Why Riverdale's Black Hood Mystery Probably Isn't Over

Photo: Courtesy of Katie Yu/The CW.
It’s all been leading up to this, Riverdale fans, the unmasking of the Black Hood serial killer. As the seconds ticked down on the season 2 winter finale “Silent Night, Deadly Night,” it was easy to assume the murdery CW soap would leave that mystery as an unresolved cliffhanger, to be picked up once again in 2018. That seemed especially plausible as newly-confirmed hunky dad Sheriff Keller (Martin Cummins) shot the morality-obsessed murderer dead. What a perfect place for a fade-to-black, right?
But, no, Keller managed to make it to the now-deceased serial killer and remove his titular black hood to reveal… Mr. Svenson (Cameron McDonald) the janitor?! Yes, Svenson seemed like the obvious choice once he crept onto the scene in “Tales from the Darkside,” but, that’s why I’m calling bull. This “twist” is so unsurprising, every fiber of my Riverdale-loving being is convinced Svenson’s death won’t mark the end of the Black Hood’s torment of our eponymous town, because the janitor probably isn’t the real Black Hood Killer. Or, at least, Svenson isn’t the only Black Hood Killer.
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If you don’t believe me, keep reading for all the mounting evidence against the Svenson case.
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This Quote From Mädchen Amick

While chatting with Alice Cooper’s alter-ego Mädchen Amick about last week’s “House Of The Devil,” she teased a very suspicious-sounding resolution for the Black Hood mystery. “You know, Riverdale is tricky. They seem to solve a mystery, but then there’s always deeper layers behind the mystery,” the actress mused.

“That’s what I think is very clever about Riverdale and the writing staff. They’ve got it so layered and can trick us, you know? Do they throw out a red herring? Or did they really solve it?”

Svenson — a creepy loner with a sad backstory who’s been caught skulking around Riverdale High — is the perfect red herring as someone you would immediately assume is a deadly weirdo. But, Riverdale doesn’t go with the obvious twist. Think back to Cliff Blossom (Barclay Hope), who shockingly ended up being both a filicidal murderer and a surprise drug kingpin. No one saw that coming. So, as Amick would say, we should probably expect more “layers” in this supposedly cut-and-dry central Riverdale mystery.
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Chic Cooper’s Looming Presence

Alice’s long-lost son Chic (Hart Denton) has long been the leading Black Hood suspect for a number of reasons, chief among them, the killer’s obsession with Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart). While Riverdale shoehorns in the reveal Grandpa Cooper helped brutally murder the man wrongly accused of being the Riverdale Reaper, therefore supposedly explaining the obsession, the logic doesn’t exactly track.

Why would Svenson, who’s allegedly guilty for causing the wrong man’s execution, be so fixated on Betty, and only Betty, when so many of progeny of the people who committed that crime against still populate Riverdale? Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch), whose grandma Nana Rose (Barbara Wallace) was also indirectly involved in the lynch mob, should be getting stalked too. Yet, nothing is apparently happening to RHS’s queen bee.

On the other hand, the Black Hood’s bizarre behavior makes lots of sese if he’s really Chic — especially that strange “We are the same” business from “When A Stranger Calls.” There’s no reason for Svenson to be so obsessed with proving he and Betty are the same, since she never wrongly caused a man’s death. Chic, however, has every reason to want to prove he and his justice-obsessed little sister are two peas in a pod.
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This Phone Call Detail

Speaking of the Hood’s many calls to Betty, one conversation sticks out: when the teen detective asked if she would recognize the hood without his mask. The answer? Yes. While it’s possible Betty would have recognized her high school’s janitor after seeing him milling about, we never even saw the pair interact until “Deadly Night,” when his identity is unveiled.

The early-season call was clearly meant to imply the Hood was someone Betty personally knew, and possibly cared about — not some guy she maybe, kinda-sorta saw between class periods.
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Jughead’s “Deadly Night” Closing Narration

As the midseason finale ends, Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse) drops a very dubious narration, which all but screams, “This isn’t the last we’ve seen of the Black Hood!” The aspiring novelist says of love interest Betty, “The truth whispered to her, ‘This isn’t over.’”

If that tease isn’t worrying enough, the Black Hood’s hood wouldn’t even burn in a fire as Jughead says this. It’s time to call this case definitely not closed.
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This Legitimately Bonkers Theory I Came Up With

What if the real Black Hood pulled a switcheroo in between the two most pivotal scenes of “Deadly Night:” the killer forcing Betty to bury Archie Andrews (K.J. Apa) and Sheriff Keller killing Svenson. By the end of his life, Svenson's most identifying characteristic was the missing finger on his left hand. Interestingly, throughout the burial scene, the camera hides the Hood’s left hand the entire time (I would know, since I screenshot nearly every frame in an attempt to get a good look). While we repeatedly see the man’s bare right hand multiple times, the identifying left hand is shrouded in darkness. What if this wasn’t a coincidence, but a purposeful way to keep the possibility of the Hood and Svenson being different people alive?

So, how did Svenson end up on that bridge, wearing a hood? Because, maybe, the real Black Hood had his captive, Svenson in this case, close-by during the burial madness, correctly assuming Betty would call the police. So, he dressed Svenson up in a matching outfit, dashed towards Svenson the moment he heard sirens, and told the man to run. Archie and Betty, who were dealing with the fact one of them was buried alive, did lose eyes on the killer for enough time for the real Hood to pull off the swap and disappear.

You’ll notice that you never hear the Hood say anything after he “gets away.” This theory holds up, since it would make sense captive Svenson was running away from our teen detectives, who were chasing him with a gun and screaming.

But, why would the Hood even do anything of this? Well...
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This Very Black Hood Twist

Over the last two Riverdale episodes of 2017, we learn Svenson is actually Joseph Conway, the third child of the Conway family, who were brutally murdered in the 1960s by the Riverdale Reaper. After the massacre, Joseph’s name was changed to allow him to move on from the bloody tragedy. But amid all the chaos of the killings, as previously mentioned, Joseph-slash-Svenson accused the wrong man, a traveling preacher, of killing his family. That man was then murdered by the people of Riverdale as revenge. Svenson’s lie directly caused the death of the wrong man.

Now, if the real Black Hood did pull a switcheroo, Svenson then would have also died for crimes he never committed, too. Nothing else sounds more like Black Hood justice.
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The Eyes

After Svenson dies, Archie laments how the eyes he saw in Pop’s the day the Hood murdered his father Fred Andrews (Luke Perry) do not match up with Svenson’s own eyes. Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes) tells her sometimes-boyfriend to “forget his eyes,” but I’m not so sure. The eyes have been one of the biggest Black Hood clues all season, and Riverdale isn’t the kind of show to so easily toss out a major piece of evidence.

Someone out there definitely has the cold eyes that match the ones Archie saw in Pop’s that fated day, and that person is the Black Hood. Which, brings us to our last big clue...
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The Two Letters

At the top of “When A Stranger Calls,” Sheriff Keller reveals handwriting experts confirmed the Nancy Drew-inspired cypher Betty received from the Black Hood and the letter her mom Alice got aren’t written by the same person. The cypher is unquestionably the real deal, because the Hood calls Betty to talk about it. That means, no matter what, there are two Black Hoods running around out there.

Maybe they were working together. Maybe one was a copycat. Maybe one was Svenson. All we know is, one of them definitely isn’t dead.
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