Riverdale Season 2, Episode 19 Recap: "Prisoners"

Photo: Courtesy of The CW.
After last week’s musical episode, all of the jumps and screams of a classic Riverdale episode were back tonight in “Prison.” Aptly named, as Jughead (Cole Sprouse) voices over, sometimes we find ourselves trapped in prisons of our own making, and we know the core four have a propensity for making some pretty damning decisions.
The episode begins at Midge’s (Emilija Baranac) funeral, where it seems like the whole town, clad in black, has turned up. Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch), backed by the River Vixens, sings a haunting rendition of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from Carousel.
Cut to an interrogation sequence with Sheriff Keller (Martin Cummins). Jughead tells him about the creepy letters Ethel (Shannon Purser) wrote, in which she confesses to — but denies — mal-intent. Archie (KJ Apa) brings up his hunch that Mr. Svenson (Cameron McDonald) might not have actually been the Black Hood, but Sheriff Keller shuts him down.
At the funeral, Cheryl vows the Vixens will not rest until the murderer is punished. She threatens that Sheriff Keller's days as Sheriff are numbered.
Over at Pop’s, the core four consider who the killer could be. Jughead says it might be a copycat and wonders if it’s Chic (Hart Denton), but Betty (Lili Reinhart) shuts this theory down. Archie brings up Mr. Svenson again and recalls, for the umpteenth time, that he looked into the Black Hood's eyes, and it wasn’t Svenson.
Archie, already consumed with thoughts of the Black Hood, is walking home and thinks he sees a figure in black. He ultimately keeps walking, but as we watch Archie walk away, a black-hooded figure steps out from green bushes and watches Archie!
At home, Archie tells Fred (Luke Perry) he’s worried the Black Hood will come back to finish what he started. Fred won’t leave Archie, plus there is a Deputy posted outside the house.
At The Pembrooke, Hermione (Marisol Nichols) and Hiram (Mark Consuelos) begin to ask Veronica (Camila Mendes) for help to push the anti-Keller agenda, but she demands to be left out of their “nefarious schemes.”
Sheriff Keller had previously gone to the Cooper’s looking for Chic, but Hal (Lochlyn Munro) said they would bring Chic to the station the next day. Betty is worried Chic will spill the beans about the Shady Man murder cover up, but Alice (Mädchen Amick) says that she’ll coach him.
Betty tells Jughead they should reconsider Chic’s connection to the Black Hood. It seems like a long shot, but he did stay at the Sisters of Quiet Mercy (as did Mr. Svenson), so Jughead and Betty decide to pay The Sisters a visit.
Hermione visits Cheryl to applaud her strong remarks at Midge’s funeral. In true Cheryl fashion she says, “It came from the core of my bosom.” Hermione asks Cheryl to write an op-ed calling for Sheriff Keller's resignation, and Cheryl agrees.
At the Sisters of Quiet Mercy, Betty and Jughead are digging for information on Betty’s brother Charles Smith — aka Chic — and Mr. Svenson, but the nun refuses to help until Betty threatens to expose the illegal conversion therapy set-up. In the files, Betty and Jughead find a picture of Charles Smith, and the picture doesn’t look like Chic, which confirms what Betty already knew: based on the DNA test, Chic is not her brother.
Archie begins poking around Mr. Svenson’s old house, where he is suddenly jumped by three men wearing all black and hoods!
Back at the Cooper residence, Betty and Jughead accuse Chic of being an imposter and show Alice the photo of the real Charles. Chic says Betty has been out to get him from the start, and things escalate quickly. Chic grabs a knife, slicing Alice, and begins swinging at Jughead. Before Chic can do Jughead any harm, Betty knocks her imposter brother out.
At the Lodges' apartment, Veronica gets a call that's a blast from the past: Nick St. Clair (Graham Phillips), who tells Veronica he is holding Archie for ransom. Hermione and Hiram tell Veronica that they’ll try to help Archie, but they won't pay the ransom, nor can they go to the cops because Nick will expose “the family” and their underworld dealings.
After Veronica leaves the room, Hiram tells Hermione he cannot pay for Archie because he’s not their son, and that paying ransom sets a bad precedent because then people will come for Veronica. It's a real Paul Getty situation.
Kevin (Casey Cott) confronts Cheryl about the smear article she wrote about his father, and Cheryl says she won’t retract it. Instead, she doubles down on her beliefs about the Sheriff. Later, we see Kevin talking to his Dad, who is clearly beginning to doubt himself when they are suddenly interrupted by a noise and run outside to see the police cruiser has been vandalized.
In the Cooper’s basement, Chic confesses to Alice, Betty, and Jughead that he knew the real Charles, and that Charles knew about the Coopers. He had actually tried to meet his family, but Alice turned him away at the door years ago. Then, according to Chic, Charles overdosed on jingle jangle that night.
Sobbing and stricken with guilt, Alice leaves the house with Betty in charge. Alice goes to FP’s (Skeet Ulrich) trailer and finally tells him that she had his baby. She is inconsolable, crying to FP about how she turned their son away and is responsible for his death.
While Archie is Nick’s captive, Nick explains the kidnapping is a plan to prove himself to his father and show he’s ready to be in the family business, which we now know from Hiram is organized crime.
Veronica gets into the family safe to get the money for Nick. There’s not enough, but she still calls Nick to arrange to meet. At Pop’s, Nick says Veronica can make up the difference in the ransom with the “night he is owed.” Yes, vile Nick is blackmailing Veronica into sleeping with him in order to save Archie.
At the Cooper house, Betty is in the kitchen when the world’s most frightening ringtone goes off: “Lollipop.” I got chills! The Black Hood is back. He tells Betty she's been making mistakes by letting a sinner, aka Chic, in her house. Somehow the Black Hood also knows about Chic killing the Shady Man and the cover-up. Then, the Black Hood tells Betty that Chic has murdered before.
Jughead comes into the kitchen, but Betty doesn’t tell him about the call. Instead, she suggests that they go back to where she found Chic since she doesn’t believe Chic’s story about her brother.
In the abandoned warehouse where Nick St. Clair is keeping Archie, the kidnapper sets up a laptop in front of Archie so he can livestream Nick’s rendezvous with Veronica. Nick is fixated on “making his bones” — an organized crime phrase meaning to earn respect by killing someone. He plans to kill Archie.
At the motel where Betty first found Chic, #bughead asks people if they knew Charles or Chic. One woman says she knew them and called them "the nice one" and "the mean one." She said they used to fight all the time, and that one day she saw bloody sheets and pillows. The next day only "the mean one," Chic, was left.
At the house, Betty tells Chic she knows he killed her brother. Things escalate quickly, but Chic is conniving. He reminds them they won’t kill him, but they also won’t let him go because they’re worried he’ll tell the cops about the Shady Man cover up.
Betty gets another call from the Black Hood, who wants Betty to deliver Chic to him. FP comes barging in the door and drags Jughead, who's on the verge of beating up Chic, out of the house. FP says the whole thing reminds him too much of the Jason Blossom situation, and that the Coopers need to figure out what they’re going to do with Chic on their own. That didn’t seem to be a problem for him when he helped cover up The Shady Man situation, though.
Nick and Veronica are together in the Five Seasons, and we see a sick display of Nick trying to seduce her. Archie, watching via the livestream, is overcome with rage. He kicks over his chair and escapes capture, then runs to save Veronica. At the hotel, Archie kicks in the door to find Nick St. Clair on the floor. Veronica roofied him; his drug of choice. Veronica calls Mr. St. Clair asking for $1 million dollars in ransom money.
Back at Coopers', Alice brings Hal up to speed on the entire Chic situation, including how she helped to cover up Chic’s murder of the Shady Man. While her parents are discussing the matter, Betty goes to the basement and pulls out Ms. Grundy’s gun. She forces Chic out of the basement at gunpoint.
Betty has brought Chic to a graveyard for the Black Hood. While they wait, Chic finally admits to Betty that he lost control in a fight with Charles and killed him. The Black Hood appears in the graveyard, and Chic tries to run, but the Black Hood takes off after him. We see them running into the woods.
At the Kellers', the Sheriff tells Kevin he’ll have a fighting chance at keeping his job if Fred Andrews wins the mayoral race. If the Lodges win, however, he’s out of luck and out of a job. Keller says maybe if he resigns they’ll bring in someone from the outside who will actually close the case on the Black Hood. Maybe we can expect to see a hot new cop in town!
At The Pembrooke, Veronica is counting her cool million from Nick’s dad and confronts her parents for not calling the St. Clairs on Archie's behalf. Archie meets with Hiram in the study, but surprisingly not to call out Hiram for his own lack of loyalty. Instead, Archie says he knows he needs to make his bones with Hiram and plans to do so by finding and killing the Black Hood.
At home, Betty tells Alice she took Chic away for the bus station. Then, Betty looks around and asks where her father is. Alice says he left, and Betty looks scared. Are you implying what i think you are Riverdale? Could the next possible Black Hood Suspect really be Hal?
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