On this episode of Riverdale, titled “Chapter 30: The Noose Tightens,” Toni and Veronica investigate Cheryl’s disappearance, Hiram deals with some unhappy business associates with some help from Archie and Alice and Betty continue to deal with fallout from the Shady Man’s murder. 

Penelope Blossom, aka “Mommy Dearest 2.0,” has locked her only daughter (that we know of) up at The Sisters of Quiet Mercy where all the “troubled” or in trouble teens of Riverdale seem to wind up. And these nuns are anything but merciful. 

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Nothing Dead Stays Buried

While Cheryl does anything but blossom in her new surroundings, the most contentious election since 2016 is underway. There’s the Jughead-Betty ticket who promise to create a more inclusive environment which includes the next generation of serpents. There’s also Veronica and Archie. Ronnie’s campaign seemed dead in the water, until Archiekins stepped up to be his girlfriend’s running mate — the man behind the woman. The final candidates are Reggie and Josie who are likely to lure voters who aren’t fans of the Lodges or the Serpents. 

Betty’s also ducking Alice who isn’t thrilled that her daughter is shacking up with her boyfriend. Alice and F.P. are actually allies when it comes to breaking up this current living arrangement. F.P. has been banished to the couch, so Betty can have his bedroom. F.P. who knows what it’s like to have his child prefer living anywhere but home, urges Alice to make things right with Betty before it’s too late. 

Things are tense between Mary and Fred and Hiram and Hermione since Fred has decided to run for mayor. Mary’s still trying to dissolve the partnership between Fred’s company and Lodge Industries, but the Lodges won’t budge until Fred signs a non-disclosure agreement. 

Fred is preparing to officially announce his candidacy, and his platform is basically “Making Riverdale Wholesome Again.” Mary asks Archie to be there for his dad who’s just too proud to make the request himself. Archie may be screwing the daughter of the opposition, but he still supports his dad.

In other news, the Shady Man’s car is found by Junkyard Steve who happens to drudge the swamp searching for other people’s castoffs. F.P. instructs Betty, Alice and Jughead to keep their lips zipped. Nobody knows nothing about anything. Alice tries to use this latest development as a way to get Betty to come home, but she’s not setting foot in the Cooper house until Chic is gone. 

Offers That Can’t Be Refused

Hiram gets a visit from two of his associates, Lenny and Carl. They think Hermione running for mayor could bring unwanted attention to their “businesses.” Hiram has his work cut out for him to try and get the men on board, so Archie offers to come along, believing for some reason that a teenager has anything to say that might sway them.

The Serpents aren’t convinced Jughead is going to deliver on his campaign promises. Sweet Pea thinks Jughead is going to kiss Northside ass, particularly with Betty as his running mate. Betty reminds Sweet Pea of all the ways she’s proven her loyalty to the gang, but he thinks it’s only a matter of time before she turns her back on them, just like Alice. Alice has waged war against the Southside, and Sweet Pea views her as a turncoat and Jughead’s affiliation with her during the election is a slap in the face. For that reason alone, the Serpents swear they won’t give him their vote.

Reggie has promised Josie he can deliver the Bulldogs’ votes. He’s concerned that with Archie running against him, he won’t be able to make good on that promise. Reggie’s solution is an arm-wrestling contest. The winner gets the jock vote — all of the jocks. But Reggie underestimates Archie whose testosterone is on overdrive thanks to Reggie taking cheap shots at Fred. Archie wins, which should secure him and Ronnie some much-needed support. That is if Reggie stays true to his word. 

Toni tells Ronnie, Betty and Josie that Cheryl is MIA. Penelope told her that Cheryl is off at some all-girls boarding school in Switzerland, but Cheryl’s been conspicuously absent from social media which can only mean one thing — foul play. Whatever differences the girls may have, they all agree to join forces to figure out what happened to Cheryl.

In a scene straight out of the Sopranos, Hiram sits down with Carl and Lenny who worry about a high-profile political campaign and the risk it poses to “the families.” (Really?! A small-town mayoral campaign can take down a crime syndicate?) They are intrigued by the idea of a private prison, so they’re willing to take the risk for a slice of the pie at 25 percent. That’s some major cheddah which would have Hiram operating at a loss, so he declines. Lenny and Carl think they’ve got Hiram over a barrel since all of his former associates from New York and Montreal now work for them. All Hiram has are a few capos and Archie.

Archie steps up and, respectfully, explains how he helped take down Poppa Poutine, how he beat the crap out of Nick St. Clair (whose legs were in casts) and his heroics at Shadow Lake. He warns the men not to underestimate him or Hiram. Of course, they laugh it off. They urge Hiram to consider their offer. In the meantime, they’ll be hanging around Riverdale to check out the sights. Hiram’s proud of Archie but makes it clear Archie better be ready to put his money where his mouth is.

Dwayne and Darla

Even though F.P. warned Betty and Jughead to act normal and stay away from the car, the twosome can’t help themselves. They go to Kevin claiming to be doing research for an article on the environment and learn that the owner of the car has already claimed the vehicle and is in town. Now the police are trying to figure out who stole it in the first place.

Betty and Jughead share this info with their parents and Chic who is now part of the conspiracy. The Shady Man’s name is Dwayne, and he was always borrowing his girlfriend, Darla’s, car. This could be the woman Betty spoke to when she used Dwayne’s phone. Chic is unable to confirm or deny if Darla is someone they should be worried about.

Alice makes another attempt to get Betty to move home. Chic offers to move out and get his own place, so Betty agrees. Buyt things are far from smooth sailing in the Cooper household. Betty wants Alice to sign a consent form so she can get a tattoo as a way to prove her alliance to the Serpents, and Chic arrives with the infamous Darla. 

Over tea, Darla explains that she’s not particularly concerned about what happened to Dwayne, and she’s got no reasons to ask questions just as long as she gets the ten grand he owes her. Nothing like a shakedown over some chamomille tea. 

Fatal Attraction

Ronnie, Josie and Toni confront Mrs. Blossom. After Josie threatens to tell her mom, who happens to be dating the Sheriff, that something’s up at Thistlehouse, Penelope decides to be a bit more cooperative. Penelope claims Cheryl was exhibiting strange and deviant behavior, so she sent her to a “wellness center” abroad where they’re trying to help her. (What Cheryl’s really doing is manual labor for a sadistic nun.)

Penelope presents Josie with “proof” — a sketch that Cheryl made of them together. In case you forgot, Cheryl was Josie’s stalker for a hot minute. Penelope insists she sent Cheryl away for Josie’s safety as much as for Cheryl’s. 

This may not be enough to get Ronnie and Toni to quit, but Josie’s not taking any chances, so she’s out. 

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Another Black Hood

There’s action at the Lodges’ place. Archie and Ronnie arrive to find a man wearing a black hood beating up Andre. Archie chases him down, tackles him and removes the mask. It’s the infamous “Agent” Adams. He’s got a message for Archie to pass along to Hiram, “Take the deal.” 

Hiram and Hermione have no idea when Adams turned or how long he’s been working against them. With Andre in the hospital and Adams a defector to the other side, the Lodges are unprotected. Archie is to take on the role of Ronnie’s personal bodyguard, but Hiram has no idea how to get out of his current predicament. 

Caution: Danger Ahead

Nana Rose may not have use of her legs, but her faculties are still very much intact. After being left at home alone by Penelope, she hauls herself out of her wheelchair and drags herself across the room to the phone. She calls Toni at school and lets Toni know Cheryl is nearby with the Sisters. Claudius cuts the line before Nana can say more. Toni shares the info with Ronnie and with some help from Kevin, they learn that the Sisters of Quiet Mercy dabbles in gay conversion. He also knows there’s a tunnel the nuns used during prohibition that could be a way to sneak in and get Cheryl out. 

Betty goes to the bank to make a withdrawal and gets a call from Alice. Marcel — Chic’s old boss and manager of the hostel — has found his way to the Cooper home. Alice instructs Betty not to come back. But Betty brings the money, and as expected, Marcel and Darla aren’t anxious to leave Riverdale. That’s when the cavalry arrives — the Serpents. (Nevermind how ridiculous they look brandishing their switchblades). Darla threatens to go to the Sheriff, but Betty warns her that she’s good friends with the Sheriff’s son, so who does Darla think he’ll believe. Darla and Marcel decide to take the money and run…for now. Alice has finally had enough and kicks Chic out. 

Hiram informs Archie that he’s decided to agree to Carl and Lenny’s terms. They haven’t left him much choice. But Archie isn’t willing to give in so easily. He goes to Reggie (who hates the Southsiders and is all for the prison) and asks for his help. In return, the Bulldogs’ votes are all his. 

Hiram, who is supposed to meet Lenny and Carl for dinner, sends his regrets instead. The two gangsters head outside just in time to see their car explode. Archie and the other Bulldogs appear, and they’re all wearing black hoods and calling themselves the “Dark Circle.” A disguised Archie warns the men that Hiram doesn’t stand alone and Riverdale is protected. Everyone scatters before the police arrive. 

Change of Heart

Kevin, Veronica and Toni meet at the entrance of the tunnel. Veronica and Toni head inside and instruct Kevin to call his dad if they aren’t out in 15 minutes. Once inside, they split up to search the main dormitory. They aren’t exactly stealthy. Toni yells Cheryl’s name and bursts in on movie night but manages to locate her FWB. They find time for a passionate kiss which is broken up by Veronica who announces there’s a ton of nuns on the way. They manage to make a clean getaway.

Mary’s disappointed Archie failed to show up for Fred’s announcement and wonders what could have been more important than showing his support. Mary doesn’t recognize who Archie has become. 

Alice meets with the Southsiders at Riverdale High to thank them. She also promises she’s done attacking and disavowing the Southside. She admits it’s where she’s from, and she’s proud of it. This is a new Alice. She’s going to fight tooth and nail for the Serpents, and it looks like she’s going to rekindle her romance with F.P. as well. 

Hiram presents Archie with the keys to a new car as a thank you. Hiram warns Archie that his enemies will be back, and they’re going to want more than 25 percent. Archie promises he’ll be ready for them. 

Cheryl’s back and while she’s eager to exact revenge against her mother and uncle, her first priority is the upcoming school musical. 

What will Chic do now that he’s been banished from the Cooper’s? Will Darla and Marcel return? What will happen between Cheryl and Josie? Can the Dark Circle protect Riverdale from Hiram’s enemies? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Riverdale returns with a new episode on Wednesday, April 18 at 8/7c on The CW. Want more news? Visit our Riverdale page on Facebook.

(Image courtesy of The CW)

Jennifer Lind-Westbrook

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Jennifer has worked as a freelance writer in the entertainment field since 2012. In addition to currently writing feature articles for Screen Rant, Jennifer has contributed content ranging from recaps to listicles to reviews for BuddyTV, PopMatters, TVRage, TVOvermind, and Tell-Tale TV. Links to some of Jennifer’s reviews can be found on Rotten Tomatoes.