitor into doing his bidding and that a much bigger, jaw-dropping reveal will take place in 2018.

Overall, this was a great episode. The intensity continued to rise in these smaller, thrilling moments that helped in accenting the darker tone of this season. The interwoven history of Riverdale continues to be a strong point in the show as it helps in building the small town atmosphere. While the reveal was a tad underwhelming, I think this episode looks to be a red herring to throw us off of the bigger reveal later in the season.

Score: 8.5/10

What did you think of “Silent Night, Deadly Night”? Is that the mid-season finale you were hoping for? Let me know in the comments below!

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