SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for the latest episode of Riverdale, “Judgment Night,” which as of publication has not yet aired on the west coast.
Tonight’s episode of Riverdale, “Judgment Night,” was one of the more eventful and insane hours of television in recent memory, even given the high bar set by the Archie Comics-based CW series over its second season. Along with gang war, political intrigue, giant mobster sons looking for revenge and Cheryl Blossom making her bow-and-arrow-wielding vigilante debut, the show also finally paid off its year-long mystery of just who is really under the Black Hood.
Turns out, a lot of the fan theories were correct: It was indeed Hal Cooper (Lochlyn Munro), Betty’s father. He admitted to his murderous secret life via the most threatening of means — narrated home movies — where he explains that, apparently, his father was the Riverdale Reaper who killed the Conway family, and Hal put poor Mr. Svenson up for (fatally) taking the fall this past winter. “Sinners have to die” was the message Hal heard as a child — as he confesses to shooting Fred and killing Miss Grundy, Midge and the Sugar Man.
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While Hal attempts to choke his wife, Alice — he was setting the stage for a Cooper family murder-suicide — Betty is able to dispatch him with a shovel, and Hal is arrested.
However, there’s a second Black Hood on the loose — the one who opened fire during the debate, and, presumably, the same one who shoots Fred in this episode (luckily, he was wearing a bulletproof vest). Who that is remains to be revealed, possibly in next week’s season finale.
The mystery of the Black Hood started a year ago, where Fred Andrews (Luke Perry) was shot in the closing moments of the show’s first season finale. It looked to be wrapped up with the midseason finale this past December, with the reveal that Riverdale High janitor Mr. Svenson — one of the sillier characters in Archie Comics, adding to the juxtaposition of the grisly reveal — was the mystery murderer. Or so it seemed — plenty of viewers guessed there had to be more to it, and they were indeed correct.
At the time, Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa even hinted in an interview with CBR that the Black Hood’s story wasn’t yet over: “As for whether or not the Black Hood is finished, I kind of say what I say whenever someone dies on Riverdale: No one ever stays dead forever on Riverdale. The Black Hood may be a victim or a part of that.”
Even though Hal has confessed — willingly on tape, even — and apprehended, there’s still more story to tell. Primarily, it’ll be fascinating to see what kind of impact this will have on Betty (Lili Reinhart) who already was obsessed with the Black Hood. Exactly how the revelation that she was chasing her own father will affect her already prominent “darkness” will surely be something to watch going forward.
Of course, there’s also the matter of her boyfriend, Jughead (Cole Sprouse), who was beaten — seemingly to death? — by the Ghoulies at the end of tonight’s episode. As one of the show’s most important characters, it’s a virtual guarantee that he’ll survive the attack, but exactly what kind of shape he’ll be in going forward is another big question.
“Brave New World,” the second season finale of Riverdale airs Wednesday, May 16 on The CW, and will surely resolve a few more of the show’s mysteries — and kickstart a few more.