Riverdale returned tonight even without the looming threat of the Black Hood, there was a lot to unpack in the midseason premiere, and it's left us with more questions than answers.
Spoilers for tonight's midseason premiere of Riverdale, "Chapter Twenty-Three: The Blackboard Jungle", below.
Tonight's episode saw the town of Riverdale, specifically the kids, dealing with a pretty significant change. Southside High suddenly closed and many of its students transferred to the halls of Riverdale High. If that wasn't difficult enough, Betty (Lili Reinhart) tracked down her long-lost brother Chic (Hart Denton,) Jughead (Cole Sprouse) and the Serpents found themselves dealing with a less than welcoming reception by Riverdale High, Cheryl's (Madelaine Petsch) mom took up a shocking profession, and Archie (KJ Apa) found himself caught in the middle of the questionable dealings of the Lodges.
But with everything that did happen tonight on Riverdale, there are quite a few questions as well.
1) Why are the FBI involved now and not when the Black Hood was active?
During tonight's episode, Archie is approached by an FBI agent who claims to be investigating illegal activity on the part of Hiram Lodge. Because Archie is dating Hiram's daughter and his father also is working with Hiram on the SoDale development, the agent tells Archie that he's in a unique position to help bring Hiram down.
While it's clear that the Lodges are up to something shady, why is the FBI interested now and not, say, when a masked killer was terrorizing the town? The Black Hood is exactly the sort of case the FBI would likely get involved with, but while it sounds like the agency was already active in Riverdale during the Hood's reign of terror, the agency was unbothered. Instead of getting involved in an obvious and active crime, they were instead more focused on possible crimes. It just doesn't quite make sense. Why now? Why the Lodges over the Black Hood?
Of course, it's entirely possible that the agent getting Archie to help him might not be an FBI agent at all, which could explain the focus on the Lodges instead of a clear and present danger to Riverdale.
2) Why are we seeing more Hal Cooper now that the Black Hood is gone?
Tonight, Riverdale fans saw more of Hal Cooper (Lochlyn Munro) than they have yet this season when he gets upset that Betty's found her long lost brother so that Alice (Madchen Amick) can meet him. While it's nice that Betty's dad is back around even if he isn't exactly being a nice guy, why is it that we're finally seeing Hal Cooper now that the Black Hood is dead? Could it be that Hal really is the Black Hood, and now that someone else was killed under the mask instead he has a little bit of down time to spend with his family?
We've long speculated that Hal could be the Black Hood. He fits the physical description and is one of the very few people that has access to much of the information the killer would have needed to carry out his reign of terror, but now that the Black Hood is believed dead and suddenly Hal is around more, we can't help but think that is awfully suspicious.
3) Principal Weatherbee bans Serpent jackets, but is OK with their club?
Maybe this one can just be chalked up to how most of the adults in Riverdale aren't particularly observant. When the kids of Southside High are transferred to Riverdale High, Principal Weatherbee is adamant that there will be no Serpent activity in the school. He goes so far as to ban the wearing of Serpents jackets and demand that all tattoos be covered up. Yet, Jughead manages to get a "gaming club" approved called "Swords and Serpents" and the club's logo looks far too much like the Serpent tattoos many of the members have to not be obvious. So how does that even work? Or, perhaps, maybe Weatherbee needs to make it appear that he's taking a hard stance on the involvement of Serpents in his school, but secretly supports them? And we just have to wonder: does Fangs really look like a gamer sort?
4) What's up with Chic?
Tonight, Alice was reunited with her long-lost son, Chic, but that reunion didn't go particularly well. When Betty and Alice find Chic, he's living in a seedy motel, engaging "fantasy fulfillment" as his profession, and he's pretty mad at Alice for giving him up at birth. Things appear to improve a little bit when, after Betty intervenes when Chic is being attacked by another man, the Coopers patch him up and have him stay in their home. Alice tucks him in and Chic even wishes them a goodnight in the same manner a child might their parents -- even though he uses their first names and not "mom" and "dad."
Sounds heartwarming, but it doesn't quite end there. We then see Chic go into Betty's room where he watches her sleep in a kind of creepy matter. Jughead's narration speculating that Betty may have invited a new danger into her family doesn't help either. But what is going on with Chic? It's entirely possible that he could just be curious about his newfound sister, or he could also be suffering from some of the same darkness that Betty herself exhibits from time to time. That darkness is something that Reinhart told Glamour that Betty will be curious to see if she shares with her sibling.
"She's very curious to see if he has that darkness inside him as well," Reinhart said. "There might be some sister/brother bonding over mental health issues."
5) What are the Lodges up to?
OK, this is a question we have after nearly every episode of Riverdale, but the appearance of an FBI agent investigating Hiram as well as the Lodges planning to quietly buy the property Southside High sits on -- and give the mayor a nice donation to her reelection campaign in the process -- really has us wondering if there is more to the Lodges plans than just the upscale SoDale development. Whatever they're up to, they've got Veronica (Camilla Mendes) involved now, too and it seems to be something a little more significant than just wanting to circumvent an above-board process to acquire valuable real estate. Could Hiram be involved in another financial scheme or is he up to something far more sinister?
Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.0comments