Spoilers for the Riverdale midseason finale
In the Riverdale midseason finale “Silent Night, Deadly Night,” the identity of the Black Hood was revealed. The second season of Riverdale promised a new mystery and delivered. Starting with the shooting of Fred Andrews in the season 1 finale, the Black Hood killer managed to successfully commit two murders and attempt several others. They were all sinners – according to him – that he was inspired to cleanse the town of after Betty’s impassioned speech about the darkness in Riverdale last season.
Because of his communication with Betty and Archie’s desire for revenge, they and their friends have been dedicated to unmasking the killer. Betty and Veronica even looked into the possibility that it was Sheriff Keller – only to learn he was not the killer but a potential victim due to his affair with Mayor McCoy. Fan theories have ranged from Hal Cooper to Reggie Mantle to Hermione Lodge. Even Betty’s still not introduced brother Chic Cooper has been suggested.
Now the identity of the man who has terrorized the residents of Riverdale for months has been revealed as janitor Joe Svenson – previously Conway. Betty and Archie spent most of the episode trying to save Svenson when they thought the Black Hood had kidnapped him. But when the Black Hood tried to force Betty to murder Archie, they fought back and kept him at bay long enough for Sheriff Keller to show up and shoot him dead, only to remove the mask and reveal who he was. Showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa spoke to CBR about the reveal and why Svenson was chosen:
We definitely always like our Easter eggs on Riverdale. There had been a small but steady contingent of fans who kept asking us to bring Mr. Svenson to the halls of Riverdale. It was something that we tried to do on and off for a few months. Then when we were talking about the Black Hood, and who the Black Hood could be, we made a list of all the likely suspects – or the most unlikely suspects – and Mr. Svenson was at the top of the list. We were like, “We better start introducing him immediately if this is going to happen, or people are going to be like, ‘Who?'” … When we introduced the Black Hood as the guy who shot Fred, we did not know conclusively who his identity was going to be. Very early on we started coming up with different possibilities and different scenarios.
Svenson’s introduction has certainly been a quick one. He was first seen as Josie’s potential stalker, only for it to be revealed that Cheryl was the one keeping such close tabs on her friend. Then Svenson was a suspect, only for the gang to discover that as a child he survived when the rest of his family was murdered by the Riverdale Reaper. Before learning the truth about his identity, Archie and Betty also learned that while the man who Svenson had accused of murdering his family had been killed by the people of Riverdale, he feared that he might have named the wrong man.
It also seems likely that Riverdale is not entirely safe from the Black Hood. While Svenson may be dead, someone was spying on Archie and Veronica as they kissed under the mistletoe, reconciling after their breakup. Aguirre-Sacasa also admits that there will continue to be fallout in the second half of the season, and also that, “No one ever stays dead forever on Riverdale.”
Riverdale returns to The CW at 8pm on January 17.
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