[SPOILERS for those not caught up on Riverdale ahead.]
The Black Hood killer gives Betty (Lili Reinhart) an ultimatum in the trailer for the Riverdale season 2 episode, ‘Chapter Eighteen: When a Stranger Calls’. Taking a cue from the Ghostface killers of the Scream franchise, the Black Hood used a voice distorter when they called Betty at the conclusion of this week’s episode, ‘Chapter Seventeen: The Town That Dreaded Sundown’. Question is, did the villain do that because they knew Betty would recognize their voice, as an extra precaution to ensure that no one in ‘The Town With Pep’ figures out their identity – or both?
Riverdale season 1 played with Noir and soapy B-movie conventions in a very self-knowing manner, as evidenced by the fact that nearly every episode was titled after an infamous B-movie or cult classic. Season 2 is taking the same approach to incorporating psychological thriller and horror movie tropes into the mix, with ‘When a Stranger Calls’ taking its name from the 1979 horror/thriller of the same name; itself, a film about a babysitter who is terrorized by a serial killer, who then returns several years later to torment her once again. Like the baddie in that movie, the Black Hood has a thing for torturing young women over the phone, it would seem.
Both the trailer and synopsis for ‘When a Stranger Calls’ confirm that Betty is given “an ultimatum that could potentially destroy some of her closest relationships” by the Black Hood, when they call her up. Towards the end of the episode’s promo (see the video embedded above), Betty is shown begging the killer to not hurt “her,” without specifying who she is referring to. There are, of course, several different people that Betty could be referring to here, but the safe bet would probably be her sister Polly (Tiera Skovbye) – ironically, the one Riverdale resident who left town this season in order to stay safe while the Black Hood was on the loose.
As it turns out, there’s a lot more going on in ‘When a Stranger Calls’ than Betty’s deadly game with Black Hood. The episode’s synopsis reveals that Betty’s mom Alice (Mädchen Amick) has taken the next step in her campaign against the Southside of Riverdale, by publishing a “fiery peace” in the Riverdale Register that further causes tensions to rise. This pushes Jughead (Cole Sprouse) to embrace his own connections to the Southside Serpents, in an attempt to maintain the already-fragile peace in town. If that all weren’t enough, the Lodge parents are also hosting their SoDale open house at the same time – while Veronica (Camila Mendes) get a visit from Nick St. Clair (Graham Philips), her ex-boyfriend, who’s in town looking to get into a different sort of trouble.
Promising to deliver even more of the psychological thrills that have already come to define Riverdale in its second season, in combination with a healthy dose of the show’s bread-and-butter soapy teen drama, ‘When a Stranger Calls’ has the makings of yet another enjoyable addition to this year’s slate of episodes. The regular season length means that Riverdale season 2 isn’t burning through plot material quite as rapidly as season 1 did, but the series thankfully hasn’t lost any of its pulpy spirit in its second time at bat thus far.
Riverdale continues Wednesday, November 8 with ‘Chapter Eighteen: When a Stranger Calls’ on The CW.
Source: The CW
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