Riverdale: “When A Stranger Calls” RECAP
Last night’s Riverdale borrowed its title from the 80s film When A Stranger Calls. I never saw the original; but, I did suffer through the 2000’s remake. Much like I painfully watched this season’s weakest episode thus far.
It wasn’t horrible, but the narrative took forever to settle. And many moments felt unrealistic. The strongest scenes focused on Betty’s Scream phone conversations with the Black Hood. Veronica’s arc tonight seemed very random with the introduction of a new character. And the show seemed totally frazzled with Jughead’s Serpent initiation.
I hope Betty has unlimited minutes because the Black Hood blew her phone up. His psychological game drives Betty to hurt the ones she loves, fearing he will see through with his fatal threats. His demands begin simple. First she has to publish her mother’s criminal past. Then she’s encouraged to cut off her friends – one sinner at a time.
Betty’s first target is Veronica, who spends this episode entertaining a rich, spoiled rapist. Veronica attempts to make Riverdale worthwhile, hoping that her guy pal, Nicky St. Clair’s rich parents invest in the Lodges undertaking. But after Veronica, Josie and the Pussycats foil Nicky’s plan to date rape Cheryl, I doubt she’ll want anything from the St. Claires.
As Betty struggles to stay afloat she confides in Archie. He can’t believe she hasn’t reached out to the authorities about the calls, but she reassures him she’s helping. She’s keeping the Hood distracted and not attacking anyone. And she hopes to keep it that way as she’s forced to remove Jughead.
Juggie as Toni calls him struggles to balance life as a Northside transplant in the Serpent environment. Sweet Pea’s patience with him playing both sides grows thin. When Jughead sees plans for a pipe bomb attack, (how a street fight escalated to an act of terror I’ll never know) he knows what he must do. He accepts the invitation and subsequent initiation process to become a Serpent. He sees this acceptance as a possible means to peace. His father kept the Serpents in check. Maybe he can do the same.
Ironically it’s the perfect scenario for Betty to excommunicate herself from Jughead’s life. Since she can’t bring herself to break up with him, she sends Archie instead. This not only drives a wedge between the two friends, but emboldens the North and Serpent rivalry.
By episode’s end, Betty is all cried out in an abandoned house, taking every bit of the Black Hood’s bait. He tells her they’re the same, making her wear a replica black ski mask. Angered she involved Archie on her escapades, she must offer up a sinner for the slaughter. Dark Betty utters a name: Nicky St. Clair.
While it definitely started weak, “When A Stranger Calls” ended strong. It sets up a pivotal turn for the series as Betty’s descent into darkness continues. She will be the axis for how everyone else will turn this season. And I have my suspicions on who the Black Hood is, but I’ll keep that on the DL for now.
In the meantime, be sure to check out all of the Riverdale recaps right here on FanBros.com!