Like the Backstreet Boys before him, the Black Hood is back. And he has a hook hand now! Welcome to Riverdale, the town with pep (and, at least two serial killers). This is the late-breaking “Prom Night” twist everyone could see coming, especially Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart), daughter of the Hood himself, Hal Cooper (Lochlyn Munro).
While the reemergence of the Hood following his supposedly fatal “bus crash” could be seen from a mile away, it’s unlikely anyone expected the serial killer would return during a junior prom directly lifted from your local Renaissance fair. And, yet, here we are. Riverdale. While Betty and boyfriend Jughead Jones’ (Cole Sprouse) investigation into a possible Hood-Gargoyle King connection anchors “Prom Night,” there are also some Archie Andrews (KJ Apa)-Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes) sparks, some Farm shenanigans, and a spooky vehicle Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) from True Detective would absolute love.
So, let’s get down to the most bonkers moments of the episode and try to unravel them. They’re in no particular order, because Riverdale excels in the chaos.
Adult woman Evelyn Evernever continues to attend Riverdale High School
Last week, Betty and Riverdale Child Protective Services figured out Evelyn Evernever (Zoé De Grand Maison), alleged “daughter” of Edgar Evernever (Chad Michael Murray), is actually his 26-year-old wife. She is an adult. Yet, Evelyn is still attending classes at Riverdale High and popping up in hallways to rain on Cheryl Blossom’s (Madelaine Petsch) prom queen parade.
Not only should some bureaucratic body fix this — but isn’t Evelyn tired of doing the same algebra homework for the 11th time in a row?
True Detective: Riverdale
In an effort to figure out the bizarre machinations of last week’s Jones kidnapping scheme, F.P. (Skeet Ulrich) tracks down an abandoned Southside High bus. This is around where Kurtz (Jonathan Whitesell) took Jughead. It’s filled to the brim with the runic signs that keep ending up on dead teen boys’ backs and the kind of devils traps True Detective made famous half a decade ago. Jughead couldn’t be happier.
He magically finds The Gospel of the Gargoyle King hiding in a carved-out bus cushion. Is this too easy?
It was all too easy, aka the Black Hood is back
Right now, it’s unclear if Jellybean Jones (Trinity Likins) is a pawn in the Gargoyle King’s plans or a willing servant. At the top of the episode, she is the one who mentions the Gospel to Jughead, which unleashes all of the chaos of “Prom Night.” When Juggie finds the Gospel minutes later, he assumes this is his secret weapon against the Gargoyle King. There’s a proclamation in the book that seems to describe junior prom, so Bughead hijacks the event for their Gargoyle King-eliminating plans. The pair plans to reenact the Gospel parable, forcing the King out of hiding.
In much the same way Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and Jon Snow’s (Kit Harington) battle plan crumbles, so does Bugheads’. In the midst of prom, Betty breaks protocol and sneaks off to the RHS bathroom at the behest of a letter from the Gargoyle King. She finds the restroom covered in the symbols and general horror we saw young Alice Cooper stumble upon in “The Midnight Club.” Betty refuses to drink from one of the poisoned cups provided by the Gargoyle King and finds the big bad lurking outside of the bathroom like a creep.
She goes to shoot him, but is tackled by the Black Hood, who should be her dad. The Hood then violently chases Betty around RHS. In one of Riverdale’s tightest horror sequences to date, Betty runs from the Black Hood while finding his fresh corpses stashed throughout her school. This is the Hood’s highest body count to date (remember, he was actually a terrible serial killer). Of course, the Hood escapes before anyone can find him. “It was a setup, Jug. The Gospel that we found … it was all to get me alone with my dad again,” Betty says.
The details peppered through “Prom Night” give us some clues about what’s going on. Considering Hal’s hand loss and the Hood’s hook-hand, we can safely assume they’re one in the same. Also, Hal/Hood must have an accomplice considering someone had to plant the Gospel, incite the bus crash, and start the Betty note-passing chain at prom. And that accomplice is likely a teen. Everyone would have noticed a giant 40-something-year-old man trying to slip an already weird note to a teenage girl on prom night.
Genuine comedy strikes Varchie
Riverdale is rarely purposefully funny. However, it inches closer to true comedy with “Prom Night,” when the titular evening comes up in the student lounge. Archie and Veronica, who are the closest they’ve been since their breakup, get physically awkward over the obvious fact that they should go to junior prom together. Uncomfortable, jazzy music plays over their shaky glances. Fantastic.
After all, Archie’s casual hookup just fled town. Veronica’s less-casual hookup is hanging out with Will Smith. What else are a pair of impossibly good-looking teen boxing entrepreneurs to do but hit the hottest event of the academic year together?
So, they do. While the exes swear this is a platonic endeavor — going so far as to loudly buy their prom tickets separately from an unimpressed Cheryl, who literally bet this reunion would happen — we get traditional Varchie vibes by the end of “Prom.” Veronica says “our mess” to Archie, making his heart soar as he thinks about “the old days.” She also enlists him in one last plan to bring down her dad (Mark Consuelos). Nothing is more classically Varchie than that.
Riverdale stalls dealing with its Fred tragedy
This is the first Riverdale episode produced after the death of Fred Andrews’ beloved portrayer, Luke Perry. The series doesn’t immediately tackle the upsetting loss. Instead, Archie’s mom Mary Andrews (Molly Ringwald) shows up in town Just Because while Fred is “out of town.” Despite the grief both Apa and Ringwald were likely dealing with, they power through “Prom” with a surprisingly thoughtful story.
Archie wants to box. Mary wants her young son to avoid dying in a violent sport. After nearly dying to make two independent fights happen on the same day, Archie explains why he’s so desperate to box. He was never the sharpest straw in the Pop’s milkshake, and the time waste of juvie makes him feel even farther behind than he originally did. Fighting seems to be the only thing that Archie could actually succeed in. After some full-throated honestly like that, Mary ends the episode giving Archie her blessing to fight and promising to stick around while Fred is “away.”
Chad Michael Murray confirms he is ripped
Edgar Evernever shirtlessly whispering, “Does that satisfy you, Betty?,” is going to hasten the last few sexual awakenings that weren’t stirred by Choni’s light BDSM romp in La Bonne Nuit earlier this year. No wonder Betty gives in and agrees to stay at the Farm as her killer dad runs around Riverdale with a hook for a hand.