‘Riverdale’ Recap: ‘Chapter Thirty-Four: Judgment Night’

In the Riverdale recap, the Black Hood is finally revealed while Riverdale is torn down amidst a riot after Fangs’ shooting pits the Southside Serpents against the world…

By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer

Burning down Riverdale in hopes of building up a better town was apparently the plan all along for both Hiram Lodge and Hal Cooper, although they each had far different motives for whey they were doing it.

Following last week’s episode that saw Betty take one more step towards solving the mystery behind the Black Hood’s identity while the town fell into chaos after Fangs Fogerty was erroneously shot for the death of Midge Clump, the penultimate episode of Riverdale season 2 answered several questions while leaving us with even more.

The identity of the Black Hood — at least one of them — was revealed this week along with all the many ways that Hiram has been pulling strings behind the scenes in an effort to put his family into power over this entire town.

That leaves Archie, Jughead, Betty and Veronica as the last wall of defense before the Riverdale as they know it is changed forever.

With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of Riverdale titled ‘Chapter Thirty-Four: Judgment Night’…

The Black Hood Revealed

As a direct follow up to last week’s episode, Cheryl Blossom answers the door to her house only to find the Black Hood there waiting for her with axe in hand. The Hood takes a swing and misses before chasing Cheryl to her room where he begins chopping through the door Jack Torrance style as she races to find an escape.

By the time the Black Hood busts through, Cheryl has made it out her window and had time to arm herself with her bow and arrow set. When the Black Hood finally makes it outside, she’s already aiming at him and telling him to run away now or he won’t be able to run away at all. When the Black Hood pauses, Cheryl blasts him through the shoulder with an arrow before he finally makes his escape.

It seems Cheryl didn’t kill him out of concern for Betty because now they are both convinced that the man under the hood is none other than Hal Cooper.

Cheryl warns her cousin that daddy dearest is wounded, which means he’s going to be acting on instinct now and that puts everybody — even the people he loves most in the world — into the line of fire. When Betty races home, she finds bloody bandages all over the kitchen counter, which only further incriminates her father.

Betty then receives a call from F.P. Jones informing her that her father was just brought into the hospital with some kind of wound so she races there to check on him. When she arrives, Betty finds the attending doctor dead and she then gets a phone call from the Black Hood instructing her to return home or her mother will have her throat slit in the next 10 minutes.

When Betty arrives, she finds her mother sat on the couch with her father calmly setting up an old projector where he plans to show his family some old home movies. As Betty gleams a bloody spot on Hal’s sweater right where Cheryl said she shot him in the shoulder, she’s now convinced that her father is the murderous masked man.

Hal then starts the old home movies and it looks like something out of the movie Frailty as a little boy named ‘Harold’ is given instructions by his mother about manipulating another child so that his father isn’t implicated in a murder. It turns out, Hal’s father was the original Riverdale Reaper and he wiped out the entire Conway family minus one child, Joseph, who was then manipulated to say that somebody else had committed the murders.

It all stems from the deepest of family secrets as Hal reveals that Grand-pappy Cooper wasn’t killed by Grand-pappy Blossom as he said last season — it was the other way around. Grand-pappy Cooper then changed the family’s name but the Conways found out about their true identity, so he had to wipe them off the map to protect his secret.

It seems Grand-pappy Cooper was quietly the Se7en killer in disguise as he was disgusted by all the sin being committed around him and so he unleashed his darkness by killing people who were doing bad things. Grand-pappy Cooper then passed down that murderous gene to his son Hal, who was inspired by his daughter’s speech at the end of season one and decided to carry on his father’s legacy as the Black Hood.

Hall shot Fred Andrews after branding him an adulterer. He killed Miss Grundy as a predator and went after Midge and Moose before finally killing Midge at the school musical. Hal does confess that he wasn’t the one responsible for the shooting at the mayoral debate, which raises even more questions about who was behind that hood. As far as Joseph Svenson (Conway), Hal manipulated him in adulthood just like he did as a child and that’s what led to him playing a part in this deadly game of cat and mouse.

Hal comes clean to his wife and daughter while being recorded so that his story will be told to the world after the authorities find them. It’s clear Hal has no plans of leaving this house alive much less letting Alice or Betty escape.

Alice decides to turn the tables by taunting her husband at how everything he’s done in life has been screwed up and half-assed — he can’t even become a serial killer the right way because half of his victims have escaped! She then drops the fact that F.P. Jones is twice the man that Hal is in the bedroom, which forces him to lash out and being strangling his wife. Betty takes this opportunity to smack her father with a fireplace shovel, knocking him unconscious.

The cops arrive and haul Hal Cooper off to jail but he’s still not the only Black Hood out there as we find out later in the episode. Add to that, we know that Lochlyn Munro, who plays Hal Cooper, will be back for season three so his story is far from finished.

Agents of Chaos

As Fangs Fogerty is taken into the emergency room after being shot while leaving the Riverdale Police Department last week, Jughead is confident that the entire town is about to dissolve into pure chaos as the Southside Serpents are going to be looking for payback for whoever wielded the gun that night.

The No. 1 suspect is Reggie Mantle so the Serpents are out for blood but Archie happens to know he tackled the creep before he could take a shot so it had to be somebody else who is responsible for Fangs’ dire state.

Unfortunately even Jughead is unable to stop his crew from laying waste to the town after finding out that piece of information as the Serpents are determined to make Reggie pay for what he didn’t actually do to Fangs.

It turns out the real murderer was Mrs. Clump — Midge’s mother — who was wandering around the streets with a gun in her hand, still in a state of shock after shooting Fangs when Veronica finds her and turns her over to the police.

Meanwhile, Archie and the rest of his Bulldog buddies on are the hunt for Reggie as well to keep him safe when the run into the junior Serpent squad tearing through the high school. Just when it looks like West Side Story is about to break out, Principal Weatherbee shows up looking like he’s Tom Berrenger in The Substitute as he breaks up the groups before they have a chance to rumble.

Archie then gets a call from Pop Tate who informs him that Reggie has been hiding out at the Chock-Lit-Shoppe so the rest of the crew goes there to find him. Unfortunately while waiting for backup to arrive, Archie and his grew are beset by the return of the Ghoulies — the drug dealing gang that was ready to go to war with the Southside Serpents until Archie sprang a trap on them that got the whole crew arrested.

The Ghoulies are out for blood and Archie is able to hold them off courtesy of a Molotov cocktail but thankfully the super dad crew shows up — Fred, former Sheriff Keller and F.P. Jones — and they are able to scare off the gang. Kevin takes this opportunity to snap a photo of the dad brigade in action, which will only help Fred in his campaign to become mayor.

None of this is sitting very well with Hiram Lodge, who it turns out has been bank rolling the Ghoulies to tear apart the town as he plans on using them to get rid of the Southside Serpents while convincing the town that law and order must be restored, thus the building of his for-profit prison.

In the middle of all this, Penny Peabody returns as a Ghoulie this time around, kidnapping Toni Topaz while demanding the heads of the Southside Serpents. Jughead is able to wrangle her release with some backup from the Red Arrow aka Cheryl Blossom but that’s not the last we’ve seen of the Ghoulies in this episode.

Death in the Family

Back at the Pembrook, Veronica is about fed up with her father when she breaks into his study to look for the million dollars he took from her after finding out that her mother has offered a reward of that amount of money for anybody who can bring in the Black Hood, dead or alive.

Veronica doesn’t find her money but she does find a file titled ‘October surprise’, which is really a planned story that will come out just before the election that reveals Fred Andrews was an adulterer who seduced his wife Hermoine Lodge. To make matters worse, Hermoine was in on the plan because Hiram convinced her that the story wouldn’t hurt her as much as it would hurt family values Fred Andrews.

To make matters worse, Veronica and Hermoine are then targeted by Small Fry — the son of dead mobster Papa Poutine — who arrives in Riverdale looking for revenge. He kills the doorman and then promises to do the same to Veronica and Hermoine. Thankfully, Hermoine gets the gun in Hiram’s office and shoots Small Fry dead before he can carry out his vengeful deed.

When Hiram returns home, he receives an icy welcome as his daughter tells him there’s a body in the study that he has to clean up and she’s done playing his reindeer games.

Following a day filled with chaos, Archie and Fred return home only to find that one of their doors has been left open and a moment later the Black Hood jumps out to attack the younger Andrews. Archie gets the upper hand but the Black Hood (not Hal Cooper) pulls his gun and at the last minute Fred Andrews is able to jump in the way, taking the bullet for his son. Just when it looks like Fred really will die this time, he reveals that he was wearing a bulletproof vest courtesy of Mr. Keller, who gave him one before they tackled the Ghoulies at Pop’s shoppe.

Sadly, the other Black Hood gets away but at least Fred Andrews is safe and sound.

The same can’t be said for the Jones family after the Serpents begin arming up to fight the Ghoulies in a battle they almost assuredly can’t win. Jughead takes it upon himself to call Hiram Lodge after learning that he’s the one bankrolling the Ghoulies to offer them an alternative plan.

Jughead calls Betty and tells her how much he loves her before showing up at Penny’s hideout where he offers himself up as a sacrificial lamb. He will give his life in exchange for the Ghoulies not going after the rest of the Southside Serpents per his agreement with Hiram Lodge.

Well Penny has no desire to cater to that plan and she tells Jughead that all of this was for nothing as she’s still going to kill him and then wipe out the Southside Serpents in the morning. The Ghoulies jump Jughead and she then demands her ‘pound of flesh’ in exchange for the time a piece of her own skin was filleted off to remove her Serpent tattoo.

When F.P. finds out what Jughead was trying to do, he races to the hideout along with Archie and Betty, but when he emerges from the woods, we see him holding the broken, bloodied body of his son in his arms. It’s doubtful that Jughead is actually dead but it’s rather evident that he’ll never be the same again.

The Riverdale season two finale takes place next Wednesday night at 8pm ET on the CW!

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