Riverdale's midseason finale ended on a shocking note. The town's school janitor, Joseph Svenson, was revealed to be the Black Hood. However, the reveal felt too convenient and fans -- and even the one of the show's stars -- aren't so sure the mystery is over now that the show is deep into the second half of the season.
While we've explored several suspects who might truly be the Black Hood over the course of this season with varying levels of likelihood that any one of them is really the killer, the recent reveal that one of the South Side Serpents, Tall Boy (Scott McNeil) was secretly working with Penny Peabody and the Lodges brought a whole new suspect into the picture -- Tall Boy himself.
Could Tall Boy really be the Black Hood? Let's take a look at the evidence.
One of the biggest things we've considered when looking at suspects is physicality. As we know, the Black Hood is described by Archie (KJ Apa) as having green eyes and is male. While we've explored multiple male suspects, the only character that has fit the green eye description until now has been Hal Cooper (Lochlyn Munro) but it turns out that Tall Boy also has green eyes. His eyebrows also seem to be similar to what little we can see of them underneath the black mask.
One of the clues we didn't really focus much on previously is what the Black Hood was wearing beyond the obvious hood when he shot Fred Andrews (Luke Perry) at Pop's during the first season finale. The shooter was wearing a leather jacket over a flannel shirt and black t-shirt. Interestingly enough, this is an outfit we have seen Tall Boy wear before -- down to the details on the jacket and the exact pattern of the flannel.
One of the things that's been a big part of the Black Hood's motivations is that he's killing sinners, and we've tried to figure out how the killer would be connected to his victims. In the case of Tall Boy, it's more or less been right in front of us the whole time. Regarding Fred, F.P. Jones (Skeet Ulrich) brought some of the Serpents out as a construction crew for Fred during season one around the same time Fred and Hermione were getting close. Since we know that the Serpents were already connected to helping the Lodges when it came to condemning the drive-in, Tall Boy may have witnessed this "sin" of infidelity. With Midge and Moose, Tall Boy was at Pop's at the same time Midge and Moose were and he may have seen them with the drugs they later went into the woods to enjoy. As it's been revealed that Tallboy was working with Penny, he would also have a vested interest in killing the Sugarman to eliminate him as a competing drug dealer.
It's a little harder to connect Tall Boy to the janitor and Ms. Grundy, but considering how pervasive the Serpents are in Riverdale's dark side, it's not too much of a stretch to think he'd be connected there too.
Another element of the Black Hood is that he wanted Alice Cooper targeted and shamed and, by extension, knew quite a bit about Betty. We've previously assumed that this could have been Hal wanting to humiliate his wife, but it's important to remember that Alice was a South Side Serpent in her youth, presumably alongside Tall Boy. It's not a stretch to think that Tall Boy would harbor a lot of resentment towards Alice for abandoning the gang to become someone from the North side of town that he and the Serpents so loathe. Add in that Alice likes poking her nose into things and stirring things up and seems like a perfect recipe. A vendetta against Alice would explain why he wanted to involve Betty too.
The unmasking of Mr. Svenson as the Black Hood could have been a convenient way to end the Black Hood's reign of terror for one simple reason: the Lodges no longer needed Tall Boy to create chaos. The killer terrorizing Riverdale made for a handy distraction for the Lodges' shady actions, actions that culminated with the shutting down of South Side High. As we know that Tall Boy was working with the Lodges to destabilize things -- albeit for his own gains in ousting F.P. Jones -- unmasking the Black Hood provided a tidy ending to the terror just when the Lodges no longer needed things shaken up. It also makes sense then that the Lodges themselves were never targeted by the killer despite their many sins.
Tall Boy being the Black Hood also has an interesting connection to another theory. One of the theories that has been around is that Penny Peabody is actually Alice's sister. The theory goes even further to claim that Betty might even be Penny's daughter and not Alice's, but even if that's not the case, if Penny is related to Alice and Penny and Tall Boy are working together, it would give Tall Boy yet another reason to target Alice Cooper for her betrayal of the Serpents.
If Tall Boy does end up being the Black Hood, Ms. Grundy's murder could end up being a red herring, plot wise. With the exception of her murder coming right on the heels of the attempted murder of Fred Andrews and the fact that Ms. Grundy has a connection to Archie, there really isn't anything that connects her death to the Black Hood. It's possible that her murder was just coincidental, a little gem dropped into the story to throw viewers -- and Archie -- off track from the beginning to deepen the mystery. Pretty genius, if you ask us.
Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.