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We continue our recap of the Riverdale series with episodes 17 and 18 of the second season, “The Noose Tightens” and “A Night to Remember”. 

Join us for our weekly recap of the entire Riverdale series, starting with the first episode of Season 1. This will be a bi-weekly column (every Tuesday and Thursday), with two episodes reviewed each time, until we get caught up with the latest season. Catch up on everything you might have missed, including recaps for all of Season 1, using the links below — or just dive right into to our most recent recap below.

Season 1 Recaps:
Episode 1: The River’s Edge
Episodes 2 and 3: Touch of Evil and Body Double
Episodes 4 and 5: The Last Picture Show and Heart of Darkness
Episodes 6 and 7: Faster Pussycats! Kill! Kill! and In a Lonely Place
Episodes 8 and 9: The Outsiders and La Grande Illusion
Episodes 10 and 11: The Lost Weekend and To Riverdale and Back Again
Episodes 12 and 13: Anatomy of a Murder and The Sweet Hereafter

Season 2 Recaps:
Episodes 1 and 2: A Kiss Before Dying and Nighthawks
Episodes 3 and 4: The Watcher in the Woods and The Town That Dreaded Sundown
Episodes 5 and 6: When a Stranger Calls and Death Proof
Episodes 7 and 8: Tales From the Darkside and House of the Devil
Episodes 9 and 10: Silent Night, Deadly Night and The Blackboard Jungle
Episodes 11 and 12: The Wrestler and The Wicked and the Divine
Episodes 13 and 14: The Tell-Tale Heart and The Hills Have Eyes
Episodes 15 and 16: There Will Be Blood and Primary Colors


Episode 17: “The Noose Tightens” Synopsis

Betty and Jughead’s shoddy attempt at dumping the car of Chic’s victim is discovered when the dead man’s girlfriend and Chic’s landlord come to blackmail and threaten them all. Luckily, Jughead brings in the Serpents and chases them out. This finally breaks Alice who kicks Chic out of her house and life and brings Betty back into both after she’d fled to FP and Jughead’s trailer. It’s also implied that FP and Alice are having sex.

Archie devotes himself further to Hiram Lodge, despite having promised to support his father and mother while his father runs for mayor, by blowing up two rival gangsters’ car alongside Reggie and the Bulldogs — whose vote for Student Body President he won through combat — as the Dark Circle. His mother tells him that she doesn’t recognize him anymore. Veronica and the Lodges, however, are very pleased with his help — pleased enough to give him a new car.

Cheryl Blossom suffers under the grasp of the Sisters of Quiet Mercy until she’s saved by Veronica, Kevin, and Toni (but not Josie because Josie now knows what Cheryl did with the pig heart), who’d been searching for her after getting a tip from a frantic Nana Rose and no help from vindictive Penelope Blossom. Toni and her kiss and then escape the convent. Cheryl, restored to her former glory, decides to try out for the school’s musical: Carrie.

Observations 

I hated all of the scenes in the Sisters of Quiet Mercy, up until Cheryl’s escape. That was, frankly the best part of this entire episode. I hope Cheryl gets actually functional therapy and that Toni and her are happy.

— Not surprised that that subplot was thrown out in an episode. It’s just Riverdale tradition nowadays. Still, good on Nana Rose for rallying herself enough to help her granddaughter! Good to see someone in that family gives half-a-damn about Cheryl!

— So the Student Council race, as it stands is: Archie and Veronica, Betty and Jughead, and Reggie and Josie. I’m rooting for Reggie and Josie, but it’s gonna be either of the couples. I know this show too well to expect them to subvert that expectation.

— Speaking of Josie, I don’t blame her at all for not wanting to be involved with everything with Cheryl. It would have been very nice if she’d helped, yes, but considering how traumatic the pig’s heart must have been, I don’t blame her for wanting to stay away. While I’m happy that they brought that plot point back, I still wish it hadn’t happened in the first place.

— Oh, you mean to tell me that the car the literal teenagers tried to hide got discovered? Oh gosh, oh golly, isn’t that a shocker? Betty and Jughead have four brain cells between them sometimes, if that. It’s nice to see that Chic’s threat about the prints and DNA wasn’t actually a good threat, and even better to see that Chic is gone from the Coopers’ lives. I don’t care about Marcel and Darla.

— Of all the people in the world, FP shouldn’t be allowed to give parenting advice. But still, he does and it’s actually good: Alice should try and make things right with her daughter. You know how you don’t do that though? By having sex with your daughter’s boyfriend’s dad. Please don’t do that.

— Archie needs to be left alone for a while. He’s clearly not stable, he needs help, and he’s just doing his best at this point while being yanked around at all angles. That being said: he’s officially learned nothing from the Red Circle thing! Hell, he got the same exact people (minus Dilton, who  disappeared this season after that) to be in the Black Circle with him to blow up the car!

— Mary’s still delightful and I agree that Archie’s an entirely different person this season. Seriously, the writing on this show is violently inconsistent. Pick a characterization path and stick to it, please Riverdale.

— Do we need the Carrie the Musical subplot? We have fifty going already, I know we closed the one with Cheryl in conversion therapy during this episode but can we not make this show so impossibly bloated with subplots?

— Riverdale Parents Ranking: Fred, Mary, Alice, FP, Penelope.

Quotables

Top cursed lines from this episode:

Everything with the Sisters of Quiet Mercy. Seriously, I hate that subplot and I’m glad it’s over.


Episode 18: “A Night to Remember” Synopsis

Riverdale’s student body performs Carrie: The Musical, with Kevin at its helm. Alice Cooper joins the production so she can bond with her daughter again, breaking down into tears in her arms and eventually bonding with Hal again. For her part, Betty takes the role of Sue Snell and reconnects with both Veronica and Archie while Jughead tapes everything on his camcorder.

Cheryl, once bound to play Carrie, is barred from the role by her mother and replaced by Midge Klump — only after making amends with Josie and  being threatened by an anonymous Black Hood devotee (who is suspected to be Ethel Muggs due to her jealousy over Cheryl getting the role). Finally, she douses herself in faux blood and wields a candleabra as she threatens her mother: get out with Claudius and leave Thistlehouse to herself and Nana Rose.

Archie attempts to reconnect with his father, getting a junker for them to  work on so they can be a family again. Fred, despite learning about the new car Archie had gotten as a gift from the Lodges, is touched. The Lodges, producing the musical, use the playbills in an attempt to boost Hermione’s campaign.

It all comes to a head when, during opening night, the curtain rises to reveal Midge’s corpse surrounded by threats from the Black Hood. Jughead tapes all as the crowd flees in horror — and Chic smiles from the audience.

Observations

— Rest in peace, Midge. Your character was cardboard but you were still a person and you proved my point: the Black Hood is still alive.

— From your residential music critic who has seen Carrie: The Musical itself separate from Riverdale and also both versions of the movie: this wasn’t that bad. There could be a lot worse. Let’s just run through the performances real quick.

  • Madelaine Petsch was serviceable as Carrie, but very monotone. I always see Carrie as more emotional than Madelaine sings her as, more agonized belting and less deadpan.
  • KJ Apa still sounds like knock-off Sun Kil Moon with intense vocal fry, and I’m still unimpressed. But since Archie’s dreams of musical stardom are as dead in the water as Dwayne is, I guess it doesn’t really matter.
  • Jordan Calloway (Chuck Clayton) was pretty good for how little we really heard.
  • Camilla Mendes has two thumbs up from me. Not a perfect performance, but she packed some real punch as Chris.
  • Lilli Reinhart’s improved her singing since ‘Mad World’! Good for her! She was a decent enough Sue.
  • Ashleigh Murray is always an amazing singer, I expect no less from Josie. I still miss the Pussycats.

— Madchen Amick is a brilliantly spooky performer, wonderfully menacing, but I wish she’d been able to sing a little lower. It was a bit pitchy. Still, she didn’t do too bad!

— Emilija Baranac (Midge Klump) did a fine job before she died. Too high pitched for my taste, but decent enough.

— The ensemble did fine, although I wish we’d gotten more singing from Casey Cott (who has performed on Broadway before and is lovely) and Shannon Purser (who sings beautifully on ‘Sunflower’ for the Sierra Burgess is a Loser soundtrack).

— Jughead, while cast in the show as ‘The Beak’ , doesn’t sing. He just makes a makeshift documentary on the whole thing, including Midge’s death at the end.

— Fred’s taking time out of his busy schedule to help with the school musical and that’s lovely. Good for his campaign too. Alice had the same idea, and it’s nice that she’s making an attempt to reconnect with her daughter through musical theatre.

— I feel like that was a very fast forgiveness session for Josie, but it was nice to see her and Cheryl becoming friends again. Same with Betty and Veronica bonding again over ‘You Shine’. I doubt it’ll last long though. Roberto and the writers like to cut off positive female relationships really quickly in this show.

— As much as I hate Penelope, her intervention did save Cheryl’s life. I’m not sure she’d be happy to know that. Still, I loved watching Cheryl – soaked in blood and wielding candles – threatening her mother. That was a beautiful moment.

— Seriously, what the hell did they do with Ethel’s character this season. I get that she dislikes not having been cast as Carrie, but this is far, far too much for her character. If the milkshake was iffy, this is completely out of line. I sure hope she’s being honest about the vision board because if not she’d doomed.

— Riverdale Parents Ranking: Fred, Mary, Alice, The Lodges, Hal, Penelope.

Quotables

Top cursed lines from this episode:

“Okay, I know what you’re thinking but you’re wrong. Those were for my vision board.” – Ethel (I wanna see that board though.)

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