Riverdale Season 2, Episode 17 Recap: "The Noose Tightens"

Photo: Courtesy of The CW.
By the end of last week, Cheryl’s (Madelaine Petsch) being tortured with conversion therapy, Betty (Lili Reinhart) is living with Jughead (Cole Sprouse), and now this week everyone and their mom and dad, literally, is running for various forms of government.
This week's theme is righting wrongs and by the end of the episode we’re almost lulled into a sense of calm, but the beauty of Riverdale is: the ending is just the beginning… and gets you even more excited for the next episode to come.
Cheryl is sadly where we left her, with the Sisters of Quiet Mercy, locked up undergoing some kind of conversion therapy where she is made to watch films about “deviant” behaviour. Interestingly the short film, which appears to be from the '50s, features Kevin (Casey Cott) and Moose (Cody Kearsley) as “actors” engaging in deviant behaviour which actually depicts their first encounter down by Sweetwater River.
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At a “School Hall” being held for the candidates running for the school election, Archie (KJ Apa) and Veronica (Camila Mendes), Jughead and Betty, and Reggie (Charles Melton) and Josie (Ashleigh Murray) are all running as couples against each other. I’m not sure I ever got the Reggie + Josie memo officially but I’m down.
After the meeting, Betty tries to dodge her mom because she’s living with Jughead now and doesn’t want to be dragged home. FP (Skeet Ulrich) talks to Alice (Mädchen Amick) in the hallway and tells her to make things right with Betty before she moves out, like Jughead did, to the drive-in, also because he’s sleeping on his own pull-out couch and he’s over it.
There’s still some tension betweens the Lodges and Andrews over unsigned paperwork so they can separate their businesses, and Veronica compares them to the Montagues and Capulets.
Hiram (Mark Consuelos) later gets a not-so-friendly visit from his old business associates, Lenny Kowalski (Eli Gabay) and Carl Martin (Mark Gibbon), who see Hermione’s (Marisol Nichols) run for Mayor as a danger to their own business dealings, which aren’t exactly on the up and up. Hiram doesn’t let on right away, but this is unsettling.
In other news, we learn the “Shady Man’s” (Christian Sloan) car, which Betty and Jughead dumped, has been found in the swamp! Alice, FP, Jughead, and Betty agree to lay low so as to not draw any suspicions. Alice implores Betty to move home but Betty says she will not until Chic (Hart Denton) moves out.
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At school, Sweet Pea (Jordan Connor) and Fangs (Drew Ray Tanner), flanked by other student Serpents, say they won’t support Jughead running for Student Government with Betty because The Serpents believe Betty will bail on them like Alice, her mother, did.
In a shameless display of machismo, Reggie challenges Archie to an arm wrestling match in order to settle who will get The Bulldogs’ votes, aka the athletic votes, for Student Government. Archie wins, of course.
Toni (Vanessa Morgan) calls Josie and Veronica together because she just knows Penelope’s (Nathalie Boltt) story about Cheryl being in a Swiss boarding school is a lie. Josie and Veronica agree that Cheryl’s lack of social media activity is a clear sign of foul play, and not just a digital detox, so they are on board to help get Cheryl back. Cut to scenes of Cheryl being taunted by The Sisters... A rescue could not come soon enough.
At a restaurant, that is surprisingly not Pop’s, Hiram meets with Lenny Kowalski and Carl Martin who explain why they want will take 25% of Hiram’s for-profit jail in Riverdale. Hiram refuses because he’ll be profitless but he doesn’t have the strength in numbers he once had.
Left to their own devices, Jughead and Betty decide to investigate what’s going on with the discovered car and Kevin tells them the owner, who lives in Riverdale, already claimed the car. Cue Betty’s classic raised eyebrow.
At the trailer, Alice yells at Betty and Jughead for potentially raising suspicion by questioning Kevin. Chic is there and says Duane, the Shady Man, probably took the car from his girlfriend Darla. Alice again tells Betty to come home and Betty says not till Chic leaves, and FINALLY Chic says he’ll move out of the house — so Betty is going home, right then.
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Cheryl continues to be harassed by The Sisters, while Josie, Veronica, Toni question Penelope about Cheryl’s whereabouts. Penelope says Cheryl has been acting deviantly and in an effort to deter her daughter’s friends shows Josie the sketch Cheryl did of them together. We all knew that storyline would come back at some point! Penelope explains that Cheryl was obsessed with Josie and uses this as the excuse for why she sent Cheryl away and tells the girls to keep the mater private. Toni and Veronica don’t buy it, but Josie, who remembers the disturbing notes and pig’s heart left by her “admirer,” refuses help because she now believes it to have been Cheryl.
At home, Betty asks Alice for consent to get a Serpent tattoo but there isn't time for that because Chic walks in with DARLA! And as would be expected, Darla has seen through whatever story Chic tried to tell her, still unclear if they want to help or not, and very clearly blackmails the Coopers for $10,000 to keep quiet about their connection to the missing car. Alice agrees to the deal and sends Betty to the bank.
At the bank, Betty gets a call from Alice who tells her not to come home because now Chic’s old landlord is at the house as well as Darla. Shortly after, we see Betty back at the house, who gives the money to Darla and before things get heated with the Landlord, The Serpents literally bust down the door to rescue the Coopers. Betty tells Darla to take the money and run, and she does. Alice thanks Jughead and finally tells Chic to find another place to live because he’s brought them into danger twice and he cannot spend another night in the house.
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Archie and Veronica arrive at the Pembrooke to find Andre (Stephan Miers) getting beat up by someone in a masked hood. Archie envisions the black hood, and takes off after the masked assailant only to find out it’s Adams (John Behlmann), who is supposed to have been working for the Lodges but has clearly double crossed the family. The Lodges are in desperate need of protection but Hiram doesn’t have a plan.
Penelope leaves Nana Rose home alone in front of the TV watching Bob Ross painting “happy little trees” I kid you not! Once alone, Nana Rose throws herself to the ground in an attempt to get to the phone. Nana Rose calls the school and gets Toni on the line in order to tell Toni that Cheryl is “with the Sisters” before the line goes dead and we see Claudius (Barclay Hope) sinisterly standing over his mother with the cut phone line.
Toni tells Veronica about “The Sisters” and they realise it’s The Sisters of Quiet Mercy and Kevin confirms that The Sisters are still known to do “underground” conversion therapy and Kevin says there’s a secret tunnel they could use to find Cheryl.
Veronica and Toni go to break Cheryl out via the secret tunnel in their very, sexy spy outfits. Toni finds Cheryl and rescues her, but not before couple share a long awaited FIRST KISS! Veronica, Toni, and Cheryl race out of the secret tunnel to a waiting Kevin and escape the Sisters of Quiet Mercy.
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Defeated, Hiram tells Archie he’ll have to let Martin and Kowalski in on the prison deal because Hiram doesn’t have a chance of them backing off, but Archie has an idea. Archie goes to Reggie and offers to give him back the Bulldog votes if Reggie promises to show up at Hiram’s business dinner.
At the dinner, Hiram stands up Martin and Kowalski and when they go to their car in the parking lot it explodes. Archie, hidden by a black mask, surrounded by what we assume to be the Bulldogs also wearing black masks, threatens Martin and Kowalski explaining that “we” are the Dark Circle and they stand with Hiram to protect him and Riverdale. Dark Circle? Really, Riverdale? I don’t know if this was meant to be serious or an incredibly ironic reference to the Red Circle Archie formed to protect Riverdale from the Black Hood. Either way, now more than ever, I question how ridiculous Archie, as a character, really is.
With an absent Archie, even though he promised to attend, Fred gives his speech to announce his candidacy for Mayor. Mary Andrews, (Molly Ringwald) Archie’s Mom, is there for support but later presses Archie about why he didn’t show and asks who Archie has become and whatever happened to his friends and his music? A mother always knows; Archie is changed.
Maybe Mary can shake Archie out of his mobster dealings of this season and bring back the music man! It’s not likely though, as later at Pop’s, we see Hiram gift a convertible to Archie, which he takes and drives off in to school with Veronica.
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Alice goes to The Serpents to thank them and apologize for bashing them in The Register and swears that’s over. Alice shows up at FP’s trailer looking pretty serpent-y… Unclear what the visit means, but fingers crossed for the awesome, awkwardness of a #Bughead parental hook up!
Finally back at school, Cheryl, hanging out with Toni, promises to serve her mother and uncle some revenge, but first she has other plans and demands Kevin cast her as the lead in the school’s upcoming show: “Carrie: The Musical”.
Cheryl claims that she is obviously this school’s “Carrie White” no doubt a reference to how she’s been mistreated by her own mother and then says, “and this school is gonna burn." The look on Kevin’s face in the background is priceless, as always!
I’m sure we’re all waiting with baited breath now for the much gossiped about Riverdale Musical episode.
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