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The iconic Pop’s is in danger this week on Riverdale. The townsfolk aren’t exactly lining up to eat at a place so recently frequented by a mystery shooter but Betty is determined to save it. Archie is reaching his breaking point for how long a teenage boy can go without sleep, ever vigilant in his mission to protect his father and their home. Jughead struggles with keeping his father from spending the rest of his life in jail and Veronica navigates her family drama now that her own father is home from prison. “Chapter Fifteen: Nighthawks” was written by Michael Grassi and directed by Allison Anders. Here’s what happened.
SAVING POP’S | After the shooting at Pop’s, most of the inhabitants of Riverdale aren’t clamoring to get their milkshake fix there anymore. If seeing Pop Tate (guest star Alvin Sanders) heartbroken wasn’t bad enough, he is now facing the very real possibility of having to sell the place. Because Jughead (Cole Sprouse) is busy trying to save his dad from jail and Archie (KJ Apa) is understandably not ready to go back there, Betty (Lili Reinhart) decides saving Pop’s is her new mission. She enlists Veronica (Camila Mendes) and Kevin (Casey Cott) to help and tries to recruit others from Mayor McCoy (Robin Givens) to Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) and the Vixens but to no avail. They decide to hold an event, Retro Night, as a way to drum up support and customers for the beloved haunt but before they really even get underway, Betty learns from Alice (Mädchen Amick) that Pop’s has already been bought by an anonymous buyer. That title rings a bell from their “Save the Drive-In” days and Veronica confronts her father but Hiram (Mark Consuelos) denies any involvement. It turns out the buyer is a liquor store but Betty convinces Pop to hold off long enough for them to have the event and prove they can save it. At first people aren’t coming in droves to their event but after Betty (falsely) advertises that Josie (Ashleigh Murray) and the Pussycats will be giving a free concert, the numbers grow. Josie shows up, short one Val and all of her patience, and confronts Betty about it. Betty begs her to help and Cheryl offers to take Val’s place for the night so Josie concedes and they perform a cover of Milkshake from atop Pop’s. At the end of the night between Betty’s persistence and a ‘charitable’ donation from the Lodges, it would appear Pop’s has been saved for the time being.
CLOSURE | As FP’s (Skeet Ulrich) sentencing hearing approaches, his public defender strongly suggests he take the deal on the table which would have him behind bars for twenty years compared to the forty he could face if he goes to trial and loses. Jughead goes to one of the Serpents, Tall Boy (guest star Scott McNeil), for help and is sent to a Snake Handler by the name of Penny Peabody (guest star Brit Morgan). A lawyer and a Serpent herself, Penny gives Jughead legal advice as a ‘favor’ to be repaid at a later date. She tells him that if the victim’s family gets up in front of a judge and forgives FP, it might sway the judge in FP’s favor even going as far as getting him time served. So he and Betty venture to the Blossom’s new, less charred, estate where they ask Cheryl and Mrs. Blossom (Nathalie Boltt) for their help. To say the Blossom women are unwilling would be an understatement so Betty and Jughead leave empty handed. Frustrated with feeling like she can’t save Pop’s or FP, Betty corners Cheryl at school and threatens to wide release the footage of Mr. Blossom shooting Jason unless Cheryl testifies on FP’s behalf. Oh and the Vixens have to help with Pop’s. To be clear, what Betty does here is ten different kinds of messed up, motivations aside. But Cheryl agrees as long as Betty promises to give her the file. In court Cheryl’s plea for leniency to the judge doesn’t seem to be doing the trick so after a pointed look from Betty, Cheryl lies and says that she overheard her father threaten FP with hurting Jughead unless he complied. That sways the judge enough to have him agree to revisit the charges and for now FP’s situation is a touch less dire. At Retro Night, Cheryl gets the flashdrive with the footage from Betty and Jughead and then takes it home to show it to her mother in an attempt to give them both the closure they need.
STAY AWAKE | Archie is trying to juggle school, taking care of his father, and single handedly protecting his house from the mystery shooter and it is taking its toll. He is currently surviving on energy drinks and pure fear while he tries to get any information on his dad’s case from Sheriff Keller (Martin Cummins). Veronica reaches out to him and suggests he try talking to the school counselor. Fresh off an inquiry from Midge (guest star Emilija Baranac) for some Jingle Jangle (I cannot believe Jingle Jangle came back and is going to be an actual serious plot line), Reggie (Charles Melton) spots a nervous Archie who is also in need of something to keep him awake and alert. To add to Archie’s growing stress and paranoia, Weatherbee (guest star Peter Bryant) informs the student body of Ms. Grundy’s murder. Archie goes home and tells his father that he thinks the two incidents are not only connected but connected through him. Fred (Luke Perry) isn’t on board with this theory so Archie enlists the help of Alice Cooper and her connections to find out the details of Grundy’s murder. She is surprisingly helpful (or maybe just curious herself) and learns that there was no forced entry and Grundy was strangled with her own cello bow, leading her, Fred, and the police to believe there is no connection between the two incidents. Archie is still not convinced and goes to Sheriff Keller with the theory that it is Grundy’s abusive ex-husband but he has an airtight alibi and had already been ruled out. Reggie, in his infinite wisdom and sensitivity, shows up at Archie’s to deliver his drugs wearing a hood and gets tackled and nearly beaten as a response. He chastises Archie for bringing a baseball bat to a gun fight and it would seem Archie takes his words to heart as soon he seeks out Dilton (guest star Major Curda) to buy a gun. At Retro Night, Alice spies Reggie selling the Jingle Jangle (doesn’t get old typing that) to Moose (guest star Cody Kearsley) and Midge which they then take to Lover’s Lane. They are interrupted with bullets through the window when the mystery shooter shows up and kills them both.
SECOND CHANCES | Hiram Lodge is officially back and Veronica is having none of it. Her loyal ally Smithers (guest star Tom McBeath) does his best to warn her when her father is coming but even he can’t prevent her father from showing up at school asking her to sit down and have a family dinner to talk. Since learning last season about all of the horrible things he is responsible for, Veronica refuses to go back to being his loyal daughter. When she accuses her father of buying Pop’s to buy her loyalty and he denies it, she tries to bring Hermione (Marisol Nichols) back on her side by showing her the letter she received from her father while he was still in jail. You may remember that letter as the one saying he wouldn’t want something bad to come out about Hermione should Veronica not testify. Hermione has a moment of shock and anger as she reads the letter but she quickly hides it and tells Veronica that she was the one who wrote the letter threatening herself, not Hiram. While they are getting ready for the event at Pop’s, Veronica turns to Jughead for advice as he too had a rough relationship with his father that he now seems to have moved passed. Jughead tells her that if there is a chance her dad is trying to be better that she should take it. She takes his words to heart and at Retro Night, extends an olive branch on the condition that they have total transparency between them. Hiram happily agrees and even tells her Lodge industries is going to make a donation to Pop’s to help keep it open. That warm feeling is short lived because as soon as Veronica is out of earshot Hiram tells Hermione that they actually own Pop’s now and they are allowing Pop to stay on as manager in exchange for his silence. He also thanks her for lying to Veronica about the letter and that Hermione’s “loyalty knows no bounds.” When they get home later that night, they are greeted not by hero to all, Smithers, but by a new doorman. Hiram explains that Smithers suddenly had to return home to take care of his sick mother and left without saying goodbye which makes Veronica’s spidey senses tingle but she keeps her mouth shut for now.
• I have so many questions about Jingle Jangle. Is it Adderall mixed with Viagra? Why does it come in Pixie Stix? Who named it Jingle Jangle?
• While not my favorite Pussycats performance, I have missed them so much and was delighted to have them back.
• The true tragedy of this episode is the loss of the one good and pure soul in all of Riverdale – Smithers. If I condemn Hiram Lodge for anything (and oh boy will I) it will be for this.
So what did you think? Is it really all connected to Archie? What is Hiram planning for Riverdale? Who is the mystery shooter’s next target? Let us know your thoughts and theories in the comments below!
Tune in to Riverdale Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW!