Fear of the Black Hood reaches a fever pitch this week on Riverdale now that the killer has sent a message to the press with everyone trying to figure out who the killer is before he can strike again.
Spoilers for tonight's episode of Riverdale, "Chapter Seventeen: The Town That Dreaded Sundown", below.
On tonight's episode of Riverdale, Betty (Lili Reinhart) receives a letter from the Black Hood addressed to her at the Blue and Gold. Included with the letter is a Zodiac killer style cypher, while Betty shares the cyperwith her parents and law enforcement she initially keeps the letter to herself as she sets out on a frantic quest to decipher the message.
With lives literally on the line, figuring out the identity of the killer is a major priority for the people of Riverdale, but after receiving the letter it's a personal mission for Betty as the killer's letter reveals that his actions were inspired by Betty's speech last season. The clues are few for the residents of Riverdale, but for those watching the show the bigger picture is a little easier to see and we have to ask: could Betty's dad be the Black Hood? After all, Lili Reinhart has previously said that Betty is right in the middle of the mystery this season with showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa going a bit further to tease big twists on the show with Betty "at the heart of the darkest story" being told this season.
Read on for evidence that might point in Hal Cooper's direction.
The Black Hood's face has been obscured by, well, a black hood, but the killer's eyes are distinctive. When Archie tells Sheriff Keller everything he can recall about the man who shot his father, Archie says that the thing he remembers most vividly is the attacker's bright green eyes. Distinctive green eyes -- or even blue-green eyes -- aren't a commonly seen feature on Riverdale unless it's someone in the Cooper family. With the Black Hood being male, that rules out Alice, Betty, and Polly Cooper but Hal? He has vivid green eyes that look an awful lot like the Black Hood's.
In the letter the Black Hood sent to Alice Cooper, the killer detailed that the reason Mrs. Grundy was killed was because she was a child predator. What's interesting about that admission is that Mrs. Grundy's inappropriate involvement with students is very specific information that only a select few knew about what she did with Archie. The only people, in terms of adults, who knew are Alice Cooper and Fred Andrews. That's not information Alice would withhold from her husband and since Alice isn't the killer, but the killer knew about Mrs. Grundy, and Fred Andrews didn't shoot himself that really only leaves Hal Cooper.
While at Jughead's trailer Betty realizes that the symbols the Black Hood used in his cypher are very familiar to her and later, once Jughead knows about the letter the killer sent her, she admits that it was written for her to solve. That means whoever the Black Hood is has to know Betty well enough to be able to craft a code that only she would be able to crack. While there are likely a number of people who would knew Betty well enough to create a code only she could solve -- Archie, Jughead, even her sister could probably come up with one -- we know that of that list of people only one really fits what we know about the Black Hood and that is her father. Who better to write a code that only Betty could solve than the man who likely knows her the best?
When Betty's phone rings at the end of tonight's episode it's from an unknown caller who identifies themselves at the Black Hood. Whoever the killer is has Betty's phone number, which might not be that hard to get, but also knows that Betty is alone. Both of those are things Betty's father would know. While this clue is admittedly a little more circumstantial than the previous clues, add them all together and it feels like a pretty convincing case that Hal Cooper could be the killer terrorizing Riverdale.