Jughead’s journey on Riverdale’s sophomore season transformed him from loner sitting firmly behind a laptop to a full-fledged member of a motorcycle gang. The huge shift came at a time where the CW series brought the sinister energy of Hiram Lodge to town and revealed Riverdale’s criminal underbelly. The show may have positioned Hiram as “the Big Bad,” but it’s Jughead, along with Archie, Betty, and Veronica, who have revealed themselves to be the real game in town.
While Hiram is menacing and reportedly done some horrible things, in this episode, “Prisoners,” it’s the teenagers who are actually committing the crimes. During the hour, the town is mourning the death of Midge during the musical episode. While the Archie tries to convince everyone the Black Hood is back, Cheryl and Hermione blame Sheriff Keller for not keeping the town safe and try to take him down. Plus, Chic’s secrets send the Cooper household into a frenzy.
Up until this point, Hiram has been positioned as the scariest person in Riverdale. After all, he had a mobster’s death arranged during Veronica’s confirmation. Then again, that was done to save his own life, and the Lodges have been more talk than action aside from that one incident. Hermione is running for mayor and Hiram’s big plan for the town is to build a for-profit prison. Plus, they both spend most of their time manipulating teenagers. It is bad, some of it horrible, but the show talks about the pair’s being dangerous than they do showing it.
That’s all fine until the teenagers raise the stakes, which is exactly what they did on Wednesday. Specifically Archie, Betty, and Veronica.
Archie and Veronica were dealing with the return of the always-awful Nick St. Clair, who is also from a crime family. Nick’s attempt to “make his bones” with his crime boss daddy by kidnapping, and killing, Archie turn into an opportunity for Archie and Veronica to show what they are really capable of. First, Veronica turns the tables on Nick then ransoms him off to his own parents for “a cool million.” Her teenage beau then ups the ante by offering to make HIS “bones” with Hiram by killing the Black Hood.
Speaking of the Black Hood, his action was focused on Betty instead of his will-be killer Archie. Chic’s castle of secrets and lies falls apart and the Coopers have to deal with how much the creepy delinquent knows about their family. Betty, in her darkest move to date, gives Chic over to the Black Hood to be killed.
You may be thinking these teens have lost their minds – and you’d be right – they have also shown up the rest of the criminals in Riverdale. Other than the Black Hood I suppose, but Archie has those bones to make, so he may not be a problem for much longer.
Riverdale airs on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern on The CW.