‘Riverdale’ Chapter Forty-Five Recap: Oh, Hey, Hal Cooper

*Warning: Spoilers ahead*

Last week’s episode of Riverdale left us with a gory scene, featuring Archie (K.J. Apa) lying in a pool of his own blood after getting mauled by a bear. And tonight, we resume with an action-packed installment that (of course) ends on a cliffhanger.

Here’s what went down in Chapter Forty-Five of Riverdale, titled “The Stranger.”

veronica lodge riverdale season 3
Jack Rowand/The CW

The episode opens on Jughead (Cole Sprouse) narrating as Archie returns home to his dad, Fred (Luke Perry).

“Archie Andrews died…at least, the Archie we knew,” he says.

When Archie visits Veronica (Camila Mendes) at La Bonne Nuit, she immediately embraces him before breaking down, considering her father, Hiram (Mark Consuelos), is the reason he’s running in the first place.

At Pops Diner, Veronica, Jughead and Betty (Lili Reinhart) are filling in Archie on what’s been happening in Riverdale. You know, like the Serpents’ protection and Fangs’s (Drew Ray Tanner) new undercover role in the Gargoyle gang.

“My bet is that it’s Hiram underneath the mask. Sorry, Veronica,” Jughead says.

At school, Principal Weatherbee (Peter Bryant) is helping Archie transition back into his classes. Since the SAT is Saturday, and he’s done zero—we repeat, zero—prep work, the principal strongly recommends he repeat his junior year.

Of course, Archie’s only worried about one thing: “And not graduate with my friends?” You heard the man.

Later on, Veronica surprises Archie with a welcome home celebration at La Bonne Nuit and serenades him with an impromptu performance. While Reggie (Charles Melton) cringes in the corner, Archie keeps getting flashbacks (or visions?) of an altercation with Hiram and runs out of the speakeasy.

betty cooper riverdale season 3
Jack Rowand/The CW

Meanwhile, Alice’s (Mädchen Amick) cult is raining on Betty’s parade. Not only did she donate Betty’s college funds to the farm, but she’s also been secretly visiting Hal (Lochlyn Munro) in jail, which leaves Betty with no choice but to do the same.

In prison, it looks like a scene straight out of Silence of the Lambs. (Glass cell included.) Hal agrees to sign an affidavit to reclaim Betty’s money, but only if she’ll bring him a manual to Griffins & Gargoyles.

She obliges, which prompts him to dive into a rant about how he killed Principal Featherhead (Anthony Michael Hall) the night the Midnight Club was formed.

When Betty returns home, she confronts her mom, who denies visiting Hal in jail.

So, Betty calls up the prison and asks for a description of the “Alice Cooper” who has been visiting her dad.

Cut to Betty sitting with Penelope (Nathalie Boltt) at Pops Diner, confronting her for posing as her mother to visit her father. Although Penelope doesn’t reveal much, she assures Betty that Hal didn’t kill Principal Featherhead.

When Betty returns to the jail, Hal laughs in her face.

“Think about it, Betty,” he says. “Why would someone tell his daughter that?”

“To keep me on the line,” Betty says before adding, “To keep me coming back.”

reggie riverdale season 31
Jack Rowand/The CW

According to Fangs, the Gargoyle King is hosting a ceremony at a clearing not too far from Riverdale.

During the ceremony, Jughead and the Serpents spring into action before anything happens to Fangs. When they pull off the Gargoyle King’s mask, they discover Tall Boy (Scott McNeil) in the costume. During an interrogation, Jughead demands to know how he’s involved with the Gargoyle King, but he’s not budging.

So, Jughead pretends to be Tall Boy, calls Hiram and asks to meet up. When they do, the Serpents are shocked to see Claudius Blossom (Barclay Hope) in his place.

Back at school, Archie tries to ask Reggie for advice about cheating on the SATs, and Reggie accidentally spills the beans about Veronica, apologizing for going behind his back and kissing her. Whoops.

During the SAT, Archie can’t focus on the task at hand. After breaking his pencil, he storms out of the classroom, resulting in an automatic zero.

Cut to Hiram talking on the phone in his study, followed by a bullet wound straight to the chest.

When Archie arrives at the hospital, Veronica is quick to judge. “He was shot sometime after you ran out of the SATs,” she says in an accusatory tone.

This is the last straw for Archie, and he labels them officially “done.”

Elsewhere in Riverdale, Jughead checks in on Tall Boy only to find him dead on the ground. Since the Serpents claim it was an accident, Jughead devises a foolproof plan:

“We’re gonna throw a party,” he says.

jughead betty riverdale season 3
Jack Rowand/The CW

The episode concludes with a montage of brief—yet important—scenes. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Claudius is found dead in his jail cell, and no one’s upset about it.
  • Reggie surprises Veronica at the hospital with balloons and flowers.
  • Hermione invites F.P. over, saying, “I think it’s time.”
  • Right when Jughead kicks off the party, a cop car pulls up with the town’s newest sheriff: F.P.
  • Fred asks Archie if he’s OK, and he’s definitely not.

What does F.P.’s new job mean for Jughead? And when will we finally get a glimpse of Mrs. Mulwray (Kelly Ripa)? Guess we’ll have to wait until Riverdale returns to the CW next Wednesday, January 30, at 8 p.m.


Senior Editor

Greta Heggeness is a California-based editor at PureWow and has been writing about entertainment since 2015. She covers everything from awards shows to exclusive celebrity...