Riverdale focuses on three stories this week as Jughead and Archie travel to Greendale, Josie deals with a stalker, and Betty and Veronica investigate Keller.
On the previous episode of Riverdale, Archie got the Ghoulies arrested. Cheryl’s mom burnt the hush money from the St. Clair’s, and the family got into an “accident” which left Nick injured. Betty thought she outsmarted the Black Hood by giving the cops the Sugarman, Mr. Phillips. In the end, Mr. Phillips was murdered in police custody by the Black Hood.
“Tales from the Darkside” is a different beginning than previous episodes of Riverdale. A message scrolls across the screen, telling the audience they will see “three twisted tales” about Riverdale. What follows is the next chapter of the Black Hood story, and it begins with a letter posted on Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe door. The townspeople of Riverdale are given an ultimatum: if no one sins in the next 48 hours, no one will be killed.
Betty and Jughead talk in bed. She shares her frustration over the Sugarman’s death and the Black Hood’s actions. She is thinking about how the Hood was able to kill Mr. Phillips when Jughead’s phone rings. It is Penny Peabody and she asks to meet.
Jughead meets Penny at Pop’s and she tells him his dad was jumped by a couple of Ghoulies in jail and is injured. Penny cashes in her favor, asking Jughead to deliver a package of “pancake mix.” The joke is of course, that Riverdale is known for maple syrup but also for drugs. She will get FP out of jail if Jughead delivers the goods and tells him to get a truck.
Jughead, Archie and the package
This is the start of the first tale, that of Jughead and Archie. Jughead goes to Archie and asks him for his help. At night, they put the package in Fred’s truck. They talk about Jughead’s time with the Serpents and Archie shares his concern. On the way to Greendale, they get a flat tire. After some deliberating, Archie tries to call Kevin for help.
A truck sees them and stops. An older man (credited on IMDb as Farmer McGinty, though he never introduces himself) gets out and asks if they need help. He offers to give one of them and the crate a ride to Greendale and Jughead accepts, much to Archie’s dismay. They load the package into the truck bed and McGinty warns them not to look under his tarp. Creepy, but Jughead still gets in the man’s truck. As Jughead watches Archie in the side mirror, the creep factor intensifies as McGinty says he thought Archie was Jason Blossom at first.
Later Archie has a spare tire thanks to a car service. He sees a bloody deer walk across the road right in front of the signs pointing to Greendale or back to Riverdale.
In the truck, someone talks about the Black Hood on the radio and McGinty tells Jughead about the Riverdale Reaper. They stop at a gas station and Jughead fills up the truck while the man goes inside. Jughead sees blood under the tarp and lifts it to find a dead deer. McGinty tells Jughead to join him in the cafe by the gas station. He tells Jughead the story about the Riverdale Reaper, who slaughtered an entire family and no one knows what happened to the killer.
The bill comes and McGinty says Jughead will pay, but he gave the man his last eighteen dollars for giving him a ride. McGinty says he is taking Jughead’s crate and the waitress threatens to call the cops. Archie arrives to save the day and pays for the bill. The two get the crate and put it back in Fred’s truck. Jughead thanks Archie and they realize it is eight minutes til midnight. They meet an older woman in a wheelchair and a man with guns. The woman says Penny told her that Jughead is the new delivery boy and Serpents are taking over the drug trade from the Ghoulies.
The two get back to the truck and go to Pop’s. Jughead thanks Archie again and Archie says they have all done horrible things since the Black Hood appeared. Jughead talks about the Riverdale Reaper and wants to do research. He promises Archie he will try and get out of the gang-related mess.
Jughead visits his dad and sees he is completely fine. He visits Penny and she blackmails him with video of him and Archie taking the crate. Penny reveals FP owes her and she is making Jughead pay.
Josie the Pussycat
The second tale focuses on the main Pussycat, Josie. Practicing at school late in the night, Josie is interrupted by the school janitor, Mr. Svenson. He tells her he is leaving and she says she will leave by the side door like normal. Josie hears something when leaving and is scared.
Josie arrives at the hotel where she and her mother, Mayor Sierra McCoy are staying for safety reasons. She makes Josie promise to come home before dark.
The next day at Riverdale High, Josie talks to Cheryl about her stress levels and how she is worried she will lose her voice. Cheryl shared a recording with an acquaintance in the music business. Josie is feeling guilty about not telling the Pussycats. Josie opens her locker and sees a stuffed teddy bear with the word “I’ll be watching you” pinned to its front. Cheryl questions who the admirer is, mentioning other gifts.
Chuck Clayton appears and tries to ask Josie out. She says no, then questions if he is the one giving her gifts. He says he could be and she tells him she does not date harassers.
Josie tells Cheryl of the encounter during class. Cheryl reminds her of the recording session and Josie gets annoyed. Cheryl says this is her way of thanking Josie for saving her from Nick and she can ease up if Josie wants.
Later Melody and Valerie confront Josie about her recording session. They say they got notes in their lockers and question Josie about leaving the band. The two tell her she is alone now and leaves.
Josie hears something in the school again and runs into Chuck. She asks him for a ride home and he agrees, if they stop at Pop’s. She tells him it is not a date, and he claims he is working on himself by going to church. The two dance in the middle of Pop’s until her mother and the Sheriff arrive. McCoy is upset Josie is late and tells Chuck to stay away.
The adults take Josie back to the hotel and explain the Mayor has received death threats. Sierra says the latest one mentioned Josie. Keller asks Josie if she has gotten any threats but Josie lies.
The next day at Riverdale High, Josie tells Cheryl about the threats and Cheryl comforts her friend. Cheryl confronts her about going out with her possible stalker Chuck, and Mr. Svenson hears the conversation. There is another present in the music room, this time a picture of Josie that says “if I can’t have you no one can,” and an animal heart in a box.
The two go to the lounge and confront Chuck. Mr. Svenson is there and asks Josie if Chuck is stalking her; and after Cheryl whispers Chuck might be the person threatening her mom, Josie answers yes. Chuck vehemently denies it while Mr. Svenson drags him away.
At the hotel later that night, Keller tells Josie that Chuck will stay away. He also says he talked to him and looked through his stuff, but did not find evidence. McCoy says to keep looking.
In a dream, Josie is practicing late at school again when the Black Hood comes up behind her and slits her throat. Josie wakes in bed, too terrified to speak when her mother asks what is wrong. Meanwhile, Cheryl is at home, listening to music and working on a drawing of her and Josie together. The style is similar to the drawing Josie received from her stalker earlier.
Kevin’s dad has got it going on
The third tale focuses on Betty, Veronica and Kevin. The scene flashes back to the beginning of the episode where Betty and Jughead are in bed and she seems to realize something about the Sugarman’s murder.
Later at school, Veronica and Betty talk with Kevin, who is worried about his father. He says the Sheriff is neglecting his health, not really eating or sleeping and leaving the house in the middle of the night.
In The Blue & Gold office, Betty and Veronica share their theories on Sheriff Keller’s behavior. Veronica thinks he is having an affair, while Betty believes he might be the Black Hood. They both share their reasoning and Veronica says she will prove her theory is correct. Veronica suggests a sleepover at Kevin’s and he agrees.
Betty goes to talk to the Sheriff at the police station and ask questions about the murder. He says the overnight cop was asleep and he was out on patrol. Keller shows her photo evidence of forced entry and takes her to the cell. Keller is upset a murder happened in his station.
Meanwhile, Kevin and Veronica are talking when Betty calls. Betty asks Veronica to check for evidence that Keller is the Black Hood. Veronica tries his office and finds it locked so Betty suggests the basement. Veronica finds a shirtless Keller working out and hangs up the phone. He gets her a drink from the basement fridge and she compliments him and asks about work. She insinuates life must be difficult without his wife, who is stationed in Bahrain. Before she can ask him more Kevin comes in, with his milk that Veronica said she would get and asks what they are doing. Later, Veronica wakes to the door opening and sees Keller leaving.
The next day Veronica and Betty meet at Pops. She tells Betty that Keller left late and returned around 4 am. Betty is convinced Keller killed a jingle jangle addict whose death is mentioned in the morning newspaper. Veronica is unconvinced, saying the person was hit by a train and reminds Betty that this is their friend’s dad.
After Keller leaves his house, Betty takes the spare key and opens the door. She breaks into his office with a bobby pin and sees an intense crime board covering one wall. She searches his drawers and finds a black hood, then turns to find Sheriff Keller.
At the station, Betty sits with her father Hal, who apologizes to Keller for her behavior. Keller says the hood is the one he took from Archies locker. He hands over his log book to Betty, which proves his alibi for the Black Hood crimes. Keller says he will not tell his son about her actions, saying it would hurt him too much.
At home, Betty calls Veronica and says Keller is still hiding something and Veronica agrees to help. The two stakeout Keller and follow him when he leaves that night to a motel. Betty tails him at a distance and Veronica follows. They hide and see him knock on a door. Mayor McCoy, answers and the two kiss and go inside.
The girls go to Pop’s and share their surprise over what they witnessed. They see Jughead and Archie arrive. Together, they decide to not to Kevin. A few booths behind them, Cheryl is comforting Josie, encouraging her to drink tea. The phone at Pop’s rings and he announces to the restaurant that the call was from the Black Hood. Riverdale has failed and the Black Hood declared they are all sinners and judgment is coming.
What an interesting episode. I loved how this was presented and I hope they do more episodes where they focus on one story at a time and then tie them together. Josie gets little screen time so I was excited to see her in a starring role this episode. I hope Cheryl is not the stalker but the pictures did look similar enough. Cheryl having a crush on Josie or wanting to protect her from harassers and assaulters is understandable, but obviously, it is not okay for her to manipulate or stalk Josie. The fun, bouncy music that played during the Veronica and Betty mystery solving moments was great. The Archie and Jughead story was creepy and had some good friendship moments between them, but I did not enjoy it as much as the other two tales.
Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW. Check out the preview for the next episode below.