On the latest episode of Riverdale, Betty works on decoding a message, while Archie faces his own demons and the Serpents.
On the last episode of Riverdale, Veronica and Archie dealt with her parents and he formed the Red Circle while Jughead worked on fitting in at Southside High, and Betty worried about Kevin.
“The Town That Dreaded Sundown” begins with Jughead going through books at the library, declaring Riverdale is the home of a serial killer. He talks to the librarian Ms. Paroo, who mentions being afraid of the video the Red Circle put out. Jughead shares how Riverdale is changing. People are afraid and the two sides of Riverdale are more distrustful of each other. Around town, Mayor McCoy puts up signs for a town meeting, Alice works on her stories for the paper, and Archie practices shooting.
Veronica’s parents question her about Archie’s video and say Veronica needs to stop dating Archie. Veronica tells them they cannot dictate who she dates. After Veronica leaves, Hiram is visibly happy Riverdale is tearing itself apart.
At the Cooper’s, Betty’s parents are upset with her for helping Polly leave. Betty says Polly is safe outside of Riverdale. In tears, Alice shares her fears that one of her children will be a victim of the Black Hood.
At the Andrews’ house, Fred watches the video on his phone. He tells Archie to take the video down. Archie confirms he has, but people are continuing to share the video.
Betty calls Jughead, but he abruptly ends the call when he sees the Serpents watching Archie’s video. Jughead tries to talk the Serpents out of attacking Archie by telling them to go after the Black Hood. Sweet Pea announces the Black Hood is a hero because he is only going after North Siders.
Archie walks through the halls of Riverdale High like he is some kind of celebrity with a weird rap-like song of his words in the video echoing in his thoughts. Veronica stops him and reports her parents want them to break up. She questions him about his plan and he says her dad is the one who gave him the idea. Their conversation is interrupted by Archie being called to Principal Weatherbee’s office.
Weatherbee discusses the video and kicks him off the football team. He says football is canceled until the Red Circle is disbanded. Archie has a week to apologize via letter to the student body or face suspension.
Betty stares at a letter. Kevin arrives and talks about their fight, saying he signed up for an online dating service and will not be going into the woods again. It takes Betty a moment to speak, then she says the Black Hood wrote her a letter. The Black Hood says she inspired them with her speech at the Jubilee. They enclose a cipher to discover the next crime location. Kevin tells her to give the letter to his dad, Sheriff Keller. Betty agrees to give the cipher, but not the letter. She thinks the letter might be a test from the Black Hood.
Betty brings the cipher and envelope to her mom, saying she is scared. Alice takes it to Keller, who says he will get someone to look at the cipher. Alice tells him she put it in the paper so all of Riverdale can try and figure out the code.
The football team meets and Reggie tries to persuade Archie to write the apology letter. Archie thinks doing so will embolden the Black Hood. He wants the group to go to South Side. Reggie says no and the football team follows, leaving Archie with Dilton Doiley. Dilton realizes Archie wants it to be a showdown between himself and the Black Hood and offers his help.
Veronica questions Hiram about manipulating Archie. Hiram claims he does not remember his chat with Archie. She goes to the Andrews’ house and offers Archie her support with the Red Circle. Later, Archie goes to an army supply store Dilton recommended and uses a fake I.D. and cash to buy supplies.
At Southside High, Toni talks to Jughead about serial killers when she finds him researching. She shows him the newspaper article about the cipher and asks if they can work on it together. At home, Betty works on the cipher and sees a text from Jughead apologizing for ignoring her call.
The next morning, Betty goes to the trailer to talk to Jughead. She says she wants them to crack the cipher together, and Jughead tells her about working with Toni. Betty suggests they all work together.
At Riverdale High, Veronica shows Archie her first way of pledging her support. She made Red Circle shirts for the student body and the Vixens hand them out to the students.
Later that night, Betty, Jughead, Kevin, and Toni look over the information they have gathered. Betty and Toni come to blows when Betty notes the Black Hood is coming for only North Side people despite the amount of crime on the South Side. Toni accuses her of hating the South Side and the believing the killer is a Serpent. Toni lets out the secret that Jughead sits with the Serpents at lunch, and then she and Kevin leave to give Betty and Jughead space. He says he sits with them for protection. Betty says okay then focuses on the cipher.
Meanwhile, Archie is in South Side, graffiti-ing a red circle on buildings. A group of Serpents approaches Archie and Sweet Pea threatens him with a knife. Archie pulls out a gun and the Serpents run.
In the morning, Betty wakes at Jughead’s and runs home. At Riverdale High, Weatherbee and Keller pull Archie from class. They say someone saw a redhead waving a gun in South Side and make Archie open his locker. They find Reggie’s black hood in his locker.
Archie talks to his dad at home and explains the hood. Keller and Weatherbee ban Archie from school property. Fred says he is afraid of the Black Hood, but he is more scared of his own son because he cannot tell what he is thinking. Fred leaves to go to the meeting at town hall.
Jughead brings some of Betty’s notebooks she left at his place. He confronts her about the Black Hood letter, demanding to know why she is keeping it secret. She is scared one person will blame her: Archie. Jughead jokingly calls her “Nancy Drew meets Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” which reminds her of something that may help break the code.
Hermione questions Veronica about her loyalty to Archie, saying not to blindly trust someone. Later, Archie calls Veronica and asks for her help. Veronica goes to the school and pulls a gun from a toilet back. She questions Archie and he admits he wants to kill the Black Hood. Veronica says that ends with him going to jail or being hurt, but Archie does not care. She counters back that she cares, his dad and his friends care. Their conversation is interrupted by Reggie, the team, and Dilton arriving with pizza.
Reggie is grateful Archie did not tell on him for the hood prank and says they want to continue the Red Circle. Veronica hears something and goes to the door to discover a few Serpents. The two groups threaten each other. Veronica demands rules for the fight that the boys insist on starting.
Betty and Jughead search the library for The Nancy Drew Secret Code Activity Book, which she checked out all the time as a kid. Betty works on the code and deciphers “I will strike next where it all began,” and they realize that means town hall.
At the town hall meeting, Mayor McCoy tells the townspeople of Riverdale she wants to help ease their fears. Keller announces a hotline to call with tips, but Alice interrupts and asks what they are going to do about the South Side. She believes Southside High should be closed and the money used to hire more police. Fred stands up after Alice tries to use his shooting as leverage in her argument, saying the problem is the Black Hood, not the South Side. Fred says they must stay together.
Betty and Jughead arrive and declare the cipher says the town hall is the next crime scene. The electric goes out and Betty pulls the fire alarm to make people leave. Later, Betty shows her parents, Keller and the Mayor the letter.
Meanwhile, the Red Circle and the Serpents are beating each other up in the rain. Despite agreeing on no weapons, one of the Serpents stabs Dilton in his leg. Veronica shoots the gun into the air and the Serpents run. Reggie takes Dilton to the hospital and they agree to say Serpents jumped him randomly.
Veronica helps Archie clean up and he thanks her for saving them all. Fred comes up the stairs and hears a bit of their conversation. Seeing Archie is in good hands, he leaves. Veronica tells him they need to stick together. She says he is not a killer when he questions what could have happened if he kept the gun. The two start making out, but Veronica says they there is something they need to do immediately. They go throw the gun into Sweetwater River.
The episode ends with Betty sitting in her room. Her phone rings and she answers. A disguised voice introduces themselves as the Black Hood.
My biggest complaint about this episode is there is not enough Cheryl. I understand why Archie would be so stubborn about going after the Black Hood if they had killed his father, but Fred recovered. Given the ending, I think Veronica’s actions and words will continue to help Archie. I am more interested in Betty’s story and want to see if she can discover the Black Hood’s identity first.
Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW. Check out the preview for the next episode below.