Riverdale’s ‘When A Stranger Calls’ episode was an intense roller coaster ride, so prepare yourself. However, be warned as while this episode deals with lots of drama and tears, it also deals with sexual assault.
Last week on Riverdale, we saw that the Black Hood had sent a message and cipher to Betty Cooper to find out where he would strike next. Betty worked with many of her friends to solve the puzzle, and to warn the town. At the end of the episode, Betty receives a phone call and that is where this week’s episode picks up.
While on the phone to Betty, the Black Hood reveals that he was at the town hall, but didn’t hurt anyone because it was all about Betty. He speaks of cleansing Riverdale of all the sinners, including Polly as he knows she’s at the farm. He warns Betty not to tell the police or Jughead about their conversation or he’ll kill Polly.
The following day, she gets Archie to walk her to school as he has now apologised to Principal Weatherbee and disbanded the Red Circle. She swears him to secrecy and Archie vows not to let her go through this alone. When the Hood calls again, Archie listens in and asks Betty to keep her mother out of the way in exchange for an answer to a question. To do that, Betty is given a mug shot of Alice Cooper from her days in the South Side. She is hesitant until Alice accuses her of forging the letter she received from the Black Hood and so she publishes it.
The Lodges invite the St. Clair family from New York to invest in their developments of the South Side. Nick St. Clair, a friend of Veronica’s, brings a whole lot of trouble, especially when he meets Archie for the first time and offers Veronica some cocaine and proceeds to call her sexy in front of Archie.
Over on the South Side, Jughead learns the Serpents are planning to bomb The Register. Toni reminds Jughead that his father was the one who helped maintain the peace, causing him to get an idea—to join the Serpents, but he has to survive the initiation first. He is woken by a group of snake mask wearing Serpents who bring him Hot Dog, so I guess joining the Serpents means we dog sit and study? Next is to memorise the Serpents laws and yell them in a bar, followed by something a little more intense where he retrieves a knife from a rattlesnake cage. The snake does bite Jughead, but thankfully his venom glands are removed. Joining the Serpents seems to be pretty easy so far, but there’s one last trial.
After publishing the mugshot, Betty receive a call from the Black Hood and she asks her first question: “The face under the hood, would I recognise it?” He responds with a yes and the says she must cut her friends from her life, starting with Veronica.
Betty then heads to Pop’s to meet with Jughead as the two haven’t seen each other in a while with both of them keeping secrets from each other. They both tear up and talk about how they wish they could run away from everything, but they know they can’t. That’s all they can say for now, and let me tell you, I was in tears as well.
That night, Nick St. Clair throws a party at his hotel room where everyone but Betty has some jingle jangle. This kicks off a wild night with Josie and Reggie making out, everyone dancing in a drugged haze, and Betty sees this as her opportunity to act. She calls Veronica “a privileged, shallow airhead party girl who only hangs out with them because of her circumstances”. Followed by Betty saying she’s using them and calling Veronica “a bad person” before leaving in tears. Veronica ends the night by slapping Nick when he tries to kiss her.
As for Betty, she receives another call from the Hood and asks what will make him stop, and he then asks her to cut Jughead from her life as “he’s not worthy of her love”.
Archie finds an emotionally distraught Betty at school the next day and she explains the Veronica situation and that Jughead is next. She is going through with it as he hasn’t killed anyone since they started talking and asks Archie if he will break up with Jughead and he reluctantly agrees.
Archie is greeted by the Serpents when he arrives at Jug’s and suddenly, Archie is more than happy to tell him that Betty doesn’t want to see him anymore. Jughead goes to face his final trial, which is to be physically beaten right after he’s just had his heart torn out. He passes and becomes a Serpent with Toni tending to his wounds, and the two kiss—he just broke up with Betty. This is so wrong.
The Lodges host their event with the majority of the Riverdale there, except Alice Cooper until she makes a grand entrance after her mug shot drama. Based on her outfit, she isn’t shying away from the attention and even wears a snake necklace.
At the party, Nick apologises to Veronica and reveals he’s been in and out of rehab, and when Josie and the Pussycats (plus Veronica) sing their song, he takes a roofied Cheryl away with him. Not long after he drops her onto the bed, Veronica and the Pussycats stop him and they ultimately beat the crap out of him.
Afterwards, everyone gathers with Cheryl where she says she will press charges. Meanwhile, Betty is led to an abandoned house where the Hood instructs her to put on the mask so she can see that “they’re the same”.
The episode ends with the Hood calling Betty saying he knows she told Archie about their calls and that he will go after Polly and everyone she loves—unless she gives him another name. She is shocked and hesitates before giving Nick St. Clair and he responds with, “I told you we were the same,” before hanging up.
Phew! I think we all need a nap after that episode and a bunch of tissues because it was intense. At this point, the Black Hood is basically being used to push Betty to her limits, bringing out Dark Betty, which is both scary and exciting. I like seeing Archie and Betty’s friendship return, but I am not pleased with the circumstances under which it returned. I don’t believe Bughead is over either as they need each other so much and I believe they will fight to be together again (at least I hope so).
What did you think of ‘When A Stranger Calls’? Do you like the darker tone? Sound off in the comments below!