Shot through the heart, and the town of Riverdale was to blame. Riverdale Season 2 Episode 20 gave fair and equal justice a bad name. (Three cheers to Bon Jovi puns!)
The Black Hood's reign over the town has pushed everyone over the edge. Tensions are at an all-time high, and unfortunately, someone crossed the line with violence. And surprisingly, it wasn't just the resident serial killer who did the damage.
The town of Riverdale has descended into madness! Where was this violent tension during the first half of Riverdale Season 2?
Sure, we got gun-toting Archie and The Red Circle as the cause of town chaos. But for the most part, the town didn't react as volatile over The Black Hood attacks as they did now until these last few episodes. All of the tension ramped up pretty quickly.
Fangs being scapegoated as The Black Hood, and then as Midge's murderer was shocking to witness.
The town didn't care if he was innocent or not; they wanted to hang anyone for the crime and serve their own justice. What's shocking was that they threw all reason and logic out the door to get blood. With a few simple points, Fangs was easily cleared of all charges.
But, the town didn't want to hear it. Someone shot him only for hooking up with Midge!
Fangs: It’s bad, Jones. It’s really bad.
Jughead: So, talk to me, Fangs.
Fangs: On the opening night of Carrie when you were backstage filming your documentary and found me in Midge’s dressing room, I wasn’t just carrying her notes.
Jughead: You were hooking up. And you didn’t tell Sheriff Keller? Jeez, Fangs, you know how guilty this makes you look?!
Fangs: I know! I know.
Jughead: Did you do it?
Fangs: Of course not!
Fangs was so close to being free and escaping Riverdale. Joaquin even came back to help him avoid any of the town drama. Unfortunately, it looks like that was never meant to be.
Say what you will about Sheriff Keller, but he never let the town fall into such disrepair or allow them to murder a teenager. (Yes, let's all remember that Fangs was a teenager and that the sheriff talked to him without a lawyer.)
When Hiram Lodge brought up Archie restarting a Circle vigilante group, the struggle to not groan was strong.
This plot was done, over and finished. We didn't need a vigilante group of mask-wearing, shirtless male teens (who are actually in their twenties) back roaming the streets. 'The Dark Circle' was a retread of the past, but with a violent twist.
If there was one benefit for creating this group, it had to be showcasing the puppet-master control Hiram had over the group and Reggie. Archie has been faulted for following Hiram's ways, but now he's become smarter in resisting Hiram's manipulation.
Reggie, on the other hand, got roped in easily.
Reggie: We were celebrating Fang’s arrest.
Archie: That’s not something to celebrate, you idiot. He didn’t do it.
Kevin: Archie, he had a knife on him.
Archie: Okay, we’re not having this argument, you guys. The Circle is officially disbanded.
Reggie: That’s not your decision to make, dude. You’re not the one paying us, Hiram is.
Archie: Wait, Mr. Lodge is paying you?
Reggie: Yeah. He’s the one that suggested we go out and have a little fun. He said you might’ve started The Dark Circle, but it was mine now.
Hiram made a terrible error paying The Dark Circle to vandalize the Whyte Wyrm.
Whenever there's a money trail, it always leads back to the person with the cash. And with Reggie tackled with a gun in his pocket, and Fangs shot, the star quarterback isn't going to go to jail to protect Hiram. He's going to throw Mr. Lodge so far under the bus!
It could be one of the moves that begins pulling apart Hiram's kingdom. It's surprising that it didn't get called out during the town debate.
Speaking of the mayoral debate, there was no doubt that Hermione had the lead. A lot of people were picking up her pins and based on the reaction from the audience; she fed them the hate/energy they were clamoring for. Fangs and The Dark Circle were her aces in the hole.
Fred might have had a shot if The Black Hood had not started shooting into the crowd. However, Hermione had him against the ropes after the truth bomb against Archie.
Both Fred and Hermione have smoking guns against each other if they try throwing mud again. Hermione knew that Fred refused a threat by The Black Hood and it caused the shootout. Fred, on the other hand, could find out Hiram paid The Dark Circle to vandalize.
Though, when it came to the shooting, did anyone in the crowd die?
The Black Hood was clearly shooting into the crowd after Fred and Hermione were pulled down for safety. Unless the bullets were blank, people had to have been hit by the open fire from the serial killer.
Veronica deserves all the respect and kudos for taking control of her destiny. Hiram and Hermione had been using her as a commodity for far too long. This time, she finally had enough after their pointless and rude attitudes.
What was the purpose of them even setting up the meeting with the criminal sons? Hiram shut it down faster than Veronica could say, 'casino.'
Even when she did all the work and could make it above book, he wasn't interested. Her father doesn't care who he uses as long as it moves his power. In this case, he probably was bored and wanted to check out his options.
With the exception of Veronica joining the Andrews campaign, the purpose of the deal plot was filler in hindsight.
On the other hand, if the teasing of Small Fries' revenge leads to something in the future, this could be a foreshadowing of a fight to come. Elio couldn't have mentioned that tidbit without it meaning something.
Hermione looked riled up after being shot at during the debate. Before she composed herself and agreed to stay in the election, she seemed especially scared of Hiram and death.
Isn't she supposed to be the big crime boss in charge?
We saw the cliffhanger reveal during Riverdale Season 2 Episode 13. However, nothing had progressed in the time since then to push that plot. Any momentum that had been built amounted to nothing, except for ramping up the Southside prison deal.
Did the Hermione plot get dropped in favor of pushing the Hiram crime boss narrative?
Cheryl: Betty, it’s okay, it wasn’t Chic.
Betty: But it could’ve been. Chic is probably out there with a bullet in his forehead or...
Cheryl: Or he got away and he’s on a train back to Transylvania.
Betty: I delivered to The Black Hood, Cheryl. That makes me a murder. I’ve been trying to prove my dad’s a killer, when really all I had to do was look in the mirror. Oh God! He got what he wanted. We’re the same.
We've taken Betty and Cheryl's friendship a little for granted. The pair has come so far from their early days of being frenemies on Riverdale Season 1 Episode 1. They've reached a point where they're solving crimes together; that's a bit steep.
Even though they're very distant cousins and completely different, it's great that they treat each other like family and trusted allies. Regardless of the drama going on in their lives, they can always depend on each other.
Betty doesn't have Polly around as support and Cheryl ... doesn't necessarily have any family connections beyond Nana Rose.
So, it was great to see Cheryl be there for Betty during the dead body reveal, and for Betty to confide the truth to Cheryl. Their relationship has reached a new level than where they've been before.
Hal Cooper is the perfect suspect for all mysteries on Riverdale. He was one of the top suspects during the Jason Blossom murder investigation on Riverdale Season 1. And now he went right back to the top for The Black Hood.
It might just be his personality. He's too nondescript, casual and shady at the same time.
Plus, when Betty's Nancy Drew intuition starts kicking in, you have to pay attention. All the signs were pointing to someone close by, and she needed to know the truth. Signing up for work at The Register again was the perfect opportunity to get close to her father and see his schedule.
While he was being teased as The Black Hood, there were too many coincidences that lined up easily.
For instance, the fact that his entire schedule matched up to each of the murders and attacks. And we can't forget his continued disapproval of Chic before he even knew the truth. Hal had all the information but none of the explanations why.
When the Nancy Drew codebook was found, it all but sealed his fate. Still, the shootout at the town debate also ruled him out in a way.
Hal: Penny for your thoughts, Hun?
Betty: I was thinking he was a test.
Hal: Who was?
Betty: The imposter, Chic, everything that he did to us, brought to us, was kinda a test. But, we survived and we’re stronger for it.
Alice: Well, that remains to be seen.
Betty: No, Mom, we are. And we’ll survive whatever comes next.
Do you think Hal is involved somehow?
While we can never rule anyone out (hey, he could be an accomplice!), we know he wasn't the debate shooter. Betty was huddled with him in the crowd, and someone else was shooting. However, that didn't eliminate him entirely from suspicion.
His excuse for having the code book felt too much of a stretch to be a coincidence. And, Betty did tell him that Cheryl was helping her before she was supposed to meet him at city hall. He never showed up; though, The Black Hood showed up at Cheryl's door.
Coincidence? Possibly. (The pieces are all lining up for a potential red-herring.)
What did you think of "Chapter Thirty-Three: Shadow of a Doubt"? Will Cheryl survive her encounter with The Black Hood? Could Hermione join Veronica in turning against Hiram? Is Betty right about distrusting her father?
If you missed the latest episode of Riverdale, you can watch Riverdale online via TV Fanatic. Come back here and share your thoughts on the episode in the comments.
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.