The CW's Riverdale arrived on the scene with familiar characters in an unfamiliar world. Yes, Riverdale High was there. Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead, Cheryl Blossom and Moose were all there too, but they lived in a town that was much different than what longtime Archie Comics readers recognized. Darkness, danger and uncertainty lay around every corner, and the little town of Riverdale was bathed in a constant and eerie sense of dread. Season 1 of the series told one single story about Archie and his friends trying to solve the murder of Jason Blossom, who had been tragically killed by a mysterious assailant.
For its second season, the CW series went further and darker than ever. It introduced dangerous plotlines like the arrival of the Black Hood Killer. It also went full on into the criminal underworld with Hiram Lodge and his dubious dealings with various crime lords. Plus, on top of all that, the series ventured into street gang territory with the South Side Serpents and their rivals, the Ghoulies. With 22 episodes to tell its stories, Riverdale didn't hesitate to make its fandom gasp at every single turn. Here, CBR revisits Season 2 of Riverdale to list the 20 moments that left fans of the series completely speechless.
20 THE BLACK HOOD KILLS MS. GRUNDY
The Black Hood was first glimpsed in the closing moments of the first season finale of Riverdale. The masked criminal manifested inside Pop's and shot Mr. Andrews point blank, leaving fans fearing for the safety of Archie's father in-between seasons. At that point, as far as we were concerned, this masked shooter was nothing more than a thief, and Archie and his father were simply at the wrong place at the wrong time. However, as Season 2 began, more and more clues started hinting at the fact that this was no random shooting.
It would be in the closing moments of the Season 2 premiere that our worst fears would be confirmed.
Before the episode ended, we were taken on a brief detour to Greendale, Riverdale's neighbouring city, where we saw that the young woman who posed as Riverdale High's music teacher was up to her old tricks of seducing young men once again. However, every fan was left completely shocked when the Black Hood revealed himself in her living room, strangling the fake Ms. Grundy. Now we knew the terrible truth: the Black Hood was a serial killer, and he had a specific list of targets, starting with Fred Andrews.
19 MIDGE AND MOOSE GET SHOT
Near the beginning of Season 2, not everyone was fully aware of the menacing presence of the Black Hood killer in Riverdale. Archie knew he was out there, but his antics weren't exactly public yet. However, that was all set to change when the Hood would take everyone by surprise by interrupting a make-out session between Midge and Moose out in the woods. If the creepy tension that had fallen over the town of Riverdale wasn't enough, all that was thrown out the window when the Black Hood opened fire on both Midge and Moose at the end of the second episode of the season.
The shooting was appropriately brutal, made all the more terrifying with the surprise of it all. The Black Hood didn't hesitate, or speak to the young couple. He simply showed up, raised his weapon and fired. Fans were left completely shocked, the fate of two Riverdale mainstays now in question. Sure, Midge and Moose haven't had the biggest roles on the CW series, but both are important characters to the comics, meaning that we thought they were well and truly safe. It doesn't matter that ultimately both of them survived the shooting, the simple fact that it was now open season on the cast of Riverdale was worrisome enough.
18 JUGHEAD PENNY AND THE TATTOO
Over the course of the second season of Riverdale, Jughead was embracing his identity as a South Sider and a member of his father's biker gang, the Serpents. Slowly but surely, Jughead found himself with more and more responsibility thrust upon his shoulders, and with more and more Serpents questioning his legitimacy, and his devotion to their cause. For a time, Jughead hesitated between who we thought he was, and the South Side Serpent he could be. All of that reached a boiling point when Penny Peabody tried to blackmail him into submission.
Then, Jughead decided to take matters into his own hands...
With a few of his now trusted friends, Jughead turned the tables on Penny. To them, it didn't matter that she was a Serpent, she had crossed a line and she had abused her power. Now was time for retribution, which came in the form of Jughead. The young man led the charge against the traitor, and he was the one who personally grabbed a knife and sliced the Serpent tattoo off of Penny's arm. This act cemented Jughead's turn as a much darker and violent figure than fans believed him to be. Viewers were left speechless by his gruesome act, while simultaneously jumping on-board with this new direction for the character.
17 ARCHIE ASSEMBLES THE RED CIRCLE
When the Black Hood killer's reign of terror descended upon Riverdale, no one felt the crushing weight of responsibility more than Archie Andrews. In the closing moments of Season 1, Archie had faced the murderer, and fear had prevented him from protecting his father and taking the bad guy down. After Midge and Moose were shot in their car, Archie decided that he wouldn't let fear take control of him again. What's more, he didn't wish for anyone else he loved to be put in harm's way. For that reason, Archie decided to assemble a neighbourhood watch group – one that was unlike anything the residents of Riverdale had seen.
Along with some of his friends in the Bulldogs football team, Archie recorded a video of himself and his friends, shirtless, wearing red masks. Archie stated that they were the Red Circle, and that they were declaring war on the Black Hood. The entire video was completely shocking to fans, who were left perplexed by Archie's choice to have all of his fellow crime-fighters shirtless. But even more than that, having the good-hearted Archie declare war live on the screen signaled a dark turn for the character, one that would propel him throughout the rest of the season.
16 BETTY “DANCES” FOR THE SERPENTS
Season 2 of Riverdale saw each young member of the cast go through crucibles that led them down a dark path. Jughead became a member of a street gang, Veronica joined the lead of her crime family, Archie became a vigilante-hopeful and Betty Cooper saw herself questioning her very identity. Already tormented by a darkness inside of her, Betty found solace and comfort in Jughead. Together, the two formed a couple that quickly became a fan-favorite and, around every corner, Betty proved how dedicated she was to her boyfriend. She was supportive and strong, and she was willing to become a member of the Serpents, just like him.
In order to do that, Betty had to the same thing that all the girlfriends of Serpent members had to do to become indoctrinated into the biker gang.
In front of everyone, at their local bar, she had to perform a dance as a rite of passage, to earn both trust and respect from the Serpent family. Betty had long been the most pure of her friends until then, but when she stepped onto that stage, she showed that she was no longer the innocent Betty Cooper that fans believed her to be. The audience was left completely surprised at how far she was willing to go in her relationship with Jughead, something she kept on doing throughout the entire season.
15 MR. BLOSSOM HAS A TWIN BROTHER
The central mystery of the first season of Riverdale was the identity of the person who killed Jason Blossom. While it took the entire season, we finally learned who the culprit was in the final episode: Jason's own father, Mr. Blossom. As it turned out, Mr. Blossom was involved in criminal activity that involved controlled substances and maple syrup, and getting caught left him no other choice but to take his own life. Since the character was a series regular ever since the pilot, it was entirely shocking not only to have him be the one who killed his son, but also to hang himself.
The Blossom family was therefore left without a figurehead, after Cheryl nearly burned her mother alive in retribution. However, viewers were thrown for an actual loop when it was revealed that Mr. Blossom had a twin brother no one knew about. The news came as quite the shock to fans, as well as Cheryl Blossom. Such a revelation would come with consequences, and we knew that meant that Cheryl's story was going to get a whole lot more complicated. With Cheryl's new uncle now in the picture, her mother now had a new ally in the fight for control of the family's assets.
14 THE BLACK HOOD KILLER IS...
The first half of the second season of Riverdale revolved almost entirely around the hunt for the Black Hood killer. His identity was a closely kept secret, and every time we thought we knew who he really was, another new wrinkle was added to pull the rug out from under us. All of these teases and hints reached a boiling point in the mid-season finale when Betty and Archie found themselves closer than ever before to the truth. Now the Hood was under their very nose, and all that was left for them was to unmask him. Once caught, his identity was revealed: he was Joseph Svenson, Riverdale High's janitor.
The revelation was a shock to those watching, but not necessarily in the right way.
Svenson had only been introduced a few episodes before the reveal, long after the Black Hood had debuted on the show. For that reason, many thought that the Black Hood was actually someone fans knew well. After months of guessing, the revelation came as underwhelming, prompting many to believe that perhaps the real saga of the Black Hood was not actually over. Whether that was the series' plan or not, the true identity of the murderer would be revealed months later, in the season finale.
13 ARCHIE SWEARS A BLOOD OATH TO MR. LODGE
In his quest to protect his father and friends from further attacks by the Black Hood killer, Archie Andrews found an unlikely source of inspiration in Veronica's father, Hiram Lodge. After his failures, Archie was feeling powerless, and a great and powerful man like Hiram, who had wealth, reach and a vast network of resources, was just the type of leader the young man was seeking. Over the course of the season, the two became closer, Archie effectively becoming a young ward to Mr. Lodge, an apprentice in his dark and mysterious dealings.
Then, all of that was taken even further when Archie all but renounced his own father and the good of Riverdale by officially joining the ranks of the Lodge crime family. With a knife in hand, Archie sliced open the skin of his palm, swearing a blood oath to Hiram. Now, Archie was in over his head, and the audience was left shocked with the repercussions of what such an action would lead to. Archie had effectively joined forces with one of the most evil characters on the series, who manipulated him at every turn, and Archie had fallen for it hook line and sinker. It didn't seem like there would be any easy way out.
12 VERONICA AND JUGHEAD KISS
When Archie Andrews and Betty Cooper were hot on the trail of the Black Hood killer, they had reached a point where they weren't certain who was going to live or die. Their emotions were running high and, at a time when Betty was currently on a break from her relationship with Jughead, Betty and Archie shared a brief kiss that had more to do with the fear of chasing a serial killer and less with love. Be that as it may, it didn't stop Cheryl Blossom, who had seen the kiss, from using it to her advantage. Trying the instil distrust in the friendships of the core four, Cheryl revealed the truth of the kiss to Jughead, when all four were now back to being two happy couples.
The news came when Jughead, Betty, Archie and Veronica were all together for the weekend at the Lodge's cabin.
When Jughead learned the truth, he was obviously taken aback. While Veronica already knew about the kiss, she suggested that the only way for everyone to accept it all and move on was for her and Jughead to kiss. The two did just that, while Archie and Betty could do nothing but watch with guilt and jealousy. Even the audience was left speechless, seeing these two characters who really had no business being together share a passionate kiss.
11 CHERYL GETS ENROLLED IN A CONVERSION SCHOOL
For the first half of the second season of Riverdale, Cheryl Blossom was on a search for identity. Now that her brother was laid to rest, her trust in her entire family was shaken. Her father was dead, and her vile mother couldn't be trusted. As the season progressed, Cheryl grew closer and closer to Toni Topaz, Jughead's friend and member of the South Serpents. The two became a happy couple, but it didn't take long for Cheryl's mother to come between the two. Apalled at the idea of her daughter being in a same sex relationship, Penelope Blossom sent her daughter away to a Sisterhood.
But the real shock came when the audience realized what was actually going on at the Sisters' establishment. There, many young gay teenagers were forced to go through cruel orientation conversion treatments. The sisters hoped to cleanse the homosexuality out of Riverdale's teenagers, and Cheryl was locked in the middle of it, her bright and strong fire starting to diminish thanks to her captors' torments. Riverdale had already gone down a dark path in its second season, but having the series veer into psychological torture for the sake of reprogramming was another thing entirely. Thankfully, Cheryl was rescued by Toni, Kevin and Veronica.
10 CIVIL WAR IS DECLARED BETWEEN JUGHEAD AND ARCHIE
The mystery of the identity of the Black Hood killer wasn't the only main story of Riverdale's second season. In fact, an entire conflict had been slowly brewing between the North Siders and the South Siders of the city ever since the start of this new season. On one side, there was the South Side of Riverdale, who were mainly represented by Jughead, his father FP and the Serpents. On the other, there was the North, which was effectively everyone else. But unbeknownst to everyone, Hiram Lodge was pulling many strings to ensure that he would own properties on both North and South Sides.
As a civil war was loomed between the two sides of the city, Archie and Jughead were now on opposing sides...
As tensions continued to rise throughout the year, Jughead and the Serpents chained themselves to a South building in order to prevent it from being destroyed and turned into real estate property. With the presence of a human shield, Mr. Lodge had no choice but to employ his newest recruit, young Archie Andrews, to do his bidding. Archie, along with his fellow Bulldog football players, forcibly cut the chains of the Serpents, and escorted them off the premises. As a civil war was loomed between the two sides of the city, Archie and Jughead were now on opposing sides, their very friendship pulled apart by forces much bigger than themselves.
9 BETTY HAS A SECRET BROTHER (WHO IS NOT HER BROTHER)
Serial killers, street gangs and boyfriend troubles weren't the only things Betty had to deal with in the second season of Riverdale. In fact, there was also a lot of family drama under her very roof. Betty's home life was thrown upside down when she tracked down someone she believed to be her long lost brother, Chic. But the young man she found wasn't exactly what Betty had expected in a brother. From the start, it was clear that Chic was off, and that there was more to his story than he let on. The more we saw of him, the more the audience realized that Betty's brother wasn't just creepy and unsettling, he was becoming increasingly dangerous.
With such a nefarious presence in her home, Betty tried to get rid of Chic, but their mother Alice wouldn't let him go without a fight. Chic was manipulative, and he was able to play both women against one another. But none of that mattered when Betty finally discovered the real, shocking truth: Chic had been killed a long time ago, and the boy living in their house was nothing more than an opportunistic, if damaged, stranger. The saga of Chic was filled with surprises, from his introduction to his departure. He was a character that left audiences speechless nearly every episode he was featured in, but none more than when it was revealed that he had been lying this entire time.
8 A LOVECRAFTIAN UNIVERSE IS TEASED
At least in terms of trying new (darker) things, one of the main inspirations for the Riverdale television series was the Afterlife With Archie comic book. The comic explored a Riverdale where a zombie incursion was slowly taking over the sleepy little town, and it was written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who also ended up being the showrunner of The CW's live-action Archie series. Now, Afterlife With Archie was a horror series with very dark overtones, some of which would carry over to the live action series. However, none of the horror and supernatural elements would actually be applied to Riverdale.... almost.
In actuality, Season 2 of the CW series didn't shy away from dropping a few teases that there might be more behind the curtain of Riverdale.
Thanks to the use of various Easter eggs, it appears that Riverdale has hinted at a connection to the Lovecraftian mythology, just like the Afterlife With Archie comic series. Not only did Tony mention to Jughead that his writing appeared to be inspired by Lovecraft, but the name of the horror author actually appeared on the side of a crate marked with the findings of a polar expedition in the 1920s. While we are far from a confirmation, those who caught the nods were effectively left speechless at the horrific possibilities.
7 BETTY AND HER MOTHER COVER UP A MURDER
As soon as Betty's long lost “brother” arrived on the scene, we knew he was bad news. Chic lurked in the shadows, and he bore a creepy smile whenever no one was looking. It wasn't clear what his deal was, but we knew that having him under the same roof as Alice and Betty Cooper couldn't lead to anything good. Little did we know that this would lead to an actual murder. When Chic was still settling into a family life with the Coopers, things took an incredibly dark turn when Betty showed up at her house one night to find her mother cleaning blood off the floor.
Alice was obviously distraught, considering that there was a dead body in the house. While we didn't see the actual murder, it didn't take a genius to figure out that Chic had killed the man, who had showed up to collect from him. The fact that Chic was responsible wasn't what left fans speechless – what did leave them shocked was that it took place in the quiet home of the Coopers, and that Alice and Betty now had no choice but to clean up their home and cover up this murder. Alice tidied up the place, while Betty disposed of the body. As for Chic? He smiled, of course.
6 ARCHIE'S FBI CONTACT WAS A TEST
Once the threat of the Black Hood killer was dealt with, Riverdale returned from its mid-season break with an Archie who was embarking on a mysterious new adventure for the FBI. Thanks to his close relationship with Mr. Lodge, an FBI agent sought Archie out, recruiting him as an informant against the Lodge's crime family. Archie started reporting back to the agent in order to protect his father. He disclosed some information the agent wanted, but he still kept some of it to himself. After all, Archie couldn't betray his girlfriend Veronica, and the young man had grown fond of Mr. Lordge, who had become his mentor for a more brutal world.
The real surprise came when the FBI investigation turned out to be a lie.
While the agent kept on pressing, threatening Archie along the way, the young hero kept true, and when push came to shove, he demonstrated that he wasn't willing to turn on the Lodges. While this was a nice victory for Archie on a personal level, the real surprise came when the FBI investigation turned out to be a lie. Archie's FBI contact, who had been around for a good amount of episodes, was finally revealed to work for Hermione Lodge, who was trying to push Archie to his limits. She was testing his loyalty and, much to her surprise, Archie Andrews passed the test with flying colors.
5 BETTY'S DAD IS THE REAL BLACK HOOD KILLER
It's safe to say that most fans were disappointed with the mid-season reveal that Riverdale High's janitor was the man behind the Black Hood mask. Since the identity of the serial killer was central to the first half of the series' second season, many hoped that the Black Hood would be a character familiar to them, and not someone introduced at the eleventh hour. Fans had a long time to theorize the identity of the Black Hood, and had come up with a very short list of likely suspects. At the top of that list was none other than Betty Cooper's own father, Hal Cooper.
Whether the creative minds behind Riverdale knew that Hal was the Black Hood when they unmasked him as Mr. Svenson or not doesn't ultimately matter. Perhaps the fans were right all along, or perhaps the producers and writers realized that Hal was the character that made the most logical sense. Whatever the case may be, it didn't stop the actual reveal from leaving fans speechless. The buildup to the identity reveal made us wonder if Hal was nothing more than a red herring but, when he dropped his act and revealed that he was the serial killer, it was still troubling to realize what Betty had helped create.
4 MIDGE IS MURDERED
During his reign of terror, the Black Hood killer didn't actually kill a whole lot of people – well, not when it comes to big Archie Comics characters. Sure, he murdered Ms. Grundy, but she was a dangerous imposter. Then, the Black Hood shot Fred Andrews, but Archie's father was rushed to the hospital and saved. The same was the case for Moose and Midge, who were in a car when the Hood shot at the both of them point blank. As it turns out, Moose had blocked the bullets from Midge, and he would recuperate after a stint in the hospital.
Therefore, while the killer cast a long and threatening shadow on the town of Riverdale, he didn't have many victims under his name.
That all changed near the end of Season 2, during a time when most believed that the Hood was dead. The real killer revealed himself once again in the middle of Riverdale High's musical rendition of Carrie. During the play, the mutilated body of Midge was revealed for all to see, leaving both fans and the characters of the series completely shell-shocked. Sure, Midge never had the biggest presence on the series, but given her status as an important part of the Archie Comics gang, we figured she would be around for a long time to come.
3 JUGHEAD GETS BEATEN HALF TO DEATH
Jughead Jones spent the better part of the second season of Riverdale fighting for the South Side Serpents. Throughout the year, Jughead proved his worth as a member of the street gang, showing that he had leadership skills and a bit of anger towards a few particular targets that would threaten his friends, his family and his home. One of those people was Penny Peabody, who Jughead cast out of the Serpents club by slicing off the tattoo that made her an official member early on in the season. However, Penny would later return, near the end of the season, with a vengeance.
Penny made an alliance with essentially everyone that had it out for Jughead: Hiram Lodge, and rival street gang the Ghoulies. Thanks to Lodge's manipulations, Jughead surrendered himself to Penny in a bid to sacrifice his own protection in order to ensure the survival of the Serpents. Penny obviously betrayed that deal, but not before she unleashed the Ghoulies on Jughead, who proceeded to beat him to a pulp. Jughead was left for dead, and he would later be found by his father. While no fan actually believed that Jughead would die in the episode, it didn't take away from the brutal shock of seeing one of their favorites beaten half-to-death by a vile character.
2 CHERYL JOINS THE SERPENTS
Cheryl Blossom spent the entirety of Riverdale's second season searching for a place where she belonged – searching for a family that would welcome her in. Her own family had imploded at the end of Season 1, and her evil mother continued to make Cheryl's life a living hell. For a certain amount of time, she was aimless. She didn't feel welcome in her own house, and she didn't have much in the way of friends at school, considering that the core four of Archie, Betty, Jughead and Veronica left her out of most of their stories and adventures.
But Cheryl's life took a turn for the brighter when she met Toni Topaz, a member of the Serpents. The two girls quickly discovered that they had very much in common, and a spark quickly formed between the two. Their first steps as a couple was rocky, considering Penelope Blossom's continued meddling, but when Season 2 came to a conclusion, Cheryl finally found a place where she could be herself – a place where she would be respected and loved, and where she would have a family. Season 2 ended with Jughead crowned as the new Serpent king, and his first order of business was to welcome their newest member: Cheryl Blossom, complete with bright red leather jacket.
1 ARCHIE GETS ARRESTED
Archie's fateful meeting with the Black Hood at the end of Season 1 propelled him on a dark path that saw him wishing to become a hero for his friends and family. It just so happens that, at every turn, Archie found himself digging in deeper and deeper with Hiram Lodge. Archie saw in Hiram Lodge a man of power and influence who wasn't afraid of anyone, and that is exactly the type of person he wanted to be after failing to stop the Black Hood.
Hiram became Archie's mentor, introducing him to a life of organized crime.
However, the more Archie worked for Hiram, the more he was pulled from his father. Eventually, that became too much, and Archie chose to side with his dad. This in turn would lead to Archie realizing how Mr. Lodge had been manipulating and using him, and how he was doing it all for his own selfish purposes. Archie finally turned on Mr. Lodge in the Season 2 finale, declaring that their partnership was over, and Hiram returned in kind, with having Archie arrested for a murder he obviously hadn't committed. All fans were left shocked as Riverdale's second season came to a close, with its leading hero in handcuffs, being dragged away by the police.