|“||Our story continues. The Mayor's Jubilee was supposed to change everything. Be a new start. But when we woke up the next morning, Riverdale was still, at its heart, a haunted town. Meanwhile, Archie Andrews, who doesn't even have a driver's license yet, is at this very moment careening down the streets of Riverdale, - trying to outrace death. [...] Now, I don't believe in miracles, usually, but it was a miracle that Archie got his dad to Riverdale General without wrecking the truck.||”|
"Chapter Fourteen: A Kiss Before Dying" is the first episode of the second season of Riverdale, and the fourteenth episode of the series overall. It is also the season premiere. It premiered on October 11, 2017. 
THE ANGEL OF DEATH — As Fred's life hangs in the balance following the shooting at Pop's diner, Archie struggles with the emotional aftermath of what he witnessed. Meanwhile, as Veronica steps out of her comfort zone to support Archie, she learns that her father Hiram has arrived to Riverdale earlier than expected. Elsewhere, at Pop’s diner, Pop Tate recounts the chilling details of the shooting, which leaves Jughead and Betty questioning the gunman's true motives. Lastly, after running into Cheryl at the hospital, Betty and Kevin are surprised to learn about the fire at Thornhill.
The episode unfolds with the aftermath of the last season's ending. Archie Andrews rushes his shot father, Fred, to the Riverdale General Hospital. Even though Archie Andrews doesn't even have a driver's license yet, he careens down the streets of Riverdale, trying to "outrace death". He finally arrives at the hospital, without wrecking the truck, as he shouts for help at the entrance, explaining that his father was shot. They put him on a wheeled stretcher as they rush to the emergency room. Archie stays on the other side of the door, reassuring his father repeatedly that he is waiting right there.
Suddenly, the time flashes forward to Archie's high-school graduation. As Fred is about to take a picture of Archie, Veronica, Betty and Jughead, he says that he just can't believe that he's there, at Archie's graduation, a day he didn't think he'd live to see. Jughead replies that he didn't. Fred is confused by this, so then Veronica reminds him of the incident that occurred at Pop's Chock'lit Shoppe. The same bell jingles, and the shooter appears as the graduates laugh. When the shooter enters the room, he brings out his gun and Fred yells for everyone to go down. The gun fires, and Fred returns to reality; in the hospital, on the operating table.
Meanwhile, Betty is at home eating breakfast with Alice. Alice approaches Betty, asking her what she and her friends did after the Jubilee. Betty replies that she went to Pop's and later went to FP's trailer with Jughead. It doesn't take long for Alice to assume that Betty and Jughead had sex. Betty assures her that they didn't, well they almost did, but they were interrupted. While initially glad to hear they were interrupted, when Betty says who interrupted them — the Serpents, Alice's demeanor changes. Alice tries to prove her point, saying she knew Jughead would fall into FP's criminal footsteps, and then Betty gets a phone call. Alice says that if Jughead's the caller, block him. Betty says, instead, that it's Archie, to which Alice says to block him too.
At the Pembrooke apartment, Veronica sits at the table with a glass of mimosa and a plate of chocolate almond croissant. When Hermione sees the glass of champagne in Veronica's hand, she reprimands her for opening the bottle of Cristal that was saved for her father's return. Veronica gets a phone call from Betty, who spreads the news from Archie. At the same time, Jughead also receives a phone call from Betty. Jughead exits the trailer, uncovers the motorcycle parked in front of the trailer, and without hesitation, gets on, puts on the helmet and leaves.
Betty and her parents, Alice and Hal, enter the hospital. She sees Veronica and her mother on the way, along with Jughead. They find Archie pacing back and forth, covered in the blood of Fred and embrace him in a group hug. When they all sit down, surrounding Archie, he explains what happened. Archie recounts the events at Pop's — Archie came out the bathroom to find a hooded man with green eyes pointing a gun at Pop Tate, then at his dad, Fred. He fired the gun, then bolted, leaving a bloody Fred on the floor. Pop Tate called the ambulance, but Archie took it upon himself to drive him all the way to the hospital, but he's questioning this decision as he thinks he may have made it worse. Jughead refuses to agree with that, saying that first, he saved Cheryl, now Fred, if he keeps it up, he might need a superhero name, as Jughead proposes, 'Pureheart the Powerful'.
With his dad still in surgery, Hermione urges Archie to speak to his mother. When Archie leaves the group, Alice scrutinizes Jughead, who questions her accusing look. Betty, already knowing her mother's thoughts, reprimands her from inciting a feud. Alice is nonchalant, pretending not to understand what she means. Despite a warning from Betty, Alice speaks up anyway, as she "can't help but wonder" if Jughead's Southside associates were involved in the robbery/shooting. Although Jughead can't speak for all of the Serpents, he knows she can't accuse his father, considering he's in jail.
In the hallway, Archie is on the phone with Mary Andrews, while initially hesitant to tell her about Fred, he does so anyway telling her about the incident, and that she should come immediately. When Sheriff Keller arrives, The core four greet him. They inform him of Fred's status before Sheriff Keller suggests Archie has a private conversation with him regarding the incident. When Jughead asks to tag along, Sheriff Keller doesn't agree at first, until Archie does.
Archie describes the shooter as a man that's maybe 5'10, 160 pounds or so. He was wearing dark pants and jacket. When Sheriff asks if there was a symbol or insignia on the jacket, Jughead immediately catches on to what he's insinuating; if the shooter was a Serpent. Archie states that it was just a normal, dark jacket, with no snakes. According to Archie, the shooter wasn’t wearing a ski mask; it was a homemade hood with the eyes cut out by themselves. Sheriff Keller says that Pop Tate did provide them with information of what happened, up until the point Fred got shot. Archie is asked to fill in the gaps. When asked about what the shooter did after shooting Fred, he hesitates, refusing to get into details, making it pretty clear that he’s keeping something from them. He simply states that he shot his dad, and ran out. Sheriff Keller's professional opinion is that it was probably someone out of his head on meth or the jingle jangle, or perhaps a Southside lowlife looking for a cash grab. Jughead asks how much cash he got, suspicious that robbery wasn't the motive. Sheriff Keller suggests it may be someone who has a grudge against Fred that wanted to make it look like a robbery, although it is too early to even speculate.
When Archie and Jughead make it back to the waiting room. Jughead, who noticed Archie holding something back to the Sheriff, confronts Archie, who tells him Fred just fired a bunch of Serpents from his construction crew. He’s worried one of them came back looking for revenge, and Jughead promises to use his Serpent connections to investigate further.
As Jughead leaves, Fred's doctor, Dr. Steven Masters, explains that Fred is out of surgery and Archie won’t be able to see him for at least an hour. They managed to get the bullet out and stop the internal bleeding, but Fred still cannot breathe on his own. Archie asks what he's supposed to do in the meantime, and Betty and Veronica recommend that he goes home to change. While Archie is reluctant to leave the hospital until he sees his father, Alice reassures Archie that Fred is strong stock, and not the man to leave things unfinished.
The time flashes forward again to another of Fred's hallucinatory visions, where Archie and his father are in the trailer at the Andrews Construction. Archie says that it is time for Fred to go, and Fred believes something is not feeling right. Archie reassures his dad and tells him he needs a break. Then, Archie says that they're waiting for him, which confuses his father. Archie continues by naming Uncle Oscar and Grandpa Artie. And suddenly, the door starts slamming, and Archie states that it is the dead relatives. The vision ends, as Fred is drawn back to the reality, where he is lying on the bed.
Archie and Veronica return home, where Vegas runs towards them excitedly. Archie rushes to get out without changing his clothes, but Veronica stops him telling him that he needs to get out of those bloody clothes first. They go out, and Archie talks about the Vegas' strong relationship with his father. Veronica stops walking, overcome by emotions, to which Archie embraces her.
Jughead has a meeting with Tall Boy and Young Serpent, two members of the Southside Serpents. Jughead explains that Fred was shot during a robbery at Pop's by a hooded man He explains his physical characteristics, and one Serpent says that they don't wear masks. However, Serpents were actually working for Fred Andrews, and, for reasons unknown, he decided to let them go, someone could've taken it personally, went rogue, and attempted to harm Fred. Tall Boy reassures Jughead, telling him that he'll knock heads and let him know.
Back at the Andrews house, Archie finally takes a shower, when he and Veronica return from walking Vegas. Veronica walks up to the door and asks if he's okay. Deciding to join him instead, Veronica walks in, and strips down her clothes, initiating another steamy session.
At the hospital, Kevin hands Betty a cup of coffee. Kevin gets Betty's mind off the matter at hand and talks about what happened with Jughead and Betty. He is shocked to hear that Betty and Jughead are officially a couple on their own terms. Betty continues by saying that things may become complicated for her relationships, in a "my boyfriend may be joining the Serpents" kind of way, to Kevin's shock. He reminds her of his experience with a serpent boyfriend, Joaquin, but Betty contradicts that, saying he was nice, sweet. But as far as Kevin is concerned, he possessed those qualities when he wasn't dumping bodies in Sweetwater River or mopping up buckets of blood. Cheryl Blossom arrives at the hospital, following a doctor pushing a gurney with a bandaged person on it.
Curious, Betty and Kevin approach Cheryl, who reveals that Penelope is on the gurney. She explains that there was a terrible fire at Thornhill last night. However, rather than telling them the truth, that she started the fire in an attempt to start over, Cheryl creates a cover story; She was asleep after the incident at Sweetwater River, the breeze probably knocked a lit candle over, setting fire to the curtains. After Penelope returned from the Jubilee, she ran headlong into the blaze to save Cheryl. Unfortunately for her, she suffered third-degree burns and acute smoke inhalation in the process. Cheryl then asks Kevin and Betty why they are here.
Back at Archie's house, Veronica folds Fred's clothes, as Archie walks in. Archie starts searching for his father's wallet but is unable to find it. He claims that everything that is important to his dad is in that wallet, and starts to get angry. He lashes out at Veronica, and tells her to leave, to Veronica's disbelief. She starts to walk away but pauses. Realizing what it means to be a good girlfriend, she refuses because he needs some form of moral support. He may be angry, hurting and terrified, and he can push her and scream at her, but she's not going anywhere.
Later, Archie is called to the police station where Sheriff Keller and Archie go through a lineup of suspects who have a history of criminal records of armed robberies or some other violent crimes. He instructs the men in the room to put on a ski mask, then asking Archie if he's prepared. As Archie goes through the lineup, he gets flashbacks of Black Hood and notices that none of them look him.
Meanwhile, back at the hospital, Veronica arrives and speaks to Jughead and Betty, where she informs them both that Archie is back at the police station, attempting to identify the shooter in a lineup conjured by Sheriff Keller. Betty then tells them that they all should go and be there with him, as it'll be traumatizing for Archie to be there alone. Veronica interrupts Betty, asking her if they could do her a favor instead. Fred's wallet is missing, Veronica and Archie think that it might still be back at Pop's. His wallet is either there, or maybe in possession of the shooter. Betty suggests that the gunman probably took his wallet for the cash. Jughead offers a more distressing theory; what if it wasn't just a robbery and was a hit instead. This coming from the fact that Riverdale is also the place where father's kill their own sons, in reference to Cliff and Jason Blossom. Adding that people have grudges, he believes it is possible that it was a hit. Betty reassures Veronica that the wallet could still be at Pop's and tells her that they'll go check it out. In the search for Freds' Wallet, Jughead and Betty leave the hospital in Jughead's motorcycle.
With Fred's life hanging in the balance, Hermione heads to the Chapel to pray in his name. However, she is interrupted by Veronica, who questions if she is praying for Fred's speedy recovery or a quick death. Veronica explains Jughead's theory about the shooting, and how it may have been a hit, which leaves Veronica wondering who would be evil enough to commit such a heinous act. Veronica then remembers how Hermione wanted Fred to sell his share of the company back because he and Hiram wouldn't get along. Hermione initially assumes that the target of Veronica's accusations is Hiram, but in actuality, Veronica directs them towards her. Veronica no longer sees her as an innocent pawn. She believes Hermione to be Hiram's eyes and ears on the ground, calling the shots while he's in prison. Hermione rises to her feet as she informed Veronica that her disrespect will no longer be tolerated. She offers her daughter a word of advice; to get back in line with the family because she's a Lodge above all else. She should slap Veronica for what she's insinuating, but Hermione claims that she's not a violent person.
Back at the hospital, as Penelope is left in a critical condition on the hospital bed, bandages coating her entire face and body, Cheryl taunts her. Blackmailing her mother, Cheryl warns her that if she were to tell everyone the truth about the incident at Thornhill, she'll tell everyone about what really happened to Cliff in the barn, implying that there is a dark secret surrounding Cliff's death. When Cheryl makes it very clear that the abuse of the elder Blossoms has come to an end and that she now has control over the family, Penelope's dominance is reduced to a mere shadow of the ominous woman she once was.
While back at the hospital lobby, Archie goes to grab a cup of water from the water tank. As he finishes his drink, Veronica arrives with a gift in hand explaining it is for Fred. Archie opens it to find a brand new leather wallet. Veronica tells him that it is for Fred to use in the meantime until they find his wallet. Appreciative of this, he tells her she is the best girlfriend ever and that he doesn't deserve her. Confused by this remark, she asks him to elaborate. Hesitant, Archie tells her that he withheld information about something that happened at Pop's. As Archie is on the brim of confession, they are interrupted by the arrival of Jughead and Betty, along with Pop Tate, carrying food from the diner for everyone.
The gang sit together at the hospital cantine. His friends comment how well he is tackling the situation, however, he doesn't look convinced. Noticing this, Veronica asks Archie that he can talk to them. Sighing, he commences telling them part of the story that he left out because he feels so ashamed; after the guy fired at his father, he should've retaliated or rushed to his father immediately, but instead stood there paralyzed. Even when the shooter walked up to him and pointed the gun at his head, he didn't move and chose instead to close his eyes, long enough for the shooter to possibly steal Fred's wallet. He didn't open his eyes until he heard the bell of Pop's Chock'lit Shoppe ring. As Betty tries to reassure him that there was nothing he could've done, Archie admits in shame that he was a coward, because he had a chance to comfort his father or tackle the shooter. Now, him and his father, are now witnesses, as well as Pop Tate, too. Telling them fearfully, what if he comes back?
Later, Cheryl is by Fred's bedside, leaning in for a kiss on his forehead, when Archie enters the room. Confused by this, Cheryl explains that she was paying him back for saving her life at Sweetwater River, he gave her the kiss of life, as she's now giving to his father. Cheryl then assures him that his father is going to be just fine before she leaves the room. As he then returns to his father's bedside, he looks at his unconscious father, telling him that he has been thinking a lot about what he can say to him. He tells his father that he's been imagining what he would've said to him at Pop's that morning if he didn't get shot and things turned out differently; his father would ask him about Veronica and he would've told him how crazy he was about her. He would've replied that that was great, but that they should take it slow, no one was getting married yet.
The time flashes forward again to another of Fred's hallucinatory visions, this time Archie waits at the altar, Fred standing beside him, as Veronica, in a wedding dress, walks down towards him. Fred spots the shooter who shot him aiming towards Archie, so he runs in front of the bullet to save Archie. His father then wakes up from his vision, to find his son sitting beside his him. Archie is relieved to see his father finally awake. Archie apologizes to his father as he tells him he should have done more for him at Pop's. He then tells his father that whether or not the Sheriff find the man who did this to him, he won't have to worry, because he will protect him. Fred comments that the reason why he came back is to protect him.
Betty and Jughead are at the back of the hospital building, where it is raining outside. Jughead offers if she was sure that she didn't want him to give her a ride back home. Betty jokes that if her mom ever saw her getting off the back of his motorcycle, she'd probably come out with a shotgun. Mused, Jughead agrees with her and they both laugh at the thought. Before Jughead leaves for his bike, Betty stops him. She tells him what he told her back at Pop's. She was listening to him and told him that she understood his situation and how he was feeling. She also told him that whatever it was that he needed to do or explore, she would support him. They embrace before he leaves.
After his kiss with Betty, Jughead returns to the trailer to find his two Serpent comrades awaiting his return. However, they are not alone. Beaten, bruised and tied to a chair is a man that they had taken from the Whyte Wyrm. He was holding court in reference to how Fred allowed Hermione to take over the SoDale project and fire the crew full of Serpents. This resulted in a fairly bitter individual who found joy in Fred's shooting. So, the two Serpents kidnapped him in order to determine whether or not he shot Fred. After a lengthy examination, during which time brass knuckles are used, they conclude that he is just another loud mouth. Now that Jughead has seen that they did what was asked of them, they hope that he will relay that over to FP because it is important to them that he knows they were looking after Jughead. With or without the jacket, Jughead is a Serpent.
At the Pembrooke, Veronica later returns home after spending some time at the hospital. As she enters her home, her mother calls her over. When she walks into their dining room, she finds her father, Hiram, back at home with her mother standing beside him. He tells her that he came early to surprise her, imagining she'd be home, waiting to greet him upon his return. However, he was the one who was surprised when he later found out she wasn't at home. Hermione chimes in, telling Hiram about how she also drank his Cristal. Hiram reprimands her for her disrespectful act and remarks how this is not like Veronica at all, to which she admits to changing since the last time they saw one another...but the question is, has he? He may have changed, but not so much as he doesn't want a kiss hello from his daughter. Veronica then walks over to give her father a kiss on his cheek. She then informs them, of Fred's recovery from the gunshot wound, as he has finally woken up.
Later, at the Andrews house, Mary has returned. Fred has been discharged, finally back at home. Mary passes Archie as she carries soup up the stairs to bring to Fred. Once Archie hears the door close, he grabs a seat and a wooden baseball bat, placing his seat in the corner where he has sight of both the front and back door in plain sight. He keeps guard of both doors through the night, just in case the shooter ever does come back to finish the job, as Archie has sworn this day, he will protect his father for as long as he can, while the criminal is still out with the wind free.
Meanwhile, across the town's river, lies a house in another town. Upon Grundy's departure from Riverdale, it is revealed that she has relocated to Greendale, the neighboring town of Riverdale across Sweetwater River. Geraldine stands next to a new young blonde student named Ben Button as he plays the piano — she is giving him a music lesson. As he is leaving her house, the two share a kiss, before walking out the door. When she heads back to the living room, she kneels down to pick up some music sheets that had fallen on the floor. As she stands back up, she notices that her window is open, but is suddenly attacked from behind, by the "Angel of Death" who starts strangling her with the cello bow that Archie gave to her. Even though she puts up a fight, the cello wire starts cutting into her throat, causing blood to run down her body to her feet. After her body goes limp, she is thrown to the floor.
- HAEVN - Fortitude
- CHROMATICS - YES (Love Theme From Lost River)
- Cat Pierce - You Belong To Me
- Scene: Archie and Veronica shower sex.
- Douglas Pincock - Flowers of the Forest
- Scene: Dream sequence; Archie and Veronica's Scottish themed wedding.
- Klergy - Start a War (feat. Valerie Broussard)
- Krzysztof Komeda - Lullaby - (Rosemary's Baby - 1968)
- The episode title comes from Ira Levin's 1953 crime novel, which has been adapted into film twice, with the same name, first in 1956 then again in 1991.
- Some believe Fred's coma dreams to be an homage to the 1995 Beverly Hills, 90210 episode "The Dreams of Dylan McKay"
- Fred Andrews' fate was revealed by the end of this episode.
- The episode ends with the notes of "Rosemary's Baby Main Theme", the soundtrack of Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby (1968), based on the 1967 novel of the same name by Ira Levin.
- This is Riverdale's highest rated episode.
- Moses Thiessen, who played Ben Button, also played the unnamed attendant at the snack bar in "Chapter Four: The Last Picture Show". It's not clear whether this is the same character or not.
- This marks the first appearance of Charles Melton as Reggie Mantle.
- ↑ Final Adjusted TV Ratings for Wednesday 11th October 2017
- ↑ Season 2 Episode Title - Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (@WriterRAS) - Twitter
- ↑ The CW Announces Fall 2017 Premiere Dates - Spoiler TV
- ↑ Riverdale - Episode 2.01 - A Kiss Before Dying - Promotional Photos & Press Release
- ↑ With “Chapter Sixteen”, Riverdale cruises back into its sweet spot (October 2017)
- ↑ There Was A Beverly Hills, 90210 Homage On Riverdale Because Luke Perry Is Forever Dylan McKay (October 2017)
- ↑ Riverdale Season 2 first look: Archie tries to save his father