Riverdale’s Edge #209: Unwrapping “Silent Night, Deadly Night”

In the long, storied tradition of The Teen Drama, there’s never been a show quite like Riverdale, which takes the famously wholesome Archie repertoire and drops them into a dark, steamy soap where innocence is a liability and everyone looks unfairly gorgeous. Join Chuck WintersAndrew Niemann, and Robyn MacLeod as they break down the good, the bad, and the flat-out amazing in this week’s walk on RIVERDALE’S EDGE.

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CHAPTER 22: “SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT”
Written by: Shepard Boucher (Angie Tribeca)
Directed by: Rob Seidenglanz (lead director)

Roundtable

Chuck: So we’re all calling bullshit on Mr. Svenson being our culprit, right?

Robyn: In the least there has to be more to it.

Andy: It just feels wholly unsatisfying.

Chuck: And I think that’s kind of the point? Even the kids were like “wait, what” and were trying to talk themselves into believing it after the reveal, and then at the very end, Jughead’s narration talks about how this isn’t over while Betty’s looking at the mask.

Robyn: So, I just watched The Town that Dreaded Sundown and there are a lot of parallels between it and Riverdale. My guess is, like TTtDS, there is at least another person who is also the Hood.

Andy: Yeah the accomplice theory is what I’m running with.

Chuck: We’ll get into that below, but here’s another interesting thought about that last shot: What are the chances that Betty picks up The Hood’s mantle?

Andy: I dunno that would be such a character assassination of Betty and they’re already on thin ice per last episode. I almost wish Riverdale would move on from murder mysteries, to be honest. I think the stuff where the kids are investigating a drug ring or Veronica meddling with her father’s shady dealings is way more interesting.

Chuck: And there was some WILD shit happening on those fronts, too. For starters, Jughead is officially done being pushed out by his dad, and resolves to fix the Penny Peabody Problem before he gets too deep.

Andy: Yo, I loved Jughead cutting off Penny’s tattoo and saying “You’re not a Serpent.” Jughead’s journey from reluctant gang leader to ruthless badass has been fun to watch.

Robyn: His attempts to make them Good and Righteous have been really interesting.

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Chuck: It’s great, because in plots like this, there’s always some puppetmaster who keeps pushing and pushing because they position themselves to be “untouchable.” (Two shows that were bad about this: Burn Notice and Sons of Anarchy.) Finally we have a show pull that act and then—in a fairly short amount of time—have the victim of that puppetry go “fuck that, you’re cancelled.” I think Penny’s revenge will be furious and horrible if she ever gets the chance…and frankly, Jughead’s a kid. There has to be SOMETHING he didn’t consider that will bring her back into the game. But it’s great to see Riverdale pull away from that holding pattern before it got stale.

Anyway, there’s also the matter of Veronica Lodge getting into her Dad’s books.

Andy: The reveal where she tells her parents that she used their credit card to pay for Fred’s expensive hospital bills was so good. Also, good on Riverdale for actually saying hospital bills are too damn expensive.

Chuck: American healthcare was about to finish the job that bullet started, and Veronica stopped that. Here’s the thing, though: The show opted to keep the Lodges’ plan from us, we just know that Veronica’s in as long as the bill payment sticks (it will) and nothing illegal happens (there’s nothing illegal about it, Hiram insists, ominously). And right after that, Veronica suddenly finds the courage to tell Archie she loves him. How much of that do you think is genuine, and how horrific is this eventual trainwreck going to be?

Andy: Pretty bad considering Archie seems to have rekindled his love for Betty and vice-versa.

Chuck: Yeah, that’s on top of Veronica restarting their relationship under partially false pretenses. This has the makings of a dirty bomb just waiting to explode.

Robyn: And somehow buying Pop’s is involved and Veronica becomes okay with it.

Andy: Betty getting a gift-wrapped finger was fun. This episode was set during Christmas, but aside from that there weren’t too many Christmas references which is weird because of the Black Hood’s religious connotations.

Chuck: Well, Christmas is the birth of Christ, the restoration of hope and love in the world. Black Hood is Old Testament. “You’re a sinner? Fuck you, no forgiveness.”

Andy: Good point!

Chuck: …there really isn’t much to talk about with this episode, to be honest. We haven’t really covered the amazing Christmas gamesmanship between mother and daughter Blossom, but it was basically just the Riverdale version of a digest comic. It works better on its own, for you to marvel at yourself. It was a good arc finale, I thought; we got temporary solutions to some stories that allow those plots to be throttled down before the wheels start spinning, and we’re seeing the setup of an emotionally dangerous new status quo that could leave some devastating, dramatic fallout. I’m happy with it. How about you guys?

Andy: I’m a little unsatisfied with the resolution but it could just be a speed bump in a longer season set-up.

Chuck: I guess we’ll see in a few weeks!

Your Riverdale Locks of the Week

Who is The Black Hood(’s accomplice)?

Chuck: One last time, at least for now, since the case is about to go dormant for the next while.

Andy: We may never get a resolution but I’m going with Betty’s brother since we haven’t met him yet.

Robyn: I totally forgot Betty had a brother. So we know that the men in the picture are the generation of the grandparents. We have Grandpa Louis, presumably Nana Rose’s husband, and then how many more?

Chuck: I think it was four men and a woman, the woman being Nana Rose, and she wasn’t around for the burial. The other two are unnamed, but I wouldn’t be shocked if they were also descendants. But for my personal theory, Grandpa Louis would be enough to establish the beginning of a motive for Hal or even Chick Cooper. Chick might be a little young based on the eyes Archie saw…

Robyn: Okay so there are 5 men. 3 are white for sure, 2 are not. I am guessing, one is Pop, one is …. The mayor’s dad?

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Chuck: Or Hermione’s dad.

Robyn: Who got letters? The mayor, the Lodges, Betty…

Chuck: Pop didn’t get a letter.

Robyn: Neither did Mr. Andrews or Moose and Midge… I don’t know where I am going with this, other than Betty burning the letters at the end was probably a mistake.

Chuck: I’m sticking with the known players for now. 75:1 Svenson acting alone, 7:1 Sheriff Keller, 5:1 Hal Cooper.

Robyn: I’m betting 2:1 Svenson and an accomplice. I am also kicking myself for being played into doubting Svenson as the Hood and pulling my previous bet!

Andy: I’m gonna say 3:1 Svenson is a fall guy with Betty’s brother as the mastermind.

Chuck’s Star of the Episode

Chuck: I’m giving it up for KJ Apa, with a strong assist from Rob Seidenglanz. Apa did an amazing job charting Archie’s fast but believable character growth from “wounded and angry” to “stoic determination,” and it’s punctuated in that moment where Archie looks like he’s shot the Hood. Seidenglanz slows it down, drops out the sound after the gunshot, and you can see on his face that he doesn’t want to do it, not like he did at the beginning of the season. It’s a thunderous moment.

Andy: Archie has swerved wildly from smart to dumb this season but I think they’ve fixed the problem where Archie is a supporting character in everyone’s story instead of the narrative really being about him.

Robyn: The show has really become an ensemble and it is a relief that Archie doesn’t have to carry everything, even though he is capable.

Andy’s Star of the Episode

Andy: Definitely gotta go with Nana Blossom. I want a whole spinoff about The Blossoms starring a young Nana Rose.

Robyn: Nana is easily one of the most interesting characters in the show. The Blossoms as a whole give off a very VC Andrews vibe and I don’t know how to deal with it.

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Chuck: “You should’ve drowned them at birth, like a basket of kittens.” That’s a real line. That’s an actual line Nana Blossom said about her grandchildren.

Robyn’s Star of the Episode

Robyn: I’m giving gold stars to each of the Blossom women. Their games of one-upmanship are endlessly entertaining, and they enthrall me.

Chuck: The Blossoms refuse to acknowledge reality so reality bends to them.

Andy: Blossoms 4 life.

Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8/7 CT on The CW. New episodes are available on The CW’s website in the US, Netflix internationally.

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