Riverdale's midseason finale may have appeared to reveal the identity of the Black Hood, but it hardly felt like the end of the mystery. Despite Sheriff Keller shooting and then unmasking the self-styled vigilante to reveal Riverdale High janitor Joseph Svenson, fans -- and even one of the show's stars -- think the real killer is still out there.
Over the course of the season thus far, we've had a lot of possible suspects for who the "real" Black Hood could be, but, with the midseason premiere just a few weeks away and considering the whole somewhat suspicious Mr. Svenson reveal, there is one person that keeps coming up and standing out as more likely than others for the real killer.
Betty's dad, Hal Cooper.
Before we explain why Hal Cooper is the killer who has terrorized the citizens of Riverdale, here's a quick refresher on the whole mystery. Starting with Fred Andrews being shot at the end of Riverdale's first season and Ms. Grundy being strangled by the same, hood-wearing man during the second season premiere, the people of Riverdale have been on high alert. The Black Hood, as he became known, owned up to the shooting and murder and declared that he was waging a war on sinners. His victim list grew to include Moose and Midge (both survived, with Moose shielding Midge) and Southside High teacher Robert Philips, who turned out to be the drug dealer The Sugarman. He also roped Betty into doing his bidding before ultimately luring her and Archie to Pickens Park where he tried to force Betty into burying Archie alive before being killed himself -- revealing him to be the janitor.
But if the janitor isn't really the Black Hood, why is Hal Cooper the most likely suspect? For starters, Hal Cooper most closely matches the physical description of the killer. Archie tells Sheriff Keller that the man who shot his father had bright green eyes. Of all the possible Black Hoods -- such as Sheriff Keller and Hiram Lodge -- Hal Cooper is the only one with green eyes that match Archie's description. And while you'd think that Archie would be able to recognize those eyes considering he's lived next door to the Coopers since he was a kid, the mask not only conceals the rest of the killer's face, but may place a greater emphasis on the eyes, making it harder to connect the dots.
Physicality aside, the heavy involvement of Betty is also a clue that her dad might be behind things. When the Black Hood is in contact with Betty, he has knowledge about people and events that really are things someone close to Betty would know, especially when it comes to the fact that his cypher is designed for her using things only Betty would know. And, he also has Betty's phone number, which is probably something only someone close to her -- like her dad -- would have. He also knows where Polly is and knew about Ms. Grundy's "sin". Neither of those pieces of information would be well-circulated beyond the Cooper household.
Going beyond those things, though, are other little details that point in Hal's direction. One of the things that the Black Hood has Betty do is expose Alice Cooper's arrest record and history of being a Southside Serpent. One could argue that this points away from Hal since Alice is his wife, but as we saw near the end of last season, things weren't exactly great between Hal and Alice. There's also the little tidbit from their history as a couple that points to Hal not exactly being the best person. Alice reveals to Betty that she has another child, a son, that she put up for adoption as a teen and explains that Hal originally tried to get her to have an abortion instead. It sounds a lot like Alice wasn't excited about giving her baby up for adoption either.
Also interesting is that we've seen very little of Hal this season. When all of the crazy Black Hood things are going down, Hal Cooper is nowhere to be seen. Even Sheriff Keller -- who some have theorized is the real Black Hood himself -- has been around. If you add Hal's curious absence to the fact that the Black Hood, even with trying to get Betty to bury Archie alive, appears tried to isolate Betty from her friends and it starts to look not so good for Hal Cooper to be anything but guilty.
If Hal Cooper ends up being the Black Hood, it would be further confirmation of the so-called darkness within the Cooper family and would likely shake Betty -- who is already going to be looking at her long-lost brother to see if he possesses the same dark side when she finally meets him in the second half of the season -- and Riverdale itself to the very core.
Riverdale returns on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 at 8/7c on The CW.