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Recap / Riverdale - Chapter 20: Tales from the Darkside

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Title From: Tales from the Darkside (1983)

In his latest letter, the Black Hood challenges the town of Riverdale to remain sinless for the next 48 hours, or he'll strike again.

Penny Peabody calls in the favor that Jughead owes her, telling FP has been brutally assaulted by the Ghoulies in prison, and uses this to convince him to make a one-time drug delivery to Greendale to earn money so she can help get FP out of prison sooner. Jughead enlists Archie's help, and the two head to Greendale in Fred's truck with the crate of drugs in tow. On the way, the truck breaks down, and Jughead hitchhikes a ride with a mysterious stranger, who tells him the real story of the murders committed by the Riverdale Reaper before angrily accusing Jughead and Archie of being sinners and leaving. Archie, having caught up with Jughead, helps him deliver the crate to the destination, where the receivers inform Jughead that Penny has made him their regular drug mule. Later, while visiting his father, Jughead discovers that the assault was a lie Penny concocted to convince him to go through with the delivery. Penny reveals a personal vendetta against FP which she is now holding against Jughead. She forces Jughead to work for her from now on, threatening to release video footage of him delivering the drugs if he doesn't comply.


With Mayor McCoy receiving increasingly threatening letters, Josie has been receiving gifts and letters from a secret admirer in her locker, which she assumes are from a recently-reformed, aspiring artist Chuck, who has recently asked her out on a date. However, the secret admirer's actions grow increasingly violent and possessive, first damaging Josie's friendship with the other Pussycats and then sending her a bloody pig's heart and a threatening note. With some convincing from Cheryl, and thinking the drawing with the threatening note is Chuck's doing, Josie accuses Chuck of being the culprit, and he is arrested. However, it is then revealed that the whole ploy was orchestrated by Cheryl, who is Josie's actual secret admirer.

Betty suspects Sheriff Keller of being the Black Hood, while Veronica believes that he is simply having an affair. To investigate, Betty first questions Keller, then goes as far as to break into his house, convinced he is hiding something. Veronica on the other hand uses a sleepover at the Kellers to gather more information, eventually finding out that Keller has a habit of leaving his house in the middle of the night and returning before dawn. The two girls follow Keller one night to a motel, where they discover that he is indeed having an affair... with none other than Mayor McCoy. Betty and Veronica then decide to keep it a secret for Kevin's sake.


The night ends with everyone reconvening at Pop's, where Pop receives a phone call from the Black Hood informing them that they have failed his test, and that they are all sinners in his eyes. The Black Hood ominously promises a reckoning, one that may come sooner than any of them might expect...


  • Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder: It turns out that Kevin's Missing Mom is stationed overseas. Sheriff Keller is having an affair with Mayor McCoy.
  • All There in the Script: The mysterious stranger played by Tony Todd, who picks up Jughead is named Farmer McGinty, but the name is never mentioned during the episode proper.
  • Blackmail: Peabody tricks Jughead into making an illegal delivery for her to Greendale and films him in the act. She uses this as leverage to force him to work for her permanently.
  • Bland-Name Product: Archie suggests calling "Triple C" when his car gets a flat tire.
  • Bodyguard Crush: Downplayed Trope, but in this episode it's revealed that Mayor McCoy and Sheriff Keller are having an affair. Since Mayor McCoy has been receiving death threats, and Sheriff Keller is the sheriff, there are several scenes that have him loitering around protectively in the background. Considering that McCoy first received threats when she was running for office, it's almost certain that Keller's role as her protector began before their relationship did.
  • Canon Immigrant: Greendale's implied supernatural ties make their way into the show, after one of the comics involved a man traveling to Greendale from Sedona and stopping at Pop's, heavily implied to be Satan.
  • Cassandra Truth: Chuck claims that he is trying to be a better person, yet no one believes him.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Josie dreamed that the Black Hood slit her throat, and wakes up with a sore throat.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: A deer walks by Archie, and giving him a Thousand-Yard Stare.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Chuck, who in all his previous appearances has been nothing but antagonistic to the main characters, is genuinely trying to turn over a new leaf and be a better person. Unfortunately for him, most people around him don't really buy it.
  • Idiot Ball: Jughead doesn't seem to consider the possibility that Peabody is toying with him, especially considering his father's rather adamant warnings.
  • If I Can't Have You...: The note Josie receives. It reads:
    If I can't have you no one can.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane:
    • This episode is the first to establish that there is something off about Greendale, without outright confirming it is supernatural. To wit:
      • Penny implies there's something of a When the Clock Strikes Twelve situation about the town.
      • After Jughead drives off with Farmer McGinty, a blood covered deer walks out of the woods, crosses the road, stops, and turns to look creepily at Archie.
      • The crate Archie and Jughead drive to Greendale. The boys and Farmer McGinty are both convinced that it contains drugs, but it is secured by chains and the writing on the side points to it originating in Lovecraft Country.
    • Farmer McGinty seems to believe that the Riverdale Reaper and the Black Hood are one and the same, despite being active decades apart from one another.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Penny targets Jughead as a way to get back at FP for breaking a promise to her in the past, all because Jughead is FP's son.
  • Reality Ensues: Sorry, Chuck, but no matter how genuine you are, people aren't going to be convinced that a former misogynistic, slut-shaming cyberbully has changed, nor are you going to be forgiven so easily.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: Chuck, for obvious reasons.
  • Rescue Romance: Fans have been shipping Cheryl and Josie since the show began, but it's only after Josie rescues Cheryl from being raped that we start to see Cheryl's crush on her.
  • Scary Black Man: Farmer McGinty, the driver who stops to help Jughead and Archie.
  • Shout-Out: The episode features several:
Do not Open
Miskatonic University
Via H. P. Lovecraft
Polar Expedition
Jan. 13, 1923
  • Jughead calls Farmer McGinty, the mysterious stranger he hitched a hike with "Mr. American Gothic".
  • Cheryl pushing Archie and Jughead apart while walking through the hallway.
    Cheryl: Out of the way, Ernie and Bert.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Josie's stalker seems to be this sort. First the janitor, then the Black Hood, then Chuck, then Cheryl, and presented to this this person. They also play with the idea of Stalker with a Crush vs. Stalker Without a Crush. While both possibilities are creepy, Stalker Without a Crush seems to be more dangerous of the two, because a Stalker with a Crush at least cares about her.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Farmer McGinty's reaction when Jughead finds a dead deer under the tarp on his truck.
    Farmer McGinty: Don't worry, I got my permits. I'm no thrill-seeking sicko, like the Black Hood or the Riverdale Ripper.
  • Swiss Cheese Security: Sheriff Keller left his spare key under the flowerpot a yard away from his front door. In other words, the most obvious place to hide a key.
  • Title Drop: Not an exact word-for-word one, but it counts. Jughead talks to Archie about the Riverdale Reaper, the murders that the stranger told him about.
    Jughead: Maybe it's just a tale from the darkside but... what if it's an actual lead?
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: Seriously, Betty? We get that you have your suspicions about Keller and want to figure out who the Black Hood is, but breaking into the sheriff's home?
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve: Implied by Penny in regards to Greendale.
    Penny: Now you just gotta make the drop-off and get out of there before midnight, cause you don't want to be in Greendale after midnight, trust me.
  • Yandere: Cheryl this for Josie. Cheryl starts leaving anonymous gifts for her. After she starts maybe liking Chuck, Cheryl sends Josie a pig's heart and a threatening note, and convinces Josie that the perpetrator is Chuck. We later see Cheryl comforting a shaken Josie.
  • You Have Failed Me: The Black Hood called Pops to tell the kids Riverdale has failed. There will be a reckoning...
  • Your Cheating Heart: Both Sheriff Keller and Mayor McCoy are cheating on their respective spouses with each other. Their spouses are both absent from their lives, Mrs. Keller being stationed with the Navy in Bahrain and Miles McCoy being a musician constantly on tour.

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