SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for “Chapter Sixteen: The Watcher in the Woods,” the latest episode of Riverdale.
Riverdale officially has its very own group teenage vigilantes. In “Chapter Sixteen: The Watcher in the Woods,” the latest episode, Archie Andrews formed his own “watchdog” group called the Red Circle to combat the Black Hood.
After an insightful talk from Hiram Lodge, who encouraged him to take more initiative in protecting Riverdale, Archie returned home and headed into his garage. He went straight for his trunk, sifting through some of his old things to reach the gun stashed at the bottom. However, after he found what he was looking for, he paused and picked up some old superhero comics — specifically, a team comic titled The Red Circle.
If the “Red Circle” sounds familiar, that’s because it was once an imprint of Archie Comics. Red Circle Comics housed the publisher’s line of superhero comics. In late 2014, Red Circle Comics was rebranded to Dark Circle Comics, which launched with Duane Swierczynski and Michael Gaydos’ Black Hood title in 2015. Dark Circle Comics is also home to The Fox, The Shield and The Mighty Crusaders. As such, it seems as though Riverdale is borrowing more than the Black Hood from Archie Comics’ superhero imprint.
The Red Circle gave Archie an idea. Shortly after rediscovering the comic, he assembled some of his football teammates and Dilton Doiley. “Guys, we’re under attack,” he explained. “And by ‘we,’ I mean our friends. Our families. This time, it was Moose and Midge. Next time, it could be you, your girlfriend, your family. It’s time to do something about it. I want us to start a watch group. Not to canvas the town — that’s not workable — but to focus on Riverdale High, its students, its faculty and staff, its parents. Where we all hang out. An extra a circle of protection around them.”
“No weapons. No violence. I’m talking about a patrol, an extra set of eyes and ears for the police,” he continued. When asked what they would do if they ran into the killer, Archie responded, “Then we call Sheriff Keller. We’re not vigilantes. We’re watchdogs… We’re not called the watchdogs. We’re called the Red Circle. We hold the line. We’re not waiting around for the next attack. From now on, we’re protecting our own.”
The Red Circle quickly swung into action, with Archie posting flyers for the group all over the town. He also ended up patrolling the streets of Riverdale with Reggie Mantle. As they cruised, the two Red Circle members got a panicked call from Ethel Muggs, who said she was being stalked by a van. The boys rushed over to her location and rescued her from a cornfield as the van sped off.
Meanwhile, Alice Cooper received a letter from the masked man himself. “He calls himself the Black Hood, and he wants us to publish this letter,” she revealed, confirming that the masked man is indeed the Black Hood. “He wants everyone to know that he shot Fred Andrews and Moose and Midge and murdered Geraldine Grundy.” The letter also included Fred’s wallet and Grundy’s glasses, proving that it was indeed authentic.
The letter Alice received read,
This is the Black Hood. I am the man who shot the adulterer at Pop’s. I killed the child predator in Greendale. I shot the drug and sex-addicted teenagers at Lovers’ Lane. Riverdale is not innocent. It’s a town of hypocrites, degenerates, criminals. My wrath is the price of your lies, your secrets, your sins. I will not stop. I cannot be stopped. I am the wolf. You are the flock. This is the bloodletting. You’ll hear from me again.
With further encouragement from Hiram, who appears to have some bad intentions, Archie recorded a response and released it online. Flanked by other members of the Red Circle, seen shirtless and wearing red ski masks, Archie said, “This is a message for the coward calling himself the Black Hood. You think you can attack us from the shadows, but Riverdale is a lot stronger than you and we’re not afraid. See, there’s only one of you, but we are legion. We’re called the Red Circle, and we’re coming for you. We will find you. We will hunt you. And we will end you.”
Airing Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW, Riverdale stars K.J. Apa as Archie Andrews, Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper, Camila Mendes as Veronica Lodge, Cole Sprouse as Jughead Jones, Madelaine Petsch as Cheryl Blossom, Ashleigh Murray as Josie McCoy and Casey Cott as Kevin Keller.
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