The poster of 'Riverdale' Season 2 (2017-), a teen drama on The CW based on the characters from Archie Comics, is pictured. Via TV Overmind

‘Riverdale’ Chapter 32: Finally unmasking the real Black Hood?

Okay, things have taken a turn. This episode of “Riverdale” (2017–) was all kind of screwed up, but also kind of great! At least “Chapter 32: Prisoners” brought the drama, and at least we have pretty definitive proof that the mid-season Black Hood reveal was just a red herring. What more could we ask for?

Maybe we should be asking for a new sheriff, as Cheryl points out to Sheriff Keller himself after Midge’s funeral. Clearly Keller has failed at completely closing the Black Hood case (case in point: dead Midge), and Cheryl is not too keen on whipping out those River Vixens outfits again any time soon (as funeral-chic as they are).

This whole ordeal naturally puts Archie back on the “I saw the Black Hood’s eyes” train, and, to make things worse, it appears he is being stalked by the Black Hood. Except it turns out not to be the Black Hood at all, but Nick St. Clair, back on his feet and here to hold Archie for ransom. But, problem: Hiram doesn’t care enough about Archie to pay $1 million for his safe return. Sorry Arch, looks like that blood oath you took with Hiram didn’t mean too much after all. Such a bummer when blood oaths don’t even save you from getting kidnapped.

Veronica winds up taking things into her own hands, but she doesn’t have $1 million. So, she ends up striking a deal with Nick: She’ll have sex with him in exchange for freeing Archie. And, better yet, Nick is going to make Archie watch via live feed. This episode really is not messing around.

Unfortunately for Nick, all that private school education did not teach him or his friends how to properly bind someone to a chair, and Archie breaks free with next to no effort. By the time he gets to the hotel, however, Nick is passed out on the floor, having been “given a taste of his own medicine” and roofied by Veronica. She then calls Nick’s parents and secures $1 million from them in exchange for Nick. Why is Hiram busy grooming Archie to be his predecessor when Veronica is clearly more than capable of taking over the ‘family business’?

If you think what happened with Veronica and Archie was messed up, then just wait until you hear what went down in the Cooper household this week. The first big reveal: Chic isn’t really Alice’s son! Upon confronting Chic with this information, Chic grabs a knife and stabs his fake mom in the arm. Fortunately, the Cooper family has developed better binding skills than the St. Clair gang, and they tie him up to a chair in their basement for questioning. Finally, this is Betty’s moment – all her fake teen detective work has been in preparation for this moment.

Chic admits that he and Charles were friends, and that upon having a door slammed in his face by Alice, he overdosed on jingle jangle. This naturally sends Alice into a spiral and right into FP’s arms, where we get a reveal that really isn’t a reveal if you’ve been paying any attention at all (or reading these recaps): FP is in fact Charles Smith’s real father. FP and Alice forever.

Since Chic is basically a pathological liar, Betty and Jug do a little digging to figure out that while Charles did show up at the Cooper house and was turned away by Alice, he didn’t die via drugged-up Pixy Stix. Turns out, Chic murdered him, because duh, Chic is a murderer.

Handily enough, right when Betty finds herself in the company of another “sinner,” we hear an extraordinarily familiar, extraordinarily irritating ringtone coming from Betty’s phone. That “Lollipop” song can only mean one thing: The Black Hood is alive and well and back for more blood. He admits to killing Midge and says Chic is next.

While Alice tells Hal the truth about everything involving Chic (important), Betty ditches her moral compass and takes Chic out to the cemetery, where the Black Hood is waiting in the distance. Betty gives Chic a running start, and we don’t see the results of this attack, but we can assume that things are not looking great for Chic.

The second major reveal of the night: Hal is a very, very probable candidate for Black Hood. When Betty gets home from orchestrating Chic’s murder, Alice informs her that Hal isn’t home because he went out looking for her. We also know he had all the information about Chic’s wrongdoings from Alice. Quite suspicious, to say the least.

Listen, Hal has been a prime suspect for Black Hood since the beginning of the season (it is definitely plausible that this man is very unhinged), and the evidence we have for the Black Hood’s identity is a lot more consistent with Hal than it was with the janitor. Why would the janitor know Betty’s favorite childhood book?

Assuming Hal is the real Black Hood, and not another red herring, Riverdale really has got to look into its murderous father problem. First Clifford Blossom, then Hiram, now Hal. Talk about toxic masculinity.

We’re clearly gearing up for the season finale at this point, and if things continue in this direction, the finale could end up being insane. No complaints here. “Riverdale” being unabashedly insane is peak “Riverdale.”

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