Is the Mystery of the "Black Hood" Really Over on Riverdale?

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Since its debut, Riverdale exists on a plane that's entirely its own. It has a flair for the maple syrup business, the sexualization of characters, jingle-jangle, and murder. And we love it because of that. 

Sometimes the plotline is amiss, and we just turn the other cheek because like I said, it exists on its own plane. 

That all changed with the Black Hood storyline. All of season two shifted from the Jason Blossom murder mystery to the Black Hood murder mystery, and while it wasn't oozing that Riverdale-goodness, it was a storyline with a heartbeat, so we let it run its course. 

The Black Hood Attacks Archie - Riverdale

While Black Hood hasn't been the most engaging of villains, he's offered viewers an insight into the twisted town that is Riverdale. 

But the reveal of Black Hood's identity was a letdown of epic proportions. Loyal fans simply cannot accept that kind of mediocrity. 

Riverdale thought that they wrapped up their little storyline in a neat bow during the Christmas finale with the reveal of the Black Hood's identity, but I'm about to open that present right back up and tell you that it was a complete fake out. 

Are we, the viewers who are just as curious and obsessed as murder-loving journalist Juggie, just supposed to accept that the janitor we met on Riverdale Season 2 Episode 7, Mr. Svenson (real name Joseph Conway) is the man behind it all?

Conway was cleared in the episode prior by Archie, who looked into his eyes and stated that they did not match the piercing green-eyes that he stared into — and kept repeatedly seeing flashbacks of — from the night his father died. 

Hal Cooper, What's Wrong With You? - Riverdale

Trauma could obviously skew Archie's memories, but the show wouldn't continue hammering that point home if it wasn't going to the be trigger that identifies the real Black Hood. 

As Betty was burning all of the Black Hood evidence during the final scene of the episode, Jughead ominously warned that "this isn't over."

The scene was questionable in its own regard, especially Betty's inability to throw out her black mask. Why does she want to keep it? Does it remind her that everyone is capable of going to the dark side? Or is it a gesture to symbolize that this isn't the end of the phone calls, threats, and murders?

Or are we taking a cue from the comics in which there were multiple Black Hood characters, each becoming the "do-good" vigilante after coming into possession of the mask? This would explain the Dark Betty theories circulating the internet.

After Svenson's reveal, I was left with a lot of questions.

Why would Svenson want to terrorize folks in both Riverdale and Greendale, with a penchant for hurting those closest to Archie and personally victimizing sweet little Betty Cooper?

Svenson is Just the Janitor - Riverdale

Why would a middle-aged janitor want to meddle in the lives of a bunch of high school students? 

When he got accused of being the Black Hood and shot point blank by Sheriff Keller — which I thought would get more outrage —without even taking off his mask, why did Betty just take it at face value? The Black Hood has set her up so many times, what's to say he isn't doing it again?

The real Black Hood had to have a vendetta against the town. 

Betty surmises that Svenson became the villain out of some twisted sense of guilt. She called it "balancing the scales," for identifying the wrong man as his family's killer. We all know that's a weak motive. 

I would argue that Svenson, who lived through his own personal hell when his family got murdered by the original Black Hood (known as the "Riverdale Reaper"), would want to continue keeping a low profile. 

The only reason he's caught up in this mess is because Betty and Archie outed his real identity, thus feeding him right to the Black Hood to serve up "justice."

Svenson as the Black Hood - Riverdale

Don't believe me? Just ask the Lili Reinhart, who plays Betty Cooper. She isn't sold on the idea either. 

"I don't think the mystery is completely solved just yet," she told Glamour. "There are a lot of questions about the motive."

In other words, Svenson was a fake out set up the real Black Hood who is staying all silent night until his next big attack, which will shake the town and Betty to its core. 

Svenson's storyline isn't as useless as his reveal was; he was a necessary pawn for the Black Hood's game.

As mentioned before, the Black Hood has a vendetta against the town and wants the sinners to pay. 

My theory is that the innocent man who Svenson wrongly accused had a son, who grew up wanting revenge, and is now Tall Boy from the Serpents. 

Is Tall Boy the Black Hood? - This Is Us

Tall Boy has only ever been Jughead's antagonist and probably the reason FP ended up in jail. 

If you compare the Black Hood and Tall Boy, they've got the same piercing green eyes, body structure and identical leather jackets, which I'm sure aren't easy to come by in such a small town.

He's also got an in with the younger crowd (thanks to Jughead), access to Jughead's trailer, and a whole gang standing behind him so he can cover his tracks. 

Still, we have to consider that Tall Boy could be a pawn just like Svenson was. This is Riverdale, after all.

Who is the only person that can make people do things that they don't want to by blackmailing them? Fellow serpent, Penny Peabody. 

Which leads me to my off-kilter theory that Betty's mom, Alice, once a Serpent herself, is actually Penny's secret sister.

Penny and Alice - Riverdale

In a town where incest and secret siblings reign supreme — let's not forget we're waiting for the arrival of Chic, Betty's long-lost brother who some fans hypothesize is actually Alice's son with a Serpent, possibly FP Jones or Tall Boy himself — this wouldn't be too surprising. 

Other fan theories, however, tease the return of Dark Betty, Betty's alter ego who comes to the surface only when she's under immense pressure or overwhelmed by rage. 

There haven't been many Dark Betty sightings unless you count that one time she took her ponytail down because of Toni Topaz or when she did that awkward "serpent dance."

Both moments were very unlike Betty, but they weren't necessarily bad enough to make her capable of murder. We're talking about a girl who was appalled that her grandfather took part in the murder of a wrongly accused man! 

Dark Betty Returns - Riverdale

Showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa did confirm darker times will be ahead for Betty and that said darkness might originate within her family. (We're looking at you, Alice!)

Before we go down the road crucifying Betty, though, we have to ask ourselves if we would really be okay with the series giving her, the badass heroine disguised under cotton candy sweaters, such a dark side?

There would be no going back and with promises of bringing the storyline back to the basics — four friends who once in a while get caught up in a love triangle — doesn't seem likely. 

The introduction, development, and reveal of the Black Hood has been too clean-cut for a show that thrives on sticky and messy.

There are far more intriguing possibilities for a murderer in this town than an unknown local janitor. 

So close your blinds at night because the real Black Hood is still out there lurking and he may just be a person you liked, trusted, and least expected. 

Lizzy Buczak is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and read her personal blog at CraveYouTV.

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Riverdale Quotes

Veronica: What the hell is a "Sticky Maple"?
Kevin: It's kinda what it sounds like. It's a Riverdale thing.
Veronica: No, Kevin, it's a slut-shaming thing. And I'm neither a slut nor am I going to be shamed by someone named, excuse me, Chuck Clayton! Does he really think he can get away with this? Does he not know who I am?! I will cut the brakes on his supped-up phallic symbol.

Midge: So, Kevin, who are you meeting at the movie? Some dreamboat?
Kevin: Oh, no, I don’t have a date. I’m just going to this gay rom-com alone.
Midge: What? No, no, that’s crazy! We need to find you someone. What about one of those new Southside guys? I hear one of them is gay.
Kevin: If it’s Fangs Fogarty, I don’t think I can date someone named “Fangs.”
Moose: I don’t know, he’s a good-looking dude.
Midge: Oh my God, please, what do you know you big lug?
[She playful shoves him]