It’s no secret that the second season of Riverdale has been much more of a slow burn than the first.
While the show has maintained its suburban Game of Thrones elements and has gotten a much darker makeover, those very same elements have seemed toothless and less impacting.
But with the latest episode, the slow burn has finally kicked up some sparks that may very well re-ignite Riverdale‘s cooling embers.
At the end of the last episode, Betty was awoken by a phone call from the Black Hood himself, an exchange that sets them on an even darker collision course. The Hood has been a major player in Betty’s character plot this season; he attacked at least three of her friends, sent her cryptic ciphers, claimed that his crimes were inspired by her speech and now he’s threatening to murder her sister Polly, unless she does what he says.
This phone call sets the two on a dark collision course that will undoubtedly affect the second season. The tasks that the killer sets her eat away at the relationships, especially with Jughead who is facing his own problems this episode as well.
Following their fight with the Riverdale Bulldogs, the younger members of the Serpents are plotting to strike back at the Northside via pipe bombs. Horrified at the madness plaguing the Serpents, Jughead attempts to maintain peace once again, but is reminded by Toni that only a Serpent can keep Serpents in line. This leads Jughead down a path that he promised his friends he wouldn’t go down, becoming a fully-inducted Serpent.
This character arc may have been seen coming a mile away, but it fleshes out the Southside Serpents as characters beyond the whole ‘menacing motorcycle gang’ label.
However, the greatest amount of tension this time around comes from Veronica’s side of the table, or more specifically, her family’s. After hitting some roadblocks with their SoDale project to ‘help’ Riverdale, the Lodges begin entertaining some potential investors, Veronica’s old ‘friend’ Nick Saint-Clair among them. Nick’s character may have brief appearances this episode, but his horrendous actions will be felt for more episodes to come and has set the scene for even more conflicts among other characters.
Nick Saint-Clair’s arrival in Riverdale creates new strains on the relationships between our main cast and secondary characters simultaneously, especially for Veronica who’s ‘past’ with him may very well decide the fate of her family’s legacy.
Mystery, mind games, tension and new players on the board; this episode has it all and has proven to be the best episode of season two so far.
Episode rating: 5/5 Serpents.