After 20 episodes of agonizing half-reveals, we finally learned the real identity of the Black Hood on tonight’s Riverdale. The person behind the mask is either surprising or “duh,” depending on who you talk to. (In my mind, it’s a mix of both.) Here’s what happened:
The Black Hood’s knee-deep in committing his most heinous crime yet: attempting to murder our Lord and Savior Cheryl Blossom. Cheryl manages to escape Thistle House, though, and scare the Black Hood off with her bow-and-arrow skills because she’s Katniss Everdeen, apparently. Random, but I’m cool with it because I’m cool with everything Cheryl does. She could be the Black Hood and I’d suddenly say, “Yes! Burn Riverdale to the ground, queen!”
Meanwhile, Jughead and F.P. deliver a wounded but still alive Fangs to the hospital—and now Jughead’s thirsty for his shooter’s blood. I don’t care about this, but then again I’m slowly starting to realize the only thing I consistently care about on Riverdale is Cheryl Blossom.
Oh, and Betty! I love Betty now! Cheryl calls Betty to tell her she was just attacked by the Black Hood, and they have the most iconic exchange of dialogue. I honestly just need to drop it in here verbatim so you can appreciate it.
Cheryl: The Black Hood just attacked me at Thistle House.
Betty: Oh my God! Was it my dad?
Cheryl: Based on waistline alone, it could’ve been him, yes. Luckily, I was able to get to my archery set and hunting cape.
Betty: You didn’t kill him, did you?
Cheryl: No, I shot to wound: hit him in the right shoulder. He’s fled into the woods, where I plan to track him. Just in case he escapes my clutches, be forewarned: Now that he’s a maimed animal, he’s operating on instinct. Ready to lash out and kill anyone in his path…even his loved ones.
I don’t know what a “hunting cape” is, but I need one immediately.
Anyway, now Fred Andrews is in a tizzy because he thinks Archie was involved in Fangs’ shooting. He wasn’t—and neither was Reggie, for that matter. The Serpents think Reggie pulled the trigger, though, so now he’s hiding out and the Dark Circle is trying to find him. Blah! They’re all just a bunch of 17-year-old boys! Reggie calls Hiram Lodge, his new boss (LOL), to ask for help. Hiram literally hangs up on him and is beyond unhelpful, further proving Mark Consuelos is up to no good.
Update: It was Midge Klump’s mother who shot Fangs, which means this entire Serpent v. Jocks war is for naught. Groan. Hermione Lodge decides to capitalize on this by saying the Black Hood’s responsible for the shooting and offering a bounty on his head for $1 million. She also thinks Hiram’s keeping shit from her, which he obviously, 100 percent is.
Betty’s now obsessed with finding her dad (who’s maybe-probably-definitely the Black Hood) before anyone else does because there’s a million-dollar claim for his death. Two seconds ago, Betty was pissed at her dad, and now she’s trying to save him? I’m so confused. Give me more Cheryl with a bow-and-arrow, please.
“Luckily, I was able to get to my archery set and hunting cape.” — Cheryl, shaking Katniss Everdeen to her core
Oh shit: Betty gets call from F.P. saying that her dad was taken to the hospital and is bleeding a lot. This all but confirms he’s the one Cheryl shot with a bow and arrow, which means he’s the Black Hood. I feel so…neutral about this. Fans have been claiming this on Tumblr for eons.
Moving on: Veronica’s convinced Hiram and Hermione are going to use the $1 million she got from the St. Clairs for their bounty, so she breaks into Hiram’s office to get it back. That’s where she finds an envelope filled with pics of Hermione and Fred Andrews kissing and a note that says, “Fred Andrews Family Man Not So Innocent.” Is this supposed to imply something? Besides that Hiram’s a sketch-zilla, which we already knew?
The Serpent v. Jocks riot is seriously destroying Riverdale, literally. Jughead manages to calm down the Serpents once he tells them Midge Klump’s mother shot Fangs. However, now the town has more problems: The Ghoulies, another gang that was introduced episodes ago that we’re, I guess, supposed to remember, is back and fucking shit up. I can’t believe that teenagers are causing this much destruction.
F.P., Fred, and the salt-and-pepper snack Sheriff Keller (who’s no longer the sheriff but I’m calling him that anyway) scare off the Ghoulies, and Kevin Keller says, “Hot Riverdale dads to the rescue.” That’s an accurate statement, but also a little weird seeing as how one of those “Hot Riverdale dads” is his own dad!
Remember those photos Veronica found of Fred and Hermione in Hiram’s office? They’re part of—surprise, surprise—Hiram’s larger plan to smear Fred’s campaign. However, the catch is making Hermione and Fred’s affair public would also damage Hermione, but Hermione’s blind to that. Wake up and smell the sociopath, girl! Kelly Ripa’s husband is loyal to no one but Kelly Ripa—and hair gel.
Betty goes to the hospital to see her father only to find out he murdered his doctor and escaped. She then gets a call from the Black Hood—cough, her dad, cough—saying she needs to come home now or he’ll kill her mom, Alice. WTF, Hal Cooper?
In a very creepy monologue, Hal Cooper admits to everything—to being the Black Hood, to killing everyone, to being a general psychopath. The reason why is complicated: Apparently, grandfather Cooper killed grandfather Blossom and assumed the Cooper name. Somehow, the Conway family found out about this, which is why Hal’s father killed them. Hal’s mother then told 8-year-old Hall to convince Svenson Cooper—the first ID’ed Black Hood—to accuse an innocent man of killing his family to save Hal’s dad. Hal’s mom told Hal that the Conways were sinners who deserved to die and that their town needs to do better. So when Betty said something similar at the Jubilee in season one, it triggered something in Hal to become the Black Hood. This is…Pretty Little Liars season seven-level complicated. Over it.
“Your father can’t do anything right. Not even be a serial killer.” — Alice Cooper, being so savage to the actual Black Hood
Alice manages to get Hal upset by saying he’s a “mama’s boy” who can’t do anything right. This causes him to start choking her, which Betty stops by knocking him out with a blunt object. Then, Alice starts beating on him. Eventually, Sheriff Keller comes and arrests Hal, hopefully putting an end to the Black Hood saga for good. My God, the Coopers need to calm down.
Actually, this whole episode needs to calm down. Archie and Fred come home, only to find another person dressed as the Black Hood (who’s not Hal Cooper) in their house. He attacks Archie, but Fred manages to knock him out. Then, this Black Hood impostor shoots Fred, which doesn’t matter because Fred’s conveniently wearing a bulletproof vest (???). So Archie goes charging after him.
Oh my God, I honestly can’t take any more violence in this episode. Remember Papa Poutine? The mobster whom Hiram’s people whacked? Well his vengeful son breaks into the Lodge condo and attempts to murder Veronica and Hermione. Hermione shoots him.
More evidence this episode is out of control: Penny Peabody, the “snake charmer” whom Jughead drove out of town, is also back and holding Toni Topaz hostage. She calls Jughead and demands him to come to her, or she’ll kill Toni. Why is Riverdale so aggressive tonight?
Jughead shows up, and it turns out Penny recruited the Ghoulies to be her backup, so now he’s insanely outnumbered. Except not really, because he brought CHERYL MARJORIE BLOSSOM (Toni Topaz’s girlfriend) and her bow and arrow to be his backup. Penny basically says she wants the Serpents out of the South Side by tonight, or else the Ghoilies will attack them in the morning. Cheryl’s bow and arrow is going to save everyone, though, I know it.
Update: Fangs is now dead, and the Serpents vote to go to war with the Ghoulies even though they’re grossly unprepared. Jughead realizes Hiram’s the one behind all of this—of course he is!—and makes him a counteroffer to call off this “war.” He offers to give up himself to the Ghoulies in order to save the other Serpents from dying in a war tomorrow against them.
But his sacrifice was for nothing: The Ghoulies start beating the crap out of Jughead and say they’re still going to take out the Serpents (and Betty) the next day. This entire scene is basically the Asland sacrifice scene from Chronicles of Narnia, just with Cole Sprouse and leather jackets. Penny Peabody is no White Witch, though.
F.P., Betty, Archie, and the gang find Jughead…and he’s torn apart and bloodied-up. He’s unconscious. Maybe even dead. Yes, people: Jughead Jones might actually be dead.
Parting thoughts: This episode of Riverdale might’ve jumped the shark.