There’s plenty of silly moments to be found throughout “A Shadow of a Doubt,” from Veronica’s casino plan to the Black Hood’s miraculously escape after he opens fire during the mayoral debate, but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the best episodes of Riverdale Season 2. And what makes this week’s hour so enjoyable is two-fold. First and foremost, many of the show’s characters who have been making stupid decisions lately wise up and take a stand. Second, there’s a sense of urgency from the opening minutes to the final shot that has been sorely missing from Riverdale‘s second season.
When it comes to characters regaining their sense of strength and purpose, the most obvious examples have to be Archie and Veronica. Their blind eye towards Hiram and Hermione’s criminal behavior has turned the two of them into frustrating shells of their former selves. So much of the promise that Archie had as a character at the beginning of this season has been snuffed out because of his continued allegiance to Hiram, and the internal conflict Veronica felt throughout much of Season 1 and the beginning of this season, as she struggled to keep to her reformed ways after her father’s return, has disappeared in recent episodes as she defends her parents’ shady actions and campaigns for her mother to become mayor.
Fortunately, “A Shadow of a Doubt” has Archie and Veronica finally pushing back against Hiram and Hermione in major ways. After Archie discovers that Hiram has been paying Reggie and other members of the Dark Circle to vandalize the Southside, he refuses to join the new sheriff that Hiram has helped appoint in his search for the Black Hood, opting instead to stay home with Fred. Meanwhile, Veronica fights back against her father’s complete and total lack of respect for her after he refuses to go along with her legitimate, over-board plans for a casino in Riverdale and throws the money she acquired from the St. Clairs into a trust that she can’t touch until she’s 21. Again, the whole casino plot doesn’t make too much sense if you think about it too hard (Why is Veronica so passionate about this particular project? As a high school teenager, how could she truly pull this off on her own?); however, it works as a vehicle for Veronica’s justifiable anger and frustration, and it’s wonderfully satisfying to watch her finally call Hiram out on his actions after too many episodes of her excusing his nefarious behavior.
Additionally, it’s a terrific change to see Betty taking on active role again as well. After weeks of being suffocated with Chic and Serpent drama, Betty gets back to what she does best in this week’s Riverdale: sleuthing. With help from Cheryl, she investigates whether or not her dad, Hal, may in fact be the Black Hood, and although all the evidence points to Hal as the culprit, Betty (and we the audience) see him on the town hall floor during the debate while the Black Hood fires bullets at Fred and Hermione. If Hal is involved with all these killings, which he has to be somehow given the Nancy Drew book in his possession and Betty’s phone call to him near the end of the episode, that also must mean he has an accomplice of some sorts. Could that accomplice be Chic? For much of “A Shadow of a Doubt,” Betty feels guilty about her decision to essentially hand Chic off to the Black Hood in last week’s episode, and while Chic is the worst, it’s still important that Betty feels this remorse. No matter what anyone else says, if Chic winds up dead, Betty had a hand in his murder, and even though I despised Chic and am glad he’s gone, I can’t deny her culpability. But Betty wouldn’t be culpable if Chic has actually been working with Hal this whole time, the two of them pretending to be adversaries to protect their covers. It’s an outlandish theory for sure, but Riverdale‘s the type of ridiculous show that would and probably could pull a twist like that off.
Given the fact that Cheryl finds herself face-to-face with the Black Hood at the end of this week’s hour, something tells me we won’t have to wait to the show’s May 16th finally to uncover all the secrets. I’m thinking that next week’s episode, much like the penultimate hour of Season 1, will give us the answers we desire, but what will those answers matter if the town of Riverdale tears itself apart before it can get them? With Fangs being shot, Archie and Reggie holding the literal smoking gun, and Northsiders and Southsiders coming to blows on the streets, there’s a good chance that Riverdale will change forever before Season 2 is over, and that type of seismic shift could lead to a very different type of show when it returns for Season 3.
- I’m still disappointed with how Riverdale has treated Veronica’s character throughout Season 2, but the montage of her, donning her famous glasses and dealing with the mafia princesses at Pop’s, has to be one of my favorite Veronica Lodge moments ever.
- Shouldn’t Kevin be smart enough to stay away from something like the Dark Circle? Especially with Reggie in charge of it. Especially with Hiram funding them, since Hiram is one of the people who pushed the hardest to get his father fired from being sheriff.
- The Archie and Veronica sex scene from this episode is so hilariously unnecessary and so perfectly Riverdale. As Jughead pointed out earlier this season, it truly is their solution to everything.
- My apologies for how late this review is. I’m in the final couple weeks of the semester in grad school, and life is super crazy at the moment. My review of the finale will be posted that night, though. I promise!
What did everyone else think about this week’s episode of Riverdale? Comment below and let me know.
[Photo credit: Diyah Pera/The CW]
Riverdale Season 2 Episode 20 Review: "Chapter Thirty-Three: Shadow of a Doubt"
Fred and Hermione face off in mayoral debate, and Betty believes she knows the Black Hood’s identity in a thrilling Riverdale.