After a painful holiday break, Riverdale returns with ” Chapter Twenty-Three: The Blackboard Jungle.” In this kick-off to the second half of season two, there were some major developments and shocking reveals. The Southside school has been closed, shuttling Jughead and the Serpents to an unwelcoming Riverdale High. Heartbroken that her sister’s basically joined a cult, Betty sought out her long lost brother, unearthing a sketchy, angry young man who ends the ep leering at her as she sleeps. Lastly, Cheryl Blossom learned her mother’s taken to sex work to pay their bills, and not even regaining the blood money from her daughter’s would-be rapist will change her mind on the matter. But there’s a curious question from Chapter Twenty-Two that lingered in this ep: Who is spying on Archie Andrews?
Let’s consider the possibilities.
Mrs. Grundys’ Ex
Back when Grundy was molesting Archie, she mentioned an abusive ex from whom she was on the run. This unnamed, unseen figure has been a fan favorite when it comes to Riverdale fan theories. So maybe he’s not just a sob story Grundy made up, but an actual threat who’s gunning for Archie.
Sure. Except there’s been zero evidence that Grundy’s Ex exists. The late music teacher was a skilled manipulator who isolated Archie from his friends for her own perverse ends. When she was murdered in the season two premiere, some suspected it was her ex returning to reap revenge, by shooting Archie’s dad and strangling her. But since then, the identity of the Black Hood has been uncovered. Though the Green-Eyed Man may still be at large, it seems Grundy’s Ex is solely another Grundy lie.
Played by Molly Ringwald, it seems almost inconceivable Mary Andrews would do such a shady thing as spy on her son. But considering her estranged husband has been shot and her son’s life repeatedly threatened, I wonder if maybe she hasn’t hired a private eye to keep an eye on her boy. This theory is admittedly thin, as we know very little about Mary. And I have no idea why photos of Archie making out with Veronica would be of any use to Mary. But in Riverdale, anything is possible.
Special Agent Adams
He’s the most obvious answer, and the one the episode assumes we’ll accept. But we never actually see Adams with a camera. And there’s an even bigger question about this FBI agent who quickly convinces Archie to be his spy on the Lodge family’s dirty dealings. Namely, is Adams really from the FBI?
Sure, Adams flashed a badge, but there’s some serious red flags here. For one: what’s the likelihood that the FBI would want an impulsive teen who has a history of fighting and starting vigilante vengeance groups to be their inside man? Why not reach out to Fred Andrews, a renowned member of the community? Even if the FBI thinks Fred is in cahoots with the Lodges, wouldn’t he be in a better position to learn about Hiram’s operations and be easier squeezed for information because his business and freedom could be threatened? And most perplexing, even after Archie assaults a potential witness, Adams keeps him on. I suspect gullible Archie’s being played. To what end, I’m not sure.
Someone from the Riverdale Reaper debacle
I’m not confident Sheriff Keller caught/killed the real Black Hood, and neither is Archie. There could be two killers out there, and/or Joseph Conway was a fall guy. The end of this ep promises more revelations on this matter are coming. Since Archie was digging deep into the cover-up of the vigilante vengeance that befell a seemingly innocent man blamed for the Riverdale Reaper murders, it’s possible that someone connected to the photo above is keeping an eye on Andrews. Sure, the men in the photo will be as old as Grandmother Blossom. But they may also be as well-connected as she, meaning everyone in Riverdale is a suspect.