Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has confirmed that the real Black Hood killer is still alive and will return later in season 2. The CW's TV show put a small town noir spin on the Archie Comics universe when it debuted early last year, and has only continued to evolve its subversive take on its comic book source material since then. Following the reveal of Jason Blossom's killer in the penultimate episode of season 1, Riverdale introduced a new threat in the form of The Black Hood. This mysterious baddie was (seemingly) determined to purge The Town With Pep of sin and vice, having been unintentionally inspired by Betty Cooper and the speech that she gave to Riverdale's citizens in the season 1 finale.
The Black Hood storyline dominated the first half of Riverdale season 2 and culminated with the reveal that Riverdale High's janitor Joseph Svenson was seemingly the man underneath the black mask. While Archie Andrews and his friends had uncovered some dark truths about Mr. Svenson's past by that point, he was subsequently shot and killed by Sheriff Keller before anyone could question him further about his motives and means. The cast and crew of Riverdale have hinted in the past that there's more to the Black Hood mystery than what viewers already know, but now Aquirre-Sacasa has gone ahead and officially confirmed as much to be true.
Speaking at the 2018 Paleyfest Riverdale panel (as moderated by EW), Aquirre-Sacasa announced that Riverdale will be revisiting the Black Hood plot thread later in season 2. He further confirmed that the show has been quietly building towards the dramatic reveal to come for several episodes now, even as its focus has shifted towards other overarching storylines:
“When we started, we had three likely suspects, so for the first half of the season, we were always dropping red herrings so we could pick [one of the three]. As we moved into the second half, and we get back to the Black Hood for the last few episodes, we always knew it wasn’t Svenson, [the janitor], but for the last 10 episodes or so, we’ve had a pretty clear idea and have been writing toward that.”
Riverdale the show, like its cast and crew, had already hinted at there being more Black Hood-related mayhem to come prior to Aguirre-Sacasa's reveal at Paleyfest. The series made a big deal about Archie getting a good look at the killer's eyes - when he shot Archie's dad Fred at Pop's Chock'lit Shoppe at the end of season 1 - and how Mr. Svenson's eyes were different, which is why Archie thought he was innocent at first. Mr. Svenson was also far from the only major suspect in the Black Hood investigation back in the first half of season 2, with Sheriff Keller and Betty's father Hal among the popular suspects at the time.
Another potential suspect has since emerged in the form of Chic Cooper, who viewers now know is Betty's half-brother (though the identity of his father remains a mystery) and who has already proven that he's willing and able to kill others... in self-defense, at least. The trailer for this week's Riverdale episode 'The Noose Tightens' has further revealed that Chic's self-defense killing - which Betty helped cover up with help from her mom Alice and Jughead Jones' father FP - will start to come to light this week. Jughead actor Col Sprouse also teased a big scene to come between Chic and other characters on the show, while speaking at Paleyfest:
“My favorite moment is coming up in an episode; it’s a scene between Jughead, Betty, and Chic, which is probably my favorite moment."
Whether it's Chic, Sheriff Keller, Hal or another person altogether, Aguirre-Sacasa's comments confirm that someone is far more dangerous than they seem on the show. It further stands to reason that the real Black Hood was the one responsible for shooting Fred and may have even committed one of the other crimes attributed to the late Mr. Svenson. There's also the old fan theory that the true Black Hood is a hired hand working for Hiram Lodge, which would explain why he went after Fred in the first place. Such a reveal would allow Riverdale's writers to directly connect the Black Hood storyline with Hiram and Hermione Lodge's ongoing efforts to seize as much power in The Town With Pep as possible - and would suggest that Fred's life is in danger again, now that he's running for mayor against Hermione.
Marisol Nichols and Luke Perry, who play Hermione and Fred (respectively) on the show, also teased the conflict to come between their characters at Paleyfest. Nichols noted that “Hermione has more of a political savvy instinct,” before Perry quipped “Yeah, she’s looking to make Riverdale great again," in allusion to the Lodges' plans to turn Southside High into a prison. Seeing as Riverdale has heavily insinuated in the past that the Lodges are willing to kill those that threaten their potentially criminal empire (#JusticeForPapaPoutine), it's not that difficult to imagine them having a full-blown murderer like the Black Hood in their corner, either.
Riverdale continues Wednesday, March 28 with 'Chapter Thirty: The Noose Tightens' on The CW.