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Riverdale 2x03: The Watcher in the Woods

Only Riverdale would give us shirtless teen vigilantes. We're not mad at it.

Riverdale 2x03: The Watcher in the Woods

Previously, on Riverdale: Midge and Moose were shot at Lovers Lane, Archie fancies himself a gunslinger, Hiram Lodge is dangerous AF, and Betty Cooper saved the day all over Riverdale.

The Rundown

Miraculously, neither Moose nor Midge was killed by the lunatic firing into their car. Can't a couple of teens just make out in a car while high? Is nothing sacred in America anymore? Our killer seems to have a "moralistic" bent, revealed by a note that he sent to Mama Cooper to be published in tomorrow's paper. He sends along Fred's wallet and Creepy Grundy's heart-shaped glasses as proof of his identity.  Archie is unhappy with the lack of action from local police, Veronica is trying to get a handle on her father (good luck, Boo), Jughead is finding his place at Southside High, Cheryl is stirring the pot, and Kevin Keller breaks all of our hearts.

The Teens

Archie is becoming obsessed with keeping the town safe and forms a vigilante squad, because of course he does. 

LOLOL but why are they shirtless?? Ok, bros.

Let me stop hatin' on my favorite ginger. I know we always give Archie crap, but he did save Ethel from a random Murder Van following her home (WHY ARE YOU WALKING HOME ALONE IN THE DARK, ETHEL? Everyone on this show needs to start listening to My Favorite Murder, I swear to God.)

Awww. He's such a sweet kid. A bit naive, but sweet.

Jughead is settling in (if you can call it that) at the terrifying Southside High. He's approached by fellow Serpent, TONI TOPAZ (I squee more about her below), who shows him the ropes and tries to convince him that his Lone Wolf aesthetic won't do him any favors at Southside High. Jughead is determined to forever brood, and it's not until he's attacked by a rival gang member (or IS HE, because we never actually see who attacks him) that he finally sidles up to the Serpent's lunch table. He also convinces a teacher to start up The Red and Black again (Southside's defunct school paper), and Toni Topaz is ready and willing to be his ace photographer.

Cheryl is lonely, bored, and slightly evil so of course she inserts herself in the middle of Kevin and Betty's fight. STIR THAT POT, CHERYL.

Kevin and Moose have a really sad, touching scene at Moose's hospital bedside. Kevin's loneliness is palpable, and even though he and Moose have hooked up in the past I think that what they really need are other gay dudes to be friends with. I'm hoping that this can happen, especially for Kevin.

The Grownups

Parent MVP of the week goes to Sheriff Keller. He doesn't yell at Kevin (even though he was putting his life at risk in those woods), but instead acknowledges that he hasn't been there for Kevin in a way that lets his son know that his pain and loneliness don't go unnoticed:

Coopers gonna Coop, so Polly makes the (incredibly smart) choice to leave Riverdale while this zealot of a killer is on the loose. Unwed mother pregnant with her cousin's babies? She may as well have a target painted on her back. She leaves, only saying good-bye to Betty, while Mom and Pop Cooper take the killer's letter to the sheriff. Despite his pleas for preventing widespread panic, that letter is already going to press for tomorrow's front page.

Which leaves us with The Lodges. I could write SEVERAL paragraphs about the obvious mental/emotional abuse that Hermione has suffered/is suffering at the hands of her grody husband, but instead I will just acknowledge the dynamic shifts that have taken place since Hiram has returned home. Is Hermione trying to protect Veronica or is she trying to protect herself first? Did anyone else hiss when Hermoine told Veronica to stop being so thirsty for her dad's approval? WHO TALKS LIKE THAT TO THEIR DAUGHTER? Part of me wants to believe that she's willing to alienate herself from Veronica if it means keeping her safe, but I can't be entirely sure. Hiram dangling Entry To His Study over Veronica like some kind of carrot is just super foul, and that portrait of her that he keeps above his desk made me gag a little. Veronica Lodge is NOT a demure little thing with her hands clasped in her lap, sir. She sure as hell is NOT.

The Clues

The killer had Fred's wallet and Grundy's glasses. so it's the same guy. But what about the creeper who yelled at Kevin to get into his car? Is he a red herring? And who the hell was in the van stalking Ethel? All we really know is that we know nothing. I'm ok with that, we've got, like, twenty more episodes to go.

Outfit MVP

Y'all, I am so excited for the debut of Toni Topaz. Let's just say that her new look is a serious upgrade from her original one:

In the current run of Archie, Toni is bisexual. I'm totally shipping her with Cheryl. #blosspaz

Poor Cheryl Kevin/A Fine Line

“You act like we’ve got the same set of options. You live in this pale pink world of milkshakes and first kisses, and “Am I going to date Archie or Jughead? Right! Right! Right! Except for when you’re exploring your BDSM sexuality, which again you’re allowed to do. But I’m not, because why? This is what I’ve got, Betty. Me, these woods, so please don’t come here and tell me it’s disgusting. If you can’t accept what I do, whatever I do then we’re just not really friends.”

What's Coming

Burning Questions

Are there any other eligible teenage gay boys in Riverdale? I can't stand seeing Kevin put himself at risk just to feel normal. <3

Hiram Lodge giving Archie a tumbler of rum: gross or super gross?

When will Dark Betty return? (Props to Cheryl for the reference.)

Is Hermione the ultimate Ride or Die wife, or is she just playing a part for her own safety (and Veronica's)?


One of the other gangs at Southside High is called The Goolies, who have a direct connection to Sabrina in the comics; backdoor pilot, perhaps? Intensive googling provided the following:

Meredith, do you already own this??

I was so happy to see Kevin so get so much storytime this week, and as always it was a delight to see Cheryl as Riverdale's own Evil Queen. Come share your thoughts with me below! 

Categories: Tubin' Tags: cwriverdale
Amanda Reid's photo About the Author: Amanda R. is an East Coast girl living in California who will never stop missing a true autumn. She's a bookseller who specializes in kid and teen lit, the leader of FYA Oakland, and bakes a damn fine pie.