‘Riverdale’ recap: ‘Chapter Sixteen: The Watcher in the Woods’

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On the latest episode of Riverdale, Archie forms a watch group, Betty worries about Kevin, and Jughead deals with life at Southside High.

On the last episode of Riverdale, Betty worked to save Pop’s, while Archie continued to focus on finding the gunman. At the end of the episode, someone shot at Moose and Midge.

“Watcher in the Woods” begins in the woods of Riverdale. Kevin is making out with a guy when they hear gunshots. The other guy runs away, but Kevin runs towards the sound. Midge runs towards him yelling for help.

The next morning, Veronica and Hermione argue about who is going to going to take Hiram his coffee. Hermione reminds Veronica she is not allowed in Hiram’s study, but Veronica says that is an old rule. Hiram comes out and Veronica asks if her friends can come over to watch the premiere of the show, The Matchelorette. Hiram agrees.

At morning practice Reggie tells the team their coach is with Moose and Midge in the hospital. Moose has multiple gunshot wounds because he shielded Midge from the bullets.

Inside Riverdale High, Kevin tells the rest of the group about finding Midge. He says he was jogging. Archie is worried about the shooting, though Betty thinks it is unrelated. Veronica invites them to her house to watch the premiere and to introduce them to Hiram. She wants openness in with her father, which means getting to know more about each other.

The team arrives to get Archie so they can go to the hospital. Jughead leaves to meet his peer mentor at Southside High, kissing Betty goodbye. Betty questions Kevin and he admits he was cruising for guys. He promises not to go back out until the shooter is caught. Cheryl walks by, smirking as she hears their conversation.

At the hospital, Archie tells Moose he saved Midge’s life. Archie confirms the shooter wore a black hood and has green eyes. Archie tells Fred about Moose and Midge and suggests buying a gun. Fred disagrees and tells him to trust the police.

Jughead arrives at Southside High and goes through the metal detectors. His mentor Toni Topaz is a Serpent, and shows him around. The school is filled with drugs and gangs. Jughead tells Toni he wants to stay a loner, but she warns him the Ghoulies (another gang) will attack him and suggests he hang out with the Serpents.

The group, minus Kevin, hangs out at the Lodge’s ready to watch The Matchelorette. Archie shares his frustration and fears with the group. Veronica is telling him about a time when her family hired private security when her parents interrupt. Hiram introduces himself to the group. Hiram says he heard their talk and mentions police cannot do everything. He invites Archie to dinner another night before he and Hermione leave.

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Photo: Bettina Strauss /The CW — © 2017 The CW Network. All Rights Reserved

Archie checks on his gun hiding in a box of comics. He then studies the cover of a superhero comic.

The next morning in the Lodge household, Hermione warns Veronica about Archie coming to dinner. She says not to rush changing the family dynamic. At the Cooper’s, Betty gives Alice a package left on the porch before going to school.

Archie talks to a group of male students and shares his concerns. He wants to create a group to watch over Riverdale High students, parents, and staff. They ask about violence or seeing the killer and Archie tells them they cannot be vigilantes, just a watch group. He names the group the Red Circle.

Over at Southside High, Jughead is the only student who answers Mr. Phillips, the English teacher during class. Jughead asks about reviving the school paper and Mr. Phillips says he will look at Jughead’s articles.

Betty asks Kevin why he did not show up to Veronica’s for tv night. He says what he does is not her business and leaves. Cheryl, who was listening in, tries to explain to Betty that Kevin still sees himself as the kid he was, not the attractive person he is today. The woods offer him a place to connect.

At Pop’s, Veronica officially invites Archie to dinner with her family. She says it is partly a test for her dad, to see if he can behave like a normal dad. She asks him not to talk about the Red Circle.

Betty arrives home to see her parents concerned faces. They received a letter from someone calling themselves the Black Hood. The person sent a letter to be published along with Fred’s wallet and Grundy’s glasses to prove their identity.

The Coopers take the letter to the mayor and Sheriff Keller. The Black Hood says they are targeting Riverdale as it is “a town of hypocrites, degenerates, criminals.” Fred is a target because of his affair with Hermione, Grundy because she was a child predator, and Midge and Moose because of drugs and sex. Mayor McCoy and Keller agree no one should see the letter yet because it will cause a panic. Alice says they have it ready for the next paper.

Meanwhile, Archie puts up posters for the Red Circle around Riverdale. Keller sees them and tells Archie he cannot form his own militia. Principal Weatherbee sees them talking and says the group is a good idea and a student club.

RELATED: ‘Riverdale’ recap: ‘Chapter Fifteen: Nighthawks’

At Southside High, Mr. Phillips gives tells Jughead he can do the school paper and the only conditions are he cannot write about drugs or gangs. Toni is helping Jughead clean up the newspaper room when a group of Serpents arrives. One of them, Sweet Pea, is angry with Jughead for ignoring the Serpents after he used them to help his father. Jughead says he is grateful, but he does not want to be a part of the Serpents. Toni leaves with the group, but says bye to Jughead.

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Photo: Bettina Strauss /The CW — © 2017 The CW Network. All Rights Reserved

Betty’s sister Polly tells her parents she wants to leave Riverdale. She does not feel safe because she thinks the Black Hood sees her as a sinner, given that she is pregnant with Jason’s children. Her parents argue, but she plans to stay at the farm where she and Jason were going to live.

At the hospital, Kevin tells Moose he has been going into the woods and lying to his dad. Moose understands, saying it can be difficult to find connection. Moose offers to listen if Kevin needs to talk.

Hermione warns Veronica against the dinner. Veronica asks if Hermione believes Hiram is evil. Hermione stays silent and Veronica reminds her Hiram is there because Hermione welcomed him back. Later Hiram approaches Hermione and says he heard the conversation. He warns her against harming his relationship with Veronica.

Betty visits Jughead at his school newspaper office. Jughead says he figured out the drugs are coming from the Ghoulies at Southside High. Betty worries about writing about the gangs. The two kiss, then Toni appears and Jughead introduces them to each other.

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Photo: Bettina Strauss /The CW — © 2017 The CW Network. All Rights Reserved

On the other side of Riverdale, Cheryl sees Kevin leaving Pop’s to go on a run. Cheryl and Betty find Kevin in the woods and Betty asks why he is there again. Kevin says he has few options and tells Betty she cannot understand. He says if she does not respect his choices, they are not friends.

Ethel Muggs walks home alone as a vehicle slowly follows. She calls Archie and he and Reggie head to her location. They find her just as a vehicle rushes past. Ethel tells them the vehicle circled her multiple times.

At Southside High, Jughead leaves for the night. The lights go out and the front door is locked, then he is attacked.

Betty cleans up Jughead’s wounds at the trailer. He says it was a motorcycle accident and she believe him, Toni does not. Betty mentions the Ghoulies, but Toni covers for Jughead and says the Serpents have his back because of his dad. When she leaves, Jughead asks her not to tell Betty. She agrees and he says he takes the Ghoulies as a serious threat now.

Before Archie goes to the dinner, Fred reminds him to be careful around Hiram. At the dinner, Hiram chats with Archie. He asks about Ethel’s encounter, then asks Archie if he has ever had rum and if he wants to try some. Veronica answers yes for him, and Archie goes with Hiram to his study. Hermione mocks her daughter and says she will never be allowed to go into the study. Hiram asks Archie if Fred approves of the Red Circle.. Hiram encourages Archie to fight the Black Hood with his group. He also tells Archie to never hurt Veronica, and to stay out of her room.

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Photo: Bettina Strauss /The CW — © 2017 The CW Network. All Rights Reserved

At the Cooper’s, Polly decides to go without saying goodbye to her parents. She hugs Betty goodbye and leaves. Betty tries to call Kevin, then goes to his house.

Kevin is in the woods again. He sees a man in a car and almost gets in, but he imagines doing so and being stabbed. Kevin declines his offer and runs. When he gets home, his dad is waiting. Keller tells his son Betty told him what he has been doing. Keller admits they do not talk enough and they need to try, then the two hug.

The next day Veronica tells Hiram she wants to be involved in the business. Hiram agrees while Hermione looks on.

At Southside High, Jughead sits with Toni and Sweet Pea at lunch, officially siding with the Serpents. At Riverdale High, Kevin ignores Betty when she tries to talk.

The episode ends with Archie and the Red Circle making a video. Archie stands in front of the group of mostly shirtless guys and sends a message to the Black Hood. He says there is only one Black Hood and the Red Circle will find them and make them pay. Hiram watches the video and smiles and nods.

Riverdale is so intense for a teen drama. I like getting to see more Kevin, though I feel like the woods is a bit of strange place for some of Riverdale’s LGBTQ community to have random hookups. While having a watchdog group to help protect their friends and family is a good idea in theory, in practice it has more than a few flaws, recruiting teenage boys one of the major ones. The video was pretty awkward. I wondered about Polly, so I am glad they let us know she is alright. Speaking of, I wonder what happened to Cheryl’s grandmother. Overall an okay episode, but definitely not my favorite from this season so far.

Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.

Check out the preview for the next episode of Riverdale below.

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