Warning! The following contains spoilers for Riverdale's midseason finale. Read at your own risk!
Riverdale had its midseason finale for Season 2 last night, and it was problematic to say the least. There were plenty of twists and turns, and while some of them made sense, others were confusing, odd, and flat-out unbelievable. While we still love The CW series and will be eager to see how the rest of the season plays out, we have to clear the air about these five big problems with the episode before the series returns in January:
The Black Hood Reveal
Show of hands, who believed Joseph Svenson (aka Joseph Conway) was the actual Black Hood? No one? Yeah, neither did we. Throwing the mask on a guy Riverdale fans have only known from two episodes prior would've been a real cheap trick to play, and thankfully, the show seemed to hint that the search for the killer wasn't over towards the end of the episode via Betty.
Really though, Riverdale fans already know that this Black Hood thing isn't totally over, since there's no fooling anyone for a second that Svenson was (the only) Black Hood. Why would the school janitor have beef with Fred Andrews? How would he know Betty liked Nancy Drew novels growing up? If he loved Betty, why would he have threatened to kill her at the grave site? These are the questions the Riverdale teens should and usually do ask, and yet everyone was satisfied simply because a dude in a ski mask got shot. Even Jughead, who always has something to say about everything, had nothing to add. Let's hope the actual Black Hood reveal is much more satisfying.
Jughead Mutilating Penny Peabody
Those four words above are not words any Riverdale fan would expect to read before last night's midseason finale, and they're definitely hard to digest. In an effort to prevent the Southside Serpents from becoming drug mules, Jughead rounds up some members and kidnaps lawyer Serpent Penny Peabody and takes her outside of Riverdale. To ensure Penny doesn't come back, Jughead took a knife and carved off her Serpent tattoo, which sounds like a pretty dangerous and reckless thing to do.
We get it, Riverdale is the kind of show that features Archie Andrews packing heat, but the fact that Jughead took a knife to snake charmer Penny Peabody as opposed to using his mind to outwit her was really out of character. What happened to the guy who was lecturing the Serpents on violence and death? While it may have had something to do with Jughead being in the same town as Sabrina The Teenage Witch when it all happened, it didn't feel like a Jughead way of solving a problem.
Veronica Paying Fred's Medical Bills
At the beginning of the episode Fred Andrews' medical bill shows up for the time he spent in the hospital following being shot, and he confides in Archie that its far from cheap. Archie tells Veronica, which is seemingly normal for a stressed-out teen guy to do, but then Veronica takes things to a completely new level. After asking her parents politely to float Fred's over $80k medical bill, Veronica then steals her mother's black card and takes it upon herself to pay things off.
What's even crazier is that Veronica finesses her parents into agreeing to it after they confront her! Ok, sure they lied to her about buying Pop's Diner, but Veronica had no bargaining chip going into this negotiation. Was she going to rat out her parents for their business dealings and incriminate herself as well, considering her name is in all the documents? This whole portion of Riverdale was so meaningless that one has to wonder why someone in the writer's room didn't just propose that Fred had good health insurance.
Veronica Getting Scotch From Her Parents
On the topic of Veronica's whole negotiation with her parents, since when did the Lodge family approve of giving their 16-year-old daughter scotch? Veronica drinking is nothing shocking to the Riverdale fans, but watching the uptight Lodge parents serve liquor to their daughter as they explain whatever they do was certainly quite weird. Of course, these are the same people who eventually let their daughter con them into paying Hermione Lodge's former boy toy's medical bills, so at least the series is consistent.
All that said, this is probably the most nit-picky thing to gripe about in the Riverdale midseason finale. Those that aren't used to the teens of this show literally doing the worst possible things on a weekly basis and seeing next to no repercussions for it haven't been watching the series. Just once though, it would be great to see the adults of Riverdale actually be competent and hand down a punishment or grounding that actually sticks.
Betty And Archie Kissing
Out of all the craziness happening in Riverdale, this was perhaps the least crazy and disappointing. It seemed obvious from the moment the show set up Jughead and Betty breaking up on the same night as Archie and Veronica that this was going to happen, and it still felt really forced. Even with the past romantic tension between the two in Season 1, the whole kissing sequence felt awkward and only felt like a way to create some artificial drama down the line.
Which will definitely happen, as Riverdale showed Cheryl Blossom watching from the window when the kiss went down. While Cheryl definitely has her own problems to work out, she never can help not stirring the pot, and with Veronica finally telling Archie she loves him, the pot will definitely be stirred when she finds out. While this is obviously less than ideal for the Riverdale power couple, at least there's the consolation of Archie potentially making a Friends reference when he tells her "WE WERE ON A BREAK!"
While the show can be problematic, we're still excited for the return of Riverdale to The CW Wednesday, January 17 at 8:00 p.m. ET. For a look at new shows that can be peeped prior to that, visit our fall premiere guide and our midseason premiere guide. For a list of shows that were canceled in 2017, visit our cancellation guide.