TV Reviews

Riverdale Season 2 Episode 21: Judgement Night Review

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

Synopsis: An all-out war with the North and the Southside triggers; Veronica makes a devastating discovery; Betty comes face to face with the Black Hood. (IMDB)

Writer: Shepard Boucher

Director: Cherle Nowlan

Rating: TV-14

Running Time: 45 mins

Airs: Wednesdays at 8pm on The CW (United States)

“Judgement Night” starts off with Cheryl narrowly avoiding the axe of the Black Hood. She retreats to her bedroom where he breaks in The Shining style, but she’s able to jump out her window, grab her bow and shoot the Black Hood in the shoulder. The Serpents bring Fangs into the hospital and after berating the staff for their lack of urgency he is finally admitted. Jughead wants blood, but FP tries to keep him levelheaded.

Betty waits for her meeting with the Black Hood when she receives a call from Cheryl who tells her about her evening encounter and to be on the lookout for a very dangerous, injured and animalistic Black Hood. She decides to hunt him herself. Again, let’s divide the episode into storylines, first up what’s going on between the north and south sides.

Archie meets up with Moose and Kevin to try to find Reggie before things go from bad to worse. Sheriff Minetta comes to the hospital to wait until Fangs wakes up where he is greeted by a very angry Jughead and FP. Archie, Moose and Kevin prepare to defend Riverdale from the rioters outside when he receives a call from Veronica who delivered Fangs’ shooter to the police.

Sweet Pea and a group of Serpents storm through Riverdale High’s doors looking for blood. Archie tries to reason with them, but they won’t have it and as a fight is about to break out Principal Weatherbee comes in armed with a bat to diffuse the situation. Jughead arrives at the school where Archie informs him that the Serpents are headed to Mrs. Klump’s to trash it. As Jughead leaves Archie receives a call from Pop’s who has Reggie hiding out at the shop.

Archie sits down with Reggie and the boys at Pop’s when a bunch of car horns start blaring outside. He calls Jughead to see where he is, but it isn’t them there for blood. It’s the Ghoulies. They board up the door to Pop’s and with no backup they have to protect themselves. They use Hiram’s leftover liquor from the card game to throw molotovs at the Ghoulies until Sheriff Keller, Fred and FP arrive to save the day.

At the Andrews, Archie heads into the kitchen where he finds the back door ajar. He hears a noise and out pops the Black Hood who starts to attack him. The hood pulls a gun on Archie, but Fred is able to come down and hit him. That’s short-lived though when the assailant stands and fires at Fred then flees. Luckily he was wearing some kevlar, but that doesn’t stop Archie from running out the door to finish the job.

Meanwhile at the Wyrm, Sweet Pea is berating Jughead for his decisions, but all he is asking for is time. Jughead receives a call from Penny Peabody who wants to meet with him or she will start carving up Toni. Jughead arrives at the meeting to find Penny with the Ghoulies. They want to talk, but he wants to leave and brought back up of his own: Cheryl and her bow.  Penny and the Ghoulies want the Serpents out of town by that night or they will have a showdown the next day to decide their fate. Jughead brings the Ghoulies ultimatum to the Wyrm where Sweet Pea and Toni plea that they need to defend their home, but Jughead says this is Hiram’s problem.

FP arrives to bring the news that Fangs is dead and puts the debate to a vote. They unanimously vote to defend the trailer park. Jughead comes to his dad asking why they would go up against such a big foe, but he says it’s about the vote and he would rather go down fighting. Jughead looks at his Hiram board and realizes what is going on. He calls Hiram to discuss his use of the Ghoulies and Penny to get rid of the only piece of Riverdale he couldn’t buy up. Hiram initially seems dumbfounded by the accusations, but perks up when Jughead has a counteroffer. Now what’s going on with the Lodges.

The Lodges instruct Andre to pick up Veronica as they plan to make a statement about the shooting; Hiram knows he has all the cards. Reggie calls Hiram seeking help because he didn’t shoot Fangs, but the Serpents want blood. However, Hiram has no more use of Reggie and tells him he’s on his own. As Veronica heads home, she sees a staggering Mrs. Klump who reveals she may have been the one that shot Fangs.

Meanwhile, Hermione goes to the register to make her statement to Alice and Betty. She’s putting a bounty on the Black Hood. A cool one million dead or alive. Veronica and Hermione return home where she searches for her money that Hiram took from her. She locks herself in his study, breaks into his desk and finds a folder with photos of Hermione and Fred’s affair.

Veronica brings her father’s article about Fred to Hermione who sees the reason behind it. It would destroy his family values. Veronica tries to help her mom see that she is just her father’s chess piece and needs to think for herself. Pop’s tells Hiram about Fred’s courageous act at the shop which enrages him, but he has bigger fish to fry when Small Fry, Papa Poutine’s son, comes to the shop looking for Mr. Lodge. Small Fry arrives at the Lodge’s house where he is greeted by Andre.

Veronica and Hermione discuss the ramifications of releasing that article when Small Fry busts down the door seeking blood. They retreat to Hiram’s study where Hermione pulls out a gun and puts every round into Small Fry putting him down. Hiram returns home to find Andre dead at his desk. He rushes to the back where Veronica and Hermione are sitting at a table stunned. They tell him to go clean up the mess. Veronica confronts her dad about his Fred folder and states that she will never be his sacrificial lamb. Now, onto the Coopers!

Betty returns home to find blood in the sink. She impatiently waits for a call when it ends up being FP asking about Jughead. He also saw Hal come into the ER and he was bleeding badly. Betty arrives at the hospital looking for her father, but finds a dead doctor in his bed. She receives a call on the bedside phone from the Black Hood threatening Alice’s life if she doesn’t come home immediately. Betty rushes home and tries to bring Alice out of the house, but her father enters with some old home movies to watch.

The video shows Hal as a child talking to his mom about how his father was the original Conway killer and how it made him into the Black Hood. As it finishes, he demands Alice record him telling their story. Turns out the Cooper line was a name change by a Blossom who killed his own family and then killed the Conways who knew their secret. He kneels beside Betty and asks her to say who he is. He admits he did it all, except the debate. Alice decides to mock Hal for being a momma’s boy and calls FP a real man when Hal starts to choke her. Betty picks up a fire poker and hits her dad over the back freeing her mom.

The police arrive at the Cooper residence and take Hal away as Betty tells Archie her father is the Black Hood. He brings up that the Black Hood was just at his house which confuses Betty, but she receives a call from Jughead who ominously tells her he loves her and he will see her soon. Jughead arrives at a meeting with Penny and the Ghoulies. His deal was to let the Serpents go and sacrifice himself. The group encircle him and pummel him to the ground. FP realizes something is up and races to where Penny was, but it’s deserted. The episode ends as the group comes to the docks, FP emerges from the fog with Jughead’s beaten body and rage in his eyes.

Questions

  • Who will become mayor of Riverdale? It feels like Hermione may drop out against Hiram’s interests and let his plan implode on him.
  • Will Hiram make it out of this season?
  • Did Chic survive?
  • Will Penelope and Claudius strike back against Cheryl?
  • Will Keller be reinstated as Sheriff after the riots?
  • Who is the second Black Hood? Seems like Hiram could be using the chaos to set up a hit on Fred to ensure he wins the election.
  • Is Jughead dead? I wouldn’t have even thought of this question if not for the gravestone scene in next week’s teaser. If he is dead could this be how a certain teenage witch is introduced to bring him back? If that’s the case he would never be the same so hopefully he’s just badly beaten.

Overall, this was a phenomenal episode. This could have easily been the finale with the biggest cliffhanger to date as one of the core fours lives hangs in the balance. The tension that built for the entire season surrounding the northside-southside war, the mayoral race, the Black Hood and the Ghoulies all come together in a non-stop thrill ride packed full of shocking twists, touching moments and eye-opening epiphanies. With one episode remaining, Riverdale has allowed itself time to show the aftermath of some of their stories while keeping others to wrap up in what should be a jaw-dropping finale.

Score: 9.5/10

What did you think of “Judgement Night”? Let me know in the comments below!

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