By Prutha S. Patel (@PSPatel)
Not since the days of wandering down grocery store aisles as a kid have I read any Archie comics. So, as a bit of a disclaimer, The CW’s Riverdale is essentially all new storylines (and vibe) altogether for yours truly. With that, let’s move along to discuss Riverdale 2x05 “When a Stranger Calls.” When a Stranger Calls picks up right where 2x04 left off, Betty’s (Lili Reinhart) got a sort of inside line with the creepy as hell baddie of the season, the yet to be identified Black Hood.
It wouldn’t be Riverdale if everything was super up front or clear (and yes, that’s exactly what makes the show so fun) and The Black Hood has already shown himself to be a puppet master in his own way. Black Hood tells Betty he knows exactly where Polly (Tiera Skovbye) is and threatens to hurt her if Betty doesn’t do exactly what he says. At the top of the list is hurting Betty’s mom by publishing an old mugshot of Alice’s (Madchen Amick) from when she was in high school (“Alice Cooper’s Secret Serpent Past!” reads the headline), in an effort to taint her reliability moving forward. As the episode progresses, Black Hood then chooses to mess with Betty more by forcing her to drop Veronica as a friend and a bit later on, dump Jughead (Cole Sprouse). Us while watching these scenes: NOOOOOOOOOO!! Betty is so not ok with this and she asks Archie (KJ Apa) to do the breaking up for her. Ugh, such sadness. At this rate, can't help but think Betty’s going to be friendless precisely when she needs friends the most. Probably when she’s finally confronting Black Hood. Putting predictive powers to work, a confrontation that is surely one we’re all super nervous about.
On the other side of town, dealing with his own issues, Jug has decided to join the Southside Serpents. Archie coming over to tell him that Betty has asked him to stay away from her (aka Archie dumping Jug on Betty’s behalf) works out as a final nail as he decides to step up and go through with the Serpent initiation. After a few other trials that Jug passes, the Serpents eventually proceed to beat our pobrecito Juggy up. Later on him and Toni (Vanessa Morgan) kiss. Which can only mean one thing, right? Right? Can somebody say REBOUND? Well, that’s definitely the first thing that popped into my head at least.)
Meanwhile, Veronica (Camila Mendes) is playing, well, what is meant to be, the perfect angelic host as per Hiram’s (Mark Consuelos) request to family friend’s son, Nick St. Clair (Graham Phillips). Because you see, if things go right with Nick’s visit in town and when Mr. St. Clair visits them all at the Lodges’ open house, then Hiram stands a better shot at gaining some St. Clair investments for the Lodges’ (shady) business deals. Veronica who has been wanting to gain some more recognition from Hiram attempts to do just that, but it doesn’t take all that long for Nick to show his own despicable side whilst in Riverdale. Dude has brought along some drug (called “Jingle Jangle” by the way) and he’s convincing V and friends to try it out at a party he throws in his penthouse (because of course). Long story short, at the open house, while Veronica is performing with The Pussycats, the girls notice Nick all over Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch). Realizing that he’s drugged her, the girls switch gears from performers to sleuths and quickly track him down…to his suite…with Cheryl. Preventing him from doing anything, the girls go all girl gang and beat him up.
Back to puppet master Black Hood stuff, Betty had previously been instructed (VERY CLEARLY) to not discuss the phone calls with anyone else and since he’s watching her, he knows that she talked to Archie. Gasp! Black Hood angry isn’t a good thing and he proceeds to tell Betty that he’ll make good on his previous threat to hurt Polly, unless, she tells him someone to kill. Easily the best scene of the episode, Betty states one name: Nick St. Clair.
Wow. So talk about a cliffhanger. This week’s performer of the week is Lili Reinhart. Betty’s final scenes this episode were so intense (and spooky). Sorry, the old Betty can’t come to the phone right now, because in her place we have takes-a-hit-out-on-people-Betty instead. Hey, Black Hood! Look what you made Betty do!
-- Felt tremendously bad for Betty during the whole episode, which was the point, so well done writers!
-- Betty was already feeling guilty about what happened with Veronica and Jug in this episode, interesting to think about whether she’ll feel as much guilt for Nick when taking into consideration what he got close to doing to Cheryl…
-- Speaking of Nick, wonder if the drug he brought along has something to do with any one of Hiram's business deals? Hmm.
-- Interested to see where things go for Jug and Toni…and when Betty finds out! (Side note: Vanessa Morgan is pulling double duty this season as she’s appearing on the second season of The Shannara Chronicles over on Spike too!)
-- The parents on Riverdale are fantastic. Alice’s bad ass entrance to the Lodge open house was something else. The “Shove it, Hal” actually had me laughing.
-- Black Hood pulling strings like this is going to end up Not Good. How far can he possibly take this? Consider this the start of a personal countdown to the day Betty figures out a way to retaliate!
Riverdale 2x05 “When a Stranger Calls”: Great
What a “killer” way to end an episode! Seeing how different events serve as the catalyst for other things for some of our favorite characters’ storylines made this episode of Riverdale increasingly intriguing. Each of them has a host of their own respective problems that they’re facing this season and The Black Hood isn’t helping things. At all. And Betty? Next time a stranger calls, maybe let it go to voicemail? Might save you some misery there.