Silent Night, Deadly Night – Recap
Riverdale’s fall finale ended its Black Hood arc, leaving viewers with more questions than answers. A season with so much promise darted to extremes to make up for unsatisfying results and weak subplots. I’ll recap the episode and provide my two cents on the season thus far.
It’s Christmas time in Riverdale, and our fearsome foursome want to make the yuletide gay. But it’s hard to spread holiday cheer when a vengeful killer threatens lives daily. While Betty and Archie follow a solid lead, Jughead and Veronica deal with familial issues.
Veronica catches her parents in a lie concerning the purchase of Pop’s Diner. Confronting them for the truth, they finally divulge Hiram’s plans. However we in TV Land aren’t privy to this information, forcing us to wait until the rest of the season to learn the Lodge’s ulterior motives.
Meanwhile Jughead has had enough of FP being Penny’s errand boy. In a dark turn, Juggie leads a mutiny against Ms. Peabody, exiling her from the Serpents. To make sure she can never return, he removes her snake tattoo manually with a switchblade before chasing her out of town. All season long Jughead has leaned away from getting his hands dirty, and then in the last episode is committing assault. Interesting.
The penultimate showdown pitted Betty and Archie against the Black Hood. When they discover school janitor Mr. Svenson has missed days of work, the two assume they inadvertently made him the Black Hood’s target. Betty receives a finger in the mail; and, a visit to his home shows an empty house. Further investigation finally reveals the ultimate sin casting the town in this plight. An innocent man was murdered for the Conway family’s deaths.
With the truth out, Betty and Archie seek to rescue Svenson from the Hood. Figuring out he’s been buried alive – like the Conway murder suspect – their rescue is foiled when they come face to face with the Hood. A chase ensues where Archie holds the masked assailant at gunpoint. The rage inside Archie all season long bubbles to the surface as he goes to pull the trigger. BANG!
A gun goes off as the Hood fall, shot. But it isn’t Archie’s weapon. Sheriff Keller – who Betty was smart enough to call ahead of time – fires the shot. With the Black Hood dead, they finally reveal his identity. It turns out to be Mr. Svenson; he even severed his own finger to misdirect Betty’s sleuthing.
This episode delivered the narratives I felt went missing by episode four. We all forgot about Hiram’s undertakings, and Cheryl’s struggle with her mother became completely ignored. The Black Hood received most of the attention, but felt rushed and watered down. He only killed two people and Betty’s descent into darkness was tame.
Season two had haughty expectations to deliver a stellar sophomore season, but failed to master a balance season one did so effortlessly. Hopefully they refocus once Riverdale returns in 2018.