Riverdale – Chapter Fifteen: Nighthawks
By: Tara Donahue
We open with a narrative about how Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe, once the heart of Riverdale, has been spray painted with the words “death diner.” It’s been dubbed the “latest casualty of the town’s ongoing battle against darkness” by Jughead (Cole Sprouse). As he enters the empty diner, Pop Tate (Alvin Sanders) is understandably upset.
Over at the Andrews’, Archie (KJ Apa) is cooking breakfast when Fred (Luke Perry) comes down. A phone call Archie has been waiting for pulls him away, but it’s not the Sheriff, but the Deputy instead.
Veronica (Camila Mendes) is leaving and Smithers (Tom McBeath) tries to encourage her to take a different exit, but Hiram (Mark Consuelos) interrupts. Veronica has been avoiding him and he wants to have dinner tonight. But she isn’t interested.
Jughead is talking to Betty (Lili Reinhart) and Veronica about how Pop’s staff quit and he might not even be able to stay open another week. Archie struggles with going back too after what happened. But Betty isn’t letting someone dictate what happens to their place. She says Jughead went crazy trying to save the drive-in, but he says he can’t take on anymore social issues. His hands are full with his dad and Betty gets that. Veronica agrees to help and Archie and Jughead leave to go meet his dad’s new lawyer.
Archie approaches Sheriff Keller (Martin Cummins) and asks to help, but he’s told to let them do their job.
FP (Skeet Ulrich) talks with his new attorney about the deal he’s being offered. The lawyer tells him it’s a good deal and he should take it.
Back at Archie’s, he’s sitting with his baseball bat falling asleep. He hears a creak and goes to investigate, nearly taking Jughead out. Jughead tells him about FP’s deal. He’s facing twenty years, but if he goes to trial, it could be forty.
After a phone call from Betty, Veronica goes to see Archie. They talk about how he’s been keeping watch all night to protect his dad and not sleeping. She suggests maybe he try to talk to the school counselor.
Betty and Jughead go to talk to Mayor McCoy (Robin Givens) about Pop’s being on the verge of closing. They want her to declare it a landmark or declare a Pop’s day, bt she doesn’t want to endorse it and then have another murder happen. Her priority as Mayor and a mother is to keep the town safe. If that means closing Pop’s, she’s all for it. Jughead starts attacking her about his father, but she doesn’t want to help him either. Jughead tells her to remember this moment, when she turned her back on Pop Tate and his father.
Midge Klump (Emilija Baranac) asks Reggie (Charles Melton) about jingle jangle. He says he can help her out before approaching Archie, who’s staring at the guidance counselor’s office. After Reggie teases him, he decides not to go in and they walk together instead. Archie asks him if has anything that can keep him awake. Reggie assures him he can help him.
Betty wants to host an event to remind people of simpler times, like when the shoppe first opened its doors. Veronica wonders why she wants to do this and Betty shares some memories she has of the place of her times with everyone. Also, she wants to do it for Jughead. He might lose his father, but she wants to try to save this place for him. For all of them.
Hiram shows up at school to speak to Veronica much to the surprise of Betty and Kevin (Casey Cott). Father and daughter walk together and he tells her the whole time he was in prison all he thought about was getting back to his family. He just wants her to meet him halfway, but she’s struggling with it. She just wants to get back to her friends. Hiram asks what she’s planning and she says she is planning an event to keep Pop’s from closing. He offers to help, but Veronica says she’ll let him know.
Jughead is meeting with Tall Boy (Scott McNeil) about his father’s predicament. He’s tried going the legit way, but it feels like the whole system is rigged against them. Jug suggests trying to break him out and get him to Canada, but Tall Boy suggests a “snake handler.” Someone whose livelihood depends on snakes and is used to dealing with them and he has someone in mind.
The River Vixens have a new recruit in Josie (Ashleigh Murray). It also seems that Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) has taken the reins back. Though according to her, they’ve always been her’s. Betty asks if the Vixens would help save Pop’s, but Cheryl’s answer is a “double-cherry-on-top no.”
In class, Principal Weatherbee (Peter Bryant) shares the tragic news of Ms. Grundy’s (Sarah Habel) death. Archie is visibly upset and after some flashbacks of some memories that bleed into him seeing the hooded man he leaves.
At home, Archie’s talking to his dad and thinks his attack and Ms. Grundy’s murder are connected. Fred thinks Archie is scared and they don’t know anything about what happened to her.
Jughead shows up at a tattoo place to talk to Penny Peabody (Brit Morgan). She’s a lawyer, but she’s also a Serpent. She thinks the deal they’re offering FP is garbage. She says if the victim’s family forgives him in front of a judge, it might shift things in FP’s favor. He could get time served with parole. Penny tells Jughead that she’s doing this favor and one day maybe he can do her favor in return.
Betty and Archie are talking to Alice (Madchen Amick) about Ms. Grundy’s murder. They ask for her help finding out some information since she was the first to know about Jason’s autopsy. Archie wants to see if things line up with what happened to his dad. Once she agrees to help them, Archie leaves. Alice tells Betty that Pop’s has an anonymous buyer.
Veronica gets a call and accuses her father of being the buyer, but it’s not him. He does; however, want to talk civilly. Just a fair hearing to explain himself. Veronica brings up the how Fred was shot just after Hermione (Marisol Nichols) asked him to sell his portion and he said no. She wants to know Hiram was involved, but he wasn’t. Veronica is upset about the letter threatening her mother if she didn’t testify. Hermione confesses that he didn’t send the letter – she did. She wanted her to testify and knew that was the only way to do it. Veronica says they deserve each other.
Betty and Jughead pay a visit to Cheryl’s new residence, Thistlehouse. They’ve come to talk to her and Penelope (Nathalie Boltt), to see if they will help with FP, by showing mercy. But neither of them are interested in helping. As far as they are concerned, FP is a loose end and they just want that horrible chapter of their lives closed. After they leave, Jughead suggests blackmail and extortion, but due to their recent tragedies, he won’t do it.
At the morgue, Alice gets the information about Ms. Grundy’s murder. The attendant tells her it was a crime of passion.
Archie’s in his kitchen when he sees a hooded man outside and rushes to tackle him. He starts choking him before he realizes it’s Reggie, who’s bringing him the uppers he requested.
Alice comes by to give Fred and Archie the details of what she found out at the morgue. It turns out that Ms. Grundy was strangled with a cello bow. This was the gift Archie gave to her before she left Riverdale. The likelihood of a connection is slim.
At Pop’s Jughead and Betty ask who he sold to and it’s ChugMo, the liquor store chain. Jughead wants a last meal for FP, since he’s facing 20 years of that weird prison meatloaf. Betty asks if Pop has officially sold the diner yet, but he hasn’t. She tells him not to sign the contracts just yet. She will fix it.
Cheryl’s in the locker room and Betty finds her, this time using blackmail to get her to help FP. She still has a copy of the video of Cheryl’s father killing her brother and she will release it if she doesn’t help. Betty tells her it could be a nice ending to a sad story. Cheryl wants the video and any copies of it erased if she does this. Betty gives her word and she also wants the River Vixens for retro night.
Jughead offers to listen if Veronica wants to talk. She asks him how he was able to go from wanting to walk away from his dad to crusading for his freedom. He tells her that FP’s making an effort. Veronica asks him if he thinks that some people can’t change, if it’s in their DNA to be bad, but Jughead doesn’t want to presume to know her dad’s motives. All he knows is Archie’s dad almost died and his is going away so if there’s any chance her dad’s trying it’s worth it.
Archie goes to see Sheriff Keller to tell him how he thinks the same person is behind his dad’s attack and the murder. He thinks maybe her abusive ex-husband is behind it, but the ex has already been brought in and he has an airtight alibi.
Betty’s talk with Cheryl paid off. She’s on the stand testifying that they forgive FP for his part in covering up Jason’s murder and asking for leniency. The judge points out there were no extenuating circumstances, but Cheryl says she overheard her father threatening FP into complying. This makes the judge delay sentencing.
It’s Retro Night at Pop’s, but no one is there until Alice shows up. She came to write her next story over one last rootbeer float. She’s calling it “Requiem for Pops.” Josie shows up wanting to know why Betty posted on social media that they were doing a free concert. She manages to talk her into doing it and Cheryl will fill in for Valerie who’s out sick.
Archie arrives after the concert. It’s hard for him to be there, but he’s trying. Veronica’s proud of him. She goes to get him a milkshake and her parents show up. They aren’t there to fight, but to be supportive. Veronica agrees it can be a new beginning, but wants total transparency. Hiram agrees and even says he’ll make a charitable donation.
As some Serpents arrive, Betty thanks Cheryl and gives her the promised thumb drive. Alice sees a drug deal going down in the parking lot.
Pop Tate makes a speech, thanking Betty for all her help and also for the donation from the Lodge family. But it turns out that Hiram actually bought the diner and in exchange for Pop’s silence he’s allowed to stay on as manager. We also find out that Hiram really did write the letter and Hermione was covering for him.
The gang celebrates a rare win for the good guys. While at Thistlehouse, Cheryl shows her mother the video.
The Lodges return home to a new doorman, Andre (Stephan Miers), and Veronica asks about Smithers. Hiram says his mother was ill so he went overseas to care for her. Veronica is suspicious.
Jughead gets a call from FP, who’s upset he went to Penny for help. He tells him not to contact her again, he doesn’t want to be in bed with the snake charmer.
Alice chastises Betty at Pop’s for giving crime a haven in Riverdale now that Hiram has a toehold in Pop’s, the Serpents crossed the tracks and because of the drug deals in the parking lot.
At Sweetwater Bridge, Dilton Doiley (Major Curda) is meeting Archie to bring him what he asked for; a gun. For protection, he claims. Elsewhere, we witness the hooded man claims two more victims: Moose (Cody Kearsley) and Midge.