'Riverdale' recap: 'Chapter Twenty-Three: The Blackboard Jungle'


Riverdale returns from break with Southside High closing and students coming to Riverdale High, and Betty finding her long-lost brother.

Previously, Mr. Svenson was revealed to be the Black Hood and was shot by the Sheriff. Jughead became more involved with the Serpents, and Veronica and Archie made up.

“The Blackboard Jungle” begins as usual with Jughead’s narration of previous events, saying with the Black Hood gone, Riverdale is back to normal.

Penelope announces she has enough money to cover Cheryl’s Christmas extravagance. Cheryl shares her displeasure at her mother’s new work, insinuating she is a sex worker. Penelope is happy with her new job providing “comfort” to Riverdale’s men.

At the Lodge’s, Veronica’s parents chat with her about their plan. Veronica says she will make sure the Riverdale High students are on board with said plan.

At the Andrews’, Fred confronts Archie about his paid medical bill. Archie realizes Veronica may have paid it and says he will ask. He takes his guitar with him to school, admitting he has been working on music during the break from her. As Archie walks to the school, someone takes pictures.

At Riverdale High, Veronica admits she and her parents paid the bill. Archie is appreciative and the two kiss. Principal Weatherbee announces Southside High is shutting down and some of the students are transferring to Riverdale High. While most students are upset, Veronica tries to encourage others to give the students a chance.

Jughead shares one of his stories with Toni, who compliments him and says it has a Lovecraft vibe. She also teases him about writing it on the typewriter Betty gave him for Christmas. The other Serpents arrive and tell the two that the school is closing. Sweet Pea says Toni and Jughead are joining him and Fangs Fogarty at Riverdale High.

Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW -- © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

The Lodge’s meet with Mayor McCoy and talk about the school. Hermione and Hiram will buy the school’s land and later will donate money to McCoy’s re-election fund as payment for her help.

Betty arrives home and finds Polly in her room packing. Polly gave birth to the twins, Juniper and Dagwood, and is not coming home. Betty says Polly is being cruel, but Polly leaves without seeing her parents.

A man in a suit address Archie, introducing himself as Agent Adams. Adams talks to him about Hiram and his business dealings. He asks Archie to find out if Hiram is behind Nick St. Clair’s injuries. When Archie asks if it is even okay legally for Adams to ask him these questions and for help without his dad’s input, Adams insinuates Fred is also a person of interest. He gives Archie his card and leaves.

At home, Fred tells Archie he gave the Lodge’s a percentage of his construction company to repay them for paying the bill. Archie is upset and says they cannot get in deeper with the Lodge’s.

At the Cooper’s, Alice vents to Betty about Southside High closing, saying there is more going on. Betty mentions Polly, but cannot bring herself to tell her mom that Polly does not want to come home.

At Pop’s, Jughead reads out the Mayor’s announcement to his dad stating Southside High is being closed because of “toxic fumes” from a meth lab. Jughead says something else is going on and that there was only jingle jangle in the school. Betty arrives and she asks him for help finding her brother who her mom put up for adoption. Jughead agrees to give her the name of his social worker after Betty says she thinks this will help make her mom happy.

Archie eats dinner with the Lodge’s and thanks them for helping his family. He mentions Southside High closing and asks if it will be bad for their business project and the about St. Clair’s. Hiram and Hermione try to evade the questions. Later that night, Archie picks up Adam’s card.

The next day at Riverdale High, Veronica welcomes the Southside High group with open arms. Cheryl and a group of students do not and a fight almost breaks out.

Cheryl tells Archie if he and Veronica continue to support the Southside students, she will tell Veronica about the kiss he shared with Betty. Archie asks her about Nick St. Clair and finds out that he tried to assault Veronica. Archie is angry and Cheryl apologizes, thinking he knew.

Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW -- © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Betty meets with Jughead’s social worker at Pop’s and she hands over her brother’s last known address. His name is Charles Smith and he grew up in the foster care system. Later Betty tells her parents about Polly having the twins and not wanting them to see the babies and Alice is devastated. Betty brings up Charles and Hal gets upset. That night, Alice tells Betty she wants to meet her son.

Back at school, Veronica, Josie, and Kevin introduce themselves to the Southside kids. Weatherbee interrupts the meeting to show them a graffitied snake on the floor, Reggie and some others watching with glee. He announces there will be no more gang-related materials allowed and tattoos must be covered.

Later at the Serpent bar, Jughead wines about the new rules but his friends disagree. Toni and Sweet Pea are excited about their new school and the amenities.

Archie meets with Adams in the garage and tells him about Nick attacking Veronica. Adams tells him to think of a way to visit Nick, after agreeing to protect Fred. Later, Archie goes to Cheryl’s and asks if she wants him to get a new check from Nick. She agrees and he asks to borrow one of Jason’s blazers.

The next day Jughead shows up at school in his Serpent jacket. Reggie attacks him and it turns into a fight in the students' lounge. Weatherbee gives them all detention and then suspends Jughead when he will not take off the jacket. After, Veronica talks to her parents about the transition and recommends they give clothes help make the Serpents fit in.

Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW -- © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Alice and Betty go to Charles’ place, a rundown motel with furnished rooms. Alice introduces herself and he replies he knows who they are and reveals he got their information when he turned 18. He is resentful and tells Betty she is lucky Alice wanted her, then tells them he goes by Chic. He tells them to leave because a client is coming. They leave and Betty comforts her crying mom in the car.

Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW -- © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

At the Serpent bar, FP confronts Jughead and tells him to lay low. He is always a Serpent, but he needs to go to school. When he returns to school he finds Toni and Sweet Pea in polos. They say Weatherbee gave them the clothes and Fangs would not wear them and was suspended.

Dressed in Jason’s blazer, Archie goes to see Nick and demands he writes Cheryl a new check, doubling the amount. He agrees and Archie presses him about the accident. Nick tells him Veronica will turn on him and Archie starts beating Nick up.

Veronica confronts Archie, reading a text she received from Nick. He tells her why he wanted to hurt Nick and that he went to help Cheryl. Cheryl arrives and shares her apology for telling Archie.

Betty returns to see Chic and finds him being attacked by a man. She pepper sprays the man and drags Chic away. Betty brings him home and her parents help fix his wounds.

During a date at Pop’s, Veronica asks Archie what he is hiding. He admits Cheryl was blackmailing him, though says that is part of why he went to see Nick. He tells her about the kiss with Betty after they broke up. Veronica is upset at first but says she believes him and they say their I love you’s and kiss.

Jughead gets the Serpents together and announces they are all in a school gaming club now called the Swords and Serpents. It allows them to be Serpents during school hours.

Cheryl talks to her mom, telling her she fixed their money troubles. Penelope takes the check but says she will not stop her new job.

In Archie’s bedroom, he and Veronica lay in bed and he asks if she told anyone else about Nick. She lies and says only Kevin. Later Archie tells Adams he wants Veronica protected too. Adams agrees and Archie says he wants it in writing. Archie also admits he thinks they may have gotten the wrong person in the Black Hood case.
Alice puts Chic to bed in Polly’s room. Later, Chic creeps into Betty’s room and watches her sleep.

Overall this was an okay Riverdale episode. I found Jughead to be a bit annoying in this episode, but I liked that he took his dad’s advice allowing the Serpents to find a way to be themselves. Chic is creepy and Betty has enough creepy men in her life lately. Adams is not an actual FBI agent. The only possible way I will believe he is would be if he is a disgraced one who got fired, but even then his story and actions do not check out. I am glad Archie too wonders if the Black Hood is really gone, the rest of the characters seem satisfied but it does not all add up.

Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8 pm on the CW. Check out the trailer for the next episode below.

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