The two worlds of Riverdale are finally coming together. It's no longer just Northside and Southside anymore...it's high school.
Riverdale High became a battlefield on Riverdale Season 2 Episode 10. Some of our favorite students were furious the Southside Serpents joined their class; some were downright violent. For me, I loved this twist!
One of the issues I had with the first half of Riverdale Season 2 was that the storylines and setting felt too disconnected from each other.
Whereas Riverdale Season 1 was focused solely in the town with our core group of characters, the last nine episodes had plots that were in two different worlds. There was The Black Hood drama in Northside and the Serpent gang drama in Southside.
Sure, there were times they connected, and Betty was the bridging point, but for the most part, it felt separate.
I love that Jughead, Toni, Sweetpea, and Fangs are moving to Riverdale High now.
These were some of the better new characters introduced from the school/gang plot. (It's no secret that Toni is one of my favorites.) Plus, we finally get Jughead back into the main setting!
His presence was missed, and the list of reasons to keep bringing the Northside kids to the other side of the tracks was started to run out. We've explored the many locations of the town; let's begin reining in the local political drama.
Reggie, Cheryl and the other Riverdale High students were being overly dramatic about the arrival of the Southside teens. Some of them may be delinquents, but they're still just teenagers. It's not like this small group of transfers were going to take over the school.
Veronica had the right idea to play the middle ground, even if it was for ulterior motives. Something this tedious and bureaucratic would be out of their hands; it's only in the power of city officials to make decisions. (Mayor McCoy was the one who closed the school...blame her, not the kids.)
Thank God Cheryl relented after chatting with Archie. A potential blackmail storyline could've been hit or miss depending on what she would've asked him to do. And after what happened to Jughead, it's better that we're not repeating this trope so soon.
Reggie, on the other hand, will no doubt have karma heading his way.
Jughead was a real brat. I mean, it's just a jacket. He would've taken it off at some point throughout the day anyway.
It was a classic case of showing power. Jughead didn't want to relent; the jacket and having the name of Southside Serpent around him gave him power to wield. The problem with positioning yourself as a rebel is that sometimes it can come across as looking like a jerk or brat, which happened here.
His friends were mature enough to follow the rules and not ruin a good thing. Jughead only made matters worse for them by acting like a child who didn't get his way. As an underdog we root for, Jughead didn't come off looking in the best light.
Also, isn't it against some school rule to force select kids to wear mandated daily uniforms? Principal Weatherbee had too much power here.
Principal Weatherbee: Don’t I make myself clear to you, Mr. Jones? Take off that jacket right now or you’re suspended.
Veronica: Please, Jughead, just take off... [Whisper]
Jughead: Then I guess I’m suspended.
[He walks out of the room]
From the way Hiram and Hermione teased their nefarious dealings on Riverdale Season 2 Episode 9, I had expected their plan to be more dastardly. Bribing the mayor and closing down a school for land is small potatoes for them. There has to be more to come.
Though, this storyline with Archie and the FBI agent could prove interesting in throwing a wrench into their plans.
It has already led to Nick St. Clair returning to get punished. (He's still despicable, and hopefully, this is the last we see of him!) But, just think of all the undercover possibilities that Archie could have to do for the deal. He's going to need to work for that immunity.
Downside: If Archie ever finds out that Veronica knows about her parents' plan, or that she told them about Nick, this could affect the deal with the FBI. Also, their relationship would no doubt come to an end.
Was anyone else shocked by Penelope's new job? I couldn't believe she went through with it.
Penelope had always looked down on anyone who had to work or do things to survive that were questionable. This time she was in the thick of things...and she was LOVING it. We could be seeing the start of Penelope 3.0 -- a carefree and adventurous person who likes a bit of danger.
Penelope: Good news, Cheryl. After last night I earned nearly enough for that tree and the ludicrous presents you bought for yourself.
Cheryl: Bravo. Never mind the last two weeks I’ve been living in a bordello with a... “woman of the night.”
Penelope: Oh, it’s not that different from when I was younger and I had my pick of gentlemen callers lining up every evening.
Cheryl: Good God! You almost sound proud.
Penelope: You wanted me to get a job, Cheryl, and I did. Providing comfort and companionship to the lonely men of Riverdale.
Still, it was a bad idea not to accept the settlement money.
Regardless of loving life and exploring her naughty side, bills still need to get paid. That settlement money could've solved a lot of problems for the family, and Cheryl was fine accepting the cash since helped them. In fact, that was a really mature thing of her to do.
Speaking of family drama, the Coopers were on a roller coaster.
First off, the Polly mystery has been solved! The question of her delivery date had been a Riverdale theory mulling around the online boards and Riverdale midseason report card for a while now. She already had them and had given them questionable names. (But that's a separate debate altogether. Let's check this off.)
Polly refusing to bring the kids home for a visit, in my opinion, was petty and mean.
Didn't this family already overcome their lies and deception? Polly ran away so she wasn't killed by The Black Hood; her parents' actions shouldn't still be playing a part in her attitude. And why she is keeping her kids away from Betty?! She loves her sister.
Betty may be right about Polly being in a cult. This doesn't make any sense.
The Chic/Charles introduction wasn't what I thought it would be.
We've known about the secret brother since Riverdale Season 1 Episode 13; this was a reveal that was being built up. However, the moment Alice and Betty met their son/brother felt too calm and almost expected. His attitude to their arrival ruined any surprise or spark.
Don't get me wrong, the emotional moment of Alice crying in the car was heartbreaking. It's the culmination of a plot that affected her character long before Riverdale Season 1 Episode 1, and it showed great character development.
Though, something was off when Betty and Alice entered Chic's room. It could've been in the dialogue or the way Hart Denton portrayed it, but it felt like he knew they would be coming...which is definitely not the case. An uneasy feeling nagged me for a while after they left the room.
Chic: You’re my sister?
Betty: Yeah. Yes.
Chic: You’re lucky she wanted to keep you.
Alice: Charles, I...
Chic: It’s Chic! But how would you know that? You know what, forget it. I have a client on the way.
[He turns around and walks away]
Alice: What kind of work do you do?
Chic: Are you for real?! “Fantasy fulfillment.” Now really, I have to go.
Is Chic evil or simply a red-herring?
We've played this back-and-forth game before, and it tends to be a red-herring. Chic could have a similar style to "Dark Betty" but we'll have to wait to find out.
I loved the visual style during the scene when he was watching Betty. Being surrounded in the darkness and the little slivers of light shining on his face made him out to be creepier than he already was.
It was the perfect choice to leave us on the edge of our seats wondering about him! And it had the right mix of horror/mystery movie vibe and a cliffhanger tease.
The Black Hood mystery will never end. I shouldn't be surprised that it came roaring back so soon; the momentum had to keep going.
If there is another killer around, hopefully it will be a more satisfying reveal. Mr. Svenson was not a worthwhile answer to the mystery. A conclusion needs to be rectified; there could be hope here.
Archie: There’s one more thing. If you’ve been following me around for a while, you must know about The Black Hood.
Agent Adams: I do. Nice job.
Archie: In your expert opinion, Agent Adams: Do you think we got the right guy? I haven’t told anyone about this, but I’m not so sure we did.
What did you think of "Chapter Twenty-Three: The Blackboard Jungle"? Would you have a problem with the Southside kids coming to your school? Was Jughead acting like a brat? Is Chic hiding something?
If you missed the latest episode of Riverdale, you can watch Riverdale online via TV Fanatic. Come back here and let us know what you think.
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.