Riverdale Season 2, Episode 6: “Death Proof”

Photo: Courtesy of The CW.
This week’s episode of Riverdale has me spinning once again, from Betty trying to take back control from the Black Hood to an unholy alliance between the South Side’s resident gangs forced together by the divisiveness of the North vs. South I can’t help but feel that the victories of today will be overshadowed by the battle to come.
The episode opens with a jaw dropper! Jughead (Cole Sprouse) is typing furiously at his laptop as per usual when Toni Topaz comes strolling out of the bedroom asking if he wants breakfast. (My jaw is quite literally on the floor and my mind is racing at the implications!) If you remember when we last saw them, they were enjoying a first kiss.
Betty (Lili Reinhart) is busy on the other side of town running to the Five Seasons (still not over that name), undoubtedly feeling guilty for having named him to the Black Hood as a next victim, to save Nick St. Claire (Graham Phillips), attempted rapist, from the Black Hood. Shortly after Betty busts into the hotel room, Sheriff Keller (Martin Cummins) enters, police squad in tow to bring Nick down to the stations because there was a complaint filed against him (complaint might be putting it mildly Sheriff Keller). Betty, shocked at Nick being alive still, is later tormented by some more by the Black Hood. He tells her that by offering up Nick’s name “you let me see the real Betty and she was beautiful and that I’ve seen your true self the real work can begin.”
Over at the Lodge residence, Hiram (Mark Consuelos) and Hermione Lodge (Marisol Nichols) are discussing the matter of Cheryl’s (Madelaine Petsch) attack with her mother, Penelope Blossom (Nathalie Boltt). Surprisingly the Lodges are playing the part of true parents for a moment and have supported Cheryl and Veronica (Camila Mendes) calling Sheriff Keller to report the attempted rape but that is interrupted by Penelope’s desire to “handle this discreetly” and sweep the incident under the rug. So not ok for Mama Blossom to think she should take the lead in this situation, Cheryl was a victim and needs to process and handle the situation in the manner that is best for her - step down Mama Blossom! But upon overhearing her Mother’s opinion that Cheryl must have brought this on herself (was everyone watching yelling at the TV or just me?) Cheryl quickly shoos away Veronica’s pleas to continue to pursue justice as Cheryl is not the only one he’s tried this on, and Veronica says Nick tried to do the same to her the night before. But once Cheryl has something in her head that’s it and she walks out.
Can we all take a moment to remember back to the beginning of this season when Mama Blossom was healing from burn wounds on her face, what happened there? What kind of creams does she have cause she looks totally fine now.)
At Pop’s Jughead is with Toni (Vanessa Morgan) and she mentions she’ll find another place to crash because her Uncle keeps locking her out of their trailer.. Thank god for that clarification because #Tughead going from 0-100 that quick was was shattering my #bugheadforever dreams! Toni refers to their night together as a “PG-13 grope fest” and says it’s clear Jughead is not over Betty and that she’s no one’s rebound. Toni tells Jughead that she’s actually more into girls anyway, and so ends the #Tughead storyline? (Here’s hoping for a Cheryl Blossom and Toni Topaz rendezvous in the near future!)
There is a big meeting taking place at the Cooper’s including all of the kids, and their parents, who partied with Nick St. Claire in episode 5. All the parents are clearly disappointed their kids took Jingle Jangle, which Reggie (Charles Melton) supplied, but none more than Mayor McCoy as she stares down her daughter Josie (Ashleigh Murray) who looks sick with guilt. Mayor McCoy in a controlled mayoral way, freaks out on Josie for taking the JJ and says alludes to Josie’s father having struggled with addiction. Sounds like there is a very complex storyline for Josie to come in the not too distant future!
Mayor McCoy vows to take down the South Side and we cut to a raid of South Side High where all the Serpents, who are wrongfully accused of being the drug dealers, are being handcuffed, including Sweat Pea and Toni Topaz. Thankfully Archie was able to get to South Side before the raid and get Jughead out before he went down too.
The Black Hood calls Betty and sendz her on her next assignment: to find out the true identity of The Sugar Man, the person who has been making the drugs Riverdale. The Blackhood tips betty of to start with Cheryl since her father was the former supplier and when Betty asks Cheryl says the Sugar Man was simply a story her mother use to tell her to keep her from acting out, like the Sandman. Later, when Cheryl finds out her mother accepted hush money from the St. Claire’s to be rid of the ‘incident’ with Nick, Cheryl wants to know who the Sugar Man is and is furious with her and tearfully begs her mother to “for once in your life care about me more.” Awe Cheryl!
Across town Jughead finds Tall Boy (Scott McNeil) with Ghoulie leader, Malachi, plotting an alliance against the North Side. Malachi is most definitely cracked and enjoying this utter chaos in town saying “chaos is how we thrive.” Jughead is upset with Tall Boy, seeing as he was FP’s right hand man andfor years the goal was to kepp the peace, with the North Side and with the Ghoulies, but now, Tall Boy - maybe a little drunk off power now that FP is locked up and he’s acting leader of the Serpeants beleives that the two gangs need to pair up Malachi saying “Evolve or Die.” Malachi, really bringing it with the one liners. Also the way he’s saying “chaos” is oddly reminiscent of episode 4 when Hiram seemingly celebrates the “chaos” caused by Archie’s Red Circle video.
Over at Pop’s Betty ask Sheriff Keller who the Sugar Man is and he says that Clifford Blossom was the Sugar Man but that the JJ didn’t hit the streets until after Clifford died so now it could be anyone. Veronica and Betty have a friend-union at the diner and Betty tells Veronica everything about the Black Hood. Betty says she needs to find out who the Sugar Man is and then use the information to turn the tables on the Black Hood. And just like that, B & V back together again, off to solve this next mystery.
The return of FP! Where do you go when you don’t how to handle a problem with the Serpents? To jail to visit FP. Jughead and Archie fill FP in on everything that’s be going down in the Town that Dreaded Sundown since he’s been locked up and advice to avoid an alliance between the Serpents and drug dealing Ghoulies and and all out blood bath between the North and South sides. FP says the Ghoulies are fops (had to google that but essentially they’re concerned with their image and how they look - which might make sense as to why they’re in the drug dealing game - they need the cash to keep up with this season’s latest trends) So FP recommends Jughead challenges the Ghoulies to a Street Race, which is very illegal and not the best parental advice, to keep all sides from imploding.
Because all of the kids were at Nick’s on, doing, taking, not sure of the proper verb for JJ, except Betty - thanks for reminding us Alice (Mädchen Amick), Mayor McCoy has sentenced them to community service where we see Reggie attempting to flirt with Josie after the party at Nick’s where they got very close. But Josie’s not really having it, after the JJ has wears off things must look different in daylight of community service. We’ll see though cause I saw sparks last episode! Veronica asks Reggie for his JJ contact so she and Betty can try to find out who Sugar Man is. And we see Veronica very calmly handles a drug deal with a nameless Ghoulie in hopes of learning more about the Sugar Man but Betty and Veronica instead get dragged into the Ghoulies’ den of death where we find Jughead, Archie, and the rest of the Ghoulies and Serpents discussing the terms of the Street Race. Malachi: “the mighty serpent prince has some stones”... again with the one liners! Terms are set for the Street Race and now the Whyte Wyrm AND Sunnyside Trailer Park (Jughead’s home) are up for grabs.
Getting ready for the Street Race in a garage somewhere in Riverdale, Betty (go girl) is supeing up Reggie’s car for Jughead to race against the ghoulies. Betty tries to explain to Jughead that she dumped him to protect him, but doesn’t reveal the whole Black-Hood-is-obsessed-with-me- thing. Jughead: “You said you loved me, and then you dumped me... You did the one thing would actually hurt me” (my heart!) Interesting that Betty and Veronica can work together and V gets to know everything but not Betty and Jughead? What gives?
Archie and Veronica are having a cuddle sesh at the Andrew’s residence, clearly no Hiram insight. Veronica doesn’t want him to go to the Street Race but Archie says he has a plan to keep everyone alive (hmm?) News makes its way to Veronica, by way of Cheryl, that her parents are still accepting money from the Saint Clairs for the SoDale project and she tells them that Nick has tried to assault her before and Hiram is LIVID. Pretty sure I could see his vein popping out of his forehead! Great job Mark Consuelos!
We roll up to the Street Race and it’s a scene right out of Grease! Cheryl decides she’s going to officiate the race, looking phenomenal(!) telling Toni, who usually has the honors, “not this time Cha Cha” an obvious homage to Cha Cha Digregorio (the best dancer at St. Bernadette’s) from Grease. (How is Toni out of jail so quick? A few minutes ago she was in handcuffs.) Jughead and Archie are in their car ready to race (do drag races usually have 2 people in the car?) The race commences as Cheryl, looking every part the bombshell, send them off and it’s neck and neck until the upcoming bridge which archie says both cars won’t fit over at once and pulls up the emergency brake effectively ruining Jughead and the Serpent's chances of winning. But… Archie had a trick up his sleeve and just over the bridge was Sheriff Keller and the squad waiting and arrested the Ghoulies. Archie believes he’s saved the day but Jughead is terrified at the thought of what the Ghoulies will do once they’re out of jail.
Back at Thistle House, Penelope Blossom finally confesses to Cheryl that over the years there have been many Sugar Men, taking over for each other as the years passed. Clifford wanted to introduce Jason to the Sugar Man and groom him for the family business which undoubtedly led to the circumstances around Jason’s (Trevor Stines) death. Mama Blossom throws the St. Clair hush money in the fire and we’re sitting on the edge of our seats... Who is the sugar man right now?.... Cheryl calls Betty and tells her, now Betty is worried about telling the Black Hood because of what he’ll do. (By this point the suspense is killing me: WHO IS THE SUGAR MAN?)
The Black Hood calls Betty and the tables have officially turned! Betty is in control and tells the Black Hood she already gave the Sugar Man’s name to the police.. It was the Red & Black Advisor/Teacher from South Side High: Mr Phillips!! Now Betty tells the Black Hood “'s my game now.. a game that ends with me catching you.” Betty vows to find out who the black hood is… “I’m breathing down your neck, can you feel it, can you feel me?” The Black Hood drops the call - is he afraid of Betty now?
We do a quick check in with our favorite Riverdale residents where we see Archie and Fred (Luke Perry) reconnecting and Fred takes some kind of pill, assuming to help him with the pain he’s still suffering from a gunshot wound but this causes concern as it may be foreshadowing a drug problem for Fred in the future? (No, not the only real parent in Riverdale!)
The Lodges are resting by the fire, when are they not, when they are notified that the St. Clairs had a car accident and were run off the road, hurt but not dead…it’s clear this was no accident as Veronica croons “karma’s a bitch” and Hiram calls “check mate.”
Finally, we see Betty and Jughead back together on the couch in FP’s trailer (where they should be!) and think all is good and right with the world when we cut to the jail and see the Black Hood standing at Mr. Phillips jail cell with a gun and shoot the Sugar Man at point blank range! But knowing his aim with Moose and Midge in episode 3, maybe this isn’t the last we’ll see of The Sugar Man?
QUESTIONS and General Thoughts:
Kevin calls Betty “Benedict Betty” after the ways she’s been acting and I love his aliteration
In Riverdale, Amex = American Excess haha – is this a commentary on our society as a whole?
I love the way the bar Whyte Wyrm is spelled!
Can we ask to see more of Reggie’s mom? She was pissed he was involved with the JJ
Also - the close up look at the JJ packing process…was that a factory tour of where Pixie Stix are made?
Totally random thought – Why does it feel like it’s always football season on the show? In High School isn’t that a September to November sport?
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