The second season premiere of Riverdale was very focused and only really picked up one dangling thread from season 1: Fred’s shooting. Even with Archie’s Father’s life in balance, the season 2 premiere eased viewers back into the world of the creepiest small town in California. In the second episode of the season, entitled “Nighthawks,” Riverdale isn’t holding back any more. Everyone in the main quartet has something to do and it’s all crazy … in the best way possible. Riverdale season 2 might not be able to sustain the melodrama but it’s off to a roaring start.

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Betty’s Burger Battle

“Nighthawks” mainly focuses on Betty’s driven (nearly insane) desire to keep Pop’s open. Even though it is literally the site of an attempted murder, Pop is a bit of a weirdo and the place is almost always empty besides for Betty and her friends, Ms. Cooper is stopping at nothing to keep it open. This truly means nothing. Even when Archie brings up his completely understandable desire that he doesn’t want to go back to where his dad was nearly killed, Betty steamrolls him. Betty is unstoppable and it’s somewhere between endearing and horrifying. 

There are some extenuating circumstances to Betty’s Pop’s crusade. She also wants to keep it open for Jughead, whose father is facing nearly 20 years in prison. Betty wants to do one good thing for her boyfriend, allegedly. (It’s more likely that Betty has too much of her crazy mother in her.) This is because Betty isn’t satisfied just keeping Jug’s favorite restaurant open, she decides to meddle in F.P.’s case. Betty blackmails Cheryl into testifying in F.P.’s favor using footage of her brother’s murder as leverage. Never mind … Betty is definitely horrifying, not cute.    

It certainly doesn’t help Betty’s frightening case that her every effort in “Nighthawks” has horrifying consequences. Betty indulging Jughead’s worst impulses to save his dad, causes Jughead to owe a favor to a “snake charmer” and all-around clear garbage person, Penny Peabody. Cheryl lies on the stand … and receives video of Jason’s murder, god only knows what she’ll do with that footage. The Pussycats even perform a sanitized version of Kelis’ “Milkshake” that’s about actual milkshakes. Worst of all however, the restaurant is saved but only because Hiram Lodge is secretly buying it and he only found it was up for grabs from Betty. 

Hiram Lodge is the Devil 

In Betty’s defense, as far as that last point goes, she doesn’t know about it. This is because no one but Hiram and the (suddenly evil) Hermione knows that tidbit. For his first real Riverdale episode, it becomes clear that Hiram is very good at what he does, which is being a total monster. This is displayed mainly in his efforts to woo Veronica back into the family fold. 

Veronica is just as resistant as ever to trust her dad but Hiram has answers for every evil thing he has done. Hermione even covers for Hiram. Hermione tells Veronica that she sent the horrifying threatening letter from Hiram back in season 1 when Veronica needed to testify for the judge. 

Eventually, Veronica is convinced to give her father another shot by the sweet and well-meaning Jughead. With Archie’s dad almost dying and F.P. in prison, Jughead thinks Veronica needs to try. Although it is an effort that is doomed to fail. Hiram is evil incarnate (obviously) and Veronica reconciling with her father takes away one of her best qualities; an inexplicable ability to (reasonably) blame Hiram for every thing wrong in her life.  

Archie Begins His Downward Spiral 

Veronica’s boyfriend, Archie, is having nearly as difficult time with his dad, although this is all self-imposed. Archie is losing it in the wake of Fred’s shooting and becomes convinced that the killer will be back to finish the job at any second. This paranoia only gets worse when he finds out Ms. Grundy has been murdered. Archie becomes convinced (like everyone watching) that the attack on his dad and Grundy’s killing are related and that he, Archie, is the linchpin. 

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Sheriff Keller dissuades Archie of that notion. He explains that Archie’s big suspect, Grundy’s abusive ex-husband, has been questioned and cleared. There’s nothing to suggest the attacks were related. Of course, this doesn’t stop Archie. Being the beautiful idiot he is, Archie starts buying drugs from Reggie to stay awake all night on lookout and gets a gun from the odd Dilton Doiley.

It’s obvious that season 2 is going to get really dark and Archie will be a major figure in that turn. However, so far Riverdale seems to be approaching things correctly. Archie is acting out but it’s a way that make sense to his character. Archie is on dark path but it’s almost like a puppy trying to puff itself up and growl. It’s dangerous but also weirdly endearing. Archie needs help but he’s still the least threatening character on the show. This is something that needs to stick as Archie and Riverdale, only work if the character is always trying to be wholesome and good.

Of course, this is all just beginning and the paranoia (from everyone) is surely to grow. In the last seconds of the episode, The Hooded Man strikes again. Moose and Midge (don’t worry about  recognizing their names) are making out in a car when the Hooded Man comes up and shoots them both. Whether he kills them or not, who knows? At the very least, Riverdale now has had four deadly attacks in two episodes. If this keeps up, no one will be left alive.

How did you feel about the episode? Is there too much craziness going on at once? How do you feel about the darker Archie? What is the motives of The Hooded Man? Is Hiram Lodge the worst person to ever live? 

Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW. Want more news? Like our Riverdale Facebook page!

(Image courtesy of The CW)

Derek Stauffer

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Derek is a Philadelphia based writer and unabashed TV and comic book junkie. The time he doesn’t spend over analyzing all things nerdy he is working on his resume to be the liaison to the Justice League.